Lady Vivian Defies A Duke

Samantha Grace
Lady Vivian Defies A Duke
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Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date
May 2013
Book 4 of Beau Monde
Historical Romance, Romantic Comedy

The Naked Truth

Lady Vivian Worth knows perfectly well how to behave like a lady. But observing proper manners when there's no one around to impress is just silly. Why shouldn't she strip down to her chemise for a swim? When her betrothed arrives to finally meet her, Vivi will act every inch the lady—demure, polite, compliant. Everything her brother has promised the man. But until then, she's going to enjoy her freedom...

A Revealing Discovery

Luke Forest, the newly named Duke of Foxhaven, wants nothing to do with his inheritance—or the bride that comes with it. He wants adventure and excitement, like the enchanting water nymph he's just stumbled across. When he discovers the skinny-dipping minx is his intended, he reconsiders his plan to find Lady Vivian another husband. Because the idea of this vivacious woman in the arms of another man might be enough to drive him insane—or to the altar.

Book Review by Lisa Jo
May 15, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
217 people found the following review helpful
It should come as no surprise that Samantha Grace has delivered another priceless historical romance to complete her Beau Monde series. LADY VIVIAN DEFIES A DUKE is a beautiful regency romance that will delight readers with clever and charming characters.

Lady Vivian Worth is not the conventional lady. She swims in her chemise, shoots a pistol and rides a horse surprisingly well. Yet she is willing to give up her frivolous life when Luke Forest, Duke of Foxhaven, makes her his wife. Her brother and Luke's father arranged this marriage years ago and Vivan is eager to fulfil her duty. Her reputation was nearly ruined from a scandal during her youth which her brother went to great lengths to hide. If her bridegroom discovers her secret, Vivian fears her last and only option would be to take the veil.

Lady Vivian is unaware though, that Luke is on his way to break their engagement for other reasons. He doesn't want to settle down in marriage, he wants adventure instead. Yet when he first happens upon Vivian swimming in the lake like a beautiful young water sprite, he wonders if she is the amiable and demure woman that was described to him. Luke sets out to find Vivian another husband, but quickly realizes she may be all the excitement and adventure he needs.

I've probably said this before, but it bears repeating...I love the way Samantha Grace's novels progress. The pace of the romance develops beautifully and doesn't leave readers desperately hanging on until the last page for a fulfilling conclusion. The unique combination of drama and lightness remain throughout, but the feelings are develop in a realistic manner and are not withheld. Her romances are about first discovering love and then showing that couple working through the external drama together to find their happily ever after. It's always been a perfect match for me.

Vivian and Luke's courtship is sweet and delightful. There is much humor and playfulness to be found between these two protagonists that you can't help but enjoy every page of it. Mainly because the two of them together make the perfect couple. Luke on the one hand is a bit of a tortured hero. An accident left him with a slight disability, so he feels his role as the Duke of Foxhaven no longer suits him. I have to admit there was a great appeal to his character because he desperately wants to break out of the normal expectations for a man of his status. He didn't want to be the stuffy duke and desired more from his life.

Well, at least Luke thought he wanted more from life. When he finally meets Vivian, readers are introduced to a cunning and spirited woman discovering her place in the world and knocking Luke off his feet. She's a strong heroine, but she also shares a great vulnerability. Before she even met Luke, she knew he was her last hope. Ms Grace tells her story beautifully by describing a woman that does what she must, yet still can't give up her love for life. Her vitality is what makes her so appealing and gives readers a heroine they can adore.

Samantha Grace has a great way with dialogue and easily expresses her characters throughout in LADY VIVIAN DEFIES A DUKE. Each one has a strikingly different personality and you can tell this author takes great time and effort to make it show. Of course this makes the characters even more endearing and makes you wish the book would never end. Unfortunately, LADY VIVIAN DEFIES A DUKE is the last installment of the Beau Monde series, but there is no reason you have to read the first installments if you have not had a chance to yet. Each novel can be read as a stand alone or the series can be read in order. Characters from previous novels make appearances but not long enough to confuse or distract the main story.

A stellar ending to a stellar series, LADY VIVIAN DEFIES A DUKE is yet another winner from Samantha Grace. Historical romance readers will find another passionate, thrilling and humorous tale within the pages of this novel. This unconventional couple will leave you grinning ear to ear as you watch them fall in love. Be prepared for your heart to flutter and to enjoy a good laugh because LADY VIVIAN DEFIES A DUKE has it all and more. Historical romance fans should not miss this one.
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Book Review by Mary Chen (reviewer)
May 30, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
225 people found the following review helpful
An engaging story from Samantha Grace, the 4th entry in her Beau Monde series!

We first met the hero, Luke Forest, in the previous Beau Monde book, Miss Lavigne's Little White Lie, in which he served as a helpful side character. Now, Luke has become the Duke of Foxhaven, and is seeking to disengage himself from his responsibilities as a duke, along with his betrothed, Lady Vivian Worth.

Vivian is a spirited, bold, and somewhat reckless young lady. She's not given to conformity over stiff manners or propriety, and her childhood situation - the death of her parents - has contributed to her streak of independence. The first meeting between Vivian and Luke is humorous and engaging, she having mistaken him for another, and he believing her a dairy maid. Luke's initial mission to cancel his betrothal to Vivian is in conflict with Vivian's need to make a good marriage and not further embarrass her older brother, lest she be sent off to a convent, leaving no one else to care for her ailing cousin. Once Luke's good nature overruns his own mission, he proposes to find Vivian a husband, and through that process, he comes to want Vivian more as his own, as only Vivian is capable of healing the hurt in his heart.

What I love most about this book are the characters of Vivian and Luke. Vivian is such a delightful character whose charm and innocence bellies a sensitive and caring nature. For her family, she is afraid of failing to secure her marriage, but she cannot help "messing up" the proprieties, as they were. I absolutely adored Vivian, and she provided me with a few hours of laughter in her dealings with Luke. Luke's character also came as a surprise, for he is a most caring and considerate person, without a trace of the common aristocratic arrogance that's in most of his Regency peers. He suffers from the effects of a traumatic brain injury, which cause concentration problems among other things, and is hence the reason for his delegating ducal responsibilities to his brother, and believing he has no right to make Vivian his duchess. Later, his problems turns more psychological, as his own anger and fears of failure manifested physically to difficulty in reading, leading him to believe even less of himself. Of course, it was Vivian who finally convinced Luke of his worth, and in so doing, established a stronger emotional bond with him.

Were this the whole of the story, I would have given this book 5 stars. Unfortunately, halfway through the story, Luke's taking Vivian to his mother's party (in order to find suitors for her) led to a series of evil machinations from Luke's cousin that turned an otherwise wonderful romance into an annoyance. Not only did the story start to drag from then on, but the misunderstandings also impeded Luke and Vivian's relationship; I was glad when Luke finally decided to throw caution to the winds and believe in his love with Vivian, and more so when the manipulators came to light.

Ultimately, the first half of the book made me want to sing praises to Samantha Grace, while the latter half diminished my enjoyment of the story. Despite the extraneous plot twists, LADY VIVIAN DEFIES A DUKE is a clever and enjoyable romance between two unique and engaging (though Luke was a bit vexing) characters. I look forward to Ms Grace's next book, as it will no doubt be a beautiful and fulfilling story.
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