Cover Image: The Duchess Hunt

The Duchess Hunt

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The Duke of Kingsland is in need of a wife. Penelope Pettypeace, his secretary of 8 years is tasked with finding said wife. There is some beautiful mutual pining because both of them are obviously secretly in love with each other. And BOTH hero and heroine are harboring their own great secret that could ruin their own individual lives. 

It pains me to rate this 3 stars as I COMPLETELY ADORED the first book. But there were several things I had issue with, one is the fact that both secrets aren't really hinted at other than they are a big secret that would ruin them, until the moment they are revealed. While the Duke's secret is quickly glossed over (despite being kind of a huge deal) Pettypeace's secret takes front stage and honestly was painful to read about. 

I really disliked the Duke's dunderheadedness about Pettypeace, he truly held out to the very end to admit his feelings for her and that made most of their time together feel very much like using her. I just didn't believe he actually loved her. But what really put this at 3 stars is how he reacts to her secret. It was so disappointing and I really hoped for better from him. 

This book is truly beautifully written though, scenes are painted with so much clarity and beauty. 

But a few things were a no for me.
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When Hugh Brinsley-Norton, the Duke of Kingsland, decides it's time for him to marry, he assigns the task of finding the most eligible lady to his secretary, the ever efficient Penelope Pettypeace. There's only one problem--Pettypeace is in love with the duke. She's worked for Kingsland for eight years and knows him well, but he's reluctant to open himself up to emotion and he's certainly not planning to fall in love with his wife. As Pettypeace does her due diligence narrowing down the choices for the perfect candidate, her relationship with the duke shifts as he becomes more aware of her as a woman. Can she watch the duke marry her perfect choice for him all the while her heart is breaking?

This was a unique story and I enjoyed having Pettypeace well respected in her role as secretary in a usual male dominated world. While I liked Pettypeace, the "big secret" she was hiding fell a little flat for me. Perhaps, if it was revealed earlier in the book, at least to the reader, it would have resonated more how that the shocking revelation would have ruined her place in the duke's employ. I thought Kingland's secret was much more of a shock. Again, if there had been a little foreshadowing of his actions traveling alone to Scotland would have better.  In the end these two were well suited to each other and was I happy to see how everything was resolved so they could have their happily ever after.
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The Duchess Hunt (Once Upon a Dukedom #2) by Lorraine Heath
• historical romance 

Rating: 5 stars 

Synopsis: Hugh Brinsley-Norton, the Duke of Kingsland is in search of a duchess. He needs an heir and a spare posthaste so he places an advert in the paper. Recently spurned, he leaves this arduous job to his constant and reliable secretary Miss Penelope Pettypeace. Pettypeace is on the job, but how can she find someone to take the place she secretly yearns to be in?!

Thoughts: I read this book in one day, two sittings. So good! This was my first time reading this author and she really ticked all my boxes with this one! The Duke is perfection- respectful, protective, tiny bit broody with a simmering restraint through the first half of this book. Penelope is my favorite kind of heroine- smart, strong, independent, and game for anything. These two slow-burned nicely until around halfway and then it was super spicy in the sheets. I really appreciate that long secret yearning. You could see Hugh and Pen starting to lose their inner battle of restraint and I FELT THAT. Makes the love scenes so much hotter! There is also a mystery lingering in the background- Lorraine really had us wondering who had the more checkered past. 
All in all, zero complaints….except maybe one more sex scene 😆

Things to Note: This is the second book in a series, but since I haven’t read the first book, I can’t say whether there are spoilers in this one. I wasn’t confused about anyone or any plot points so you could possibly read alone or out of sequence. 

Interest: 5/5
Romance: 5/5
Heat: 4/5 
Stand-alone: ?
Cliffhanger: no 
Would I recommend: Yes 


*** I was given a copy of this book for an honest review by the author/publisher through Net Galley.
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I loved this second installment of the Once Upon a Dukedom series, much better than the first, and I really enjoyed the first one.

Hugh Brinsley-Norton, the Duke of Kingsland is still searching for a duchess. His last search resulted in Lady Kathryn falling for another. Not one to be deterred, and really, he wasn't heartbroken but more inconvenienced, he tasks his personal assistant/secretary to sift through the new onslought of letters by women hoping to tbe the next Duchess of Kingsland.

But as we know from the very start, Penelope Pettypeace is in love Hugh. And Hugh is unwilling to consider Penny until danger confronts them both.

I love this Cinderella story, though pretty certain this would never have happened in real life. Still, it's fun to lose oneself in the fairytale. And as with all Lorraine Heath romances, the chemistry is palpable.

Can't wait for the next in the series.

But when an anonymous note threatens to reveal truths best hidden, Kingsland has no choice but to confront the danger with Penelope at his side. Beguiled by the strong-willed, courageous beauty, he realizes he’s willing to risk everything, including his heart, to keep her safe within his arms. Could it be the duchess he’s hunting for has been in front of him all along?
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The Duchess Hunt is the second book in the Once Upon a Dukedom series. Readers first meet one of the main characters, the Duke of Kingsland, in Scoundrel of My Heart, when he was looking for a wife and decided upon Lady Kathryn Lambert… who later went on to wed Griffith Stanwick instead. Well, he’s decided to plan another ball where he chooses a different bride to be, and he’s given the task to his secretary, Penelope Pettypeace, to choose who that person will be.

Penelope Pettypeace is a competant, capable, no-nonsense woman who has a wonderful working relationship with her employer, the Duke of Kingsland. She’s also quite in love with him. But she knows there can never be anything between them, especially given their different stations in life and the secrets she is keeping about her past. They are like two peas in a pod, both focused, detail oriented, and business minded, which is why Kingsland relies on Pettypeace so much. But she knows once he takes a bride she won’t be able to stay in his household, so she’s planned for her future.

After being introduced to Kingsland in the previous installment I was very interested in getting to know him better and discovering who his love interest would be. Penelope Pettypeace is his perfect match and I really enjoyed them together. I wouldn’t say this is friends to lovers, although I do think this couple had a deep, trusting working relationship before they ever decided to become intimate, this is more like an office romance between people from different class structures who are secretly obsessed with each other. Lots of mutual pining, secret touches, and longing side glances.

Each of them has a BIG SECRET, and despite getting dual POVs readers are kept in the dark about what those secrets are for most of the book. Things start to move along external plotwise when a blackmail letter lands on Penelope’s desk and she doesn’t know if it’s for her or for Kingsland. I think readers will be surprised at both of these BIG SECRETS, his was way worse than her’s in my opinion, but I have to say I did absoltely love the way Kingsland groveled for forgiveness after his bad reaction to the revelations of Penelope’s past. And the building of their HEA is so very romantic. These characters have such wonderful chemistry and it’s always nice to see the stoic hero who thinks he won’t ever give away his heart slowly come to the realisation that he already has.

This was another enjoyable read by one of my favorite historical romance authors. I’m so looking forward to finding out what comes next in this series.
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Lorraine Heath has always been a Must Buy romance writer for me, and this series is no exception. The Duchess Hunt was a tender and enchanting romance that had me captivated from the first page.  

Penelope is smart, determined, and can take care of herself, the "I-don't-need-no-man" type that I gravitate towards. Her boss, business man Hugh the Duke of Kingsley, knows every detail about Penelope from the moment he met her to now, always paying to the little details, her mannerisms and general way she carries herself, but to jeopardize not just their business relationship but friendship is something he won't do. As Penelope plans the ball and attempts to find the perfect wife for her employer, a blackmail letter falls into her hands that could be either of them and puts the very secrets they harbor in danger. 

I wasn't necessarily excited for this story as I wasn't Hugh's biggest fan after Scoundrel of My Heart, but Heath proved me wrong. Their relationship isn't just that of business partners, but two people that have the upmost admiration and respect for one another. It's not the damsel in distress being saved, but someone that is Hugh's equal, and Penelope isn't thrust into a relationship with someone who leaves her idly on the sides while he lives his own second life. Despite their differing social classes, they compliment each other so perfectly. 

P.S. 
The epilogue was perfect. There was not a thing I would change. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Avon for the ARC.
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Mini Review: I really liked this Historical Romance! My heart hurt for what both Penelope and King had been through. Their romance was wonderful, and I loved the scene at the ball at the end. I also loved that we got an epilogue with what happened to not only Penelope and King, but also other characters from the book! This book definitely had some heavy/sad moments, but overall I recommend reading it!

I received an e-ARC from the publisher.
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It was ok. I think I would have liked it better had he fought his feelings harder and she actually have some competition. Overall it was a solid read though. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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The Duchess Hunt by Lorraine Heath is the second installment of her Once Upon a Dukedom series. The novel is a solid historical romance with lots of chemistry and secrets. Although this was not my favorite Heath novel, I always recommend her to readers that haven’t discovered her and love historical romance. If this novel is not for you—don’t give up on Heath—try her Sins for All Seasons and Texas Trilogy series—they are both wonderful.
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Full disclosure, I received an ARC of “The Duchess Hunt” from NetGalley to read and provide my unbiased feedback and thoughts on. 

While Heath started her ‘Once Upon A Dukedom’ series strong with “Scoundrel Of My Heart”, she took it to a completely different level with “The Duchess Hunt”. 

We learned that Kingsland had some hidden depths to him at the end of the “SOMH”, but ‘WOW’ Heath really did outdo herself with the complexity of this hero (it all the right ways, sigh…) Then add in Pettypeace, a heroine with secrets and hidden depths of her own and you end end up with the most delicious story of two stubborn individuals fighting their attraction tooth and nail, playing right into the ‘just once to get it out of our system’ trope so perfectly for the lovers of that one. 007 fans will also love the nod to ‘Moneypenny’. Added bonus: we have more Chessmen sightings, but still no insight into when more will be revealed about these mysterious men. 

There really is so much to love about this one, and I definitely think it deserves a high 4 stars.
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I love Lorraine Heath, and I especially loved this book! It was super enjoyable and I just couldn’t wait to pick it up and find out what happened.

Penelope Pettypeace is the secretary for the Duke of Kingsley. He treats her like an equal, hiring her instead of a man, asking her opinion and even taking her to his men’s club for business meetings. He’s also trusting her to find him a Duchess after his last attempt failed. As the search for his Duchess continues, the two become closer and closer. Unfortunately both have secrets that might keep them apart. 

Penelope was a very refreshing heroine. I loved how independent she was! I also was very curious about her secret and I thought it was well done, and not something I had read before. I also loved the epilogue! Overall this was probably one of my favorite Lorraine Heath books I’ve read so far.
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Penelope Pettypeace is the independent, efficient secretary to the Duke of Kingsland. She’s on a mission to find his duchess. King is the headstrong Duke of Kingsland set on finding a duchess who will provide heirs but otherwise be out of his way. 

Heath does an amazing job of weaving this story in such an unexpected way.  I knew there was the promise of an HEA but getting there was so interesting. I had no idea of the secrets held.  I found myself slowing to enjoy this book.  

I’m already looking forward to re-reading this book….this series.  I could predict parts of the book but that really lured me in and set me up for the expected. 

I loved this story and Penelope and King and…everything.
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I love, love, loved this book. The first book in this series was kind of wild, but this book has everything I love: mutual pining, workplace romance, repressed feelings, trauma recovery, all the good stuff. Penelope is amazing and just a great heroine. King has awesome character development and the book is very satisfying.
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Oooh so I love Two Weeks Notice, the film. I even watched a Chinese version. This book gives a similar vibe, so I could not wait to read it!!! I was not disappointed. Our heroine is Penelope Pettypeace. She is all that we like--smart, strong, making her way in the world. She is a secretary that has some tragedy in her past though, which has its tentacles in her present. She is also nursing a hidden tendre for her boss. Due to her efficiency, she is indispensable to him. He asks her to solve the minor problem of finding him a bride. He is clueless, but we are not!

Our clueless but lovable hero is a Duke of Kingsland, aka King.  He thinks it's a great idea to overstep the professional boundaries and have his secretary find him a wife. Golly. It's just a matter of time for him to realize the value of what he has in Pettypeace. He has his own secrets. So when a blackmail note shows up... the adventure/mystery begins. 
 
I have to say I was waiting to see what these secrets were, but did not anticipate what they would be. Wow-no spoilers but this book does not lose steam as it heads to the ending. I loved it! I loved how King slowly becomes aware of his  true feelings for Pettypeace and moves heaven and earth for her. Yums!!! 


I did not get to read the first book in this series. There were a couple of references that I understood, such as that whatever newspaper ad he took out in the first book... didn't work out. (I want to know what happened). You can easily read and enjoy this one as a stand-alone. I did! I have read so many of Ms. Heath's books. Not sure how I missed this series' beginning, but I will be fixing that now. Don't miss this or any of her other books. I would love to see what happens next with some of the characters I met in this story.
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This was a fun read! Not too surprising, although the secret in Penelope's past was not what I would have guessed, so that was one nice turn. If you like a boss/secretary trope, this gives it a Victorian twist. It's made me interested enough to want to find the first book in the series, which I haven't read, and to keep an eye out for the rest as they come out.
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The second book in Lorraine Heath’s Once Upon a Dukedom series, The Duchess Hunt focuses on the Duke of Kingsland and his secretary Penelope Pettypeace. For eight years their relationship has been strictly professional. However, when the duke tasks Penelope with finding him a wife, Penelope knows she will do what she must to find him the perfect match, even if it breaks her heart. When a blackmail note threatens all they have worked for, Penelope and Kingsland must face their pasts and decide if they should risk revealing their feelings for each other.

Penelope is fantastic! She is smart, independent, and secure in her position as King’s secretary. I love her confidence and her fierceness. She is not easily intimidated, and, much like King, she excels at her job. King is a man who likes to be in control. He is hugely successful and powerful, but he struggles to let people in. Both have secrets from the past that threaten to ruin their well-controlled and structured lives. I like how their secrets are slowly revealed throughout the story. They are tortured by their pasts, but the closer they become, the more willing they are to trust each other with their innermost secrets. I found this part of the story really interesting and unpredictable. I was surprised when their respective secrets were revealed and didn’t expect either.

Penelope and King respect and admire each other, and they have worked together for eight years. They know each other well, but solely on a professional level. They both love each other, but their reluctance to cross the boundary that has been in place for almost a decade stops them from expressing their feelings. This leads to a lot of angst and sexual tension, which is fantastic. There’s so much yearning, since Penelope has loved King for a long time, and King is so unaware of and confused by his feelings. It takes him a long time to realize just how much he’s taken her for granted, but once he does, he does everything in his power to change. I adored their love story and how their relationship deepened and changed, and I wholly rooted for them even though social expectations, arranged engagements, secrets, blackmail, and more stand in their way.

You know those love stories where the characters always refer to each other by their last names as a way to keep each other at a distance and maintain some semblance of formality? Then, when they finally use each other’s first names, it’s an epic moment – passion-filled, explosive, romantic and completely swoon-worthy? This book does that so well! It’s the type of romance that I find myself sighing deeply when reading because of the sheer beauty of it. I felt myself swooning a time or two, and the first time Kingsland said “Penelope,” I definitely fell in love with this couple a little more. The depth of their feelings and their longing for each other is lovely.

Other characters in the story are equally interesting, and I’m hopeful that some of them will be featured in upcoming books in the series. King’s friends The Chessman and a couple of the women that King and Penelope meet are intriguing, and I’d love to learn more of their stories. Something else I really like about this series is the epilogues, which take place years after the conclusion of the story. I always wonder what happens to my favorite characters after the story ends, and Heath provides us with the answers in these books. It’s wonderful to see how their stories, and other characters’ stories, progressed and changed.

This is a wonderful historical romance with dynamic characters and strong messages about love, trust, and forgiveness. Plus the love story is swoon-tastic! Even though this is the second book in the Once Upon a Dukedom series, it can easily be read as a standalone. Of course, Scoundrel of My Heart, the first book is also fantastic, and I highly recommend it! Thanks so much to NetGalley, Lorraine Heath, and Avon for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
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SWOON. Lorraine Heath does it again. There is very little I love more than a starched, uptight hero completely UNRAVELING when he realizes what’s right in front of him. This book is positively delightful and gives me some real “Two Weeks Notice” vibes in a way that is so delicious. 4.5 stars for sure!
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The Duchess Hunt ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️By Lorraine Heath

I have read several by Ms Heath and I can say she never misses her mark. The stories are delightful and absorbing at the same time. Her characters come to life and you find yourself concerned about their lives and decisions.
It was a case of love from a far hoping the  Duke would see what was in front of him. Penelope carried her secrets as did the Duke but I was not prepared to read either of there hidden pasts.
I enjoyed this book and kept engaged in the novel right to the end.
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Love love LOVE this book. Penelope and Hugh were so good together. Good tension, great sexy time lol. Heath truly knows how to write an HR novel and I look forward to reading the rest in this series
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Duke of Kingston is practical, efficient, and is in search of a wife, still. His secretary, Miss Penelope Makepeace is his equal in every way and now, she is tasked with finding him an 'efficient' duchess. This is your historical take on the Boss/secretary romance. I love a good upper-crust/commoner romance ( i can't find a better word for it) but I wasn't as engrossed as I thought I'd be. Both of these characters have secrets and we don't get to learn what those are until 60% of the book. Thus, I really couldn't fall in love with the characters. The ending felt too rushed and I wanted to see King aka Duke of Kingston groveling more. However, I loved the chemistry between King and Penelope so much! 

Overall, The Duchess Hunt is a good addition to the series but it's not my favorite.

cw: revenge porn, abusive parent, death of parent(off-page)

Thanks to Netgalley and Avon Books for the eARC in exchange for my honest review.
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