Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Duke of a Gilded Age


When American-born Wesley Parker inherits a dukedom in 1890, he must learn to be an aristocrat. Assigned to the task is his attorney’s daughter, prim Belle Oakhurst. As they travel to England together on a luxurious ocean liner, their tempestuous relationship encounters more than rough seas. Although Wesley is increasingly attracted to Belle, she is already engaged. While Belle begins to regret her hasty promise to marry, she is bound by honor and duty to keep her pledge. Furthermore, a thoughtless fabrication on her part threatens to expose her as a liar. Neither Wesley nor Belle can foresee that their voyage across the Atlantic will be fraught with peril, and will cost more than one man his life.


The gauche and unsophisticated but charming and down to earth Westley Parker was warned not to become attached to the lovely Annabelle Oakhurst as the young lady is engaged to marry Sir Errol back in England - so of course I wanted to know how Wesley and Belle would end up together as it was inevitable from the start.

Although he has had a genteel upbringing and his manners are impeccable, he needs help with the protocol of the aristocracy, which Belle is happy to teach him. She takes him to all the right shops and sightseeing in New York, all of which are described beautifully with an authentic atmosphere of the 1890’s.

Ms Rogers’ characters are memorable, and I especially loved the enigmatic valet, Cavendish, a man with a secret past and an education well above his station in life. Belle is especially lovely, although her only flaw is she tried to impress a fellow passenger by saying her estranged grandfather was a baronet and had to face the humiliation of being corrected in public. Their fellow passengers are an interesting bunch, made up of heroes, villains and the unspeakable Mrs Stilton, whom I would have given a worse fate than Ms Rogers did, but this is her steamship novel, not mine!

A very enjoyable read.
Author's Blog:

Anita Davison is a Historical Fiction Author whose latest release, ‘Royalist Rebel’ a biographical novel set in 17th Century England released by Claymore Press under the name Anita Seymour

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