The Runaway Duchess

Penguin Random House Audio. (Duke Undone, Bk. 2). Jan. 2022. 11:10 hrs. ISBN 9780593456668. $22.50. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
In this second volume of Lowell’s “Duke Undone” Victorian romance series, self-proclaimed “expert snob” Lavinia Yardley is accustomed to getting what she wants. When misfortune forces her to marry an abominable, aged duke, what she wants is to be anywhere or anyone else. That opportunity presents itself when a charming botanist, Neal Traymayne, mistakes her for a colleague, whom he knows only through correspondence, and invites her to accompany him to Cornwall. Lavinia seizes her chance for escape and adventure. While many romance writers focus on creating an immersive setting, Lowell’s focus is on character development, yielding an authentic and engaging lineup. It is no surprise that narrator Mary Jane Wells has a score of acting credits to her name, as she expertly breathes life into each character. Her silvery voice ranges from singsong to smoky as needed.
VERDICT This audio will appeal to listeners who enjoy the classic trope of love in disguise, with an intelligent and intriguing twist; recommended for fans of Elizabeth Everett, Minerva Spencer, and Evie Dunmore.
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