Autumn Duchess (Roxton Family Saga, #2) By Lucinda Brant

Roxton Family Saga Book 2: Antonia and Jonathon’s Happily Ever After

1770s England: Treat, the ancestral home of the dukes of Roxton.

Antonia, Dowager Duchess of Roxton, has mourned the loss of her duke for three long years. Her grief is all-consuming. Then into her life steps a most unconventional man.

Jonathon Strang, East India merchant and widower, lets nothing stand in the way of success, in business or in pleasure.

On spying Antonia, Jonathon is immediately smitten. He sees a beautiful woman who has not only lost the love of her life, and her exalted position in society, but is bullied, badgered, and totally misunderstood. She needs someone to talk to and a sympathetic shoulder to cry on.

Antonia’s opinion of Jonathon is less charitable. Insufferably arrogant. Overbearing. Dangerous. She must keep her distance. Better still, she will ignore him and pretend they had never been introduced.

Widely regarded a classic and a rule breaker, Autumn Duchess is a rare example of a much-loved heroine’s second chance at love in the autumn of her life. Deeply emotional and uplifting, this stand-alone story takes the Roxton Family saga into the bold new future of the next generation, led by Antonia’s son, the 6th Duke of Roxton. Autumn Duchess (Roxton Family Saga, #2)


Wonderfully emotional!

I fell in love with Antonia’s much older first husband Renard when I’ve read the first book of the series “The Noble Satyr”. Their love was so strong and beautiful that I was reluctant to read her second chance at love. I thought no one could ever replace Monseigneur.
I was wrong! Or I was partially right because Jonathon did not replace Monseigneur, or ever intended to. He was a fresh start, a totally new experience for the Dowager Duchess of Roxton, the adorable and indomitable Antonia.
This book is so good I have no words to express it. In one side a person in deep grief for her much older husband, in the other her family desperate to help her see that life should go on. The conflicts between her and her son are so real, the struggles to understand each other, the complexity of familial relationships. Her relationship with her daughter-in-law, her younger son, her grandkids, everything is emotional and real.
Then comes Jonathon, a person who understands her pain (he is also a widow), a person that reaches for her soul and grabs it in such a wonderful and romantic way. I never thought I would say that, but I think Jonathon was her real soulmate. Monseigneur was a little bit of a father figure. With him, she was not in equal ground (because of the big age difference). Monseigneur was her savior, her love and her safe place, while Jonathon was her adventure and her equal in all instances. Wonderful read! I recommend reading the books in the series in order and also the book with the letters (have a tissue at hand). Paperback This is an unusual book, in that it takes the heroine of Noble Satyr and continues her story after the death of her hero. Her mourning has lasted 3 years but she cannot seem to snap out of it. Her son has called in a self-styled doctor specializing in treating hysterical ailments of females, and here if anything the descriptions have been toned down: the treatment of mental patients at the time was most brutal. But her recovery must start with her new hero.

The subject is treated with sensitivity, a relief to those of us who also fell in love with Renard in the previous book. But it is good to know that it is possible for her to survive and continue to live. I haven't been able to think of another series where an earlier heroine gets a second chance in this way - though no doubt somebody else will.

Edit: I have just listened to this book on Audible, narrated by the wonderful Alex Wyndham (a name that belongs in a Regency romance, surely). It's a while since I read the book, and I thought I remembered the plot quite well. In fact the audiobook brought out other elements that I hadn't retained from my reading. I'd never been quite sure about having the audio version as well as the e-book or print, but this has converted me. It has added a great depth to my appreciation of the writing and the clever construction of the plot, so whether you've read the book or not I heartily recommend this version. Paperback Each time I listen to hugely talented Alex Wyndham narrating one of Lucinda Brant’s novels, I am utterly blown away. This duo is so perfect together that I am completely lost to all else once I have started a Brant/Wyndham audiobook – indeed I have to ration myself; at present I have Dair Devil waiting in my Audible library and I dare not start it yet or there will be nothing done in my house!

Autumn Duchess opens with Indian-born (of British parents) merchant Jonathon Strang attending the annual April ball at the home of Julian and Deb, the present Duke and Duchess of Roxton and the hero and heroine of Midnight Marriage. Jonathon is thoroughly captivated by the stunningly beautiful woman wearing unrelieved black, and, even after discovering that she is Antonia, dowager Duchess of Roxton, and regardless of the fact that she is clearly unattainable, he decides he WILL dance with her. He is persistent in his endeavours and persuades Antonia to take to the floor with him, much to the astonishment and consternation of all in attendance, including her very protective son, Julian. Her motives in complying are to save this confident, handsome and endearing man from social ruination, as will surely happen if she refuses his very public request to dance. She admires his candid and direct approach, which is a refreshing change for Antonia who has been used to the bowing and scraping of sycophants since her marriage to the late duke thirty years previously.

This is one of a very few social events that Antonia has graced; she has been in mourning for her beloved “Monseigneur” for three years. Her family, especially Julian, is despairing of her ever joining the land of the living again, and has even used a surreptitious form of emotional blackmail to entice her out of what he believes to be her deeply unhealthy melancholy. Her only pleasure is in the daily visits of her grandchildren, with whom she has a very loving and special relationship; it is this relationship that Julian exploits in his endeavours to winkle his Mother out of her blacks. To be fair to him, this is only done out of his deep love and concern for her welfare.

Initially, Jonathon had had an ulterior motive in becoming acquainted with Antonia. She occupies Crecy Hall which was gifted to her by her husband and is therefore hers to dispose of and also special to her. The hall forms part of lands and property embezzled from Jonathon’s ancestors by a previous Duke of Roxton. These lands and property, he feels, are his by right and he is determined to regain them. His growing attraction to Antonia, however, soon takes precedence, and before long, he is interested only in winning her affections.

The growing of the romance between Jonathon Strang and Antonia is quite movingly beautiful and touching; and the fact that he is ten years her junior (very unusual in an historical romance) is seamlessly incorporated in such a plausible manner that it quickly becomes unimportant to this story, so adeptly is it dealt with by the author. Jonathon is quite scrumptious and his character is so well-drawn that it would be impossible not to like him. He sets out to break down Antonia’s walls, brick-by-brick, argument-by-argument, winning the approval along the way, of Deb if not Julian. Slowly, through his persistence, Antonia begins to thaw and I felt ridiculously pleased as Jonathon achieved his objective, convincing her along the way that age is of no importance. I particularly liked the fact, that he did not try to replace her Duke and even encouraged her to talk about him; this went in no small way towards helping Antonia to trust and eventually love him.

There is also a factually correct secondary plot going on in which Antonia becomes innocently embroiled; it involves a close relative and nearly proves disastrous for the dowager Duchess. Lucinda Brant pays such close attention to historical detail and her painstaking research into this novel is such, that we get fascinating and interesting, living, breathing characters from the past, intertwined with the fictitious.

The gifted and skilled Alex Wyndham quite obviously enjoys reading Lucinda Brant’s work. The word ‘narrator’ is such a trite word to apply to him – he inhabits each and every role with consummate skill and professionalism – ‘becoming’ each character. Jonathon’s overwhelming gorgeousness is due, in no small part, to Mr Wyndham’s portrayal of him; he uses a smooth and honeyed tone with a trace of laid-back amusement in it, which immediately sums up the deliciously large, handsome, sun bronzed, Adonis. Antonia’s French-accented speech is perfectly pitched for a female and is subtly nuanced whether grieving, autocratic, sweet and playful with her grandchildren and – eventually, when Jonathon works his magic – lover like and romantic. There is never any doubt, even when there are a number of men in a discussion, who is who, and Julian and Deb sound exactly as they did in Midnight Marriage

All in all, Autumn Duchess is an absolutely terrific audiobook and one I’m recommending most highly. Lucinda Brant and Alex Wyndham are a force to be reckoned with, and I for one, will devour every one of their collaborations. Paperback As many people who will read this already know, I am a history geek with a singular fascination with the Georgian era. This also make me a pretty harsh critic of any book set in this period. Autumn Duchess makes the fourth book I have read by author Lucinda Brant and I now declared myself a true blue fan.

In her Georgian set romances Ms. Brant recreates the lives of the Georgian nobility, allowing us to venture beyond the closed doors and hear the whispers behind painted fans,to walk as equals amongst the uppermost elite. With an impeccable eye for detail she colors the aristocratic world, from their diamond shoe buckles to their white marble mausoleums, yet still manages to portray the privileged as real people. It's fascinating and intriguing.

Whilst her stories are very much character-driven, the author does not neglect her history as each of her books conveys a sense of the real issues and events of the times, both social and political. Yet, the heart of her story forever remains the romance. In this case, it is the compellingly and emotionally drawn relationship between a beautiful grieving widow, Antonia, Dowager Duchess of Roxton, and a much younger and very independent-minded India merchant, Jonathon Strang, who is determined to have her, heedless of the scandal he creates.

I am all for laying myself at your feet, he said with suppressed feeling. But when I prostrate myself before you, it will not be because you are Her Grace the most noble Dowager Duchess of Roxton, but because I have decided that is where I wish to be. Youa are first and foremost uncommonly interesting, and that alone makes you deserving of my attention, but I am not blind. You are unquestionably the most beautiful woman I have ever set eyes on. And I am not immune. I find you utterly desireable. So the sooner you see me as a warm-blooded male and not a mindless, neutered functionary, the better for both of us.

Another humerous highlight was the three way internal conversation that occurs between Jonathon's brain, heart and vital organ.

Flouting a world of strict societal dictates and marriages largely contrived for political and social gain, this unlikely pair come together with passion...and with love.

This is another highly recommended title from Lucinda Brant and an addition to my keeper shelf.
Paperback I haven't read the precursor to this book (Roxton 1), which I think is the story of how Antonia, the current heroine, met her first husband, the Duke of Roxton. It is an unashamed tribute to Heyer's These Old Shades, the first of hers I ever read and for many years a favourite, which is a very brave thing to do. Even braver on Lucinda Brant's part was to write the sequal where Antonia, who was about 30 years younger than her beloved Monsigneur, is left a distraught widow, and three years after his death, has not moved on at all. I took quite a bit of persuading to read this story, but thank you to Wendy and to Caz, I'm really glad I did.

Antonia has lost the love of her life and with him her zest for life. She lives for her grandchildren, but has cut herself off from friends and to the rest of the world, her own two sons included, she's remote, cold and maybe even a bit mad with grief. Jonathon Strang is a widower with a 19 year old daughter, whose mother died in childbed. Jonathon is not so drowning in grief as Antonia, he's got on with his life, made his fortune in India, and raised his daughter, but like Antonia, he's lost the love of his life and never thinks that he'll find another. The early scenes between the two of them, where Jonathon recognises what Antonia is suffering, the fact that despite all, she thinks every time a door opens, her Monsigneur will walk into the room, moved me to tears - which is actually quite a rare thing with books these days.

So the burgeoning closeness between the two, the fact that Jonathon succeeds in getting under Antonia's skin when no-one else has, is entirely believable - and very moving. It seems inevitable that the two will fall in love - fated, just like they believed their first love to be - and I for one was rooting for them. The romance was mostly tender, but tempered with a very believable and sensual physical side that made the ages of the hero and heroine, and the age gap, entirely irrelevant. To the reader that is - of course it's a big issue with their respective families.

I loved the scenes between Jonathon and Antonia. I must confess though, that I got just a bit irritated at how slow Antonia was to catch on to both the fact that he loved her, and that he was behaving in an incredibly honourable way because he wanted to marry her, not simply have an affaire. However, on reflection I think this was right - that Antonia most likely would have been blind, and that the sudden revelation she has about her feelings, as if a curtain was lifted, was true to her character, even though I found it a bit that - sudden.

I also loved the fact that the Roxton family were woven beautifully into the story. I didn't enjoy the previous one (Book 2) so much, but seeing Deb and Julian (I think that was his name) some years down the line made me like them a lot more. I like that Ms Brant doesn't make her former heroes too perfect, and the troubled relationship with Antonia and her eldest son, the current duke was really well done.

The spying sub-plot was entertaining, but this was my grip. It got in the way of the ending - and in fact, the unravelling of it became the ending. While the secondary characters were great, and in the case of the epicurean spy, really funny, for me, they took up far too much stage room towards the end. I'd have liked the spy denouement to unfold before Antonia and Jonathon worked out the terms of their HEA, because the way it is (for me) detracted from the emotional impact of this. Antonia admits she loves Jonathon, but not to him, to her former maid. The issue of his title and an heir is resolved (and this bit I must admit I found a wee bit toe-curling) by the (surely remote) possibility of Antonia conceiving at the age of almost 50, when I'd have preferred them to simply agree that they were enough for one another. I know, that's not historically acceptable, Jonathon would have needed an heir, but that's what I'd have liked better!!!!! And as I said, I'd have liked the ending to have more focus on them finding each other, and less on the shenanigans of the other characters.

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I applaud Ms Brant for having the guts to write about it. And I'm definitely going to be reading the rest of the series. Paperback

5+ Stars

Review of the Audiobook narrated by Alex Wyndham

A beautiful and deeply emotional second chance love story by Lucinda Brant, superbly narrated by Alex Wyndham – it doesn’t get any better than this!

This is the third book in the Roxton family saga and I would definitely recommend reading the first two books because I feel it gives the reader a fuller understanding of Antonia’s emotional state at the beginning of this book. They are also well worth reading.

It has been three years since her husband, Renard, passed away and Antonia, Dowager Duchess of Roxton, is still in deep mourning over the loss of the love of her life. She was 20 years younger than her husband and, at the age of 48, is still a beautiful woman. Her son Julian, the current Duke of Roxton, and his wife, Deborah, are very worried about Antonia’s state of mind and, over the past three years, Julian has tried everything to convince his mother that life is still worth living but to no avail. She refuses to put off her widow’s weeds and her lonely days in Crecy Hall, are only brightened by the twice-weekly visits of her beloved grandchildren.

Jonathon Strang Leven, a wealthy merchant, has returned from India having made his fortune there. He has inherited a title and estates in Scotland on the death of a distant relative, but is also seeking the return of an inheritance stolen from his ancestor Edmund Strang Leven, over a century ago, by the Roxton family - this inheritance being Crecy Hall. He also wants to secure his daughter Sarah Jane’s chances of marrying into nobility. Jonathon is completely self-assured, used to getting what he wants and cares nothing for society’s expectations.

…he did not do as Society expected. He did not apologize. He was not penitent. He did not bow and scrape and back away to be swallowed up by the crowd.

I was totally captivated by Antonia and Jonathon’s love story and enjoyed the older woman/younger man aspect. Having read Noble Satyr (Antonia and Renard’s story), it was easy to see the marked contrast between the vital, exuberant person Antonia once was and the withdrawn, grief-stricken person she has become. I really felt for her son, Julian, who wanted so desperately to help his mother but didn’t know how. I knew he was only doing what he thought best for her, although his actions often seemed cruel, unfeeling and misguided.

He was at a loss to know what else he could possibly do or say that he had not already done or said, to drag her out of the vat of grief and self-pity in which she was slowly drowning.

I absolutely loved Jonathon. Having lost his beloved wife in childbirth many years before, he understands Antonia’s grief better than anyone and he is the perfect person to reawaken her to the joys of living. I love his dogged pursuit of her regardless of the consequences, whether it be asking her to dance or turning up for breakfast at Crecy Hall uninvited. I also adore him for accepting that “Monseigneur” will always have a place in her heart.

I loved watching Antonia’s initial reactions to Jonathon's outrageous behaviour and comments. It creates some very funny moments and this is one of my favourites.

“In my experience, Mme la Duchesse, full breasts droop if—”

Pourquoi? Droop? Droop? What is this-this droop?”

Antonia was aghast. Angry pride spurred her to give an outrageously candid and thus indiscreet response. But she had always spoken her mind; it was second nature to her.

“Monseigneur he says I have the most perfect breasts imaginable because they are firm and full, and suspend like ripened fruit still on the tree. That is not droop

I also loved the inner conversations between Jonathon’s Business Brain, Heart, Stomach and Vital Organ. So funny!

Ms Brant weaves elements of factual history into the sub-plot involving Antonia’s cousin, who is accused of aiding American Revolutionaries. This also provides some suspenseful moments.

If I have one small criticism, it would be that the story ends rather abruptly but, as this is a continuing family saga, I hope to see more of Antonia and Jonathon in later books.

Once again, Alex Wynham’s narration was superb. He continues to amaze me with the wide range of character voices he can produce, each distinctive and sustained throughout the book. I have listened to Noble Satyr and Antonia’s French accent is exactly the same pitch and tone that I remember from that book. His rich, smooth voice is perfect for the deliciously gorgeous Jonathon and his narration of the passionate, romantic scenes made my toes curl.

MY VERDICT: A beautifully crafted, superbly narrated and emotionally satisfying love story which truly touches the heart. Highly recommended.


Roxton Series so far (click on the book covers for more details):

This review is also posted on my Rakes and Rascals Blog: Paperback Antonia, Dowager Duchess of Roxton, has been in mourning for three years for her beloved dead husband and soul mate. Antonia has lost the man who meant everything to her and it appears she no longer has any enjoyment for life. That is until Jonathon Strang, a larger-than-life, forceful character bursts into her life like a hurricane, and turns it upside down. Although Antonia is easily ten years older than he is, her amazing beauty and enchanting aura soon have him captivated. Jonathon began life as the second son of an impoverished second son. However, by virtue of hard work and good fortune in the colonies, coupled with several family deaths that have put him in line for a title, Jonathon is very eligible indeed. He also has links with the Roxton family that he wishes to pursue, namely, the illegal misappropriation of property that rightfully is his. One of these properties can only be signed over to him by Antonia herself.

Antonia is initially repelled by the buccaneer; a man whose casual manners are almost insulting in a society obsessed with the niceties of conduct. His blunt approach, his sharp brain, his sense of humor and finally his blatant adoration serve to break down her icy disdain. Set in 1777, in Georgian England, against a backdrop of the imminent French Revolution and the American War of Independence, this compelling love story will appeal to romantics of all ages.

I recently reviewed Salt Bride by the same author and was keen to revisit Georgian England. Lucinda Brant has carved a niche for herself in this particular patch of history and she is gifted in weaving both story and history into a compelling read. Passion is the keynote of this novel; abundantly clear in the passion of the main characters, the robust energy of the age, and the pulse of action that creates an energetic and well-paced novel. The author has a wonderful turn of phrase, creating a sense of the opulence and oftentimes excessive luxuriance of the era. Food, drink, clothing, entertainment, appetites are all described in glowing detail in an era that celebrated abundance and sensual gratification. Although this is the third book in a series, and readers would derive even greater enjoyment by reading the first two as well, this story stands alone with enough back history threaded through to keep readers in touch with prior events. Highly recommended.

First reviewed for Readers Favorites by Fiona Ingram Paperback I've given this an A for narration and an A- for content at AAR.

One of the things I really like about Autumn Duchess is the way in which Lucinda Brant has upended a number of different romantic tropes all in the one book. Firstly, her central couple are a bit older than usual – the heroine is (by my reckoning) forty-eight – and not only that, but the hero is ten years her junior. And THEN, there is the fact that the eponymous duchess is a widow still mourning for the loss of the love of her life. There are plenty of widows in historical romance, but not so many in which the marriage was a happy one. And this particular widow was also the heroine of a previous book in the series, (Noble Satyr), which tells the story of her relationship with that beloved husband - who has subsequently died. But please don’t be put off by that, because Autumn Duchess is a lovely story about finding love again, and about the strengthening of family relationships which have been deteriorating under the strain of grief.

Antonia, Dowager Duchess of Roxton, lost her husband three years before the book begins, but continues to mourn, wearing unrelieved black and attending very few social gatherings. Her eldest son Julian (hero of Midnight Marriage) is now the Duke of Roxton, with all its attendant responsibilities, a growing family, a vast dukedom to manage – and he also worries constantly about the mother he loves but has no idea how to reach.

At Julian’s urging, Antonia has attended the annual April Ball, but keeps to the sidelines and the company of her two attendants, until a handsome, strapping, sun-bronzed man steps into her path and determinedly asks her to dance. Knowing that her refusal could lead to his social ostracism, and reluctantly admiring his audacity, Antonia agrees, to the astonishment of everyone present.

Born in India to British parents, merchant Jonathon Strang has recently returned to England because of the impending demise of a distant relative and in order to discuss some business concerning lands and property misappropriated by a previous Duke of Roxton. One of these properties is Crecy Hall, which is currently home to the dowager duchess, and which, unlike the other properties, can only be disposed of by its inhabitant. Believing the lady in question likely to be “a cantankerous old widow”, Jonathon plans to ingratiate himself into her good graces, and then to charm the old dear into signing the house over to him. Discovering that the elderly dowager is in fact much younger than he had expected and incredibly beautiful to boot throws him for a loop, but he is still determined to regain his property. He just decides that there are other benefits to be had along the way.

Appalled by Mr Strang’s complete disregard for the proprieties, his lack of deference and his outspokenness, Antonia is not pleased when he appears - uninvited - in the grounds of Crecy Hall. Unable to avoid conversing with him, she quickly discovers him to be the only person who has ever understood the nature of her grief and her need to maintain a connection with “Monseigneur”. For his part, Jonathon is thoroughly captivated by the little glimpses he gets of Antonia’s previously playful nature, and soon abandons his plan to charm her into giving up her home. His initial assessment – that she needs someone to talk to and a shoulder to cry on - proves accurate, and his care and understanding starts to thaw Antonia’s somewhat frosty exterior, gradually helping the widow to realise that she still has a life to live and to enjoy.

The gently moving love story between the couple is a true delight. Tender and poignant, but not without its heated moments, it is underscored beautifully by their growing friendship and their shared understanding of what it means to love, to lose and to grieve. The familial interactions between Antonia and her eldest grandson are heart-warming, and it’s heart-breaking to witness Julian’s despair at what he perceives to be his failure in his duty to his mother.

Ms Brant has once again seamlessly integrated her knowledge of the historical background and her love for the fashions and customs of the period into a multi-layered and thoroughly entertaining story. There is a sub-plot concerning one of Julian’s cousins and his possible involvement with American revolutionaries, and also some truly disturbing scenes during which Antonia undergoes “treatment” at the hands of a (supposed) specialist in the treatment of melancholia in women. The story-telling and characterisation is excellent all-round, although my one niggle here is that the scenes towards the end in which Antonia visits her former maid draw out the ending a little too much. But that really is my only reservation about the story.

Narrator Alex Wyndham – who also narrates Ms Brant’s Alec Halsey mysteries – is on board to record all of the books in the Roxton Family Saga, and delivers a very fine performance indeed. It is perhaps unusual for an audiobook with a female protagonist to be performed by a male narrator, and the success of this one was always going to hinge on Mr Wyndham’s performance of Antonia, a Frenchwoman who has a distinct speech-pattern and accent. Listening to Midnight Marriage, I made particular note of his interpretation of her, knowing Autumn Duchess would be released next - and was very impressed with his presentation of her. Speaking as someone whose day-job often involves spending time with French nationals, I am used to listening to French-accented English, and Mr Wyndham is spot-on with that aspect of his characterisation. He skilfully voices female characters without making them sound screechy, but I imagine finding the right intonation and accent for Antonia and then sustaining it was a bit of a challenge. If that was the case, however, the listener would never know it, because he makes it sound absolutely effortless.

The narrator’s portrayal of Jonathon is equally good, his natural baritone expertly conveying the character’s good sense, wit, kindness and sensuality; and his interpretation of recurring characters like Julian and Deb are entirely consistent with their characterisation in the previous book. The narrative is well-paced and smoothly enunciated, and all of the supporting characters, from Jonathon’s cousin, the foppish Sir Thomas, to the poisonous Countess of Strathsay and the horrible Sir Titus Foley are all very clearly defined and differentiatied.

The combination of Lucinda Brant’s storytelling and Alex Wyndham’s delectable voice once again proves to be absolutely irresistible, and I have no hesitation is giving the audiobook of Autumn Duchess a wholehearted recommendation.
Paperback I am rapidly running out of superlatives to describe the audiobooks produced by author Lucinda Brant and actor Alex Wyndham, but sublime comes to mind here.

Just listened again, and seven years later it’s just as good. I think I need to enjoy the entire series again. My Christmas present to myself. Paperback *I gave this audiobook an A+ for the narration and A for the story at AudioGals*

If you listen to only one historical romance all year, I highly recommend that it be Autumn Duchess! Wow, this story blew me away! Not only does it sport one of the best narrations I have ever listened to – I will definitely be seeking out more of Alex Wyndham’s narrations in the future! – but it also brings to the table a fantastically developed historical romance with real depth to its plot and a heartfelt, unique romance. In that regard, I will note that one of the features that I look for in a “A” rated story is a fresh, unusual twist or at least a new to me angle that makes the romance stand out. When you read and listen to as many romances as I do, I find that this is an essential ingredient to reinvigorating my insatiable lust and appetite for romances; otherwise it is just too easy to fall into a reading/listening rut. Well, Autumn Duchess brings this fresh perspective to the forefront in spades!

For one, not only does Autumn Duchess feature an older heroine by today’s romance standards (by my count the heroine is around 49 years old, as her son is about 30 and she had him at 19), but it also features a younger (late thirty-something) hero by comparison. I also enjoyed the interplay between the various family members, which demonstrated the plight of women living in the 1700s and how vulnerable women truly were to the dictates of the male heirs in their families. This includes the heroine’s oldest son, the new Duke of Roxton (Julian, the hero of Midnight Marriage, the 2nd book in the Roxton Family Saga) who in his determination to “take care of his mother” perhaps does her the greatest injustice of all. Then there is a cast of cousins and the hero’s own daughter who add further depth, intrigue and complexity to this already well done story.

See the full review at AudioGals. Paperback