Reviewed by Geri.
The novel’s premise:
...a reverse Kate and Leopold...a light-hearted time travel romance where a bewildered modern-day duke ends up in Regency England and meets the girl of his dreams...
Jared Langley, present-day Duke of Reston, tumbles into an abandoned fountain on his ducal estate and travels back in time to the year 1816. There, Reston servants and local villagers think him a dead ringer for his namesake and rakehell ancestor--the seventh Duke of Reston, gone missing at the Battle of Waterloo. Unfortunately, Seven got mixed up with French spies out to assassinate the Duke of Wellington, and an unwary Jared ends up in their crosshairs.
Lady Ariana Hart has loved Jared Langley, the seventh Duke of Reston, since she was twelve years old, until the night the rogue broke her heart. Given up for dead, her rakish neighbor makes a miraculous return from Waterloo--only Jared shows up a changed man and reignites all the feelings Ariana had long ago buried.
Jared is in a race against time. He must waylay the suspicions of his quirky servants and neighbors, get to Wellington before the French spies do, fix his fountain--before Seven shows up--so Jared has a way home, and definitely not fall in love with the irresistible Lady Ariana.
After reading a rip-roaring Regency time travel romance a few years ago I graduated to Outlander and then returned to my favourite historical period because I do love Regency romance novels best of all. This one the Duke du Jour lived up to expectations almost throughout its entire plot.
The start of this novel is in the modern day and the Duke of Reston is livid when news his fiancé is a gold-digging bitch is brought to his attention. She was cheating on him as well, and so furious is he, he throws a major wobbly and so angry is he at her feeble explanation he takes a hike and one slip into a fountain and he ends up wet and finds himself back in 1816. I felt sorry for Jared who is a modern day man with gadgets at his fingertips, and the past life Jared falls into is a nightmare of telling lies to people who are convinced he is another duke returned from the dead. Of course that’s not the half of it because for one thing he’s the wrong Duke of Reston, and then there’s a Lady Ariana who loved the 7th duke who was horrible to her. Instead Jared is shockingly nice to Ariana and she’s confused by it all. There is a sad part to this novel with the dreadful fact Ariana is 200 years in the past and Jared dare not fall in love with her. If that wasn’t bad enough the missing 7th duke lands Jared in trouble when French spies and assassins scare the pants of Jared. A flint-lock pistol is nothing like a Glock, and when Ariana’s life is at risk he turns into a Regency hero and falls in love with the heroine. Crumbs I thought, because if the 7th duke is dead and Jared stays in 1816 he dare not father the 8th duke and alter the line of descendants to his own titled position. From there onward I turned the pages at lightning speed to see how the author would extract Jared’s sticky boots out of his 1816 situation. The actual wind up ending took a bit of swallowing, because although I read it three times I couldn’t see how the 13th duke could become the 7th duke. That part of it defied logic of family genealogy so I gave up trying to solve the outcome. The rest of the novel is a thrilling read and the author was spot on with historical titbits except for Napoleon Bonaparte, who wasn’t sent into exile on the Island of St Helena twice. His first defeat and capture ended with imprisoned on the Island of Elba. His second imprisonment was on St Helena. I expect a lot of readers won’t know or won’t care about that silly mistake. It is though as a result of bad research and a three star rating is my verdict for otherwise an exciting novel.