Scoundrel of My Heart by Lorraine Heath reminded me why I love the romance genre so much. This book truly pulled at my heartstrings and reminded me why I started reading the genre years before I was into steamy romance (though this one is steamy).

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The summary, from Amazon:

Amazon April 2021 Best of the Month Pick

Lorraine Heath begins an exciting new series with a breathtaking romance about a young woman who must marry a titled gentleman to obtain her inheritance and the usuitable man she begins to fall madly in love with

She is desperate to wed a duke…

Lady Kathryn Lambert must marry a titled gentleman to claim her inheritance and has finally gained the attention of a duke. Yet she is unable to forget the scandalous second son who aided in her achievement—or his betrayal.

He wants what he can never possess…

Lord Griffith Stanwick is tormented by the bitter truth that as a “spare,” he will never be able to give Kathryn what she yearns to possess. But when his father is found guilty of treason, Griff detours into the dark and dangerous corners of London, haunted by memories of the woman lost to him forever.

Love not to be denied…

As the duke’s courtship intensifies, Kathryn discovers Griff has become a man to be reckoned with. When old passions flare and new desires ignite, she must decide if sacrificing her legacy is worth a lifetime shared with the scoundrel of her heart.

Buy Scoundrel of My Heart here.

Griff is well acquainted with Lady Kathryn, the friend of his sister. Kathryn has always wanted to a gentleman with a title, and Griff is a second son. When an arrogant duke encourages the women of the ton to write to him about what would make them the best wife for him, announcing that he’ll choose his wife from these letters, Kathryn applies to Griff to find out what it is the duke is looking for in a wife. It’s also through this process that Griff finds out Kathryn wants to marry a title gentleman because if she does before her 25th birthday, she’ll inherit the beloved seaside cottage left to her by her grandmother.
Griff and Kathryn quickly realize that their playful teasing and pranks on one another through the years were more than a bit of fun animosity. They are attracted to one another and the tension is palpable. It culminates when the duke chooses Kathryn as his prospective bride with plans to court into next season. Only it turns out Kathryn never wrote the duke a letter as she began inwardly confronting her feelings for Griff. Instead, Griff sent a letter on her behalf. The two share a kiss in the garden at the party.
But everything continues to change when shortly after, Griff’s father is accused and convicted of treason. The title is lost to his brother, and the family becomes impoverished. Griff had big plans to open a social club for second sons, wallflowers, and those on the outskirts of society, and over the course of ten months works hard to ensure his sister’s safety, help his brother uncover the treasonous ring intent on taking out the queen, and to fulfill his dreams. When he finally does, Kathryn is still courting the duke and finds out that the club Griff had told her about is open. She goes there looking for him.
The plot of this one was full of detail that I fear I cannot go into too much detail about without telling the entire story. But rest assured the passion is still evident between Griff and Kathryn. This is a slow burn with a few angry kisses before the two give in to their passion after a moment of danger. But is losing a place that feels like home worth it for Kathryn to be with the man she loves? And can Griff set aside his experiences, beliefs, and prejudice about himself in order to accept that he really can make Kathryn happy? This was a stunningly angsty and romantic book that threw me back to some of my favorite closed door romances I read in my teens and early twenties, with the benefit of some steamy scenes. I cried so much and enjoyed every moment of it. This was truly a 5 star read for me.

Scoundrel of My Heart (Once Upon a Dukedom, #1)Scoundrel of My Heart by Lorraine Heath
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Holy CRAP. I can’t remember the last time I read a book this romantic. If you can handle a slow burn with a ton of pining and angst, this one is for you. I was SOBBING reading this one, wondering how these two were going to make it work with all the chemistry and history between them! Before I read romance, I always loved an angsty romantic subplot in my historical fiction and this book was like, “Hey, let’s make that the ENTIRE plot.” And it was SO GOOD.

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Book Club Questions

  1. Can a loveless lifelong commitment still provide fulfillment and happiness?
  2. Describe the relationship dynamic between Griff and Kathryn.
  3. How does Griff change during the ten month gap in this novel? How does Kathryn change?

Interested? Buy Scoundrel of My Heart.
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