Cover Image: Duchess by Deception

Duchess by Deception

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Derek Egan knows the clock is ticking on his deadline, but none of the debutantes catch his interest in the slightest. Returning to his Essex home for a reprieve, he catches someone digging on his property. What he finds is a woman frantic with fever and desperation. Hiding his identity, he nurses her back to health while hiding his true identity.

Catherine McCabe is running from the aristocracy after a betrothal she cannot abide. She isn’t happy to find herself caught on the land of another aristocrat, but when she meets who she thinks is the property manager she decides spending a little more time in residence might help her find what she is looking for.

As their time together continues, Derek and Catherine begin a whirlwind romance. But despite the feelings growing between them, Derek continues to hide his identity: a secret that could backfire at any time.

This was a fun, light read with fun details and moments throughout. Catherine was a spitfire, with a backbone lacking many of her fellow ladies. She has definite feelings about titles and the privilege that comes with them, and is determined to keep away from anyone with a title.

Derek eschews many of the weights that typically come with the title he carries. But as the deadline for his marriage approaches he must consider whether it is worth bending his own ideals to keep the title or if he should let it go to his uncle as will happen if he isn’t married. He has his own brand of rebellion towards the institutions he is supposed to uphold, but he is a fair landlord whose people adore him.

I enjoyed every moment in this story. While aspects were on the predictable side, I enjoyed the change of pace that came with the story. I also enjoyed the addition of another young couple finding a surprising match within the pages and look forward to more from this series.
 
I received this book for free from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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A delightful debut for this author's foray into historical romance! A case of mistaken, albeit, intentionally, identity when Catherine and Derek, the Duke of Westwood meet.  She is on his land digging for a treasure dressed as a boy and he rescues her when she faints.  Of course she thinks he is just the estate manager!  The story takes off and so does the romance as there is an instant attraction.  Love at first sight? 
Both have their issues but they manage to maintain their lies for a bit but eventually it all comes out.  What I did not mention is that Cat despises the aristocracy because her father is trying to marry her off to a loutish Baron! She wants that treasure so she can be independent.  
There is a lot going on with this story and many secondary characters that come into play.  Really enjoyed the intrigue and the romance and you will have to read to see how it comes out!
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I've loved Marie Force books for years and this one is no exception! As her first book in a historical setting, she created a great world and lovable characters. Cat and Derek are a great couple and I can't wait to read more in this series.
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I jumped at the chance to read an ARC by Marie Force (thank you to Netgalley). I've seen the author's name a lot on line, but had not read her before. I didn't know till I had finished it that it was her first historical romance. What a treat! 
Her characters are wonderful...Catherine is full of spunk and determination and Derek is strong but willing to bend in order to win Catherine's trust and love. I really thought that it would just be another marriage of convenience in order for Derek to keep his title, but this took a different turn. It took a turn I really enjoyed. It was reversed into a marriage of convenience for Catherine, but with immediate attraction thrown in. 
The entire story flowed gently and kept me interested and turning the pages. Ms. Force did a fantastic job in transitioning to historical. I'm looking forward to more!
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I'm a huge fan of Marie Force and was pleasantly surprised by her first venture into historical romance. A romance based on lies, this story will draw you in and have you falling for the characters tales of woe. You can't help but treasure every moment!
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London  -  1902

Derek Eagan, the seventh Duke of Westwood, age 29, is attending yet another ball for the second year in a row as he pursues the number of debutantes making their debuts.  The soirees, fancy gowns, and eager mothers have become just too much for him.  In all this time, he has yet to find a woman who interests him.  But time is running out because an ancestor of his once decreed that he must wed by age 30 or lose his title to his wretched Uncle Anthony.  That gives him only a few more days to accomplish this feat.  Derek’s parents died in a carriage accident when he was just a small child.  Thus, he has had the responsibility of his title for many years.

Derek decides to take a break from town and head to his home, Westwood Hall, for a few days.  Upon arrival on his land he sees what looks like a young man digging.  The person turns out to be a beautiful young woman who is burning up with fever.  Taking her home, he nurses her himself.  In her delirium, she says she is does not trust the aristocracy, so he tells her he is Jack Bancroft, the Estate Manager, and that the Duke is currently away in America.  She says her name is Catherine.

Derek soon learns that Catherine's parents were planning to wed her to a viscount that he knows to be a rogue.  The man had already tried to rape her.  Therefore, she ran away. Finding himself falling in love with her and she with him, they decide to head for Gretna Green to be married.  However, they are still being followed.  Who is after them and why?

In many ways, this was a good story with a good plot.  I really liked Derek but Catherine is a total pain.  She is very immature and self-centered.  How can two people meet, immediately fall in love, and jump in bed together?  This premise happens often in romance novels but this just felt so rushed.  However, I feel it merited 4 stars because of the plot itself.

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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This was a lighthearted entertaining read. The story moved along at a good pace. I liked the character of Derek, I was unsure of Catherine, at times. She seemed unable to forgive Derek, even though he had helped her from suffering a dreadful marriage. There is also the secondary romance involving Simon and Madeline, a villain to spice things up and a happy ending. I received a copy and have voluntarily reviewed it. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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2.5 Stars
Derek Eagan, the dashing Duke of Westwood, is well aware of his looming deadline. But weary of tiresome debutantes, he seeks a respite at his country home in Essex and encounters a man digging on his property. Except he’s not a man. He’s a very lovely woman. Who suddenly faints at his feet.
Catherine McCabe’s disdain for the aristocracy has already led her to flee an arranged marriage with a boorish Viscount. The last thing she wants is to be waylaid in a Duke’s home. Yet, she is compelled to stay by the handsome, thoughtful man who introduces himself as the Duke’s estate manager.
I enjoyed the story apart from the fact that A Duke couldn’t lose his dukedom if he didn’t marry by a certain age, it isn’t possible to put a clause in a will to this effect. So this premise spoilt the book totally for me & I came very near to not finishing. However as I had requested & received a copy from NetGalley I felt obliged to finish. The characters were well developed & likeable. The story flowed well
But my enjoyment was tainted
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Marie Force is a go to author for me, so when I found out she was trying a new genre, I was excited to see the spin she would put on it. 
Her debut foray into a historical romance is fun and fresh. I wouldn’t call this a full fledged historical romance, but a nice hybrid between historical and classic Ms Force. 
Catherine and Derek are entertaining characters and I very much enjoyed their instant connection and evolving love story. The secondary story line for Simon and Madeline was a nice bonus and I appreciated the way a support network was created for our fledgling couples. 
Add in elements of intrigue, illness, and forgiveness and you have a well rounded, unique read.
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The Duke of Westwood has a looming deadline hanging above his head. He has to marry before he turned 30 or the title, and everything it entails will go to his greedy title. Finding a bride isn't a a problem. But finding a bride that will suite him, make him think, and a love match wouldn't hurt either. He was tired of being inside the London's ballroom, so he decided to go home. Little did he know, that he was about to meet the person that will turn his world around.

Catherine McCabe hated aristocracy. They were happy before his father's brother died and pass the title to his father. Now, he couldn't even recognize her parents. Not to mention, she was forced to marry an unbelievable viscount whom she hated. She didn't want to be around aristocracy and accepting help from a duke. But when a handsome, thoughtful and helpful young estate manager offers his help - she agreed.

Now, Derek was in trouble. He had dug a whole all by himself by telling lies. He tells himself he would tell her soon, but things happen he would let the opportunity slide. The more he spends time with her, the more he wants her, and he wonders what is she up to. How would he ever tell her the truth now? 

I am in between loving and hating Derek. I love him because he can be thoughtful, generous and amazing not only to Cat but the people around him. But I hate the fact that he lied to Cat. He has all the time in the world to tell her the truth, but he didn't. Until his lies surfaced, and he has to face Catherine's wrath. I like Cat, she's brave and she has her own mind. She might have been deceived at first, but I was glad she gave Derek a hard time rather than forgiving him instantly. I was glad that he has to earn his forgiveness from her. And Derek did work hard, and grovel harder. 

I like his friendship with Simon. Despite the fact that Simon's father wanted Derek's title. Simon was loyal and he so deserves his happy ending as well.

I devoured the story in one sitting. There might be loads of hurdles and trials along the way, and not just the lie (s), but everything in between. I like how everything finally came into place and our characters have their happy ending. This story is about love, relationship and trust. How trust can sometimes easily be given but difficult to get back once it is broken, and how love can conquer anything.
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I think this was a great start to the beginning of a historical series.  Marie did a great job for her first historical.  I think some of the good points is that the book starts out with our Hero's pov.  I'm glad for the variety.  The beginning sucked me in especially with the 1st few chapters.  The way how the story progressed was a bit unexpected.  You also get 2 love stories in 1 after the 50% mark.  This story has mystery, mistaken identity, secrets, and of course romance.
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4 stars

I honestly struggled a little with this book at the onset because it felt like Ms. Force was trying too hard in her historical debut. I have been enjoying her contemporary Fatal series, so I was excited to give this one a try. 

Derek (Duke of Westwood) is in a predicament: he must marry by his 30th birthday or abdicate the duchy --- this was decreed by one of his ancestors, and while all of the previous dukes have met this "deadline," Derek has grown weary of the vapid "offerings" each season seems to bring by way of eligible women. The alternative to marriage would be to forfeit the dukedom which would mean his overly ambitious uncle would inherit the position and likely lay waste to Derek's progressive investment gains, not to mention his hard won battles in the parliament. The pressure is too much for Derek only a week from this deadline, so he decides to remove himself from the London scene and retire to the country to think over his options for a few days.

Catherine is out of options... On the run for a couple of weeks from a lecher her father (new to an Earldom) betrothed her to, she is desperately seeking an escape. Her grandmother left her a clue to where she could find the means to support herself. In the process of attempting to procure this means of escape, she sees a man on a horse bearing down on her. The last thing she remembers before succumbing to a fever and lack of proper hydration and nutrition is swooning in the arms of the man who accuses her of trespassing on a ducal estate.

Derek cannot believe it when he finds young man digging on his estate, and when he confronts this hooligan, the boy has the nerve to stand up to him before fainting. Upon further inspection, he realizes the boy is really a woman, and he is intrigued. He takes her to his home, and he tends to her himself, swearing his staff to secrecy as to his true identity as the woman indicates to him that she despises all things aristocracy after witnessing her father's change of disposition after assuming the title of earl. Derek assumes the identity of his estate manager in order to protect her from her heinous fiance and to ensure she will stay at the estate so that he can keep her safe.

What I liked:
--- Very likeable main characters
--- We got a 2-4-1 love match story
--- Oh the steamy goodness (level: erotica)
--- The story definitely grew on me as it moved along --- if I were to rate the first part it would be a 3; the author made it more worth my while as the story progressed; the ending would have gotten a 4.5, so I went with the 4 rating overall

What I didn't like as much:
--- There were times where Ms. Force definitely tried too hard in this debut --- mentions of the Wright brothers and a famous archeological explorer were a little too much in terms of proving the duke's commitment to progressive investments; as a devourer of historical romances, I have found that the subtle approach is better
--- Not only was there one insta-love match in this book, there were 2... though I enjoyed both of their stories, it is hard to justify the one rakish reformer, much less the two especially when it comes men of the station being described

Overall, I am excited that Ms. Force has ventured into HR land as it is my favorite romance sub-genre, and I am looking forward to her future historicals!

Plot --- 4/5
Main Characters --- 4/5
Supporting Cast --- 4/5
Steam Level --- 4.5/5
Violence --- not much 
Language --- none of note
POV --- 3rd
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Derek Egan, Duke of Westwood, is about to turn thirty, and there is the unfortunate stipulation that he must marry before his next birthday. If he does not marry, he forfeits his title as well as his inheritance. Meanwhile, Derek discovers a woman on his property in Essex. She is feverish and he takes her in with hopes of saving her life. She is mostly unconscious that first night , and then Derek makes the choice to not tell her of his title. He instructs his staff to do the same.

Catherine has a single purpose which explains why she was on the property of the Duke of Westwood. However, she is totally unaware that the man who announces himself as Jack Bancroft, estate manager, is actually the Duke. Catherine reveals to “Jack” that she is on the run due to a violent man her father plans on marrying her off to. 

From the moment their eyes met Catherine and Derek were smitten with one another. Will the man pursing her locate Catherine? What’s more, how long will Derek keep his true identity and need to marry a secret from her? No doubt these revelations will bring angst to her and may just color her newfound feelings towards him. 

Duchess by Deception is a love match of two people that found one another at the perfect time in their lives. Danger ratchets up when the man pursuing Catherine gets too close and Derek shows his protective nature. They marry without her knowing he is the Duke. Their story is sexy, warm and tender. There was an enjoyable side story with his cousin Simon and her sister Madeleine.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that this is Marie Force's first historical romance, and that is being published now! I think something that was written years ago that brings in such a romance as well as the turn of the century technology that was being developed will go far in the hands of other readers. As always, I am definitely a fan of this prolific author's work.

Many thanks to Marie Force, Zebra and to NetGalley for this ARC to review. This is my honest opinion.
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This was my first Marie Force book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Derek and Cat’s insta-love was believable which is not always easy to do. Even though the start of their relationship was riddled with deception, the chemistry and connection remained strong. I also loved the secondary characters and what their romance brought to the entire story. I highly recommend this debut historical romance!! I can’t wait for more in this series.
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I really enjoyed Marie Force’s historical romance, Duchess by Deception! (That is saying a lot. I usually am NOT a fan of historical romance.) But I really enjoy this author, so I thought I’d give it a chance. Boy, am I glad that I did! Marie’s humor and romance really shone. I am kind of jealous of Cat, too. Not only does she have a hot, intelligent, giving husband, but she also gets a huge library and the budget to buy many more books. Dream come true!  Overall, I really enjoyed the cast of characters, the romance, and the intrigue. Great book Marie!


(Will post to Amazon and Goodreads once the book is released.)
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3.5 stars

Derek Eagan, The Duke of Westwood, in on a deadline to marry by his thirtieth birthday or else he will have to relinquish his title to his Uncle. Unfortunately he cannot seem to find any woman in society that he can stand. But upon returning home with very little time to spare, he finds someone digging on his property. A young woman who is obviously ill, in need of assistance, and has her own agenda.

Catherine McCabe is looking for something she desperately needs before moving on. She wants nothing to do with anyone in the aristocracy. But she is alone and finds herself in need of help. In order to earn her trust, The Duke lies about who he is. And this sets off a chain of events.

As the two get comfortable together and quickly fall for each other, the lies hang over his head. He is charming, protective, generous, and forward thinking, but he knows he is digging himself in deep. She is practical, smart, resourceful, and caring. He might have found the answer to his problem, but his title and other situations in her life could cause more complications for her. And it could all fall apart just as fast as it came together.

It becomes a story of saving sisters, exposing secrets and lies, fighting antagonists, and getting over fears. It was easy to read for a historical and did not get bogged down in language, descriptions, or a ton of drama. It was definitely insta-love and the relationships moved at lightning speed(yeah there is more than one love story). I thought the conflicts resolved fairly easily, but I will admit I cringed every time he failed to tell her the truth. This also introduces his cousin Simon, and his friends, Aubrey and Justin, as well as her sisters, Madeleine and Hillary. There will be more with these characters in the next installment, Deceived By Desire. 

***NOTE: Blog and social media links will be updated once posted for blog tour/release
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Duchess by Deception is the first book in Marie Force's new Gilded series. This is a historical romance which is a new genre for Marie Force. I have enjoyed reading her contemporary romance stories so decided to read this book. I loved the characters. The storyline moved along smoothly. I enjoyed reading this book.
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Force makes a strong case for herself as a well rounded author. Duchess by Deception takes the best parts of contemporary romance and travels back in time to create a captivating tale of love lost, secrets found and new beginnings revealed. Derek and Catherine meet by chance in a time where women are nothing more than window dressing. Knowing she's destined for more, Catherine sets out to pave her own way in the world. Derek is the dream she never hoped to find. An interesting first meeting paves the way for a romance unlike any other. Can there love affair survive the secrets that they keep? Force brings a fresh voice to a timeless genre.
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Somehow over the years I steered away from historical romances. Marie Force new series, Gilded, has brought me back. Set during the early 1900’s, Derek Egan, the handsome and very eligible Duke of Westwood, must marry by his thirtieth birthday, only days away. With no debutantes that catch his eye, he retreats back to his home. Meeting Catherine McCabe clearly sets his heart flutter and he begins to woo his way into her heart. And his work is cut out for him to win her over. With humor, romance, and some suspense, this book will remind you of a easier, more innocent time and well worth the read.
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This is the first book that I have read by Marie Force. Her writing and pacing is very well done. This love story had me holding some disbelief at the quickness of the characters falling in love but I enjoyed the characters. I found the love scenes to be repetitious.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC.
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