A Duchess by Midnight
Author: Charis Michaels
Series: Awakened by a Kiss, book 3
Publisher: Avon (July 26, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Romance, Adult Historical Romance (Regency)
A Former Ugly Duckling…
Miss Drewsmina “Drew” Trelayne is a former awkward child and one-time wicked stepsister. Raised by a bitter, overbearing mother, Drew is all grown up and has made peace with her orange hair and bean-pole height. Her transformation has inspired her dream of opening a finishing school that emphasizes inner beauty, capability, and confidence. But launching a school costs money so Drew must begin with private clients who pay well and don’t ask many questions.
A Reclusive Duke…
Ian Clayblack, the Duke of Lachlan, lives alone on his Dorset estate, forced by scandal into a smuggler’s life. When his estranged sister arrives with her two daughters, he feels obligated to give the girls a proper Season. Venturing back to society could clear his name and provide his vagabond nieces with a better life. Who better to help than the striking Miss Trelayne?
A Midnight Kiss…
Affording Drew’s services isn’t a problem for Lachlan, but his growing desire for her is. As his nieces warm to her gentle charm, he is overwhelmed by her unique beauty and open manner. When they’re caught in a scandalous embrace, nothing short of marriage will save all of them from further scandal.
Can a marriage made in haste be love’s saving grace?
A little bit Cinderella’s redeemed “wicked” step-sister, a little bit The Ugly Duckling, and an entirely wonderful book! I love this series and how Charis Michaels takes “our favorite fairy tales’ forgotten characters and making them the hero of their own story” (per the blurb from the series Goodreads page).
This third book was the one I was the most excited about, and it did not disappoint! I love when a villain gets their own story, and when I saw the cover reveal for A Duchess by Midnight I knew IMMEDIATELY it was going to be about one of Cinderella’s stepsisters. Though the coloring of the heroine on the cover is strongly reminiscent of Disney’s Anastasia, the main character’s name (Drewsmina) brings to mind the other Disney animated movie stepsister, Drizella. (Let’s be honest, nobody really knows or cares which one is which…)
I love the chemistry between Drew and Lachlan (though I did want to punch Lachlan right in his face a couple of times – HOW can anyone be so oblivious!?), both in the romantic sense as well as their interactions with Lachlan’s nieces. Drew is the type of character I want to be friends with, which is how I know I’ve found a great book, haha!
I’d love to see more Regency romance retellings like this series and Eloisa James’ Fairy Tales series!
This is the third book in the Awakened by a Kiss series, but can be read as a standalone. The hero of the second book, When You Wish Upon a Duke, makes a few brief appearances, but there are no major spoilers for the earlier books. That being said, I LOVED the first two books in this series, and you should definitely read them!
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are unbiased and my own.