Cinderella and the Duke (Beauchamp Betrothals #1) by Janice Preston

This title may be purchased from Amazon

Falling for a duke in disguise!

Never welcomed into society circles, Rosalind Allen gave up her marriage prospects long ago—life has taught her she’ll only get hurt. So she’s shocked when an encounter with a mysterious stranger makes her long to reconsider…

Little does Rosalind know that her mystery man is Leo Beauchamp, Duke of Cheriton, travelling in disguise to evade the ladies of the ton! Impoverished Rosalind is the first woman to captivate Leo—but can he persuade this wary Cinderella to trust him with her heart?

Rating: B-

While I’m certainly not averse to the use of the Cinderella trope, I was actually quite pleased to discover that the title of Cinderella and the Duke is not all that representative of the story contained within the pages of this novel. The characters are slightly older than are normally found in historical romance (he’s just hit forty, she’s thirty), which I appreciated, and our nominal Cinders isn’t so much downtrodden by her horrible family as she has taken upon herself the burden of looking after them all to such an extent that she has resigned herself to not having a life of her own.

Due to a complicated family situation – and to prevent her lovely, eighteen year-old step-sister being sold off in order to pay her guardian’s debts – Rosalind Allen moves herself and her two siblings (brother and aforementioned step-sister) to a small house on a neighbouring estate before sending her sister to London in the charge of her aunt, Lady Glenlochrie, to make her London début. Lady Helena Caldicot (Nell) is a diamond of the first water and the daughter of an earl, so Rosalind dearly hopes that she will make a suitable match which will forever remove her from her guardian’s power.

Out walking one day, Rosalind is accosted by a fine gentleman who has obviously been riding with the hunt – and who makes it clear that he is now interested in hunting down a very different quarry. He corners Rosalind and makes her very nervous, but fortunately is soon joined by three other gentlemen, one of whom diffuses the situation and leaves Rosalind to continue on her way.

Rosalind’s rescuer is Leo Beauchamp, Duke of Cheriton, who prefers, when away from London to travel as Mr. Leo Boyton so as not to find himself knee-deep in ambitious, marriage-minded young ladies thrown at him by their equally ambitious mamas. He has been a widower for a number of years and has three grown-up children – two sons and a daughter, who is about to make her come-out and has come to stay with his cousin, the bastard son of the previous Duke of Cheriton, in the hope that perhaps the man’s long sojourn abroad might have improved their relationship. It hasn’t. He is as unpleasant and competitive as ever and Leo is beginning to regret his visit.

You can read the rest of this review at All About Romance.

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