Format: paperback (given to me as a gift from a friend)
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Simon Hawkins, duke of Trent, is no stranger to scandal. Rumors and innuendo have darkened the House of Trent for decades, and it has fallen to Simon to restore his tattered family name. He lives by a strict code of honor, but when he is called home to investigate his mother's disappearance, the distinguished duke will tangle with temptation. For there waits the only woman he has ever loved-and the last woman he should desire . . .
Sarah Osborne has spent her life dreaming of Simon's touch. But dukes do not long for lady's maids-or so Sarah believes, until a stolen kiss sparks a passion that could be her ultimate undoing. As the couple begins a forbidden romance, a cunning enemy plots to destroy the duke and everything he loves. Now, caught in a blackmailer's web, Simon faces an agonizing choice: sacrifice his family's future or break Sarah's heart.
Simon Hawkins, the Duke of Trent has been summoned home to investigate the sudden and mysterious disappearance of his mother, the Duchess of Trent. Simon, his four brothers and his only sister have lived with scandal all there lives and as the Duke, Simon has seen fit to try and restore respectability to the family name. Complicating that particular goal for Simon is the gardener's daughter, Sarah Osborne.
Sarah has had an unusual upbringing. Since the age of eight when she was discovered by a young Simon in a blackberry bush, Sarah has been educated alongside the Hawkins children. She and Simon became friends as children but as they grew older the friendship changed into attraction and though she knows that she and Simon can never be, that doesn't stop her from wanting to be with Simon day and night. As the mystery of the Duchess' disappearance deepens, Sarah finds herself growing closer and closer to Simon, but just when things are looking up for the pair, a blackmailer forces them apart, possibly for good.
I can't say enough about The Duchess Hunt by Jennifer Haymore. I really can't. I'm still a new fan of hers, I only discovered her books late last year, but since then I have read all of her previous books so I actually can say that The Duchess Hunt is my favorite Jennifer Haymore book... So far. It's only book one in the House of Trent series after all, but even so, it's going to be tough to beat.
The mystery of the missing duchess may seem like a cut and dry plot but I assure you it isn't as simple as it seems. It is what pushes the story forward and what provides reasoning behind a lot of the characters' actions. While searching for her, Simon and his siblings learn more about their mother and themselves than they ever wanted to. There was never a dull moment and there were so many surprises that only kept me glued to the pages long into the night.
The motley crew of individuals that make up the Hawkins siblings are intriguing and likable, even though not much about them is revealed. The siblings are not as close to each other as I expected but that doesn't mean that they don't love each other in their own way, and they are bound together through their love for the missing Duchess.
Not to be forgotten is the romance between Simon and Sarah. There was something achingly tender about their relationship from the very beginning. Theirs was never just a physical attraction, there were always emotions involved which made the story more angst ridden when Simon decided it was time for him to find a perfect duchess. I love a certain amount of angst in my romances, particularly historical romance, the right amount makes the romance more interesting and the ending much sweeter, so having Simon and Sarah struggle with their love while thinking that they will never be together made The Duchess Hunt that much more of a special read.
The Duchess Hunt has so much to recommend it, an intriguing mystery, a cast of likable characters, a sweet romance and the knowledge that there will be more books with the Hawkins family. I honestly enjoyed The Duchess Hunt and I cannot wait to see where the series is going to go next.