Title: An American Duchess by Sharon Page
Genre: Historical (20s), Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
At the height of the Roaring Twenties, New York heiress Zoe Gifford longs for the freedoms promised by the Jazz Age. Headstrong and brazen, but bound by her father’s will to marry before she can access his fortune, Zoe arranges for a brief marriage to Sebastian Hazelton, whose aristocratic British family sorely needs a benefactor.
Once in England, her foolproof plan to wed, inherit and divorce proves more complicated than Zoe had anticipated. Nigel Hazelton, Duke of Langford and Sebastian’s austere older brother, is disgraced by the arrangement and looks down upon the raucous young American who has taken up residence at crumbling Brideswell Abbey. Still reeling from the Great War, Nigel is now staging a one-man battle against a rapidly changing world—and the outspoken Zoe represents everything he’s fighting against. When circumstances compel Zoe to marry Nigel rather than Sebastian, she does so for love, he for honor. But with Nigel unwilling to change with the times, Zoe may be forced to choose between her husband and her dreams.
An American Duchess by Sharon Page is a vibrant story that has a nice mix of drama and light-hearted fun. This absolutely delightful romance takes place during the Roaring Twenties and the English countryside is the perfect setting for this incredible novel. But it is the charming cast of characters that brings this spectacular book vividly to life.
Zoe Gifford is an American heiress who needs to access her trust fund, but in order to receive the funds, she needs a husband. English nobleman Sebastian Hazelton needs a wife and a fortune to save his nearly destitute family from financial ruin. A marriage of convenience is the solution for both of their problems, but once Zoe meets her fiancé’s older brother, Nigel, she is stunned by her unexpected attraction to the elusive Duke.
Zoe is a refreshing breath of fresh air and her arrival at her fiancé’s home in England is just what the stuffy Hazelton family needs. She is outspoken, adventurous and fully embraces all of the changes that are taking place during the time period. She is an ardent supporter of women’s rights and she refuses to give up her newly found freedom. Zoe is also kind, caring and quite perceptive and although she suffered some terrible losses, she believes in living life to the fullest.
Zoe is stunned to discover just how out of touch the Hazelton family is with the changing times and she immediately shocks the family with her forward thinking, fashionable attire and daring pursuits. Zoe quickly butts heads with Nigel when she encourages his sisters to do what is right for them even if it bucks traditional expectations. She is not intimidated by Nigel’s standoffish attitude and she quickly sees past his gruff and rather cold exterior.
Nigel’s experiences in the war haunt him and he keeps a tight control on his emotions. Both mentally and physically scarred, he has become a virtual recluse as he battles his demons on his own. Although Zoe initially irritates him with her bold, modern ways, he is also quite captivated by her enthusiasm and joie de vivre.
Zoe is shocked by the changes in Sebastian when she arrives in England. As she finds herself spending more time with Nigel, her attraction to him deepens, but she still plans to go through with her marriage to Sebastian. It is no secret that Zoe eventually weds Nigel instead and their marriage is a passionate love match. However their relationship is soon plagued by terrible losses but it is their different styles of handling their problems that drives a wedge between them.
An American Duchess is a very engaging romance with a fabulous cast of well-developed and likable characters. Sharon Page does an excellent job balancing the lighter aspects of this lively era with the lingering realities of war and the inevitable clashes between the older and younger generations. It is an all around entertaining and emotional novel that I highly recommend to fans of historical romances.