The Accidental Duchess

The Accidental Duchess

by Madeline Hunter

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From New York Times bestselling author Madeline Hunter comes this seductive tale of a headstrong young lady, a scandalous manuscript, and the iron-willed duke determined to save her from her ruin.  For fans of Mary Balogh, Eloisa James, and Julia Quinn.  
When Lady Lydia Alfreton is blackmailed over the shocking contents of a manuscript she once wrote, she must go to the most desperate of measures to raise the money to buy back the ill-considered prose: agreeing to an old wager posed by the arrogant, dangerous Duke of Penthurst. At least Penthurst is a man she wouldn’t mind fleecing—and she’s confident she’ll win.
Penthurst long ago concluded Lydia was a woman in search of ruinous adventure, but even he is surprised when she arrives at his house ready to bet her innocence against his ten thousand pounds—a wager he only proposed to warn her off gambling.
When she loses to a simple draw of the cards, Lydia is shocked. Now, her problems are twofold: a blackmailer determined to see her pay and a duke determined to tame her rebellious ways. One misstep and Lydia could find herself ruined—or bound to the seductive man who would make her his duchess.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780698151291
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/03/2014
Series: Fairbourne Quartet , #4
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 45,382
File size: 1 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Madeline Hunter has published 24 critically acclaimed historical romances. Her books regularly appear on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. More than six million copies of her books are in print, and her books have been translated into twelve languages. She has won two RITA awards and is a seven-time RITA finalist. Madeline holds a PhD in art history, which she teaches at the university level.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Blackmailed and faced with embarrassment and the suspicion of treason if the draft of her ill-advised, racy adventure novel is made public, unconventional Lady Lydia Alfreton heads to the gaming tables to raise some cash. Sadly, her gambling plan goes awry, and she is forced to call in an old bet with the Duke of Penthurst and recklessly wager (and lose) her virtue. Although the duke doesn’t plan to collect, he keeps Lydia guessing. Then Lydia’s ill-advised attempt to deal with the blackmailer brings Penthurst to the rescue, compromising them both, and suddenly it’s marriage, not simple seduction, that lay ahead. VERDICT A rash, adventure-seeking heroine and an honorable, take-charge hero clash splendidly as passions blaze in this complex story that pairs another marvelously singular couple, brings the bad guys to justice, and cleverly ties up the loose ends...—to the delight of all concerned." —Library Journal

"Fueled by an abundance of subtle wit and potent sensuality, The Accidental another exquisitely crafted love story by one of the romance genre’s masters." —Booklist

Praise for the novels of Madeline Hunter
"Another stellar Regency-set historical romance that hits all the literary marks. Hunter’s effortlessly elegant writing exudes a wicked sense of wit; her characterization is superbly subtle, and the sexual chemistry she cooks up between her deliciously independent heroine and delightfully sexy hero is pure passion."—Booklist (starred review)
"Intelligent and memorable...As smart and sharp as the best of Regency romances can be.  With its tangy dialogue, Pride and Prejudice themes, bits of mystery and nefarious characters, readers may be reminded of Jane Austen."—Romantic Times (Top Pick)
“Hunter’s books are so addictive.”—Publishers Weekly
“Hunter's flowery centerpiece will suit every romance table. Highly recommended.”—Library Journal

Customer Reviews

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The Accidental Duchess 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. As a reader of romance novels for the past 15 years, it is hard to find books that still capture my interest. This book kept me interested the entire way through.
MyBookAddictionandMore More than 1 year ago
THE ACCIDENTAL DUCHESS by Madeline Hunter is an exciting Regency Historical Romance. #4 in the "Fairbourne Quartet: series, but can be read as a stand alone. See, "The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne", "The Conquest of Lady Cassandra", and "The Counterfeit Mistress". This is Lady Lydia Alfreton and the Duke of Penthurst's story. What happens when you cross a head-strong lady with a iron- willed Duke? Why a scandalous, and seductive tale of romance, ruin and love. With a secrets or two, a little blackmail, witty banter, a bit of gambling, a rebellious Lady, a Duke determined to tame said rebellious lady, and a sensual web, you can't help but love "The Accidental Duchess". Light-hearted tale with a serious air, lots of rebellion, and a bet of innocence against a much needed ten thousand pounds, readers will be turning pages faster than Lady Lydia can lose her innocence. A absolute delight to read! Highly recommend! Received for an honest review from the publisher. RATING: 4.5 HEAT RATING: MILD REVIEWED BY: AprilR, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was expecting a lot more from this author in this book. I was looking forward to having this story told but it was just so boring & the characters were obnoxious that I honestly don't think I'll be reading any more of her books. It was that bad.
AustenStudent More than 1 year ago
Lady Lydia Thornton is a bluestocking and the extremely independent-minded sister of Darius, the hero from The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne, the first book in The Fairbourne Quartet series by Madeline Hunter. The series features four unconventional and headstrong women who find love and happiness in early nineteenth-century England. All the books are interconnected and are best read in order for character development and plot progression. Lydia’s unconventional and impetous character stood out in that story, so I was very happy to read more about her. As a young girl, Lydia once wrote a provocative story which also featured the names of ships—this, in a time of war with France. At the beginning of this novel, she is blackmailed by an acquaintance from the gaming tables, Algernon Trilby, a rather sleazy and weak man. This plot brought to mind the Sherlock Holmes’ short story, "The Adventure of the Second Stain." In that story, a politician’s wife is blackmailed by sensual letters she wrote as a young girl. Also like Lady Louisa from Burrowes’ Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight. The Duke of Penthurst, an old friend of Lydia’s brother, was once promised to Lydia as children, something of which she knows nothing about. But he dismissed the idea so it never came to fruition. He rescues her from dangerous situations with Trilby during critical points in the story, partly in deference to her brother but also because he has a heart, honor, and a conscience. Also, he is very attracted to her yet her independent and impulsivity also exasperate him. Lydia wants to believe she is an independent woman in Regency England. She wants more from life than to be beholden to a man, she wants to experience life and be her own woman. She loves to gamble but, instead of pocketing the money, she gives it to charity. Yet she is still constrained by societal strictures and is prone to melancholy and contemplative moods. “She had been an imp as a girl. Animated, loud, and often naughty. Very different from the Lydia she showed the world now. Unless she was gambling. Otherwise, she hid behind that aloof mask and cloaked herself in a hard shell.” (p40) “People assumed the worst of her, when she had never even had the opportunity to be bad! Somehow she had become the problem sister of Southwaite, simply because she avoided marriage and wanted a bit of—something different. Anything less predictable. A reason for excitement. Was she so wicked for desiring some experiences out of the ordinary ones decreed for a woman of her birth?” (p33) I felt Lydia’s vulnerability throughout the story, despite her exterior toughness. She is an innocent but longs to be a “woman of the world.” I had to laugh at a fanciful image she has of Penthurst, reminiscent of the young Catherine Morland from Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey: “She always thought he would look more at home in a dark castle than a Grosvenor Square mansion. She could picture him in the castle’s great hall with his hounds, tall and disheveled from riding, the fires of the hearth roaring behind him.” (p58) In a drastic wager to quickly acquire money, she renews an old and outrageous wager with Penthurst: her virtue for 10,000 pounds. And so begins a captivating story filled with tension and danger as Lydia walks a fine line between daring and decorum. Penthurst is an enigmatic man and honorable man. His well-timed rescues of Lydia, his determination to do the right thing, and even his willingness to work his own land speak of a man who is comfortable with himself, instead of what society expects of him. “The life she had known might be over, but this marriage affected his, too.” (p198) Kendale, the hero from The Counterfeit Mistress (book three) is ever rough around the edges, with his usual impertinent and improper observations. Along with the other two heroes from the first two books, they contribute much humor to the story. The romance between Lydia and Penthurst simmers with passion and their sharp and often caustic dialogue is the best part of the story as it reveals both her vulnerability and his honor. "Did he like her? Was their growing comfort more than just two people accommodating the inevitable, or the result of the physical intimacies of marriage? (p311) And so ends a wonderful series by a highly accomplished and entertaining author. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The hereo was a prig. The herione was very immature and claims @24 she is a woman of the world. - she's not! This was an ok read. Could have been better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good and interesting Didn't want to put it down Can't wait to read another
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the series and wish there were more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love historical romance...this story did not disappoint. Loved the characters..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
booknerdDS More than 1 year ago
ARC received for an honest review I can’t believe this is my first book by Madeline Hunter. I could have sworn I read her before and I’m so disappointed that I haven’t! Hunter is a great writer and really knows how to deliver a good story! She had all the elements that I like! The writing is engaging, the story flows and I really like the characters.  First, I really liked the heroine. I liked that Lady Lydia Thornton was her own person. She doesn’t care for societies rules and she does what she wants. This has obviously caused her to earn a reputation. Lydia is known as the “sphinx” because in society she holds her emotions in check and doesn’t let anyone into her private thoughts. All except her closest friends. This part was the only part that I missed out on. In previous books all the friends had their stories so many of the characters in this book I was not familiar with. But it didn’t stop me from enjoying the story. Lydia is considered too old to marry and she also enjoys gambling. She is known to be a great gambler and really enjoys it. There were times I had to confess that I thought she had a problem… The Duke of Penthurst was an interesting hero/anti-hero. It was hard to figure him out at times. He seemed very stuffy and judgemental. He seems to coincide with Lydia when she is getting herself into trouble and has a certain degree of delight in reprimanding her and at the same time enjoying her “scandals”. I started to like him more and more as the story unravels. The author alluded to different encounters between Lydia and Penthurst in previous books. So if anyone has read them (I know I will) they get to see Lydia and Penthurst get their story. So what is the conflict? Lydia is blackmailed, Algernon- who is so loathsome and ghoulish- has his hands on a book she wrote years ago. Algernon decides to blackmail her, but like all spineless jerks he is never satisfied and keeps increasing the ransom. I really liked how the author introduced the conflict and how it developed into another problem. Lydia really gets herself in all different kinds of situations and one obviously involves Penthurst. This story is lengthy but it is very good and very intriguing. The things that made this book a five star for me where: the hero and heroine and their connection. It wasn’t insta- lust with them. As the story unfolded so did their relationship. I highly enjoyed and recommend this book!  The Accidental Duchess (Fairbourne Quartet, #4)
GGW More than 1 year ago
Any book by Madeline Hunter is an auto-buy, and she never disappoints. Hunter has a sure hand with her characters. You live their story, and this book is no exception.
smg5775 More than 1 year ago
Lydia lives her life as a woman of the world according to her. Because of a novel she began several years earlier she is being blackmailed. Consenting to meet the blackmailer out of town she is compromised but rescued by Penthurst. He marries her and learns her grievance against him. When she discovers the truth she also discovers her true feelings for Penthurst. About halfway through this book I thought, "Oh, no. Penthurst is going to suppress Lydia's bluntness and lack of foresight." That did not happen. The story actually got more interesting as Penthurst allows Lydia her freedom. She discovers what she felt was a golden memory is only a memory, not reality. When she figures out what happens her rose-colored glasses are removed. I liked Lydia. Being married did not suppress her natural vivaciousness or curiosity. She surprises Penthurst with her words and actions. The two grow together and their relationship is very believable. The Southwaites, Amburys, and Kendale are part of the story. Southwaite and Ambury are very much into what is acceptable in society. Kendale just blurts out what he thinks. He remains my favorite of the quartet but Penthurst is a close second. It was a good story. A good closing to the series
SummerSnowFalls More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. When I picked it up, I had no idea it was part of a series (oops!), but after reading The Accidental Duchess I am going out to the bookstore at the next available opportunity to purchase the other three (followed by a re-read of this delightful story). Lydia Alfreton is a slightly older heroine, headstrong, and independent, but also aware of the limitations society places on her - and how to get around those limitations! Lydia has no problem circumventing her lackadaisical Aunts in order to make her way to Mrs. Burtons, a famous gaming establishment for the rich and powerful. Known for her incredible luck at the gaming tables, it is precisely that trait coupled with her innocent naivete that lands her in deep water with villain Algernon Trilby and the book's hero the Duke of Penthurst. The Duke is confident without being arrogant and must take charge when Lydia lands herself in scandalous trouble halfway to Scotland. While he sees fit to tease Lydia, making her worry and wonder if he will collect on a reckless bet of her virtue, he does so without coming across as overly-aggressive or inconsiderate. Indeed, his steps to save Lydia from certain ruin seem almost noble (and ironically funny when you know a little bit about what happened when he was made Duke at fifteen). The dialogue is crisp and the banter between Lydia and Rosalyn had me laughing out loud at their antics. I would certainly love to be a spectator to any of their arguments! On that note, the secondary characters in this novel are neatly flushed out instead of remaining mere plot devices. Penthurst's circle of friends are the heroes of their own books in this series so it is understandable why they jump off the page, but characters like Rosalyn and Lydia's maid Sarah are equally compelling. The love story unfolded slowly, but not at a glacial pace and was believable and sweet. I think one of my favorite parts of this book was towards the end when Lydia and Penthurst are sitting down and Lydia reveals she knows his secret (the one referenced above when Penthurst was fifteen). Not only was this scene funny, but it showed just how much they transformed from the acerbic relationship of the book's beginning to the relaxed, but feisty couple in love we see at the end. Originally posted at Plot Twist Reviews
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PDX_reader_Jane More than 1 year ago
I've read all of Madeline Hunter's books and eagerly wait for them to be published.  The Accidental Duchess was a delight to read, as usual. It has it all --- intrigue, romance, humor and a satisfying ending. Looking forward to the Madeline's (I've read her biography on her books so many times that I feel like her friend!) next book. Go to her website and sign up for her newsletter.  You will learn about characters, new books and get freebies!
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