This fairy-tale retelling is a wonderful example of a historical romance that stays moderately true to the period but still feels like the fairytale. Plus, it has a bunch of interesting twists that don’t compromise the story!
Miss Drewsmina “Drew” Trelayne is actually the (former) wicked stepsister in this book. However, she’s also the ugly duckling turned into a swan, which is why she now dreams of opening a finishing school for young ladies.
Ian Clayback, the Duke of Lachlan, is living on his remote estate and doing his best to weather the many scandals of his life. However, he is forced to hire Drew to tutor his nieces in the finer arts of life when his estranged sister comes for a visit. Plus, this is a great way for him to make an entrance back into society.
Obviously, there is attraction between the two, although they shouldn’t act on it. And Charis Michaels gives a very good reason for this: Drew is tutoring the nieces on how to behave themselves and needs to be the model of deportment in order to successfully open her finishing school.
But the two can’t keep their hands off each other, and eventually Drew is compromised. The duke must then deliberate on what to do since there’s clearly no way to save her reputation other than marriage. Of course, she is shocked when he actually proposes.
I thought Michaels did a great job of showing the progression to marriage rather than just jumping in. After all, the steamy scenes are *chefs kiss* but the two don’t actually know each other that well, and making Drew his duchess is a huge deal for Clayback. From there, we get to see the typical slow love story that I’ve come to need in a historical romance. It was so well done!
One thing that I found to be different from other regency novels is the fantastical elements of the book. Charis Micheals does a great job of making it feel like a historical novel, yet it’s also somehow a fantasy, more so in the Disney sense. I definitely felt like I was reading a fairytale. I personally hate when fairytale retellings feel too realistic and not magical, so this struck the perfect balance for me.
I highly recommend A Duchess By Midnight for a good dose of romance, steam, and the classic fairytale vibe with a twist!
A Duchess By Midnight will be available on July 26, 2022.