Cover Image: The Duchess Hunt

The Duchess Hunt

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Member Reviews

*I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review

Huge fan of Lorraine Heath. She has once again delivered an enjoyable regency romance. I love how the author revisits previous characters from her other novels.

Great story of the heroine loving from afar and the hero opening his heart to love.
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Hugh Brinsley-Norton, the Duke of Kingsland, is a laser-focused, analytical, moneymaking machine. When he became duke, the title was in a total mess with no money in the coffers and debts running out its ears. He knew it was his job to protect his family, protect his tenants, and protect the duchy, so his one focus became that of making money. Fortunately, he was very, very good at it and he is now one of the richest and most powerful people in England. What he is not good at is emotions – because he has no heart. At least that is his belief. His father was a cruel and hateful man who used Hugh’s mother and brother to keep Hugh in line. So now, at the ripe old age of four and thirty, it is time for him to take a wife and set up his nursery. Fortunately, his requirements for a wife are very simple – she needs to be quiet and not bother him – and she needs to provide him with his heir and spare. He doesn’t plan to fall in love – or even like – and doesn’t expect his wife to love him either. It will be strictly a business arrangement and therefore he’s set his secretary to finding and choosing his bride. Goodness, goodness, goodness – will these men never learn?

Penelope Pettypeace is every bit as bold, intuitive, organized, efficient, and focused as Kingsland and that is why they work so well together. She was amazed when he hired her as his secretary about eight years earlier. She had boldly walked into his office and proceeded to convince him that she was the perfect secretary for him even though she was NOT what he had advertised for. Now, he’s assigned her the most daunting task yet – she is to choose his wife. That is going to be a very, very difficult thing to do because she has come to care deeply for the man. She knows he doesn’t reciprocate those feelings – and even if he did, nothing could come of it. So, she’ll do her best to find him a bride who will make him happy – even though he doesn’t know that is what he needs. Penelope’s past has caused her to reinvent herself time after time, but she’s been Penelope Pettypeace longer than she’s ever been anybody else. She knows there will come a time when her unsavory past will catch up to her again and she’ll have to move on – but not today – please not today.

Penelope and Hugh both have some very deep, very dark secrets. Secrets they share with absolutely no one else. Those secrets are much too dark to share – for anyone else to know. Yet, just as they have come to realize they share an interest in each other, those secrets threaten to come to light. Is it Hugh’s secrets or Penelope’s that are about to come to light? They’ll have to find out and deal with the threat of exposure. Will their fledgling relationship survive?

We met Hugh and Penelope in the first book of the series, Scoundrel of My Heart, and I couldn’t wait to read their book. You don’t have to have read that book to enjoy this one, but it is such a good book, why wouldn’t you want to read it? This series is actually a spin-off of the Sins For All Seasons series – which is also a great series.

I definitely recommend this book! While Penelope had known for a long time that she cared for Hugh, it was wonderful to see Hugh come to the realization that what he really needed had been under his nose all along. I hope you’ll read and enjoy this book as much as I did. Now, I can hardly wait for Marcus’s book!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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The Duke of Kingsland needs a wife since his potential fiancee ditched him in the last book. His secretary, the stalwart Penelope Pettypeace is tasked with finding him a duchess. Pettypeace is determined to find him the perfect wife even though it will break her heart since she has been in love with him for years. But she's resigned to unrequited love because not only is she a commoner but she also hides a terrible secret and a scandalous past.

I love Lorraine Heath. She's one of the few authors I still auto-buy. I like her authorial voice, her prose is clean and not flowery, her books are romantic, her heroes sexy and she has a wicked way with a plot twist. All of these things are present in this book. I loved the dialogue, the humor, and the revelations that even after reading most of her books I didn't see coming. I liked Penelope. I loved her strength, her directness, and the way she just told it like it was. She was also a virgin but she wasn't shy about what she wanted and it came across as genuine and organic to her character.

But, I hate to say his book fell a little flat for me. I devoured the first book but this one I put down and had to force myself to pick it back up. The first half was a slog. I couldn't understand why after eight years of working alongside Penelope Hugh had a sudden hard-on for her. What made him change his mind and see her as an attractive woman and not just an efficient secretary? This is never satisfactorily explained. I'm normally trash for the unrequited love trope but I felt I was being told and not shown Penelope's pining. The longing and yearning that LH shows so well in other books were missing here. 

This brings me to the big secret. Penelope has a huge secret and this is set up to be the conflict. Then halfway through it turns out the duke has an even bigger secret and that one is uncovered and resolved within a few chapters. Penelope's big revelation gets dragged on until the very end and then everything is rushed and we get a HEA. The pacing was way off and I disliked Hugh's reaction to her revelation which seemed out of character for him. 

I liked the second epilogue though. I love when I get a glimpse, no matter how small, at modern-day descendants. 

So in the end this wasn't bad it great. It was just okay. Recommend if you love slow burns, friends to lovers, and plain-speaking heroines.
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Once Upon a Dukedom is one of my favorite Lorraine Heath series even though we're only two books in. I definitely recommend reading book one first although it's not absolutely necessary. 

The austere Hugh, a Duke with a family reputation in ruins is your typical broody male, clueless about love. He's the definition of a perfect gentleman and determined to find a wife who will bring honor to his family name. Falling for his secretary is definitely not planned and makes for a sweet, Cinderella like story with a friends to lovers feel. 

Penelope is basically a saint, extremely smart and puts up with Hugh and keeps his life in order. She's also in love with him. I fell more and more in love with Hugh, myself, as the story went on and was rooting for their HEA big time. These are two very serious individuals who deserve love and happiness and they have a true partnership. 

I can't say this was the most exciting book I've ever read but a strong heroine and satisfying love story made me really enjoy the book.
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I absolutely loved this book. Although it can be read as a stand-alone, it really added to the story that I read the Sins for All Seasons series and the first book in the Once Upon a Dukedom series and knew the backstory and side characters. I think the author did a fantastic job of cross referencing in the books.

The writing was top notch, and I did feel the deep connection between the Hugh and Penelope. Even though Hugh realized his feelings for Penelope late, there were signs all along of his feelings over the past years of her working for him and how deep they were, I don’t feel it came out of no where. Their friendship and understanding of each other made their chemistry hot.

Where The Duchess Hunt went wrong were in the secrets and personal dialogue. It was hard that the secret wasn’t revealed to the reader until later in the book, yet there is a ton of repetitive angst surrounding it. I pushed through it though because the chemistry was so awesome between Hugh and Penelope, and I couldn’t wait to know what happened next.

Once I started the book, I was unable to put it down and wanted to swoon when Hugh was on his knee. Penelope was my favorite kind of heroine, her independence and intelligence was refreshing. I absolutely loved Hugh’s mother and brother. It is not often that there is a mother who meddles only when needed and is so supportive. I enjoyed Lawrence’s transformation, his love for his brother, and his support for Penelope. I hope he gets his own book. 

Thank you Avon Books, Harper Collins Publishing, and Lorraine Heath for the ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

#TheDuchessHunt #NetGalley #HarperCollinsPublishers #AvonBooks #LorraineHeath
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That has been a beautiful read! I loved the characters and their  journey to HEA. I highly recommend reading  this book to every romance loving reader! 
Lorraine Heath may land on my auto-buy-list! ;)
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I loved this book. King/Hugh was so aloof in Scoundrel of My Heart but I love that we got to know him better. I also adored everything about Penelope. I love a story where everyone else can see people are in love except the couple themselves. I liked that there was more depth to the story with the talk of abuse, slut shaming, women's place in society, investing in your future & cultural norms. I look forward to the rest of the series. I'm hoping either Wolf or Lawrence have their story told next.
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Hugh, The Duke of Kingsland, advertises for a wife (his first attempt didn't go so well). This time he's passing the job of choosing his wife to his secretary, Pettypeace. Penelope Pettypeace has been indispensable to him for the last eight years. She is determined to select the best candidate possible. She is madly in love with the Duke, and does anything to make his life easier. Her secret devotion is a little unsettling. I could see her as a character in a Lifetime movie as the devoted secretary turning psycho. This didn't happen here but it was always in the back of my mind! Both Hugh and Penelope had traumatic childhoods that lead to secrets in the present they don't want revealed. As Penelope works to find his future bride, Hugh suddenly (finally?) sees Penelope as a woman. Maybe he doesn't want her to choose a wife for him after all? As the secrets are revealed, Hugh's is a doozy!, the drama and excitement grows to an emotional ending.
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This is Lorraine Heath’s second book in the “ONCE UPON A DUKEDOM” series, releasing 9/28/21. It can be read as a standalone. 
Loved it! ♥️ I devoured this incredible book in one sitting. The duke is seeking a wife and an heir, and puts the task of finding a bride in the hands of his very trusted secretary of eight years, Miss Penelope Pettypeace. Penelope harbors an unrequited love towards her employer, Hugh, the ninth Duke of Kingsland. Hugh cares about little more than making money and securing success at any cost. With a small twist of fate, Hugh finds he does have a heart after all. This is the sweetest story about finding love where you least expect it. I can’t wait for the third book in this series. 

Thanks to Avon Books and Harper Voyager via NetGalley for kindly providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I received a copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I have to admit that when I started this book I was not feeling all that hopeful. Whip-smart spinster with a dark secret falling for her emotionally repressed employer? Pfff. I expected a lot of pining and internal dialogue and pining (yes, wrote it like that on purpose). Those elements were there, I won't lie, but they were done so skillfully that instead of saying 'oh, get over yourself!' in my mind I genuinely felt for both of them. The plot was good, the chemistry was there and the intimacy was hot. I also liked the other Chessmen quite a lot so I hope their books are coming!
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The Duchess Hunt was an easy read. The characters were likable and the story unique. Their individual challenges were believable and both were very surprising. Some of the story was fanciful but it didn’t detract from my reading experience. My only complaint was the female lead’s last name did not seem to fit her at all and it was hard for my brain to just let it flow as I read. Overall, a great read and I definitely recommend.
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I devoured this book!  I’ve enjoyed just about every book Lorraine Heath has written so I wasn’t surprised that I liked her newest offering but the unfolding of Hughes’s tenderness was so engaging.  There was plenty of suspense with each person’s secret and when they would be revealed.  Ms Heath didn’t spend too much time before she brought our lovers back together which I really appreciate.  This one is a keeper!  I also like the glimpses of old favorite characters.
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This is the second book in the Once Upon a Dukedom Series, but it can be read as a standalone. 
The story is different in that it involves a Duke who has a female secretary who has been in his employ for eight years. He seems to be the only person who doesn't realize how much she means to him. Both have secrets that rule their personalities and relationships. Both are characters you appreciate and pull for. There is plenty of angst, but it's not the annoying kind. A fun read.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to read this ARC for my honest opinion.
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I really enjoyed this one! It was hard to put down.

Penelope Pettypeace (great name!) has been the secretary to Hugh, the Duke of Kingsland (and hopelessly in love with him) for 8 years, and he considers her indispensable. He asks her to choose a wife for him, and she vows to pick the best lady possible. Unbeknownst to the other, they are both hiding secrets that could destroy them. 

I loved both the story and Penelope and King, however the latter really shown in this one. Their humor, their respect and admiration for the other, and especially how they stand by the other when needed…they were so well-drawn. 

Recommended, and I definitely intend to go back and read the initial book in the series, “Scoundrel of my Heart”. 

My sincere thanks to #NetGalley and #Avon for providing me the free early arc for review. The opinions are strictly my own.
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I was not sure how this story would play out.  It took me a few chapters to fall into Penelope and King's story and to start to understand their connection (emotionally - I figured out that she was his secretary just fine).  But when the story clicked, it came together wonderfully.  I loved how their work proximity added tension and heat to their relationship.  

Things that worked for me: 
I liked how we got some of King in the previous book, but got so much more depth in this one.  
They already had an established relationship so there is depth from the first page.
Penelope has made a life for herself and advocates for women having financial independence.  
King values her for who she is and for her brains and abilities over her beauty.  
The strong female lead stands strong in The Duchess Hunt, but he is no wilting flower either.
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The Duchess Hunt is the second book in Lorraine Heath's newest series, Once Upon a Dukedom. While it can easily be read as a standalone, you would do yourself a disservice not reading the previous book. 
While the book starts out with a bit of an outlandish plot, a duke putting an advertisement in the mail for a duchess and his female secretary choosing the lady, it quickly evolves to something more substantial. The marriage plot acts as a thread weaving the story along and providing anchor points, but it is not where most of the novel's attention lies. The story is more about the recognition of the love between Penelope and King. While Penelope is aware of her feelings, she is resigned to them being unrequited. King discovers his feelings for his secretary during the book. The camaraderie and chemistry between King and Penelope are apparent and a testament to the writing. It was a believable romance. I found the mystery behind Penelope's past well-done; hints were dropped along the way but I could never guess it exactly. I loved that the disagreement between the two didn't fall into the classic miscommunication trope, but was reasonable for both parties to feel the way they did. 

Overall, I highly recommend the book to any historical romance reader.
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The Duchess Hunt
Book 2 in the Once Upon the Dukedom Series
Rating: 4 stars
Thank you to the publisher for the ARC given through NetGalley for review.  All opinions are my own.

The Duchess Hunt was a great story!! I enjoyed reading about a secretary who has felt an unrequited love for her boss who happens to be a duke.  Sadly this duke is in search of a duchess and it is Penelope's job to find the best suited one for Hugh.
I liked the slow pace of the story and how day by day Hugh was realizing that Penelope was becoming someone very important to him, beyond her top notch secretarial duties.  There were times when I felt bad for Penelope because she was just falling more and more for him while finding Hugh the duchess who he thought he needed. They both had secrets from each other and it is once certain secrets of their past are revealed that the trust they built for each other was put to the test.  
I loved their bantering and romance!  
I highly recommend it and I look forwards to the next one in the series!!
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The Duke of Kingsland and his secretary, Penelope Pettypeace have a companionable relationship. She’s been his stalwart right-hand for the past 8 years. During this time, they’ve had a close, working relationship. However, neither has been what one would consider a close friend to the other. More like, a reliable person with whom one resides and works with. 

The Duke has decided he must wed and, after a failed attempt last season, enlists Pettypeace as his designated bride-finder. Unfortunately, for her, she’s realized she holds loving feelings towards the Duke and therefore will find it difficult to maintain her position once he’s wed. 

Lately, the Duke, too, starts to develop feelings of the emotional and physical towards his secretary. As anyone who has read a historical romance before knows, however, a relationship betwixt the two will be difficult to undertake with one being a Duke and the other an employee of his household. They begin to notice the others receptive feelings and decide to throw caution to the wind. 

Pettypeace, however, has quite the past. She came to work for the Duke as an escape from things that happened when she was younger she feels she will never flee completely. I won’t spoil the book, however, it is definitely an impediment. This author, however, is a master at throwing seemingly insurmountable adds at her characters. 

This is not my first Lorraine Heath novel, so I’m aware she often, if not always, pushes opposites together. And, in the end, they seem to find a way. I feel these problems the characters face can make the book that much more enjoyable. 

I’m a big fan of this Author. Her books have the capability of grabbing the reader and taking them on an emotional journey. A tale you didn’t know you needed, but feel you’ve become a better person after reading it. In fact, two books from this author I consider my favorites of the genre. 

Unfortunately, this one fell flat for me. While her writing is superior to most, sometimes her stories can be a bit hit or miss for me. I feel this one fell in that category. Although, her “misses” are still written better than most authors’ bests. 

My biggest complaint with this novel was the length of time the two main characters knew each other and never felt the need to be close. While I’m aware some people fall in love and others grow in love, 8 years seemed like too long to discover feelings for someone with whom you’ve lived with for almost a decade. This was an aspect of the book I was unable to get past. 

I also didn’t like how long the beginning dragged. It wasn’t until 50% into the book before they actually began an intimate association. I would have been ok with the build up if everything wasn’t a continual, “where did these feelings come from?”, type of mentality. I’m asking that, as well, where did these feelings come from? It’s been EIGHT YEARS. Honestly, I think I would’ve thoroughly enjoyed this book if the two main characters were already in love, but knew they couldn’t tell the other because of their working relationship and their mutual hope of not losing what they felt they had. Even Pettypeace, who knew she loved the Duke, didn’t realize until right before this book began. 

Suffice it to say, I’ll definitely continue to read this author. She’s ridiculously talented. I’m even interested in the upcoming books I’m hoping she’ll write involving characters from this book. There were quite a few I’d love to see have their own stories.
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I absolutely loved this book. I could not put it down. I don't think I've read any of her books before but I definitely will be now. I got so invested in Penn and Hugh individually and together. I loved (and hated haha) the way their pasts were released throughout the book. It really kept me involved. I especially loved the way the characters reacted to the big scandal near the end. It felt very real and natural and not at all contrived. I want another book with these characters because I just couldn't get enough.
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Penelope Pettypeace has been the secretary of the Duke of Kingsland for eight years. She does everything he asks and does an excellent job of it. They both have secrets to hide. His latest request he wants her to select his wife and do it in six weeks. Plus all her regular duties. He is demanding, exacting, and feels he has no heart. But he saved his estate by investing wisely. He is also very intelligent about some things. Hugh Brinley-Norton, Duke of Kingsland, was going to go have dinner with his friends, the Chessmen. Pettypeace thought they were a handsome lot and King asked her to join them. He needed her to take some notes for him. It was funny to watch them, they were besotted with each other (the Duke and Penelope) and everyone in their sphere knew it. But they didn't trust their feelings.
I liked Kingsland, He treated her as an equal and trusted her with everything except his secrets. Everyone seemed to like her. His mother knew he was in good hands, as did his brother. The characters were wonderful and gave poor King a hard time. It has humor, a touch of excitement, and a touch of suspense. I loved how well they worked together.
I received this ARC from Net Galley and voluntarily reviewed it.
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