A Duke to Remember
Kelly Bowen     

Genre: Historical Romance
Series: A Season for Scandal
Book: 2
Heat Level: Sensual/Hot

Love takes the stage . . .

Elise deVries is not what she seems. By night, the actress captivates London theatergoers with her chameleon-like ability to slip inside her characters. By day, she uses her mastery of disguise to work undercover for Chegarre & Associates, an elite agency known for its discreet handling of indelicate scandals. But when Elise is tasked with locating the missing Duke of Ashland, she finds herself center stage in a real-life drama.

Noah Ellery left the glamour of the London aristocracy to pursue a simpler life in the country. He's managed to avoid any complications or entanglements-that is, until he lays eyes on Elise and realizes there's more to this beautiful woman than meets the eye. But when Elise reveals her real identity-and her true feelings for him-the runaway duke must confront the past he left behind . . . to keep the woman he loves forever.

Other books in the series:

Chegarre & Associates is an exclusive agency which specializes in solving seemingly insurmountable problems.  One of their talented agents is Elise de Vries, who is also an actress.  Her latest task is to find a duke, one who hasn’t been seen since he was a child, and who is presumed dead by many.  Noah Ellery, Duke of Ashland is alive, and his sister, Abigail, knows it.  She needs him to come back and claim his title before their evil cousin, Francis, does.  As the heir-presumptive, Francis has already had the dowager duchess (Abigail and Noah’s mother) committed to Bedlam and drugged constantly to stop her insisting that Noah is alive.

As a child, Noah was so intimidated by his cruel father, that his speech became jumbled and his words mixed up.  Eventually, to avoid his father’s ridicule and punishment, he stopped talking altogether.  His father then had his young son spirited away to Bedlam to be committed.  After years of cruel treatment, Noah and a friend manage to escape, and learn to survive on the street.  Noah only has disdain for his parents and the titled class, and he eventually begins living the peaceful life of a farmer in the quiet countryside, with no intention of ever returning to his family or title.

When reading, I always tend to relate to and favor the hero, but I fell in love with both Elise and Noah.  Elise is smart, strong, and very talented, yet she hasn’t let any of the horrible things she’s seen make her hard or take away her compassion.  I admire her determination to tell Noah the truth about herself, even knowing that it was bound to end their fledgling attraction.  I love the man Noah chose to become.  Despite what happened to him, he has a gentleness and kindness and care for people.

When Noah learns Elise’s true reason for appearing in his life, he’s understandably angry and fearful and determined not to go back.  This part in particular was so well written, that I could feel Noah’s hurt and frustration, and I didn’t want him to lose his peaceful life to go back to the phoniness of society.  I also felt Elise’s regret for causing this pain for Noah, a man she quickly came to care for.  A Duke to Remember is so fast paced and interesting, that I devoured it in one sitting.  The romance is strong and sexy, and the characters are memorable.  With each book, Kelly Bowen gets better and better, and A Duke to Remember is one of my favorite reads for this year.

~ Bonnie