Title: Along Came a Lady by Christi Caldwell
All the Duke’s Sins Series Book One
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: C+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
The brooding, illegitimate son of a duke meets his match in the determined woman hired to transform him into a gentleman from USA Today bestselling author Christi Caldwell—perfect for fans of Bridgerton.
Rafe Audley lives to thwart his father, the Duke of Bentley. The ne’er do well who abandoned his children claims he wants to make up for his failures, but Rafe only cares about protecting the people of his mining community and providing for his three siblings, who’ve been his sole responsibility since childhood. So far, Rafe has turned away the duke’s man of affairs, solicitor, and other interlopers, until the clever duke sends the unlikeliest of people to convince Rafe to join English High Society—a bold and intriguing woman.
Edwina Dalrymple has never failed a charge. She’s quite adept at successfully transforming young women of the gentry and daughters of newly minted lords to take their place in society. Taming a bastard son of a duke will be child’s play, plus this job promises to enhance her reputation within the ton. All she has to do is fetch the wayward Rafe and groom him to be presentable to Polite Society.
As the tenacious teacher and her domineering, stubborn, refuses-to-be-taught pupil engage in a fiery battle of wills, their chemistry ignites and the true lesson becomes clear: opposites attract and hearts must be heard.
Along Came a Lady by Christi Caldwell is an entertaining historical romance with a substantive storyline.
Edwina Dalrymple has made her way in life all on her own. She instructs young men and women on the ways of Polite Society. Edwina’s latest job will be challenging but the payoff could be huge for her business. She is determined to bring the Duke of Bentley’s illegitimate adult son, Rafe Audley, to London in order to present him to Society. Edwina is calm, cool and mostly collected as he attempts to thwart her at every turn. She is also a little horrified to discover she is attracted to the incorrigible man. Will Edwina bring the extremely reluctant Rafe to meet his father? And will she be able to resist giving in to their unexpectedly mutual desire?
Rafe has been responsible for his brothers and sister for his entire life and he has no interest in meeting his detested father. He is satisfied with his job as foreman in the local coal mine and he is very resistant to Duke’s overtures. Rafe is still resentful that his brother Wesley approached the Duke in order to leave Staffordshire. So, initially, he is absolutely dead set against going to London and he will stoop to any level to try to run Edwina off. But Rafe’s unanticipated attraction to Edwina and his soft spot for his adored younger sister Cailin might convince him to change his mind.
The first installment in the All the Duke’s Sins series, Along Came a Lady is a perfect mix of steamy, serious and humorous. The storyline has substance and deals with the very real problem of illegitimate offspring of the aristocracy and the occasionally detrimental effects on their children even into adulthood. Edwina and Rafe are well-developed characters whose mutual stubbornness can be off-putting. The pacing is slow but picks up by the last quarter of the story. Some of the elements are a little repetitive and a few of the tricks used by Rafe to dissuade Edwina are mean-spirited. Although a little predictable, Christi Caldwell brings this intriguing historical romance to a very satisfying conclusion.