There are quite a lot of truths to learn about Robert, Duke of Rothhaven, the hero of Grace Burrowes’ latest Regency romance. It’s true that he’s handsome. It’s very true that he’s rich. It’s very, very true that he’s clever. But the most surprising truth about him—the secret concealed from society—is that all Robert’s advantages are countered by the strain of severe physical and emotional disorders. The physical ailments are the result of inherited epilepsy triggered by severe childhood head injuries. The emotional problems . . . well, those result from the barbaric “care” he received in the institution that was paid lavishly to keep the so-called family embarrassment hidden away. After his brother found and rescued him from the wretched facility, his fears and phobias kept him isolated from the world for several years. By the time The Truth About Dukes opens, Robert has summoned the courage to step forward from the shadows for his brother’s sake. The truth even he would have struggled to believe about himself is that love is waiting for him out in the light.
Constance Wentworth knows quite a bit about dukes, and not just because the Duke of Walden is her overprotective brother. She’s well-acquainted with Robert as well, from a time when she was fleeing her own uncomfortable truths and wound up working as a maid at the facility where he was kept. A bond formed between them then that endures when they meet again in society, and it’s immediately clear just how good they are for each other. She defends him, he steadies her; she accepts him, he challenges her. She teaches him to trust himself, he teaches her that it’s all right to trust others. Love (kind of literally) blossoms easily. Happily ever after? That’s another story—and what a terrific story it is!
Sensitive readers should be aware that The Truth About Dukes doesn’t hesitate to poke into dark corners. The horror of mental health care in the Regency period is unflinchingly portrayed, although descriptions of the more brutal “treatments” are mercifully brief, and Constance's childhood was violent. But the trials Robert and Constance have faced only highlight their strength and resilience as a family. Their love for each other is fierce and lovely, and their fight to defend it is inspiring. It’s a wonderful ray of hope to read a story like this where tremendous obstacles are overcome through faith, family and a true and deep devotion.