ARC Review: When You Wish Upon a Duke by Isabella Bradford
Author: Isabella Bradford
Title: When You Wish Upon a Duke
Release: July 31st 2012
Series: Wylder Sisters 1
Source: Ballantine Books
Purchase: | Book Depository
In a sparkling new series filled with irresistible charm and sizzling romance, award-winning author Isabella Bradford introduces us to the eldest of three Wylder sisters—unruly country girls whose passion for life leaves their London suitors breathless.
Raised in the Dorset countryside, Lady Charlotte Wylder doesn’t care one bit about well-bred decorum. The dark-haired, blue-eyed beauty would rather ride a horse than attend a stuffy ball. So when Charlotte learns that she is to leave immediately for London to wed the Duke of Marchbourne, a perfect model of aristocratic propriety, she is less than enchanted with her arranged marriage.
But to her delight, their first encounters are brazenly flirtatious, and their wedding night burns with passion. March’s broad shoulders and dark countenance make Charlotte want to rip every button off his waistcoast. She may even be falling in love with her new husband. Yet whenever their desire boils over, March reluctantly pushes Charlotte away. Will past secrets and present misunderstandings mire their marriage in scandal, or serve to strengthen a bond that is destined to last a lifetime?
When You Wish Upon a Duke is my very first “arranged marriage” historical romance. This isn’t the ‘lust-at-first-sight’ kind of love story, but instead the ‘one-that-grows-over-time’ which is exactly why I requested it. I’ve seen a many a reviewers rave about how much they love this plot device and I wanted to see it for myself.
Charlotte Wylder is the eldest daughter of an earl and even though she is a Lady, she has all the graces and propriety of a country miss. Surprised in the middle of the night to learn that she’s been betrothed since childhood to a dashing Duke, Charlotte sets out to become the perfect duchess with the help of her aunt Sophronia. However, and this is what I like most about her, her high spiritedness and simple disregard for societies rules has her new husband at his wits end.
James Augustus FitzCharles, the third Duke of Marchbourne, spends a great deal of time caring about what others think of him. While yes, a duke by birthright, he still feels he needs the comfort of control and an inordinate amount of respectability to escape his family’s beginnings. This presents a problem since his duchess couldn’t care less about what others might think, especially about what happens between the two of them in private.
The idea behind When You Wish Upon a Duke was actually very good – just how passionate and loving should a duke and duchess be in their own home – but there really wasn’t enough conflict to propel the story along. It all boiled down to the same misunderstanding which didn’t give much for Charlotte and March to react to. They both came off as two-dimensional and weren’t strong enough to carry this story by themselves. A few small role villains came and went, but in the end, I found them too, to be quite silly.
I wish the story would have been left at ‘how ‘respectable’ should a duchess be?’ There was at one time the perfect stopping point for this to happen, but I was completely surprised to see it continue beyond for several more chapters. In the end, When You Wish Upon a Duke was not what I was hoping for, but I find myself still up to giving Ms. Bradford another try when When the Duchess Said Yes releases in September.