The Runaway Duchess is a typical historical romance that follows a predictable plot. But that doesn’t mean it’s not an enjoyable read. Jillian Eaton weaves a well known tale but makes the characters shine.
Lady Charlotte Vanderley lives in London with her widowed mother. She still remembers her father fondly, and has progressive ideas ahead of her time. She helps the maids do laundry on the sly, and carries stuff for them up the stairs. Her mother has one mission in life – to marry her off to a wealthy husband with good standing in the ton. When the Duke of Tarrow shows interest in Charlotte, her mother couldn’t be happier. But Charlotte is dismayed! The Duke is old; much older than herself and has already buried two wives. He gives her the shivers. Her dread intensifies when her well meaning maid lets her know the stories of the Duke’s cruelty, and how he may have been responsible for giving his wives some early salvation. Her mother is deaf to her pleas, and the reason is clear enough. The Duke has a big hold over her mother, and money and position mean more to old Lady Vanderley then her daughter’s happiness.
Gavin Graystone is envied but not respected. After all, he is not blue blooded. Gavin grew up in the slums and lived a hard life before making lots of money with his uncanny business sense. Now he lends money to Earls, but they still refuse to look up to him or accept him in their company. When Gavin’s path crosses with the pretty Charlotte more than once, they both think its fate. They each have something the other wants, and so they make a pact and run off to Scotland to tie the knot. Only the cunning old gentleman who weds them sees the spark that both are trying to ignore.
Back home in London, things take a predictable turn. Neither Gavin nor Charlotte are sure about what to expect from the other. And they invariably end up hurting each other. A foxy butler and unfriendly staff add fuel to the fire. Will they proclaim their love for each other before its too late?
The Runaway Duchess is an easy read that follows a familiar path. I still read the whole book and wonder what it is that makes romance lovers read similar stories over and over year in and year out. Is it the optimist in us that loves reading about happy endings? Do we read them to just feel good and get a warm and fuzzy feeling? Or do they just let us escape our reality for a while?
Whatever your reason, Jillian Eaton’s The Runaway Duchess is a good candidate for your reading list.