Congrats to Sharon Cullen for the great starred review she got in Publishers Weekly for her upcoming release, The Reluctant Duchess!
The Reluctant Duchess
Cullen’s riveting Victorian romance reveals a surprisingly forthright and intellectual heroine hiding behind a wallflower reputation. Lady Sara Emerson was accustomed to being overlooked while Meredith, her cousin, basked in the limelight of being betrothed to Gabriel “Ross” Ferguson, the Duke of Rossmoyne. Then Meredith was murdered, and the culprit was never found. Sara spent the following two years in the country, taking care of her uncle, while Ross gladly fled to India on an all-too-brief diplomatic assignment. When Sara starts receiving threatening notes, she travels to London to see whether Ross can help find out who’s sending them. Ross tries to take over the investigation, but Sara insists on being involved; unused to people who push back against his instructions, he reluctantly agrees. Soon he realizes that he enjoys their spirited conversations and no longer thinks of Sara as “plain.” After he demands that she stay with him and his mother so that he can protect her, their late-night talks quickly become romantic interludes. But Sara believes that she could never fulfill the role of a duchess: she detests the frivolity of London society and is long past her debutante days. The true depth of the characters is revealed through dialogue that eschews Austen-style witticisms for thoughtful discussion and quiet but determined clashes of will. Intense romance and intriguing mystery make this a tale to be savored. Agent: Jessica Alvarez, Bookends. (Nov.)