Desperately Seeking a Duchess by Christi Caldwell (review)

Miss Cailin Audley only wanted to enjoy the cultural side of London, but being the illegitimate daughter of a Duke means that she is forced to deal with Polite Society as well. And part of that society is a man who misled her, Courtland Balfour. She’s grown up in a mining town and struggles with the expectations placed upon her, he is the Duke of St. James and is struggling to hide from his family just how close he is to debtors prison. And after everything goes awry at a fateful house party, will he be able to convince Cailin that his interest is not merely that of a fortune hunter?

Second in the All the Duke’s Sins series, Desperately Seeking a Duchess by Christi Caldwell is a delightful surprise. This is a lively Regency, with various characters (not least of which are the leads) defying stereotypes of the times in delightful ways while giving the reader a story of two people from different backgrounds coming together despite the heartaches and difficulties of their pasts. This is a charming romp of an open door romance that will leave the reader ready to discover the romantic fates of the two remaining Audley bachelors. Personally, I’m hoping a few years pass and that there is more in store for the youngest Balfour sibling as well.

This review refers to a temporary digital galley that I voluntarily read and reviewed through NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher. A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own. Desperately Seeking a Duchess is best read after book 1, Along Came a Lady, to fully appreciate the appearances of the Audley brothers.

About the Book

What happens when an impoverished duke with a reputation for being a rogue collides with a strong-willed heiress who wants to explore the world? An unlikely friendship…and unexpected passion.

Cailin Audley doesn’t fit in with Polite Society. A life spent among the working class taught her to value her independence in a way no newfound fortune or glittering ballroom could ever erase. When a major misstep sees the new heiress whisked away to the English countryside, Cailin soon realizes the vexing lengths her family will go to see her settled.  But having risked her heart once before, Cailin has no interest in the men of the ton—especially not the frustratingly charming Duke of St. James.
Courtland Balfour, the Duke of St. James, devoted brother and notorious rogue, despises what he must become—a fortune hunter. But with the ducal coffers drained by his late, spendthrift of a father, Courtland knows his duty lies at the altar and he will do anything to ensure a future for his siblings. Just his luck that the one lady who could make this new fate bearable, who enflames him like no other, is the one woman who wants nothing to do with him or his title.
But when an act of desperation inadvertently lands he and Cailin at the heart of another scandal, Courtland knows better than to waste his chance. Surely he can convince Cailin to love him?

Desperately Seeking a Duchess by Christi Caldwell (All the Duke’s Sins, book 2) | Berkley, May 24, 2022 | ebook, 336 pages