STARRED REVIEW
August 27, 2019

How to Love a Duke in Ten Days

By Kerrigan Byrne

A marriage of convenience gives way to acceptance and love between two characters marked by trauma in Kerrigan Byrne’s suspenseful historical romance How to Love a Duke in Ten Days.

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A marriage of convenience gives way to acceptance and love between two characters marked by trauma in Kerrigan Byrne’s suspenseful historical romance How to Love a Duke in Ten Days.

Piers Atherton needs to solidify his claim as the Duke of Redmayne and the quickest way to do that is to take a wife and produce an heir. Lady Alexandra Lane is low on funds and in desperate need of money to pay off a blackmailer. Piers and Alexandra are upfront in what they expect from their marriage, though the true nature of why Alexandra requires money isn’t revealed to Piers.

A decade earlier, Alexandra was raped by the headmaster at her school. (Content warning for readers: the scene is graphic, and very much on the page.) She took her revenge by killing him, and her two best friends helped her cover up the murder. The three women are certain there are no loose ends, until a blackmailer reaches out to Alexandra for money in exchange for keeping their secret.

Strong, resilient Alexandra is a wonderful heroine and her friends, Cecelia and Francesca (who are obviously sequel-bait for the next books), are unconditionally supportive. The sense of girl power and female solidarity is infectious, and some of the best scenes are when all three have the opportunity to get into some mischief.

Piers has a whole closet full of baggage—he was raised by a philandering mother, was jilted by his former betrothed and survived a jaguar attack that nearly took his life. He’s slow to trust and his scarred face has caused the locals to dub him the “Terror of Thorcliff.” The tenderness and respect he displays when faced with Alexandra’s avoidance of intimacy makes him a worthy hero, and he learns to let go of deep-seated grudges as the story progresses.

As Alexandra and Piers travel for their honeymoon, a series of bizarre events make it obvious to that pair that someone is after their lives. Piers assumes it’s his cousin trying to kill him off for the title of Duke of Redmayne. Alexandra thinks her blackmailer is no longer satisfied with money. The reveal of the unseen villain is surprising and will undoubtedly keep readers guessing to the very end.

Byrne’s writing harkens back to classic romance superstars like Judith McNaught and Bertrice Small: There’s a grand complexity to the plot, an alpha hero and a headstrong heroine who has overcome great emotional turmoil. Alexandra’s trauma and PTSD were respectfully portrayed and, as a fellow survivor, reached me on a personal level. Her dedication to rebuilding her life and allowing herself to take joy in even the smallest things is a heady mix of heartbreaking and inspirational.

How to Love a Duke in Ten Days is an intense journey from start to finish, but Byrne delivers. Readers will be left breathless, and with a few tears shed along the way.

 

ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our Q&A with Kerrigan Byrne about How to Love a Duke in Ten Days.

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How to Love a Duke in Ten Days

How to Love a Duke in Ten Days

By Kerrigan Byrne
St. Martin's
ISBN 9781250318848

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