Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only one problem—he already has one.
After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow cannot resist.
The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their broken past, he can give her forever, making every day The Day of the Duchess.
Thank you Edelweiss and Avon for the review copy!
Note: This is Book 3 of the series, but you can read them each as stand-alones. I highly recommend the previous books, though!
This book was such an emotional roller coaster from start to finish. Sarah MacLean really draws out the feels, as we follow the second chance romance of the Duke of Haven and his Duchess. While Sera and Mal appear in the first book of the series, The Rogue Not Taken, we see Mal cheating on her while she’s pregnant and Sophie – one of Sera’s sister – pushing him into a pond. He retaliates by almost ruining their family. So, Malcolm definitely had a lot to redeem in this story. Suffice it to say, MacLean has really done his character justice, as readers really feel his regret, sorrow, and suffering, as well as his ability to change for the better. Sera was strong, resilient, and willful, creating a tough time for Malcolm to win her back. As he deserves!
In the beginning, we start with a session in Parliament where all Malcolm can think about are his plans to find his wife, who left him 2 years ago and who he’s been searching for every year. Then, boom, Sera makes a dramatic entrance during the Parliament session and asks for a divorce. How scandalous! This isn’t new for a Soiled S, though, which is the nickname society has given Sera and her sisters, whose father got his title only through money and connections, and not from family history. They are ridiculed for their forward thinking and scandalous actions, and yet they decide to embrace it. From this very beginning we feel how much loss Malcolm has while thinking about his wife, as well as the regret he has for his actions towards her. It made my heart ache (but in the best of ways).
“Home required her. And so he would do this summer what he had done every moment he’d been away from London for the past two years and seven months, exactly.
He would search for her.”
We jump from past to present in the book, from Sera and Mal’s first meeting to the present day, where Sera is trying to get a divorce so she can own her own tavern and sing there. The execution was done quite brilliantly, and the scenes are interweaved seamlessly with each other. The way Maclean organizes them go for maximum emotional output, which REALLY made me feel the feels. I also adored Sera’s personality and how she was resilient from Malcolm’s advances, making him work for her forgiveness. What happened was that Malcolm thought Sera caught him in a marriage trap, when all she ever did was love him and tried to be with him. He pushed her away in the past, all the way up to the combined pain of his anger and losing a child (which you find out early in the book), making her leave him to go to America. In the present, though, he plans to woo her back by convincing her of how much he’s changed, and how much he regrets his actions. He also has to woo her sisters as well, who are extremely loyal and vivacious. Sera’s sisters stand by her decisions and their antics are absolutely HILARIOUS, especially when they defend her from Malcolm. But Mal has changed his ways, and is ready to get his duchess back. The romantic things he did were SO. SWEET. Lots of, “Heart, be still!” moments coming from me. Not only did he show his love through actions and words (although words may have come a bit later), but with the things he did in the past couple years while searching for Sera.
“She was wrong. He did want her. He wanted the life with her.
And, this time, he would not stop until he had it.”
Other than the beautiful romance and hilarious family, Maclean takes time to explore what it’s like for a couple with a painful past to look towards the future, and how happy they can be. Her exploration of each parent’s pain over losing a child was just so heartbreaking, and really made my chest ache. But the end was extremely satisfying and made me feel like butterflies in my chest instead of an ache. All the love for this lovely second chance romance. ❤
The Day of the Duchess will sit in my heart for quite some while. It’s a historical romance, which usually means quick read for me, but I couldn’t help but reread some of the incredibly romantic, and sometimes heartbreaking, passages. Malcolm and Sera turn out to be two vastly different people from the past couple of years and you can really see their growth by their actions. Malcolm’s redemption was incredibly satisfying, and I loved seeing his tenacity in getting his wife back – and this time, never letting go. Sera’s resilience and support from the rest of her family was also a phenomenal aspect of the story, as here we have a Duchess ready to be independent – if only her husband would give her a choice. This journey of love, loss, and acceptance really struck at my heart and, honestly, I don’t think it could have been better.