A Duke in Time
by Janna MacGregor
The Widow Rules - Book 1
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: June 29, 2021
Reviewed by PJ
Katherine Vareck is in for the shock of her life when she learns upon her husband Meri's accidental death that he had married two other women. Her entire business, along with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a royal supplier, is everything she's been working for and now could be destroyed if word leaks about the three wives.
Meri's far more upstanding brother, Christian, Duke of Randford has no earthly clue how to be of assistance. He spent the better part of his adult years avoiding Meri and the rest of his good-for-nothing family, so to be dragged back into the fold is…problematic. Even more so is the intrepid and beautiful Katherine, whom he cannot be falling for because she's Meri's widow. Or can he?
With a textile business to run and a strong friendship forming with Meri's two other wives, Katherine doesn't have time for much else. But there's something about the warm, but compellingly taciturn Christian that draws her to him. When an opportunity to partner in a business venture brings them even closer, they'll have to face their pasts if they want to share each other's hearts and futures.
A Duke in Time launches Janna MacGregor's new series and sets the stage for what looks to be a very entertaining group of books. The premise is intriguing, with a group of main characters I'm looking forward to learning more about, and a bit of a mystery that looks to play out over the course of the series. I'm eager to discover what out-of-left-field bequests from the deceased "trigamist" show up next!
What drives this story are the characters and, I have to say, they're some of the most likeable I've met in some time. Christian and Kat are good, honorable, caring people who I was pulling for from start to finish. I enjoyed Kat's determination to earn her own keep, her clever innovations, and her willingness to help those in need. In light of that innate goodness, it wasn't a stretch to believe she would step forward to help Constance and Beth but what I really enjoyed was the sisterhood ultimately formed by this trio of women who were all betrayed by the same man.
I appreciated Christian's support of Kat, how they worked together, how he listened to her ideas, and his determination to help those less fortunate, especially the soldiers who came home to nothing. I enjoyed their flirtations, their chemistry, and their foundation of friendship that deepened into love.
The supporting cast of characters were all vividly depicted, bringing additional depth, humor, and conflict to the story. I'm already looking forward to seeing more of some of them in the next book.
There were a few issues that kept this from being a 5-star read for me but, overall, it was a well-crafted, heart-tugging story that kept me turning pages, cheering for the (good) characters, taking satisfaction in the consequences suffered by villain, happy with the culmination of Kat and Christian's journey, and eager for the next two books. If you enjoy historical romance, give this one a try.