I Married the Duke
by Katherine Ashe
(Avon, $5.99, PG-13) 978-0-06-222981-6
**
As a young girl, Arabella and her sisters learned from a gypsy that one of them would wed a prince, which would lead to the truth about their origins. The three sisters were left orphans when their parents put them on a ship with their nanny, but the ship sank leaving only them as survivors. Luckily, a local Reverend took them in, but no one knows where they came from or who their parents were.

Fast forward a decade or so and Arabella now helps aristocratic young girls learn the ways of society prior to coming out into their first Season. Her next job is with the Prince of Sensaire’s sister and Arabella’s hope is the Prince is her destiny and holds the answers she needs. Unfortunately, she has missed her ship and is now stuck trying to convince a man who looks like a pirate, Lucien “Luc” Westfall, to allow her passage on his ship.

Luc tries refusing to allow Arabella to join his ship, but her persistence and the compassion he sees makes him give in. He warns her that his ship is no place for women, even servant women, but Arabella’s persistence in not being late to her next job encourages her to take the chance.

There is chemistry between Luc and Arabella, but Arabella holds true to her hope with the Prince. Before arriving at her next job though, Luc is attacked in the port town and Arabella realizes how much she cares for him. She struggles with her feelings for him and her life long desire to follow the gpsy’s word in finding her answers.

I Married the Duke is the first book in the Prince Catchers series. It is a relatively short book, but is packed with events and characters. For what the story is trying to accomplish, it bites off a bit more than it can chew. So many characters are introduced without a lot of back-story, which makes it a challenge to follow along. The scenes are at times lacking description that also makes it hard to follow.

Additionally, the story starts out with the mystery of the sisters’ origins and at the end of the book; the reader is no closer to learning information. The mystery solving must be planned for future books, but my attention would be better grabbed if at least some things were revealed in this one.

Because of the challenge getting into this book and become part of the story, it earns a two heart rating.

--Nichole Howell


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