I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
If the eyes were windows to the soul, Mr. Wentworth's soul was a bleak, silent moor under a gray December sky.
First in a new series and an introduction to the Wentworth family, My One and Only Duke, stars the oldest Wentworth, Quinn, and a minister's daughter Jane. This was a slow burn story from both accounts, the romance and mystery. The beginning with Quinn imprisoned in Newgate awaiting to be hung dueled with the investigators from the College of Arms as they searched for an heir to the Walden Dukedom. This gave the start of the story a suspenseful and tense back and forth as Quinn's time was running out and the investigators were closing in.
In the complicated economy of a prison, a returned bribe meant one of two things: Somebody else had paid a much bigger bribe, or had made a more effective threat.
The mystery is the engine that keeps the story going, but it does start to putter around midway through. There's a lot of talked about danger but even though Quinn has a good idea who he thinks is behind wanting him dead, his investigations are pretty slow to get to and it ends up feeling like no one is really doing anything as the focus seems to revert back to Jane and the household whenever someone goes off. The eventual wrap-up and reveal ended up feeling a tad convoluted tight as character connections, money, and motivations flew from everywhere; we also don't get to form much of a connection to the villain(s) and supposed villain(s).
Don't give me that Yorkshire growl, as if you'd tear me to pieces when I know you feed wild birds, marry stray widows, and work yourself half to death for your family. It won't wash, Quinn. You can intimidate every rolled-up title in Mayfair with that performance, but I know better.
The romance is that cherished Burrowes' hero and heroine connection that speaks of soulmates but also has some slow burn as they learn each other. Our heroine starts the book pregnant, she's a widow and our hero marries her to help her gain freedom from her zealot father, which kind of keeps her home bound. Jane was a wonderful showcase of growing into her own, standing up to father, and being the more emotionally courageous one in putting herself out there to connect with Quinn. We get a lot about the background of Quinn but his character still felt too blocked off to me. There was some seeing with the large amount of telling about Quinn and the Wentworth family but only a couple of the emotional connections filtered through for me; I felt stiff armed by Quinn for most of the story. Quinn was big-hearted stoic and Jane was emotionally courageous, which provided for some sexy scenes but if Quinn had been unveiled just a little more, their romance would have popped some more.
The daft woman like swiving him, liked touching him, liked talking with him. The touching was bad enough---Quinn well knew the danger of sweet touches---but the talking would be his doom.
The mystery was a bit slow and drawn out but I'm excited to read more about this family; a possible Althea, hero's sister, and Joshua, hero's business partner, romance has me intrigued and I absolutely demand Ned eventually gets his own book. This was more gentle and methodical, with some dry cheekiness from and between characters that will tickle your fancy. This was a solid start to a series that I'm looking forward to reading about each family member.