REDEMPTION OF THE DUKE – Gayle Callen
Brides of Redemption , Book 3
England, Late 19th Century
As the third son of the Duke of Rothford, Adam Chamberlin never expected to inherit. His two older half-brothers bullied and derided Adam to a point where he acted out in self-indulgent ways, but when they threatened to cut off his funding upon the eldest inheriting, Adam joined the army to make his own way. A disease took his father and brothers within hours of each other and forced Adam to return to England from his post in India and take up the title. War is never neat or clean, and what happened in India haunts him; he returns a very different man. He has just found the sister of one of his men who died. She lost everything with her brother's death, and Adam is determined to help her. Faith currently is an overworked lady's companion. He manipulates the situation so she comes to work for his aunt in his London mansion. While trying to ignore his growing interest in Faith, a difficult task, threatening notes about his interest in her begin to arrive.
Faith Cooper is an intelligent gentle woman who must work for a living. She is appalled at what the Duke of Rothford relates to her about her brother, but she does not want his help. Her brother's death led to her making some hard decisions that she would like to keep hidden. When manipulated into the duke's household, Faith reluctantly begins to succumb to the man's appeal, but she will not let her own threatened ruin harm Adam or his family.
Society is changing, and women are moving to change the inequities of their position, but haughty aristocrats still rule. Faith must live with two such women, Rothford's mother, and his sister-in-law, who hoped to be the next duchess. The situation is interesting, the romance difficult (and if the reader had not become acquainted with Adam's morals throughout the story, unbelievable for the times), but the characters, some foils of the hero and heroine, create a story filled with many of the fascinating social problems and cultural mores of the time. This is the last book in this trilogy, but this entertaining story stands alone.