My Rating: 3.5/5
Author: Jamie Carie
Title: The Guardian Duke: A Forgotten Castles Novel [uncorrected proof]
Genre: Historical Fiction
The Guardian Duke is award-winning novelist Jamie Carie’s most exciting story yet, a uniquely arranged Regency-era romantic adventure where hero and heroine know each other through written letters but have yet to meet.
Gabriel, the Duke of St. Easton, is ordered by the King to take guardianship over Lady Alexandria Featherstone whose parents are presumed dead after failing to return from a high profile treasure hunt. But Alexandria ignores this royal reassignment, believing her parents are still alive and duly following clues that may lead to their whereabouts. Gabriel, pressured by what are actually the King’s ulterior motives, pursues her across windswept England and the rolling green hills of Ireland but is always one step behind.
When they do meet, the search for earthly treasure will pale in comparison to what God has planned for both of them.
The Guardian Duke is a historical fiction set in England’s Regency period. Lady Alexandria, or Alex, lives in Northumberland. Her parents are treasure hunters and are usually gone for long periods. This time, they have been gone for almost a year. King George assumes that they are dead and orders the Duke of St. Easton, Gabriel, as her legal guardian. Gabriel lives in London and is one of the wealthiest men of his time. Alex does not believe that her parents are dead and ventures out to find them by following clues of where they were last seen. Gabriel is struck by a weird illness which renders him deaf. He discovers that Alex is in danger and quickly goes to bring her to London with him while skirting his illness among other delays. When he gets there, he finds her missing and must go after her. The Guardian Duke is the first book of a series.
The story is written in third person following Lady Alexandria and Duke Gabriel. Alex is a headstrong girl who has lived away from society befitting her station. Her home is a crumbling castle that resembles more of the medieval period than the regency era. She considers herself a mistake, because her parents are always out on treasure hunts – leaving her alone with the servants. Now that her parents are missing – because she refuses to believe they are dead – she goes out to find them. She wants to prove to them that she is old enough and ready to be a part of their world. She meets some friends as well as some enemies along the way. Not only does she travel the farthest she’s ever been in her entire life, but she must also avoid her new guardian – a duke – who is trying to find her. Duke Gabriel is a smart man, who loves music. At the very beginning of the story, he becomes deaf, which comes and goes throughout the novel. This hurts his pride, and he tries to hide it the best he can. He soon learns that his new ward – whom he lets stays at her castle for the time being because of his affliction – is in danger because of a stolen artifact that her parents were trying to find. He sets out to find her, all the while becoming infatuated with her through her letters. When he discovers that she is not at her home but ran off to Ireland, he follows. The characters are well-written and are multi-dimensional. They each have secrets and fears/issues to overcome.
The plot moved along well. There is mystery, as well as, subtle Christian messages. We have Alex trying to find clues to her parents; mysterious stalkers following her; a duke trying to find her; and friendly stranger that are willing to help her. I am a little disappointed on where the book stopped. I do not believe that the book answered any of the questions it initially set out. I understand that there will be a sequel, but some things should have been addressed by the end of this first book. I will say that it did not, however, end in the middle of a climax.
The Bottom Line:
Except for how the book ended, I enjoyed the story. If you like historical fiction with a little mystery (set in the regency period), then you might like this book.