WHY DUKES SAY I DO – Manda Collins
St. Martin's
ISBN: 978-1-250-02383-4
August 2013
Historical Romance

England – 19 th Century

Lady Isabella Wharton has been asked by her formidable godmother, the Dowager Duchess of Ormonde, to travel to Yorkshire and somehow convince the new duke to take up his duties in London. Isabella knows that this will be a daunting endeavor because it is well known that he dislikes the Ormonde side of his family intensely, and that he prefers the rustic life in the north to the bustle of the city. But if she does not do as the dowager orders, the older woman will see that Isabella's sister's marriage does not come about.

A bit of background on Isabella and her sister, Perdita – both are widows, but the death of Perdita's husband, the late Duke of Ormonde, was not the “accident” that was published to the ton . Isabella, Perdita, and their friend, Georgina, also a widow, have a secret about that fatal night, and only a very few people know about it.

The new Duke of Ormonde, Trevor Carey holds a deep grudge against his father's family. They ostracized his father when he married for love, and Trevor has never shown any interest in visiting his new lands in the south, despite his grandmother's wishes. When Lady Wharton arrives in the north, however, some of Trevor's opposition to being duke begins to wilt. Isabella, all sophistication and beauty, seems to fit into his household rather well. Especially nice is how she calmly takes on Trevor's younger sisters and begins to prepare them for their future.

The past has caught up with Isabella, though. The dowager's coach breaks down before they arrive at the duke's estate, but it's revealed soon after that it was not an accident that caused the vehicle to crash. Then Isabella begins receiving threatening notes and letters. Who besides the obvious witnesses knows what happened that fateful night over a year ago?

WHY DUKES SAY I DO is an entertaining mix of mystery and romance. Both Isabella and Trevor are not as far apart in their ideals as they seem to believe, and that melting of the wall between them is enjoyable to witness. Well written and with excellent secondary characters, especially Trevor's sisters, I highly recommend this novel.

Jani Brooks