A Duke in the Night was written by Kelly Bowen. This is the first book in her new Regency-era The Devils of Dover series. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I’ve heard a lot of buzz about Bowen in my book group.
Clara first encountered August during an incident in which he was dared to ask her to dance at a ball. Ten years later, they meet again when August’s sister enrolls at Clara’s school for young ladies.
August arrives at the school with a flimsy excuse as to why he needs to be there. Clara has moved on with her life, and she is very happy with the way her life has tuned out, but his return stirs up old memories, and she doesn’t know if she can trust him. She is skeptical about his reasons for remaining at the school, as well as his attempts to spend time with her.
August does have an ulterior motive, but as he spends time there, not only does he begin to see Clara in a new light, but he also sees that his sister is no longer a little girl who needs to be protected. There were some allusions to his backstory; I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll just say that he didn’t inherit his title in the conventional way. I found myself wanting to know more about his earlier years; they certainly shaped his current personality, but I want to know everything!
The story is bolstered by some really great secondary characters. I especially enjoyed the two elderly sisters who share the manor house with the school. I hope that I am just as spry when I am that age! I should also add that the villain of the piece was fairly easy to spot, but he had some really great mustache-twirling moments!
I would absolutely recommend A Duke in the Night. Clara and August have such good chemistry. They are also both fascinating in their own rights- their personalities are both very different than the usual archetypes found in the genre. Some might find the conventions to be too modern for the era, but I loved Clara’s commitment to instilling a sense of independence and self-affirmation in her students. And August’s reaction to these unconventional ways was just as fun! I am looking forward to catching up on Bowen’s earlier books, as well as looking forward to the next book in the series!
I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.