Cover Image: Cheers to the Duke

Cheers to the Duke

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Member Reviews

This is the first book I have read in the series, but I have always enjoyed the author's writing. I found this romance lighthearted and entertaining with a gentlemanly hero and a woman who is determined to stand on her own two feet. The Dule of Grainger has made no secret of the fact that he is looking for a wife and a mother to his son. However, it is young Thomas who makes himself known to Lady Jo and makes his feelings heard on the subject. As Edward and Jo are thrown together by well-meaning friends, Jo experiences a certain amount of frustration, especially as she has determined to remain single and never again to allow herself to be put under the domination of any man. However, she cannot ignore her attraction towards Edward and also finds herself softening towards his son and his dog. Taking time and patience to win her over, Edward eventually breaks through the barriers, bringing this novel to a happy conclusion. I received a copy of this novel as a gift through NetGalley and this is my honest and voluntary review.
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GOOD READ! Cheers to the Duke by Sally MacKenzie is book 3 in The Widow's Brew Series. Though in a series this book can be read as a standalone. I enjoyed the second half of this book much better than the first half.  I found this book to be a good read but it did keep repeating it’s self. I don’t mind being remembered a time or two what is happening in the story but I felt this book was a bit over kill. I found the thinking comments witty and the characters wonderful, especially Livy… she really did crack me up. Thomas was an adorable little boy and I just loved his dog, Bear. This story has a women who runs a women’s home, a barrister that becomes a duke, a christening house party, good friends, schemes, embarrassment, not wanting to marry, a death of a mother, an awful husband that commits suicide, not feeling they belongs, feeling alone and finding love when you are not looking for it. All and all I did find this to be a good read and I am recommending it. 

***This book was gifted to me and I am voluntarily reviewing.
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Cheers to the Duke is the third book in the Widow’s Brew series by Sally MacKenzie.  Reading the series in order is best but the books can be read as stand-alone.  The book was well written and a fast read for me.  It grabbed my attention from the beginning, and I could not put it down.  The series is based on three friends who started the Benevolent Home as a safe place for women and children in need.  They rely on the Home’s benefactors but also operate a brewery and alehouse to help with the costs.  
Ten years ago, Josephine Smyth-Waters “Jo,” Lady Havenridge, founded the Home for women in need after her husband lost everything and then killed himself.  This year she is feeling abandoned after her two partners and friends, Pen and Caro, married and left the Home. She is extremely worried about the crop this year and feels the survival of the Home’s depends entirely on her.  Jo receives an invitation to Pen’s baby’s christening, but she is too concerned about the plants and the three new women to the Home to leave.  She was especially concerned about Livy who she feels is trying to take over.  The Home was her life and without it, she was not sure what she would do.  When Livy goes behind her back and accepts Pen’s invitation, Jo is furious but eventually, the women convince Jo she needs a break.  
Widowed Edward Russell had been a solicitor in London until a year ago when tragedy strikes, and he becomes the Duke of Grainger.  He has raised Thomas, his young son, single-handedly after his wife died from childbirth but he would like more children.  He has been attending various events of the Season to find another wife but has been very disappointed.  He was glad to finally leave London behind and attend his friend’s baby’s christening.  As the main benefactor of the Home, he is excited to finally meet Jo after writing to her for the last year.  She is nothing like he expected, and he is instantly charmed by her friendliness and sensibility when he and Thomas meet her.  He knows she would make him the perfect wife and a wonderful stepmother for Thomas, but she will need some convincing.  Although Jo does not want to remarry, she agrees to consider it during the two weeks they will be there.  Can he convince her to let go of some of the control of the Home and allow herself a happy future?
This was a charming second chance romance.  Jo and Edward’s love was slow-burning and I enjoyed watching their love and friendship for one another grow.  Edward was struggling with all his new responsibilities but was still a patient and wonderful father.  I love how he was so concerned about finding a wife who would care for and be a good mother to Thomas.  Jo’s character was a little frustrating with her refusal to marry Edward but her fear of making another mistake and instantly falling for a man was understandable after her disappointing first marriage.  I was cheering for Edward the entire book and was glad to see Jo finally able to let go of some of the Home’s responsibilities.  It was great seeing Caro and Pen again and getting a peek at the new lives.  I can’t help but wonder if the series will continue with the newest “fallen” ladies at the Home and look forward to future books.
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I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own..

I've been anxiously awaiting this book since I read the first two in the series. It was with the wait! Josephine has had the responsibility for running the home for woman and orphans for a number of years. as well as running the brewery that supports them all. As she watches her partners marry and move on into happy lives she can't help but envy what they have while at the same time afraid to give up the independence that means so much to her. Enter the Duke, Edward and his charming little boy.. The pair of them are hard to resist, but resist she must if she wants to continue helping all the women and children and run her brewery. Is it possible for a woman to have it all? Perhaps with the right Duke!
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A great second chance romance for both of our widowers. A woman who’s at loose ends and wondering if her life is fulfilling enough meets a single father trying to right by his son and navigate the ballrooms of the Ton.  A two week holiday is just what they need to find love! Great story and I loved all of the characters!
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I received an ARC of this book to read through NetGalley. All opinions are my own. Cheers to the Duke by Sally Mackenzie is the third book in her delightful Widows Brew series. I think you will enjoy this book more if you have read the previous books in the series. Widow Josephine Smyth-Waters, Lady Hendridge is the founder of Puddleton Manors Benevolent home, but things have significantly changed as both of her partners have married and left her behind. She’s feeling a bit lost and out of sorts. When she is spirited off to a christening because her former partners have matchmaking in mind, she’s also a bit resentful and determined to chose her own course, one that does not involve former solicitor Edward Russell, now the Duke of Grainger. A year after his surprise inheritance of the Dukedom, Edward is still finding his way. Meeting Jo in person, after having corresponded with her for years, is a revelation, and together they begin to discover that maybe their friends know them better than they know themselves. I enjoyed this book very much. It was a lighthearted and fun read and exactly what I seem to enjoy best right now. Steam Level: Medium. Publishing Date: October 5, 2021. #CheersToTheDuke #SallyMacKenzie #KensingtonBooks #ZebraRomance #HistoricalRomance #HistoricalRomance Series #RomanceReader #HistoricalRomanceReader #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #NetGalley
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A brilliantly written story. Jo is a widow who started a charity for women and girls. Now that her two best friends have married she is feeling restless. Edward was a lawyer before he became a Duke. He is a single father looking for a wife. This is a fun tale as Jo and Edward’s friends play matchmaker to see the couple happy. They are assisted by a precocious 7 year boy and a dog named Bear. It has many lighthearted moments that will give you a chance to smile. Sally McKenzie gives the reader a superb happy ending.
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OMGoodness – I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely, heartwarming romance. Our protagonists had both survived tragedy and unhappiness in their lives, both had survived, and both had overcome. Well, he had, but I’m not sure about her. While she has survived and has done good works, she still allows what happened during her marriage to color how she lives her life. It colors the decisions she makes and it makes her very wary and distrustful. Once burned, twice shy.

Lady Josephine Smyth-Waters was the daughter of a small village vicar – one of several sisters. All of her older sisters had already married vicars of their own, but that isn’t what Jo wanted for herself. That left her ripe for the picking when a handsome, charming, titled man arrived in their village and expressed an interest in her seventeen-year-old self. She was dizzyingly, dazzlingly, giddily in love and they were married within two weeks. Sadly, it didn’t take long for her to see the grave error she’d made. She’d never trust love again!

Over the last ten years, Jo along with her friends Caro (The Merry Viscount) and Pen (What Ales the Earl) created the Benevolent Home for the Maintenance and Support of Spinsters, Widows, and Abandoned Women and their Unfortunate Children. During the last year, both Caro and Pen have married and moved away, leaving the running of the Home totally on Jo’s shoulders. That isn’t good for Jo because she stresses over the responsibility – she feels she has to do everything herself – she can’t let their residents down. So, when Pen requested her to attend her newly delivered son’s christening and become his godmother – she had to refuse. She just couldn’t leave the Home right now. Ah, there is trickery afoot …

Until a year ago, Edward Russell had been a widowered London solicitor who was raising his young son, Thomas, on his own. While he had always known he was distantly related to Duke of Grainger’s family, he’d never met any of them – nor had he cared to. Then, a tragic set of events propels Edward into the title and his life isn’t his own any longer. He intended to follow expectations and marry to produce the spare he supposedly needed, but after a season of attending social functions and meeting simpering, insipid debutantes whose only interest in him was his title, he’d had enough. He was so grateful to be able to leave to attend the christening of his friend’s child – and to become its godfather.

I absolutely adored Edward and his son Thomas. He was a wonderful, loving, involved father who had no intention of marrying someone who didn’t love his son. It was wonderful to see Jo and Edward meet and come to care for each other. Jo had serious trust issues – not only didn’t she trust men in general, but she also didn’t trust herself or her own judgment.

This was a wonderfully straightforward love story without the navel-gazing, angsty, woe-is-me you see in so many books. It was well-written with humor, romance, wonderful characters, and the most delightful bear of a dog – named Bear. I hope you’ll love it as much as I did.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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3,5⭐️
The hero in this book was so adorable and easy to fall in love with. The relationship he had with his son was amazing. I loved Thomas’s character and he made me laugh and smile several times throughout the book. Sadly i did not like the heroine and I could get very frustrated with her and how she behaved. I understand she was scared to get remarried fast and that she wanted the hero to have more kids, but god dang woman when he says several times that he does not care about that and loves you. Then you have nothing to worry about
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I’ve been a fan of Sally MacKenzie for years. So, when I came across Cheers to the Duke, I decided to pick it up. I didn’t realize it was the third book in Widow’s Brew series. It stands alone, but there were quite a few moments where I’d wished I had read the previous books since the prior couples where pretty prominently featured. Some backstory was provided, but I feel the book would have been better if the previous two books had been read first.

This story follows Jo and Edward. Jo has been running a home for single women and their daughters for years. But since her two best friends and “co-workers” at the home have found love and left, she’s been feeling lonely and restless. So she heads off to a house party in honor of her newborn godson. 

Edward was just was named the Duke of Grainger, a title he never expected to obtain. He’s looking for a wife, someone who will love him and his young son. But he’s discouraged by all the young debutantes and decides to take a break and go to a house party to honor his newborn godson. And thus, Jo and Edward meet, and sparks fly.

I actually enjoyed both characters. They were both a little older, which I appreciated. The interactions between Jo and Edward were so realistic, with their attraction as well as hesitations. And their interactions with Thomas, Edward’s son, were sweet. Then throw in their dogs, Freddie and Bear, and I was laughing at their antics.

Cheers to the Duke is a solid historical read. I’d suggest reading the other books in the series first as it wraps up the series. But it was enjoyable nonetheless. Well done, Ms. MacKenzie!
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while this is the 3rd book in the series, it can be read on it's own.  After a short and unhappy marriage, widow Jo has dedicated herself to her charity to help less fortunate women and children via the home she has created for them and takes pride in keeping it funded and managing it.  a year ago, widowed father Edward's life was turned upside down when a distant relation & his heirs suddenly died resulted in his going from solicitor to duke, a position that he never expected or imagined.  He's spent that time learning and understanding the dukedom and the ton's social requirements (& marriage mart).  The house party for the christening of his friend's new son is the perfect and timely escape he needs from those social headaches as well as giving him a chance to spend time with his son.  It also provides the opportunity for Jo and Edward (who has continued the dukedom's sponsorship of Jo's home) to meet in person after a year of correspondence regarding the home.   Jo and Edward's romance is enjoyable as they match well and bring out hidden parts to the other.  Unfortunately I tended to find Jo a bit frustrating (particularly early in the book) where she tended to be a bit silly/insecure at times which contrasted with the confidence and ability needed to created and successfully manage her charity for the prior 10 years.  Jo's interaction with her friends as well as her & Edward's interactions with his young son were all nicely done and added to the overall story.  The romance was nicely paced and the both parties' hesitancy/concerns regarding remarriage were well addressed and handled.  Over all, other than what felt to me like some inconsistency in Jo's character, the story made for an enjoyable read.
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This novel is such a delight. Sally MacKenzie's tone is conversational and lighthearted and perfectly peppered with appealing and funny moments. MacKenzie's keeps her story low on the angsty and sweet on the charm as  hero and heroine learn about accepting another chance at love. I found this novel to be very well paced, sweetly romantic and an absolutely lovely way to spend an afternoon. MacKenzie's character's come to life and feel grounded and real in their reality, she charms the reader with loving and adorable children and she gives the plot some spice with meddling friends.

Jo, is a widow and has been running a charity home for women and their daughters to help them have a safe place to live while getting back on their feet. Jo is strong and independent and has her mind set only on the success of her home. Edward, has recently inherited a dukedom, he is a hard worker and not use to the socialite class. Edward is also a widower and he is a single father, and recently he has been on the look for a wife, but has not been enchanted by the youthful elite he meets in the ballrooms. Edward and Jo have spent the last year corresponding through letters because Edward now owns the land that Jo's charity home is located on. The setting of this romance takes place on the country estate of mutual friends for their son's christening which both hero and heroine are to be godparents. Upon first meeting, both Jo and Edward are attracted to each other and Thomas, Edward's son, is halfway in love with Jo as a mother like figure.  As the two week country party progresses, rumors, hints and nudges that Edward and Jo should strike up a romance dance around the guests, and Jo and Edward find themselves falling fast in love with the other.

This story was just so sweet and lovely. It was nice to watch two people in their thirties who had been married before learn that love can strike again. I also loved that because their love came upon them pretty quickly that there was some foundation work that had already taken place because these two have been getting to know each other intellectually through correspondence. I love that both Jo and Edward had a respect for each other that could grow into a new sort of admiration. I also loved that Jo and Thomas were able to have such a sweet and endearing relationship on their own, Jo respected Thomas and talked to him like a normal person and not a child. I also love that we were able to see how wonderful of a father Edward was to Thomas and how he wants what is best for his son, and watching Jo's interaction with Thomas and other children really helps him to solidify in his mind that she will make the perfect wife and mother for him. I love that when Jo needs space, Edward hears her and gives her this space, it shows that he is very thoughtful and caring. Their relationship is sweetly sensual and just an utter delight.

I would highly recommend this novel, especially if you are looking for a low angst historical romance that will leave you with a smile on your face and warmth in your heart.
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Edward was a solicitor before he inherited the dukedom. He's got a son from his first marriage, but the boy is lonely and needs a mother. None of the debutantes Edward meets interest him, and most of the ton look down on him due to his low origins.

Jo is a widow who runs a home for abandoned women. She enjoys her independent life and has no desire to marry again. At a house party, her friends pressure her into a courtship with Edward. Despite the chemistry between them, she doesn't trust in love. Can Edward and his adorable son win her over?

This is a character-driven novel where most of the drama comes from Jo's reluctance to marry, and her friends' interference. It's absurd (in a funny way) how paranoid she is about the people in her life trying to make her into a duchess, as if that's a bad thing. This book is as much her journey to self-awareness as it is a love story. And poor Edward! He's a big cuddle bear, and such a good dad. It's lovely to see him get his HEA with the woman he needs for himself and his son.

Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received. This is my honest and voluntary review.
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This is book 3 in the Widow's Brew series.  I really enjoyed the first 2 books in this series and was looking forward to this one.
I have mixed feelings on it. I loved Edward,  the Duke.  He was a solicitor who unexpectedly inherited the Dukedom. He is a widow and a  hands on father of his son, Thomas. He wants to marry again but finds the marriage mart unbearable. He decides to leave London early and go spend 2 weeks at a house party for the Christening of his godson.  Hes looking forward to meeting the matron who runs the charity he sponsors. They've been corresponding for a while,  but have never met in person. 
Enter, Josephine,  Jo. She is a widow.  She was left with nothing after her husband past away and was cast out. She starts this charity,a home for women, with the help of the previous duke. I always liked Jo in the previous books but in this book I found her to be very whiny.  
I also found her friends to be very pushy. They are happy, so everyone must be happy. They push Jo into a relationship with the Duke.
And then the amount of gossip coming out of the nursery was unbelievable.   
These were a few things a liked and didn't like about the book. 
3 1/2 stars rounded up to 4.
I want to thank Netgalley for the chance to review this book.
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A widow and a handsome Duke find unexpected love in Cheers to the Duke. When Josephine unwittingly meets the Duke, sparks fly but she’s focused on her good works. As the two flounder their way into a relationship, the forces that may keep them apart threaten to destroy true love. Another great read by Sally Mackenzie
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This was a really fun and quick read. I really liked the two main characters and their dynamics. They played of each other really well and I could really feel the chemistry between them. However, I do think the romance moved a little bit too quickly for my taste. I mean we spend a couple of days with them and then skipped to the end of the event. I feel like the developement of the romance could have been spread a bit more over all those days that were skipped. Anyway, I also quite liked the side characters, even though I sometimes wish we got a bit more of them. I loved Thomas and the dogs. They added a really cute aspect to this novel. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I'm excited to read more by this author I just docked a star because I feel like besides the romance there wasn't much going on in this book, which isn't a bad thing I just personally preffer it when there's a bit more going on.
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This is the third book in a trilogy by Sally MacKenzie who I have to say is one of my latest go-to authors.  She writes fun, compelling characters with interesting backstories and then puts them in difficult situations to see how they work it out.  This series has been no different.

I will admit that this book was my least favorite of the trilogy, but I certainly enjoyed it.  True to form Josephine was a character with a lot of issues to work through.  Although she was featured in the previous two books, little was revealed about her (so you won't have missed anything if you start here).  It is only with this book that you understand why the Benevolent Home is so important to her, enough that it becomes a stumbling block for her on her way to true love.

Likewise, Edward was introduced in the first of the series and instantly likable, but even more so here when we see him interact with his son.  That is how you get to know the true measure of a man (or woman).  He was not quite what I expected, but he was a lovely, wonderful man.  Certainly, he was no Duke.  I think that is the hardest part to wrap your head around as a reader.  He is a Duke in name only, never by word or by deed.

The book is somewhat sedate and lacking in conflict, yet it manages to compel quite a bit of emotional angst for the reader because the characters are so wonderful.  Even as they float into and out of their relationship, you want so much for them to be happy, that you often feel more than they seem to.

If you have been reading the series, you will enjoy having all of the characters back together again for the christening of the first baby in the group.  If you are new to the series, you will want to get to know the rest of them after you read this.
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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cheers To The Duke is fun, spirited, and romantic.  This is a tale of two mature adults with plenty of life experience that finds that there is such a thing as second chances at happiness.  From matchmaking to house parties to secret assignations, this book will charm, and you will root for a happy ending for these two deserving people.

Jo, the widowed Lady Havenridge, has put her heart and soul into the brewery that empowers and employs destitute women with their daughters.  With both of Jo’s partners recently married, she is burdened with all the worries and difficulties of the entire operation.  Jo is a spunky character.  She is consumed with her work to the point of obsession.  Jo has forgotten how to smile and enjoy life.  Jo is so absorbed in helping others that she has forgotten she needs to see to her happiness, not just the satisfaction of running the home.  I felt Jo was a lonely soul, unconsciously looking for someone to complete her.  To her detriment, Jo’s singular focus could be frustrating at times, but it helped build her strong, independent nature.  Jo was a force to be reckoned with.

Edward Russell, the new Duke Of Grainger, was a solicitor and widower who received the dukedom due to a freak occurrence of the death to all the immediate heirs.  Edward has the most adorable son, Thomas, who stole every scene.  Edward has a healthy dislike of the aristocracy as they see him not much above an ordinary worker that infiltrated their ranks.  Edward’s love for Thomas is heartwarming and sweet.  Edward is lonely, wanting companionship, passion, and a loving mother for his child.  Edward’s sense of responsibility and capacity to love makes him a lovable, formidable character.  Edward’s caring heart is precious and fragile and needs love and special care.  He wants Jo to be the person who makes him whole.  

Edward and Jo are thrown together at a house party by a bunch of matchmaker friends.  Edward is more hopeful and smitten, where Jo is aggravated and uncertain.  The attraction, although a little one-sided, is instantaneous.  The couple’s compatibility is evident from their first encounter.  The couple’s adventure into passion is full of seduction and a little humor.  Jo is skittish and rightfully so due to her past, but I felt aggravated at her at times.  The couple’s interaction with Thomas was compelling and handled with love.

The plot was exciting and moved quickly.  The pace kept my attention.  I enjoyed the premise and found myself cheering for the couple.  There were many secondary characters from previous books, but they were well defined without the author re-hashing the previous books.  I adored the ending.  The entire story had substance without being dragged down with emotional baggage.  Cheers To The Duke is the third book in this wonderful series, Widow’s Brew.  Sally MacKenzie has done a fantastic job of creating a joyful story of two people on different paths that find happiness with each other.  This is an enjoyable, lovable read that lightened my heart and had me believing in happy endings!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book through Netgalley and the publisher.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Will she be able to put the past to rest and open herself to a new venture …

Here is I suppose the last book in this series as now all three women who started the Home have or will find a new one.
Jo was the one who came up with the idea and it nourished her bruised soul for years. Upon a disaster of a marriage which left her even more insecure than prior it, she had no place to call home, nor money to spare or even children to dote on. But with her friends happily married, she worries, so much, too much. 
Thus why she was coerced in attending the christening of her friend’s son. A respite for everyone.
Edward should never have been a Duke if fate had not sawed a whole branch from his family tree. So here he is, and everyone reminds him he smells of trade. Not unexpected for a barrister. 
Still, he is the Duke now, and believe his duty is to marry again. But the marriage mart does not attract him and his every attempts point how much an outsider he is. Still for his motherless son he pursues this venue. But a rest is needed and his friend’s party a welcome change.

So here they are trapped together as everyone around them has decided they were the perfect match for one another. Edward is this quite willing to follow the idea when Jo struggles a bit more, dampened by her past mistakes. I first thought her too guarded, but she made once a dramatic mistake, and no one should have to make a life altering decision in a matter of days. Their chemistry is what brings them together but they will need trust and faith to go forward.
I loved Jo’s cautions, she wants all her wits about her before engaging herself on a lifelong path. She needs time to reflect on her feelings, a moment out of her daily worries is that, a respite but what when everyday life knocks at the door. Edward despite his certainties is no bully, he wants an eager partner, so he is not one to press but he pleads his case all the while listening to Jo’s doubts, fears and hesitations.
They are perfect together, up to them to see it and going for it.
4.5 stars

𝗦𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗺 𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹 onscreen lovemaking scene.

I have been granted an advance copy by the publisher, here is my true and unbiased opinion.
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I enjoyed this story. It was about an older love, second loves for both parties. The heroine is a widow if a baron who committed suicide because he ran through everything he owned. They did not have children and he blamed that on her. The hero is a lawyer, solicitor in Regency terms, who found himself placed in his distantly related duke's shoes. Society looks down on him because he was born a commoner, yet they all are obsequious to him because of his title. He was married and had a son, but his wife perished in childbirth. 
After the heroine's husband's death, she appealed to one of the local aristocrats, the distantly related duke from above, and he was a sponsor for a women's shelter for women and mothers with daughters. She has been running this home for years. About 2 years prior, the duke changes and she is corresponding to the new duke who continues his support of her shelter. The heroine is one of three women who run the shelter and the other 2 have gotten married. So she is stressed and it is showing in her daily interaction. The shelter is almost self supportive due to the brewing process they run. There were some new women in the shelter and they send her off to the baptism of her godson, but she doesnt want to go. The duke also goes to the baptism and he takes his son and their dog. 
This story dealt with the hardships women have at that time. The man was the primary financial supporter of the family and when something happened to him, if no one took the woman in, there was little they could do to survive. Most women would have had to turn to prostitution. The children would have been raised in deep poverty and most likely they would all have died of starvation. This was a sad truth, but some religions and people worked hard to prevent that and ran charities. This helped elevate the women and also taught the children a skill or trade. 
This story's romantic side was very well written and smoothly transferred between the fancy estate and the charity. I enjoy a story with children who are well behaved, and this story had a group of them, all girls except the duke's son. His elementary aged harem, lol. The characters were well depicted with development and humble realizations. The settings were accurately descripted and you could see the setting in your mind. This story hit all the high points and earned a 5 star status. I definitely recommend giving this a read.
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