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A Duchess to Remember

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A lady never kisses and tells. And her lover never forgets… For a lady of breeding and wealth, the Ministry of Marriage can always ensure a suitable match. But sometimes, the heart wants what it wants—in spite of the risks… A Practical Engagement Lady Cecily Westruther is nothing if not practical. By agreeing to marry an older duke who already has an heir and a mistress, she c A lady never kisses and tells. And her lover never forgets… For a lady of breeding and wealth, the Ministry of Marriage can always ensure a suitable match. But sometimes, the heart wants what it wants—in spite of the risks… A Practical Engagement Lady Cecily Westruther is nothing if not practical. By agreeing to marry an older duke who already has an heir and a mistress, she can assume a wifely role—without the wifely duties. Only one thing stands in her way—a letter that could destroy her betrothal. Desperate to retrieve that letter, Cecily must match wits with the most dangerously seductive man she's ever known. A Passionate Marriage Disguised as a footman, Cecily gains entry to her adversary's house—only to be unmasked by London's most powerful man. Rand, Duke of Ashburn, is accustomed to getting any woman he wants—and he wants Cecily. He will stop at nothing, including seduction, to make her his. But Rand holds a secret more shocking and destructive than that letter could ever be.


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A lady never kisses and tells. And her lover never forgets… For a lady of breeding and wealth, the Ministry of Marriage can always ensure a suitable match. But sometimes, the heart wants what it wants—in spite of the risks… A Practical Engagement Lady Cecily Westruther is nothing if not practical. By agreeing to marry an older duke who already has an heir and a mistress, she c A lady never kisses and tells. And her lover never forgets… For a lady of breeding and wealth, the Ministry of Marriage can always ensure a suitable match. But sometimes, the heart wants what it wants—in spite of the risks… A Practical Engagement Lady Cecily Westruther is nothing if not practical. By agreeing to marry an older duke who already has an heir and a mistress, she can assume a wifely role—without the wifely duties. Only one thing stands in her way—a letter that could destroy her betrothal. Desperate to retrieve that letter, Cecily must match wits with the most dangerously seductive man she's ever known. A Passionate Marriage Disguised as a footman, Cecily gains entry to her adversary's house—only to be unmasked by London's most powerful man. Rand, Duke of Ashburn, is accustomed to getting any woman he wants—and he wants Cecily. He will stop at nothing, including seduction, to make her his. But Rand holds a secret more shocking and destructive than that letter could ever be.

30 review for A Duchess to Remember

  1. 4 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    Ms. Brooke, I think we have a psychic connection. You picked up on what annoys me about too many of the Regency historicals coming out nowadays (thus causing me to avoid them). You took every element that annoys me and turned those conventions around and wrote a book that I enjoyed very much. Thank you! Reviewed for Affaire de Coeur in the July issue. http://www.affairedecoeur.com Ms. Brooke, I think we have a psychic connection. You picked up on what annoys me about too many of the Regency historicals coming out nowadays (thus causing me to avoid them). You took every element that annoys me and turned those conventions around and wrote a book that I enjoyed very much. Thank you! Reviewed for Affaire de Coeur in the July issue. http://www.affairedecoeur.com

  2. 4 out of 5

    Huong

    Ughhh! Terrible!!!! Cecily is an "I want to punch in the face" heroine. Nothing made much sense in this book at all. It was just like, let's just mash random things together to make a romance, yeah ok? The most hilarious thing is that the basis of the book was Cecily's fervent NEED to retrieve a letter she wrote at the AGE OF TEN to her older brother. A letter in which she mocks her current fiance. Oh jesus, YOU WERE TEN. Be a little more rational and stop freaaaaaking out that he may find out y Ughhh! Terrible!!!! Cecily is an "I want to punch in the face" heroine. Nothing made much sense in this book at all. It was just like, let's just mash random things together to make a romance, yeah ok? The most hilarious thing is that the basis of the book was Cecily's fervent NEED to retrieve a letter she wrote at the AGE OF TEN to her older brother. A letter in which she mocks her current fiance. Oh jesus, YOU WERE TEN. Be a little more rational and stop freaaaaaking out that he may find out you called him a ninny before you even went through puberty. *rolls eyes* Everything was just a "Cecily wants this, Cecily wants that"... so she will just do it. Her denial of Rand's marriage proposal was ridiculous too. Here is this dashing handsome duke, professing his love and proposal of marriage....but nahh, she'd rather go for the dull dog that she doesn't even LIKE! Oh and the ending was rather insipid too. She gets all angry at Rand because he kept Jonathan's promise, and goes on a rant about how Rand doesn't trust her. It's called loyalty girlfriend. Stop going berserko just because you don't know everything instantly!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies

    Actual rating: 1.5 It brings me no joy to say that the most memorable thing about A Duchess to Remember is the title. I don't really feel like writing tonight, to be honest, but I have to force myself to review this book tonight, because I won't remember anything about it tomorrow. This book is boring. It is a yawn-fest. It is completely and utterly unoriginal, so on and so forth. In the interest of fairness, technically, everything has already been done before. There's no such thing as originalit Actual rating: 1.5 It brings me no joy to say that the most memorable thing about A Duchess to Remember is the title. I don't really feel like writing tonight, to be honest, but I have to force myself to review this book tonight, because I won't remember anything about it tomorrow. This book is boring. It is a yawn-fest. It is completely and utterly unoriginal, so on and so forth. In the interest of fairness, technically, everything has already been done before. There's no such thing as originality. Regency HR plots are regurgitated and disassembled. That's a given. What makes a recycled plot tolerable, good, even brilliant, is the author's skill in rewriting an old plot that makes it seem anew. Sadly, this is not the case here. The writing is passable at best, the characters and their various quirks were utterly lacking in originality, lacking in spark, lacking in life. If this book was intended to be a masterpiece, like, say, the Mona Lisa, it didn't work. It is a photograph of a photograph of a photograph of the Mona Lisa, rescanned, reprinted, rescanned again, and resized for posterity in Photoshop, and saved in a lower quality for space-saving purposes, until what's left is a pixelated shell of the original that's barely worth the 0.7 seconds you take to glance at it. Enough with the ranting and overwrought similes (you can probably tell I've had a few drinks tonight), and back to the book. Well, what there is of it. Which isn't much. The good: It's not terrible, I didn't hate anyone. I didn't want to punch anyone in the face. The bad: The characters are so dull, that I couldn't muster up the bother to want to punch anyone in the face, villain or not. None of the characters evoked any sort of emotion in me whatsoever. The "mystery" barely holds water. The plot has so many holes that it could be used in Hades as a sieve through which the eternally punished are forced to transport water. Even the subplot involving Tibbs, the lady's companion, was easily foreseen; I knew where that plot was going the first moment she was mentioned in the book. There were zero subtlety. None. The writing, the characters, the attempts at building character, the plot: all recycled to the extreme. I use the word "recycle" as a kindness. There's nothing salvageable here. So we have the heroine. The brilliant heroine who is determined never to love. Ever. She doesn't exactly show just how brilliant she is, but she could. If given half the chance. Which she wasn't. But she is. Don't question it. Be like Nike. Just do it. Just accept that she's smart, despite her complete lack of rationality and reasoning. Apparently, unsuccessfully sneaking around looking for some (mildly) questionable letters is the equivalent of book smarts in Regency England? Enter sad childhood, check. She is dealt some pretty low blows by life. She is left an orphan, then at the age of 10, her beloved older brother dies, leaving her to the mercy of some unscrupulous relatives. Luckily, she is rescued and brought into the care of the Duke of Montford. Actually, no, it's not that bad. She's still a lady. She still has a lot of money. She made some wonderful friends who were fellow wards of the Duke of Montford; Cecily loves them. They do not replace the family she has lost, but they become a type of family, just the same. Cecily became, and still is under the care of a stern, but very caring and competent Duke who is undoubtedly watching out for her best interest, despite Cecily's stubbornness in deciding to marry her nincompoop of a dullard of a Duke. Make no mistakes, the Duke of Norland is dull. "'Diffident?' [Cecily] said. 'Persuadable? Teeth-achingly dull?' 'Well...yes!' said Rosamund in an uncharacteristic burst of candor. 'He is like, oh, like a lump of clay. You could mold him into any shape you chose.' Cecily nodded. 'You are right. It’s what makes him such a perfect husband for me.'" Here's where she fails in getting my sympathy. That is no reason to make a marriage. That is manipulative. Resigning yourself to marriage because you have no other choice is one thing. She is planning to manipulate the poor man before they even marry. She is mercenary. She wants to be a duchess. Cecily knows the power that her future title will wield. She is marrying upwards so that she can be untouchable. Oh, I don't like the boring old Duke of Norland at all, trust me, but she is using the poor man, and cheating on him behind his back with a man to whom she is undoubtedly physically attracted. Lord Ashburn is a rake (aren't they all?), but not a terrible one. He admits his desire, his feelings towards Cecily, and pursue her with zeal. She's not so easily won. Cecily is so damnably frustrating, because her fear of love, her insecurities of surrendering her heart seems utterly without reason. The way I see it, the only true hardship she has suffered is the loss of her family, and although that is explained, there is never enough character development nor reason enough for her to be so utterly afraid of love and attachment. Her character is contrary and difficult without just cause. Oh, her conflict is written in very pretty prose: "Yes, she'd been making excuses. She'd never intended to give Rand a chance. Other girls fell in love with reckless abandon. They bandied that word about at the smallest provocation, flung their hearts after men who scarcely noticed them or remembered their names. The poets made falling in love look so easy. But it wasn't easy for her. Rand was right. To love someone---really love them---took an enormous amount of courage." Her internal dialogue is really poetic and lovely, but where's the justification? I just didn't buy into Cecily's emotions, reasoning, and state of mind at all. The mystery is barely there, the incriminating stack of letters for which she so earnestly searches is a joke. If the mystery is the glue that holds the book together, then said glue is the consistency of the paste I made out of white flour and a water as a kid. You could blow it into bits with a deep breath. Bottom line: don't waste your money. If you feel a need for some bedtime reading that's more effective than counting sheeps, borrow a copy at your library, but this book isn't worth owning. It's barely worth the few hundred kilobytes it occupies on my Nook.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carol Cork *Young at Heart Oldie*

    This is the third book in Christina Brooke's Ministry of Marriage series and, although, in my opinion, not as good as Mad about the Earl, it's still an enjoyable read. I liked Cecily in the previous two books. She's intelligent, independent, vivacious and witty; always a thorn in the side of her guardian, the Duke of Montford. So her willingness to accept the arranged marriage with the dull, mild-mannered Duke of Norland seems out of character but he is the perfect choice as far as she's concern This is the third book in Christina Brooke's Ministry of Marriage series and, although, in my opinion, not as good as Mad about the Earl, it's still an enjoyable read. I liked Cecily in the previous two books. She's intelligent, independent, vivacious and witty; always a thorn in the side of her guardian, the Duke of Montford. So her willingness to accept the arranged marriage with the dull, mild-mannered Duke of Norland seems out of character but he is the perfect choice as far as she's concerned. They have agreed to lead separate lives enabling Cecily to continue to lead the independent life she desires without the constraints of an autocratic husband. Rand is my favourite type of hero. He's enigmatic, powerful and confident but vulnerable as well. I love the poignant scene in which he tells Cecily about the most valued part of his inheritance. It really tore at my heart- strings to realise how lonely he must have been growing up and why he had never before been able to trust anyone with his heart. So when they meet, I knew there would fireworks with two such strong-willed characters. Rand is totally captivated by Cecily and I love his sheer determination to make her his. He's prepared to use every weapon in his armoury whether it be deceit or seduction. He's not above manipulating the Duke of Montford or planting seeds of doubt in Norland's mind about the marriage. I love a hero in hot pursuit of a stubborn heroine! Although Cecily is madly attracted to Rand, she's not about to succumb. After all, he's the type of compelling, autocratic man she wishes to avoid at all costs. So Ms Brooke creates great sexual tension as Rand pursues and Cecily retreats and I love their smart, witty repartee. I enjoyed meeting up with Cecily's cousins, Jane and Rosamund, again and Ms Brooke also adds a touch of mystery to proceedings. VERDICT: AN ENJOYABLE READ RATING:★★★★

  5. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was really looking forward to this book. Cecily was a strong supporting character in the previous book in the series-- witty, wily, flirty, and a WHOLE lot of mischief, just waiting to be unleashed onto the Ton. And at first, the book didn't disappoint (except in supporting characters-- I sort of wish we'd seen more of the tempestuous Westruther clan). Sadly, though, the ending doesn't remotely do justice to the strong start. For our hero and heroine, we are given two strong personalities both I was really looking forward to this book. Cecily was a strong supporting character in the previous book in the series-- witty, wily, flirty, and a WHOLE lot of mischief, just waiting to be unleashed onto the Ton. And at first, the book didn't disappoint (except in supporting characters-- I sort of wish we'd seen more of the tempestuous Westruther clan). Sadly, though, the ending doesn't remotely do justice to the strong start. For our hero and heroine, we are given two strong personalities both determined to have their own way in matters. Rand, Duke of Ashburn, pursues Lady Cecily Westruther, a woman who's been promised to a *different* duke since childhood, is already betrothed to him, and is quite determined to marry her "safe" choice and gain her independence. Rand is determined to make her admit to the chemistry between them and make her his. Cecily has serious concerns about turning her hand, wealth, and life over to the strongly seductive yet autocratic duke. Cecily wants the chance to make her own decisions in life; Rand just wants HER, and he will go to any length to get her... yet his high-handed manipulations may be what loses her forever. The back-and-forth between them is passionate and tense and fantastic... for most of the book. But 50 pages from the end, just as matters are looking their bleakest for Rand, the author seems to realize that she's painted herself into a plot corner. Rand has screwed up royally and lost Cecily's trust. Cecily is mere hours away from marrying the other man. How will the author possibly bring about a happy ending NOW? Well, by pretty much bagging all that's gone before. Ms. Brooke gives up on actually *resolving* Cecily's difficulties with Rand's high-handedness and makes her suddenly realize that oops, she's in love with him after all! Life is to be lived! Concerns? What concerns? A whirlwind marriage follows and the couple are blissfully and rather tritely happy together... and then things get REALLY weird. Matters reveal that Rand has been keeping a truly ENORMOUS (and totally out of left field) secret from Cecily, one that directly affects her family. (For his own good, of course-- he was afraid that if she knew he'd been keeping this particular secret, she wouldn't have agreed to marry him.) Yet again, he has essential made a choice *for* her by depriving her of any knowledge of it, and she is understandably FURIOUS. And then suddenly... she's not. She just loves him too darn much, and maybe it's not *really* his fault exactly, and she'll make him REALLY REALLY SORRY if he does it again (never mind that he's done it twice before and suffered no serious consequences from her), and... all is hunky-dory between the lovers once again. ...UM? Basically, he's just proven all of her earlier concerns about him right, and.... none of that MATTERS? He's allowed to ride roughshod over her (again) but he's very, very sorry (again), and besides, he's really fantastic in bed, so all their problems get magically buried under a load of treacle. Seriously? I felt there should have been consequences, or at the very least, a hell of a lot more grovelling on Rand's part. And to cap it off, we are informed in the epilogue (although we've just had evidence to the contrary) that all Cecily's worries about Rand's autocratic nature were groundless. To which I say: SHOW, DON'T TELL. I can't even truly blame Rand-- it's the author who hasn't bothered to resolve her own plot points. And the insult to injury? After all that heat and friction, the sex scenes at the end fell flat for me, choked by too much purple metaphor and sugary perfection. An otherwise great book ruined by an unsatisfying, sickly-sweet pap ending. If there's another (and there're more Westruthers, so presumably there will be more books), I think I'll be giving it a miss.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Anna001

    I am sorry to say that I was sorely disappointed with this book. It was not half as good as the previous ones, in my opinion. It also felt so much shorter, but apparently it was only 8 pages shorter than the previous. Hmmm... I simply didn't like Cecily very much. I expected to. I rather thought I'd like her the most, as in previous books, she had always been so amusing. But at times I flat-out disliked her! I found her reasons for avoiding her obvious desire for the Duke to be completely ridiculou I am sorry to say that I was sorely disappointed with this book. It was not half as good as the previous ones, in my opinion. It also felt so much shorter, but apparently it was only 8 pages shorter than the previous. Hmmm... I simply didn't like Cecily very much. I expected to. I rather thought I'd like her the most, as in previous books, she had always been so amusing. But at times I flat-out disliked her! I found her reasons for avoiding her obvious desire for the Duke to be completely ridiculous and faintly unrealistic-as well as being terrifyingly unoriginal. The plot, also, seemed very much weaker than previous plots, and family interactions were much less. I don't really know what the point of the whole novel was. I am terribly confused by all this. The last two books were almost perfect. Cecily has been previously very likable. What happened, Ms Brooke? Despite all this, I will definitely be picking up the next installment ASAP, and will pray the series redeems itself.

  7. 5 out of 5

    SheLove2Read

    Another stellar read from Christina Brooke. Rand was simply delicious. The only thing keeping this from 5 stars is the heroine. I liked her but I will never understand a character who thinks they have to be in complete control of their lives at all times - especially a woman in a historical who KNOWS AND ACKNOWLEDGES that society does not share her views. One relatively minor TSTL device towards the end, but still quite an enjoyable read. B++/4.25 stars

  8. 4 out of 5

    Aly is so frigging bored

    It was a nice book, but I wasn't impressed. My brain thinks it's funny. I can't help myself to... lengthen the hero's name: from Rand to Randy. Why, oh why, did the author have to choose this name?? It was a nice book, but I wasn't impressed. My brain thinks it's funny. I can't help myself to... lengthen the hero's name: from Rand to Randy. Why, oh why, did the author have to choose this name??

  9. 4 out of 5

    Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]

    This was an enjoyable book while I was reading it, but I've now finished and am realising that I can recall very little about the characters. We have 20-year-old Lady Cecily Westruther, who's engaged to the staid and boring Duke of Norland. She wrote a letter once when she was a child of ten insulting him, and it's among the possessions of her dead brother, so she needs to get it back and destroy it before it can get out. Unfortunately her brother's belongings are now with his friend Rand, the 2 This was an enjoyable book while I was reading it, but I've now finished and am realising that I can recall very little about the characters. We have 20-year-old Lady Cecily Westruther, who's engaged to the staid and boring Duke of Norland. She wrote a letter once when she was a child of ten insulting him, and it's among the possessions of her dead brother, so she needs to get it back and destroy it before it can get out. Unfortunately her brother's belongings are now with his friend Rand, the 29-year-old Duke of Ashburn. She sneaks into his house, they meet, he's immediately besotted, and spends the rest of the book trying to woo her away from her fiance of convenience. It's a pretty basic formula. Rand isn't a rake, and Cecily isn't a bluestocking; they're both just fairly ordinary people. Despite the touches of depth the author tried to give their characters - Rand's tortured past, Cecily's interest in writing - nothing was really explored, leaving them fairly shallow. I wanted to know more abotu so many things. For instance, Cecily is said to write children's stories; this fact is mentioned twice in the whole book, then abandoned forever. We don't see her interact with publishers, daydream plots, or even bloody write. She also claims to have an interest in things like farming her estates, but this is never actually proved to the reader. Don't expect a ton of historical accuracy. Cecily and Rand go gallivanting around the country without a chaperone, and nobody bats an eyelid. There's also a crazy and improbable subplot right at the end regarding Cecily's dead brother which kind of forced me to drop the book from 3.5 stars to 3. Although I've basically only slated the book for this whole review, I've given it 3 stars ultimately because I loved how besotted Rand was with Cecily. He chases her for the whole book, and it might not be fair (Cecily isn't always the nicest heroine to him) but it's certainly satisfying to witness. It's totally safe; there's not a hint of OW, and though Cecily is affianced, neither of them care a whit for each other and they've agreed to lead independent lives. [Blog] - [Bookstagram]

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shelly Ash

    Cecily is all set to wed Norland, as per her prearranged marriage. He's perfectly amenable and will let her alone to follow her own pursuits. Then she meets Rand and almost immediately he wants to marry her. Cecily wants to live her own life and decides that to do that she must wed Norland. Even though she's attracted to Rand, she won't let him stand in her way, but Rand will stop at nothing to make Cecily his. The push and pull of emotions between Rand and Cecily is adorable and make this book q Cecily is all set to wed Norland, as per her prearranged marriage. He's perfectly amenable and will let her alone to follow her own pursuits. Then she meets Rand and almost immediately he wants to marry her. Cecily wants to live her own life and decides that to do that she must wed Norland. Even though she's attracted to Rand, she won't let him stand in her way, but Rand will stop at nothing to make Cecily his. The push and pull of emotions between Rand and Cecily is adorable and make this book quite an enjoyable historical romance. The antics of the characters keep things fun and the supporting characters add depth and reality to the story. You'll feel like you're really there. Rand and Cecily are both stubborn, devious, and very creative in their attempts to get their own way, which adds a lot of interest and keeps you engrossed from start to finish. This is my first Christina Brooke book, but it won't be my last. I look forward to reading more from her!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dls

    I'm not sure I can finish this book. I'm so annoyed at the plot and how the characters do so much with no reason--just to set up scenes that are cliches. Why did the heroine break into the heros house to look for her brother 's papers when she could have just asked him for them (and when she does he says sure?) why does he insist on handing them over at a masquerade when he could have just paid a proper afternoon call? I don't object to the scenes themselves--it's the complete lack of characte I'm not sure I can finish this book. I'm so annoyed at the plot and how the characters do so much with no reason--just to set up scenes that are cliches. Why did the heroine break into the heros house to look for her brother 's papers when she could have just asked him for them (and when she does he says sure?) why does he insist on handing them over at a masquerade when he could have just paid a proper afternoon call? I don't object to the scenes themselves--it's the complete lack of character motivation or any reason at all.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Christina Brooke is another one of the authors that I read new releases by as soon as possible and then think, "oh, when will she publish another one?" This was quite a good installment in the Ministry of Marriage series. Lady Cecily was an interesting character, and the tension of the attraction between her and Rand was apparent from their first meeting. Ms. Brooke works some mystery and unexpected circumstances into the plot. I am quite looking forward to more in this series. Christina Brooke is another one of the authors that I read new releases by as soon as possible and then think, "oh, when will she publish another one?" This was quite a good installment in the Ministry of Marriage series. Lady Cecily was an interesting character, and the tension of the attraction between her and Rand was apparent from their first meeting. Ms. Brooke works some mystery and unexpected circumstances into the plot. I am quite looking forward to more in this series.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    What a great book I loved this one from start to finish and could barely put it down Cecily and Rand are such an awesome couple and their adventure to a HEA was fantastic I so love MS Brooke's stories always very entertaining loved it What a great book I loved this one from start to finish and could barely put it down Cecily and Rand are such an awesome couple and their adventure to a HEA was fantastic I so love MS Brooke's stories always very entertaining loved it

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    very historically inaccurate - almost unreadable....a waste of my time

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cordelia Linder

    The Highest of the High An exceptional love story and sexy too. It had everything I 💘 in my recency historical romance: a Duke, a strong heroine, ballroom dancing, a steamy hot pursuit and sensuous sizzling sex.. I do not care for murder, mystery or mayhem being the story, just the boy meets girl, wants the girl, relentlessly pursues the girl, gets the girl, loves the girl, makes plenty love and marry 's the girl. You had all I love in this story and It was just what I needed. This is my first ti The Highest of the High An exceptional love story and sexy too. It had everything I 💘 in my recency historical romance: a Duke, a strong heroine, ballroom dancing, a steamy hot pursuit and sensuous sizzling sex.. I do not care for murder, mystery or mayhem being the story, just the boy meets girl, wants the girl, relentlessly pursues the girl, gets the girl, loves the girl, makes plenty love and marry 's the girl. You had all I love in this story and It was just what I needed. This is my first time reading this author, but it will by no means be the last. Thank you for my story.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lynne

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I enjoyed the way Christina Brooke kept Cecily's characteristics of fun and mischief, while showing her to be maturing into a fine young woman with ambitious social justice goals. She even manages to involve her future husband in shenanigans, although they aren't caught, as far as the reader knows. I found the way the older brother was "brought back to life" a little awkward. There was no explanation for where he had been or why he looked pale and thin. I would also have liked to see Freddy's ch I enjoyed the way Christina Brooke kept Cecily's characteristics of fun and mischief, while showing her to be maturing into a fine young woman with ambitious social justice goals. She even manages to involve her future husband in shenanigans, although they aren't caught, as far as the reader knows. I found the way the older brother was "brought back to life" a little awkward. There was no explanation for where he had been or why he looked pale and thin. I would also have liked to see Freddy's character get a chance to demonstrate more growth. The final family moment was a warm, comforting way to end the book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Muhanuzi

    This book was such a let-down from the previous 2 books. I was reading about another Cecily all together! the previous books depicted her as impulsive, straight-forward; a woman who speaks her mind and cant hold back her tongue; a flirt! I loved that Cecily. The one depicted in this book is cold, RIGID, irritating, frustrating, and shallow (very shallow; her temper and tantrums were really uncalled for). How I hated her! Brooke is such a good writer, but I think she lost direction in this one. T This book was such a let-down from the previous 2 books. I was reading about another Cecily all together! the previous books depicted her as impulsive, straight-forward; a woman who speaks her mind and cant hold back her tongue; a flirt! I loved that Cecily. The one depicted in this book is cold, RIGID, irritating, frustrating, and shallow (very shallow; her temper and tantrums were really uncalled for). How I hated her! Brooke is such a good writer, but I think she lost direction in this one. The Rand - Freddy confrontation was left unfinished while the writer put more focus on Jonathon.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shelley Knapp

    Love Her stories... Love Ms Brooke’s writing but...I didn’t like the main heroine ...I tried but she was irritating and I really didn’t like her at all through the entire book. Didn’t like her character in any of the series either...the other characters were wonderful..but...she not so much..

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jennie

    I read the three books in this series and enjoyed them. I would now like to see stories about the four male cousins. Does the Duke of Montford find wives for them? Do they marry for love or not? How is Jonathan doing after being in hiding for ten years?

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ishara Dasruth

    This book, while being quite charming, was not as good as it's predecessors. I gave to say though, that Rand was a rather unusual hero as he fell in love with Cecily st the start of the book. Overall, a solid read with likeable characters. This book, while being quite charming, was not as good as it's predecessors. I gave to say though, that Rand was a rather unusual hero as he fell in love with Cecily st the start of the book. Overall, a solid read with likeable characters.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mary Vilarino

    Lady Cecile Westruther certainly knew her own mind and one could not help but admire her. Rams the Duke of Ashbury also knew his. But what I found annoying was his machinations in order to get his own way over her wishes.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Phoenix77

    The storyline of this book was OK but I had a very difficult time connecting with the characters. Cecily's motivations for continually rejecting Rand were thin, while his dogged pursuit of her bordered on obsession. Both characters were supposedly reluctant to love due to past hurts, but the author chose to give the reader this background in a very offhand or casual manner so I didn't believe the depth of their emotions. The thrust of the story was Cecily trying to retrieve a sensitive letter wr The storyline of this book was OK but I had a very difficult time connecting with the characters. Cecily's motivations for continually rejecting Rand were thin, while his dogged pursuit of her bordered on obsession. Both characters were supposedly reluctant to love due to past hurts, but the author chose to give the reader this background in a very offhand or casual manner so I didn't believe the depth of their emotions. The thrust of the story was Cecily trying to retrieve a sensitive letter written to her brother, but when the contents were revealed I was underwhelmed about its significance. There was also a small mystery involving an academic group that both Rand and Cecily’s brother were members of, however once again the author’s tone never fully built up the suspense of their previous connection, so the twist at the eleventh hour felt forced. Full review posted below: A romance book works for me when I can wrap myself around the characters and fully understand their motivations. I don’t have to necessarily like the characters to understand what they are thinking or feeling during a given moment, but having that rapport with them is a big part of my enjoyment of a story. While I read Christina Brooke’s book A Duchess to Remember, there was always a part of me that felt like I was missing a big piece of each character’s back story that kept me from fully empathizing with their choices throughout. I had the hardest time “getting” the heroine, Lady Cecily Westruther, which isn’t a good thing in terms of story since most of the plot surrounds her betrothal and her urgency to retrieve a letter written in her youth. Right away, Cecily struck me as the most unromantic heroine I’ve come across in a while. As a ward of the Duke of Montford, a leading member of the Ministry of Marriage, Cecily understands that marriages for women of her station are usually arranged, having nothing to do with love or affection of any kind. Growing up Cecily knew exactly who her betrothed was and came to believe that the match was ideal for both parties as his age and relative disinterest in her would allow for more freedom. Unfortunately the author barely gives us an understanding of why Cecily craves an independence from her husband. There wasn’t some terrible story from her childhood that gave her an aversion to love matches. She isn’t portrayed as a Bluestocking wanting that freedom to pursue an outrageous academic or social cause. In fact, her reasons seem somewhat mundane and easily accomplished no matter who she married. Then there was my difficulty in believing why Rand, Duke of Ashburn, would waste his time in pursuit of Cecily after she keeps shutting him down. I can accept that his initial interest was based on lust and possibly curiosity after their unusual introduction, but I’m positive that any man who hears “No” so many times from a woman will get the idea to move on. His single-minded determination to have Cecily as his wife borders on an obsession that seems out of place in a character that is described as intelligent, aloof, and is distant from his closest relations. As with Cecily, when the author chooses to reveal some of Rand’s backstory explaining his feelings about love it all comes across as casual and insignificant. He grew up hating when his familial relations would toady up to him for favors, so he shuts off the parts of himself that would care about anyone. When and where Rand’s feelings for Cecily move past obsession into love isn’t really clear, so his declarations of the emotion were as unexpected to me as they were for Cecily. Smaller sub-plots within the book were never fully realized, causing some major twists toward the end of the story to feel simply tacked on rather than growing organically and creating suspense for the reader. Rand has been keeping a significant secret from Cecily, one that could dramatically affect her life and her relationship with Rand, however the author barely hints at the guilt he should be feeling about this betrayal of trust. What should have been a very interesting mystery about Rand’s connection to Cecily’s family just simmers in the background to the point of disappearing until it’s convenient for the author to pull it out again. Cecily’s motivations in the book are locating and destroying a letter that should have been with the personal effects of her late brother Jonathan. The reader is kept in the dark just as much as Rand about its contents, but the impression given was it was of great importance to her. When Cecily finally reveals the nature of the letter, I was completely underwhelmed and slightly upset with the author for making it seem much more important than it was. I know that Ms. Brooke intends to continue the Ministry of Marriage series with a second trilogy involving the three male cousins, but I have reservations about continuing on with her as only one of the three current books really worked for me. With the next trilogy having the same basic premise of all three men having arranged marriages I’m not sure there is enough leeway for her to not repeat some of the same story mistakes.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Renate Williams

    The boy meets girl, wants the girl no matter what!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bree T

    Lady Cecily Westruther is no real stranger to scandal and unusual behaviour – she is a Westruther after all and they’re rather notorious. She’s been living with her guardian, the Duke of Montford since she was 10 when her beloved brother died. Now her coming out is almost upon her and her introduction to society will coincide with the announcement of her engagement to the Duke of Norland. It’s an arranged marriage, set down by their parents long ago, when Cecily was born. The Duke is older than Lady Cecily Westruther is no real stranger to scandal and unusual behaviour – she is a Westruther after all and they’re rather notorious. She’s been living with her guardian, the Duke of Montford since she was 10 when her beloved brother died. Now her coming out is almost upon her and her introduction to society will coincide with the announcement of her engagement to the Duke of Norland. It’s an arranged marriage, set down by their parents long ago, when Cecily was born. The Duke is older than she is, already having been married and buried a wife, and the father of two grown sons. This suits Cecily just fine – in fact it’s what she prefers, which is why she has agreed to allow the engagement to go ahead. She wants a quiet life where she is free to do whatever she wishes, not be overruled and controlled by a husband. However there is just one thing that Lady Cecily needs to do before she gets married – and that is retrieve a letter she wrote to her brother, the contents of which could derail the engagement and threaten the quiet and happy life she has slowly and painstakingly organised for herself. Standing in Cecily’s way and being as obstinate as he possibly can is the powerful Duke of Ashburn. Rand knew her brother and purchased all of his papers after his death, including the personal ones. Cecily must go through him if she means to get the piece of paper back that she is looking for but being around the Duke of Ashburn could be very dangerous. Rand is accustomed to getting any woman that he wants – and he wants Lady Cecily. Never mind that she is betrothed, that can be easily fixed. He’s not used to having a woman resist him and even though he knows Lady Cecily is attracted to him physically, she’s determinedly stubborn about giving up her older, tedious fiance and becoming his duchess instead. This just makes Rand even more determined to have this spirited woman and he wages an aggressive campaign. But Rand hides a dangerous secret from Lady Cecily which, should she discover it, would destroy her trust in him forever. A Duchess To Remember is the third in the Minstry of Marriage series but it’s the first that I’ve read – it features a different couple each novel although previous couples do play very minor roles, so it’s not necessary to have read the previous two books in order to read this one. Cecily is an orphan, she lost her parents at a young age and then further lost her older brother. She was saved from a life of misery living with her brother’s heir by the Duke of Montford who took her on as a ward and moved her into his house along with the half dozen or so others he had assumed guardianship for. The ‘cousins’ are close, enjoying good relationships with each other and a certain reputation for being a little eccentric. It’s a little surprising to most people when Cecily seems to eager to marry the rather scholarly and boring Duke of Norland. There were things I quite enjoyed about this book and also some things that I found a little weak. Cecily isn’t exactly what I’d term as a really enjoyable heroine. I found her a bit irritating to be honest and her obsession with finding some piece of paper from when she was 10 lest it destroy her life and other people’s lives, was a bit odd. I was expecting it to be something dramatic, but in the end it wasn’t really – it was something that might’ve briefly hurt someone’s feelings and made a few people laugh but ultimately it’s something she did when she was still a child and was resigned to probably having to marry some Duke years older than her who was a crashing bore. She was so singleminded in her attempts to find the paper and also to continue with the marriage to Norland even though they didn’t plan to even live in the same house after it that I found it baffling. I understand her need for freedom and not wanting to be bullied by a husband but there are alternatives to marrying a guy you’re not interested in who you will never see. What I did like was Rand, Duke of Ashburn. Quite often the heroes of these romances are rakes, reluctant to marry until the very end where they’re suddenly humbled by the heroine. But Rand makes it quite clear that he intends to make Cecily his Duchess and that he’s not going to rest until that happens, so I found that refreshing. He also doesn’t have much going on in the way of denial – he knows he feels a certain way about her and he’s okay with that. He actually believes in marrying for love, not just duty and honour and he’s actually kind of horrified that Cecily plans to marry Norland when he knows they could marry and have a fabulous life together. He does keep a pretty big secret from her and I actually really liked the way in which that played out and was resolved. Cecily acted in a more believable way and also a forgiving and adult way. All in all this book was a quick and fun read and I would go back and read the two preceding it if I were able to find them – both couples do appear briefly in this novel and their stories seem like they might be fun.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Vilia

    Review from Backchatting Books Lady Cecily Westruther is happy to go along with the Ministry of Marriage’s plans and marry a duke. She craves independence and as the gentleman in question already has an heir and a mistress, she won’t have to spend any time with him. Now this is where things get a little silly but also a bit more entertaining. She wrote a damning letter about her fiancé when she ten and suddenly feels the need to retrieve it before her potential marriage can be destroyed. She dres Review from Backchatting Books Lady Cecily Westruther is happy to go along with the Ministry of Marriage’s plans and marry a duke. She craves independence and as the gentleman in question already has an heir and a mistress, she won’t have to spend any time with him. Now this is where things get a little silly but also a bit more entertaining. She wrote a damning letter about her fiancé when she ten and suddenly feels the need to retrieve it before her potential marriage can be destroyed. She dresses up as a footman and breaks into the house where she thinks the letter may be kept, only to encounter the owner Rand, Duke of Ashburn. Sparks fly between the two but Cecily refuses to break her engagement. Cecily is independent and can be quite charming when she wishes. Unfortunately she is also manipulative, conniving and a cheater. She doesn’t want to marry Norland because of his dashing good looks or his engaging personality (neither of which he has) but because she thinks she will be able to manage him fairly easily. She clings to this idea despite being presented with a much more attractive proposal. I still have no idea why she was so desperate to be independent from her husband and how she thought that would differ from her present life. She used Rand in many ways as she was willing to accept his kisses and more, only to soundly reject him once he got his hopes up. Rand is like the diet coke of rogues as he looks the part but the experience doesn’t quite match the expectation. Cecily’s feigned disinterest in him is what initially captures his attention. A few well-placed words in the right ear and a smooth seduction ought to win him the girl but when it doesn’t, he resorts to some heavy handed bullying tactics. Rogue, right? Well, not really as he caves fairly quickly. At least he is upfront about his feelings and the scene where he shared the story behind his parents’ china was really touching.The plot travels a well-worn path and this wouldn’t have been a problem if I could have related to the characters more. We have a couple of sub-plots that sort of fizzle out – the first because it was really easy to spot and the second because it wasn’t capitalised on fully. I’ve read four of Brooke’s novels now and while some of them are enjoyable, quite a few just missed the mark for me. This was one of the latter. I liked the idea behind it and some of the dialogue is fantastic. I just wish the plot had a bit more meat behind it and the character motivation had been slightly more plausible.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Find More reviews on Raiding Bookshelves Publication Date: June 26th, 2012 Publisher: June 26th, 2012 ARC provided by NetGalley ISBN: 0312534140 Age Group: Adult, Genre: Romance/Regency Lootability: *** The Ministry of Marriage is an organisation started by the Duke of Montford, caretaker of 6 of his young family members,that organises the marriages, and at times prevents them, of the English aristocracy. What I Liked: The women in the Ministry of Marriage books are dynamic and enterprising, they have s Find More reviews on Raiding Bookshelves Publication Date: June 26th, 2012 Publisher: June 26th, 2012 ARC provided by NetGalley ISBN: 0312534140 Age Group: Adult, Genre: Romance/Regency Lootability: *** The Ministry of Marriage is an organisation started by the Duke of Montford, caretaker of 6 of his young family members,that organises the marriages, and at times prevents them, of the English aristocracy. What I Liked: The women in the Ministry of Marriage books are dynamic and enterprising, they have strong (and passionate) opinions, and are intensely sensual women. Jane has a maturity that Rosamund and Cecily lack, Rosamund has an astounding capacity for love and Cecily has an undeniable and quirky personality. Their personalities were defined in Heiress in Love, though each woman was fully characterised in their own story. The men of the Ministry of Marriage books are less appealing, Constantin (Heiress) and Rand (Duchess) are rakish rogues, arrogant, passionate and determined to have their own way. It was Griffin (Earl) that was best defined as a romantic interest, although his Beauty and the Beast sufferings were hardly unique. Of course, they were devilishly....handsome and they have propensity to ravish their chosen women until they have succumbed to their male charms. The story focused more on the relationships between man and woman than the events taking place around them. What I Didn't Like: I do enjoy a story with a strong focus on relationships but I generally desire something with a little more exciting. I wouldn't want something as daringly adventurous as Elizabeth Hoyt's books, but I would like more friction between characters, and more problems to keep them apart - particularly in Duchess. The ending was somewhat disappointing, with a resolution that comes far too easily, and quite confusingly. Everything happens quite suddenly, without much fuss and is very easily resolved. Earl has an unsolved murder, which could eventually, become an impediment to the romance of Griffin and Rosamund, but is more of a side story than a true part of the novel. I enjoyed the Ministry of Marriage novels but I would like a little more out of these books. The story needs a little more adventure, but the romance is devilishly endearing.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I'm so happy Lady Cecily Westruther finally has a book of her own! I was immediately drawn to her character in HEIRESS IN LOVE, the first book of Ms. Brooke's Ministry of Marriage series. Cecily is a spirited twenty-year-old heiress. After the loss of her parents and a much beloved brother, she is taken into care by the Montford, head of the Ministry of Marriage. The ministry arranges her betrothal to the bland and professorial Duke of Norland. As with most ton marriages, hers is not a love match I'm so happy Lady Cecily Westruther finally has a book of her own! I was immediately drawn to her character in HEIRESS IN LOVE, the first book of Ms. Brooke's Ministry of Marriage series. Cecily is a spirited twenty-year-old heiress. After the loss of her parents and a much beloved brother, she is taken into care by the Montford, head of the Ministry of Marriage. The ministry arranges her betrothal to the bland and professorial Duke of Norland. As with most ton marriages, hers is not a love match, rather a necessary practicality and Cecily dutifully accepts her fate. When Cecily embarks on a mission to find a letter that could possibly derail her upcoming nuptials and create a scandal, she encounters Rand, Duke of Ashburn. Cecily knows nothing about Rand except that the man has a reputation among the ton a grand seducer. Upon learning that Rand owns a collection of her late brother's documents, Cecily reluctantly accepts his assistance in locating the letter. Rand, the über-alpha male, meets his match in the independent and free-thinking Cecily. Charmed by her outspoken manner and spirit, Rand is instantly smitten. Despite her betrothal to another, Rand's enigmatic persona and his attempts at seduction leave Cecily floundering in a rush of new emotions. As their association deepens, Rand grows more desperate to win Cecily even though she is determined to marry Norland. The clever verbal sparring between Rand and Cecily was an absolute delight as were appearances of the wonderful cast of characters from previous books in the series. Characters faced with a choice, between honor and duty or love and true happiness, is a recurring theme in romance. A DUCHESS TO REMEMBER is no different, but Ms. Brooke's masterful style, her knowledge of the period, and her deft translation of the characters' range of emotions definitely raises the benchmark of excellence for historical romance. As with all of Ms. Brooke's books, A DUCHESS TO REMEMBER has a permanent place on my keeper shelf.

  28. 5 out of 5

    The Window Seat

    A romance book works for me when I can wrap myself around the characters and fully understand their motivations. I don’t have to necessarily like the characters to understand what they are thinking or feeling during a given moment, but having that rapport with them is a big part of my enjoyment of a story. While I read Christina Brooke’s book A Duchess to Remember, there was always a part of me that felt like I was missing a big piece of each character’s back story that kept me from fully empath A romance book works for me when I can wrap myself around the characters and fully understand their motivations. I don’t have to necessarily like the characters to understand what they are thinking or feeling during a given moment, but having that rapport with them is a big part of my enjoyment of a story. While I read Christina Brooke’s book A Duchess to Remember, there was always a part of me that felt like I was missing a big piece of each character’s back story that kept me from fully empathizing with their choices throughout. I had the hardest time “getting” the heroine, Lady Cecily Westruther, which isn’t a good thing in terms of story since most of the plot surrounds her betrothal and her urgency to retrieve a letter written in her youth. Right away, Cecily struck me as the most unromantic heroine I’ve come across in a while. As a ward of the Duke of Montford, a leading member of the Ministry of Marriage, Cecily understands that marriages for women of her station are usually arranged, having nothing to do with love or affection of any kind. Growing up Cecily knew exactly who her betrothed was and came to believe that the match was ideal for both parties as his age and relative disinterest in her would allow for more freedom. Unfortunately the author barely gives us an understanding of why Cecily craves an independence from her husband. There wasn’t some terrible story from her childhood that gave her an aversion to love matches. She isn’t portrayed as a Bluestocking wanting that freedom to pursue an outrageous academic or social cause. In fact, her reasons seem somewhat mundane and easily accomplished no matter who she married. For the full review, please go to http://thewindowseat13.blogspot.com/2...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    A Duchess To Remember is the third in Christina Brooke's Ministry of Marriage trilogy. Lady Cecily Westruther has been promised in marriage to an older man since she was a child. As a ward of the Duke of Montford since the death of her parents, Cecily is set to make her 'come out' and have her betrothal to the Duke of Norland announced. But first she must retreive some letters she wrote to her now deceased brother years ago. Letters, that if they are made public, would destroy her chances at ha A Duchess To Remember is the third in Christina Brooke's Ministry of Marriage trilogy. Lady Cecily Westruther has been promised in marriage to an older man since she was a child. As a ward of the Duke of Montford since the death of her parents, Cecily is set to make her 'come out' and have her betrothal to the Duke of Norland announced. But first she must retreive some letters she wrote to her now deceased brother years ago. Letters, that if they are made public, would destroy her chances at happiness and marriage. In other words, Cecily would be ruined. When her devious cousin, Lavinia tells her she sold all of Jon's papers to the Duke of Ashburn, Cecily decides to disguise herself as a footman and find those letters. Unfortunately, Asburn is onto her ruse and confronts her. Ashburn finds himself attracted to the feisty Cecily and tells her he has removed all the trunks with Jon's papers to his country manor and he will have his people send them to her. And to seal his bargain, he kisses Cecily. And he becomes determined that he will marry her. He attends her come out ball and is going to propose to her when Montford announces her engagement to Norland. She dances with Rand and tells him she still wants those letters. He tells her he will have an informal house party to allow her access to those trunks. Rand decides he can not allow Cecily to marry Norland, who is a bore and pays her no attention, so he sets out to win her over. While those letters could cause her ruin, Rand has a secret that prove to be even more shocking and destructive than the letters. I relly like this trilogy. Each of the heroines is strong and knows exactly who she wants to marry despite th best efforts of their guardian to point them toward other gentleman.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marcia

    Lady Cecily Westruther wants to protect her heart after losing her brother and focus on her projects. Cecily has little need for love or so she thinks. Rand, Duke of Ashburn wants Cecily and he gets everything he wants. Cecily does not want what Rand is offering. She just wants information on her brother and the papers he had taken upon his passing. Rand uses Cecily desire for her brother’s items to get to know her better and draw her in. Cecily holds steadfast to her dull betrothed in hopes of Lady Cecily Westruther wants to protect her heart after losing her brother and focus on her projects. Cecily has little need for love or so she thinks. Rand, Duke of Ashburn wants Cecily and he gets everything he wants. Cecily does not want what Rand is offering. She just wants information on her brother and the papers he had taken upon his passing. Rand uses Cecily desire for her brother’s items to get to know her better and draw her in. Cecily holds steadfast to her dull betrothed in hopes of having the life she thinks she wants and keeping Rand away. Bookswagger Marcia: Four Crowns, good read, on the way to swagger. A Duchess to Remember was a sweet read. I loved seeing Rand go after Cecily and knowing he wanted to marry her early in the story. Cecily however was not having it and the drawn out give and take with only a few stolen kisses may not be the thing for some people but for me it balanced out Rand eagerness. I am new to the series and will go back to read the other two stories… I can’t believe I missed out. If you enjoy sweet historicals with a twist then I would give Cecily and Rand a try. http://bookswagger.com/2012/07/05/a-d...

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