A DUKE CHANGES EVERYTHING – Christy Carlyle
The Duke's Den , Book 1
London and the Enderley Estate near Barrowmere Village, 1844
Nicholas Lyon's father, the Duke of Tremayne, hated him. In fact, he refused to acknowledge him as his son, putting it out that the boy is his wife's by-blow. When Nicholas was a youngster, he and his mother escaped the castle and his father's extreme cruelty, moved to France for a while before moving back to England. His mother is now long dead. Nicholas, called Lyon, struggled to stay alive and flourish in London, but has now gained wealth and a good living as owner of a luxurious gentleman's gambling club named after him. Nick recently heard the good news of his father's death. Unfortunately, that news is soon followed by the death of the duke's heir, Nick's not-so-nice brother. Now Nick is the new duke. He plans to travel to the estate and get it ready to lease as soon as possible. (He hates the place but is not allowed to sell it.)
The staff of the castle and all that goes with it is managed by a capable yet most unusual steward . . . Mina, whose deceased father was the former steward. She and the rest of the staff have no idea what to expect of the new duke, though some of the elderly remember him as a boy.
A DUKE CHANGES EVERYTHING has it all: complicated but well defined characters dominated by Lyon and Mina. However, lesser cast members are worth the time they take, sometimes serious, sometimes humorous, and often likable. There is reality in the era, and suspense and attraction in the plot. Though not a fast read, it's most unusual and can be very moving.