What is the story?
It isn't easy being a member of the Ton, especially when you would rather be knee deep in mud, digging up the Roman remains in the orchard at your Grandmothers manor house. Not to mention that you are - in fact - a woman.
Fiona Amberly's Grandmother is seriously ill. Her dying wish is to see her granddaughter happily married and her future secure.
To appease her Grandmother, Fiona states that she is secretly engaged. She makes the excuse that her betrothed has gone to war to bravely fight Napoleon. But the war has now ended and she can no longer "kill off" her fictional betrothal as she had intended. And now questions are being asked. Where is this mysterious Captain Knightly?
Percival Carmichael had never expected to become the Duke of Alfriston, but with the death of his cousin, he has been named heir. It is time he found a wife and his aunt has the perfect person in mind - all he needs to do is get himself off to London and propose.
Fiona is riding back to her archaeological site when she sees a tree blocking a road. She stops a passing coach in a bid to warn the driver. Unfortunately the driver sees not a lady but a scruffy looking scoundrel with a knife in her hands. He mistakes her for a highwaywoman and flees, fearing for his life.
Fiona suddenly comes up with an auspicious plan. If she were to 'borrow' the handsome passenger, then maybe he would come around to the idea of playing Captain Knightly, just for a couple of days...
What did I think?
I had so much fun with this book. It was incredibly amusing. The kidnapping of the Duke of Alfriston, had me in tears, it really was hysterical.
Blythe has created two really real and believable characters in Fiona and Percival.
Percival has come home from the war wounded, he has lost part of his leg, and I felt that Blythe was really sympathetic to his character. His on-going pain and trauma made him a very real and believable character. I really felt for him when he was subjected to abuse from not only the Ton, but also members of his own family, because he was now, in their eyes, damaged. Likewise, he never planed to be a Duke and has been thrown in to the deep end, so to speak. He is under an awful amount of pressure by his family, to do the right thing. Duty binds him and it feels like his life is no longer his own.
Fiona was wonderful. She came across as a really strong character, but there was an air of vulnerability about her that made her really likable. She very quickly becomes swept along with circumstance, with some funny, but ultimately, disastrous consequences.
How To Capture A Duke was a really enjoyable read. It is a beautiful historical romance story that will make you laugh out loud. I highly recommend.
Born in Texas, Wellesley graduate Bianca Blythe spent four years in England. She worked in a fifteenth century castle, though sadly that didn't actually involve spotting dukes and earls strutting about in Hessians.
She credits British weather for forcing her into a library, where she discovered her first Julia Quinn novel. Thank goodness for blustery downpours.
Bianca now lives in Massachusetts with her boyfriend, though she will admit to craving warm scones and clotted cream. She's not certain she can admit to reading about handsome, roguish dukes, at least in a location where her boyfriend might stumble upon the fact.
But if any readers are stumbling upon this, rest assured that she does write about rather swoon worthy heroes :-)