Before you dive into reading this first book in a brand new series by Sabrina Jeffries, take a moment to carefully peruse the family tree laid out at the beginning, detailing the three marriages of Lydia, Duchess of Armitage (and before that, Duchess of Thornlands, and before that, Duchess of Greycourt) her five children from those three marriages, and their assorted cousins on their fathers’ sides.
Got that? Good. Otherwise you’re going to get in a terrible muddle over who’s who and how they’re related to everyone else, because every significant character in this first book is somehow related, even if it’s only by one of Lydia’s multiple marriages.
The Duke of Greycourt, aka Grey, is Lydia’s oldest son, and her most distant. While Lydia was living in Prussia with her third husband (the ambassador at the time) and her children, Grey was forced to return to England, and the care of his guardian, aged just 10. Things didn’t go tremendously well, and he’s grown up wary, resentful and gun-shy about commitment and trust. So when he’s called to his mother’s side after his stepfather’s sudden death and asked to look into the possibility that his stepfather was murdered, the last thing he wants is to fall for an opinionated young woman intimately connected to his own family.
Beatrice Wolfe doesn’t have good experiences with dukes, and she has no reason to believe Grey will be any different. He’s sexy, seductive… likeable and kind. She can’t help but like him, but she has secrets to protect, some of which aren’t hers to share.
There’s a murder mystery thread running through the background of this romance which will presumably be followed through in the rest of the series, because all that happened here was a suspect with a viable motive was eliminated from the inquiry. The romance arc is brought to a very nice conclusion, though not without a few hiccups along the way.
This is a wonderful start to a new series, and I’d definitely recommend getting in on the ground floor, so to speak, because I think the threads of that murder mystery might be tricky to pick up in later books if you haven’t read this one. Dive right in and enjoy! Five stars.
Project Duchess is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.