A Top Read in February

The Orphan and the Duke
Jillian Chantal
Historical Regency

Basil Staunton, Duke of Darnley, a younger son and reformed reprobate, had his title forced on him by the death of his parents and brother. Now he has a dilemma. His twin sisters are old enough for their presentation to Queen Charlotte, a requirement before they can enter their first season. He has no idea how to prepare them for what lies ahead.

Amelia Mandeville, orphaned and brought from France to live with her aunt, uncle, and cousin, has always been told she‘s illegitimate. Treated as no more than an unpaid companion to her odious cousin, she knows as soon as the cousin marries, she will have no more usefulness to the family and worries she’ll be asked to leave.

Meeting the duke at the dressmaker’s shop is serendipitous for Amelia and, with her uncle’s permission, she’s allowed to assist the duke’s sisters. Hoping she can turn this opportunity into a way to support herself, Amelia undertakes the task with enthusiasm.

What she doesn’t count on is becoming attached to the family and her cousin’s designs on becoming Amelia’s employer’s duchess.

Uncaged Review: The simple fact of this book, is it’s a Cinderella story. The more complex part of the book, is it’s an enchanting regency with humor, mystery and very likeable characters. I actually read a couple of reviews on this after I finished the story, and a couple of them had me wondering if I was reading the same book as they did.

The story brings you Amelia, whose parents died when she was very young, and she’s been brought up in her Aunt and Uncle’s home, along with her very horrible cousin, Susan. Believing what she was told, that her parents were never married and threatened constantly about being tossed out of the home, Amelia is relegated to be only sub-par to the rest of the house, helping her cousin get ready for her Presentation and Season, but without hope of ever having her own coming out.

Basil, the Duke of Darnley, is forced into the title after his parents and older brother is killed in an accident, bringing him the responsibility of guardian to his two younger twin sisters. When it’s time for their Presentation and Season, he’s at a dilemma of how to prepare them for society. Meeting Amelia and her cousin at the dressmakers with his sisters, Basil is astonished at how badly Amelia is being treated by her cousin, and finds a way to hire Amelia to help prepare his sisters for their coming out.

And this is only part of this story. The mystery surrounding Amelia and what will happen when she’s no longer needed by her Aunt and Uncle, and if she will ever know more about her parents. The love story is genuine and fun, and for me, a Cinderella-type story is always welcome. Reviewed by Cyrene

5 Stars