Chasing the Duke
by Tracy Sumner, Twelve Days
‘Chasing the Duke’ is a beautifully written story, full of moments where a turn of phrase is so perfect that it literally makes you pause to appreciate the words. The heroine, Camille Bellington, is marrying Viscount Ridley purely for financial reasons – to save her home. But she has been in love with Tristan for a long time. He is 8 years older than her and was always her brother’s best friend. Camille knows that he never saw her as anything but a bit of a pest, and then he went off to war. Now that he has returned, Camille swears to herself that she will never chase after him again.
Tristan has inherited his father’s title and is now the Duke of Mercer. After the war he’s a changed man in much more personal ways, struggling to cope with all the horrors he experienced on battlefields. He rarely socializes. Tristan grew up spending a lot of time with Camille and her brother, and the aunt that basically raised them. He accepts a dinner invitation from that aunt and at it he is startled to realizes Camille is all grown up. He is sure that he is no longer fit to be in a real relationship because he is haunted by his years at war, but he finds Camille with her intelligence, wit and beauty to be a magnet for his heart and a balm for his soul. Tristan realizes that if he wants her in his life, he is going to have to do the chasing.
This book was an extremely enjoyable read. Camille is a botanist, which makes her an unusual female during her time, and makes the story even more interesting. I thought this story was as smooth as eggnog at Christmas, as effervescent as champagne in a crystal flute, and as comfortable as hot chocolate on a cold and snowy night. It’s definitely a story to savor, with just the right amount of steam. There is a wonderful happy ending, too, and some vivid secondary characters. This book is like an early Christmas gift to readers!