The Duke’s Guide to Correct Behavior by Megan Frampton
Avon: November 25, 2014 (Historical Romance)*
I’ve read a couple of Megan Frampton’s other historical romances, so I was quite happy to see she had a new one coming out. I snapped up this advance copy and tore through it in a day. The Duke’s Guide to Correct Behavior was a cute little romance, filled with great scenes of humour. And, it happily kicks off a historical romance series.
The new Duke of Rutherford has a problem. The child he’s always known about but never met, has been delivered to his doorstep. Confronted with his daughter, Marcus (the Duke) is immediately struck by the fact that he was wrong to have never learned more about her existence and sets about righting that wrong, unfortunately, he really has no idea how to raise a kid. Enter the requisite governess.
Miss Lily Russell has been helping run the Quality Employment Agency with her two friends. They’ve only been operating the business for a few months, so every employee that they place is of the utmost importance. When a duke sends for a governess, Lily knows that she has to find someone; the success of the business depends upon it. With no option, Lily puts herself forward as the governess for the duke’s daughter. Of course, voracious readers of historical romance can likely guess what comes next…
Marcus and Lily, unsurprisingly find themselves attracted to each other. An attraction that is doomed from the start because of the huge difference in their social station, as well Lily’s scandalous previous employment (and, no, it’s not what you’re thinking). This being a romance, these obstacles can be overcome, and I loved the way that Frampton was able to surmount this class difference. Finally, a hero that does not offer the heroine the position of his mistress, nope, this one goes the romantic route, and made this historical a little more unique.
The Duke’s Guide to Correct Behavior was a light read. There was some humour and some emotional turmoil, but for the most part, this was simply a nice read. I didn’t feel as though the characters were put through the wringer for their happily-ever-after. Don’t get me wrong, there was conflict, but it never seemed contrived or over the top.
Both the hero and the heroine were nice characters. The hero especially was unexpectedly honorable. At the beginning of the book, I wasn’t sure about Marcus, he did leave a kid behind and didn’t even know her name or her gender until he met her in chapter one. But it soon became clear that Marcus was working very hard to turn his life around, and I liked the fact that he was doing this for himself rather than to gain acceptance of his heroine. For me, the fact that the hero wanted to change at the beginning of the book made his eventual actions throughout the book much more believable. It never feels truly believable in a romance when the hero or heroine makes a dramatic, sudden change for the other, it always leaves me wondering if that change can be sustained.
Ultimately, I don’t think that The Duke’s Guide to Correct Behavior broke new ground, but I do think it will be enjoyed by historical romance fans, especially those that like the honorable characters that crop up in historicals by Manda Collins. This was a comfortable read and I’ll definitely be back for the next book in the series.
*Review copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.
For another read featuring just plain nice characters, I recommend my favourite historical by Manda Collins: How to Romance a Rake. It’s adorable and cute, and I think it will appeal to fans that like the characters of The Duke’s Guide.
For another read that tackles the obstacle of class in a historical romance, try Maggie Robinson’s The Unsuitable Secretary. This is a fun read, and while the hero doesn’t behave quite as honorably as the duke, the mistakes he makes are acknowledged and a satisfying conclusion is brought about.
Of course my similar reads wouldn’t be complete without another governess themed romance. For a bit of a funnier and more romance-heavy (ie. steamy) read, try Lisa Kleypas’ Married By Morning. It’s quite good, although I did find it more of an emotional read than The Duke’s Guide mainly because the characters have a lot more baggage.