Review of Autumn Duchess, by one of my favorite historical romance authors, Lucinda Brant.
I admit it: I am a sucker for a dastardly duke, and I was more than half in love with the Duke of Roxton in Noble Satyr. I’ve been putting off reading Autumn Duchess, because I feared for his life, and didn’t know how the Roxtons (or I) could go on without him.
Indeed, he is sorely missed in this volume, even if ever-present. However, his bride, the intriguing, playful, headstrong Antonia, has grown up! She is now a sadder-but-wiser, still playful, still fascinating woman–maybe more so, depending on whether one prefers debutantes or characters with considerably more depth. (I fall in the latter camp. There is only so much depth an 18-year-old can manage, no matter how many obstacles are placed in her way, or how skilled the author.)
Antonia does not, in Autumn Duchess, manage to replace the duke, for speaking as one who counts him a book boyfriend, no one ever can or will. However, the younger man with whom she becomes aligned is more than a match, and will, I think, prove as devoted as her first husband ever was. (He won’t ever be my book boyfriend, but he will for hundreds of other women, without a doubt, and I would easily count him a friend.)
Lucinda Brant’s books are intelligent and interesting, and unlike some historical fiction authors, she never talks down to the reader or leaves out unpleasant details in the interest of our sensibilities. Her ability to integrate action and character development with historical fact and a “feel for the times” is really unparalleled, even going so far as to interconnect her books in small ways. In this case, she reminds me in passing of the Earl of Salt Hendon, protagonist in the first book of hers I read, Salt Bride (and, indeed, still my favorite).
Lucinda Brant is a historical fiction author who I will follow as long as she is writing, and will read again and again.