I absolutely adored this romance between Eleanor Kent, the enterprising Privateer, and the Duke of Danby. I especially enjoyed how Eleanor was such a powerful force, so independent and unflinching in the face of having to stand alone in the world of men. Likewise, I found it beyond pleasing that Danby was charming and regal, while remaining unafraid to show affection toward the infirm and children, nor was he ashamed to write poetry or appreciate aesthetic beauty in decor.
The main love interests, Eleanor and Danby, begin with a chance encounter during an event hosted by the Prince Regent. It’s quickly revealed that Eleanor is actually at Prinny’s event because she has been his personal mastermind behind the design and the illegal sourcing of many pieces adorning the rooms. Meanwhile, it is also disclosed that the Duke of Danby is a part of a special task force to sniff out smugglers, in cooperation with the Prime Minister.
Despite the danger of spending too much time with one of the men hunting Privateer’s, such as herself, Eleanor quickly goes from passing acquaintance to becoming engaged as a consultant in a chinoiserie redecorating project – of the Duke’s master bedroom. That one meeting starts a cascade of events that draw the couple closer, until they can no longer deny what is between them.
The writing quality is excellent – a mix between fast-paced scenes, engaging dialogue, and occasionally riding the edge of flowery but without crossing over too far. For the audiobook version, the narration by Philip Battley was quite good. I was not especially enamored with the voices he used for the main two characters, but his consistency of form overrode any complaint about the particular pitch and timbre. He was an exceptionally competent reader, bringing variation of sound to life (from the intimacy of whispers and murmurs, to a baby cry or even a dog barking), and I would absolutely listen to more works by him.
This story takes its time. If you like to experience the slow build of a relationship from attraction to a raw forest fire of desire, you will find yourself satisfied with this story. After this, I intend to go back and read the first two books in this series.
You can find the purchase links here on Goodreads:
The Duke’s Privateer