With her betrothal to a duke in tatters and scandal imminent, Diana Kingman has two choices: live in certain ignominy or flee into obscurity. Diana wants solitude. She never wished to wed in the first place. However, her father will stop at nothing to betroth her to one of the finest titles in the realm…no matter how loathsome the bearer. Escape is Diana’s only option, and she’ll pay any price to achieve freedom.
Universally blamed for the death of his wife and unborn child, Simon Hastings doesn’t dispute his guilt over an accident he cannot even remember. He hasn’t had a drink since, nor a moment’s peace. Determined to be a better man, Simon rescues a young woman in need—only to be accused of kidnapping. They must marry to save him from prison. But how can a man haunted by the love he lost and a woman afraid to get too close find happiness together?
This book was some kind of magic!
I can’t remember the last time I read a historical romance like a complete glutton, and I have absolutely no apologies to give. Darcy Burke’s The Duke of Ruin was perfection, plain and simple.
Simon Hastings is the renowned Duke of Ruin said to have murdered his late wife. It has made him a pariah in society. But his honor is as strong as ever and when his best friend reneges on his engagement, it’s up to Simon to rescue the bride.
There is something so genuine and compassionate about Simon that I couldn’t help but fall for him! He expects to be outcasted by his peers. He doesn’t even fight it. Finding Diana who doesn’t hold Simon’s reputation against him throws him for a loop.
They both end up on a road-trip romance across England, and this is hands-down my favorite trope of all time. Being in close quarters and getting to know each other and then the inevitable sexual tension from it all. This one has all of that and so much more. There is one scene by the fire…gosh almighty; it was pure, raw chemistry.
It was so well done, and it just kept building and building.
But it’s the characters that drove this story and made it one to remember. And of course, things get so tangled, but they’re both so forthright and determined despite everything against them. I can’t think of two more deserving people.
I haven’t been able to thoroughly enjoy a historical romance in a while, and this one begged me to read it again and again. My favorite historical of the year!
I voluntarily reviewed an arc via the author in exchange for an honest review. Reviewed by Michaelene for The Librarian’s Corner.*