AN AMERICAN DUCHESS - Caroline Fyffe
The Duke of Brightshire has returned to England after being found by a family member when the last duke died. Beranger Northcott and his American born wife were stunned when Lord Harry found them and broke the news. Beranger ran away from Ashbury when he heard his father discussing sending him to Italy with Beranger's stepmother. Until recently, Beranger had thought he was the illegitimate son of the duke, only to discover that the duke had married his mother, but kept it secret. Now he is returning to Ashbury to take over the family estates after spending much of his adult life in America making his fortune. Unsure of what he will find upon his return, still Beranger knows with his lovely wife by his side, all will be well.
Emma Brinkman Northcott feels as if she is living a dream. She and her four sisters have been running a successful cattle ranch in Colorado, and now she is married and, even more amazing, a real duchess. Hoping that she can adjust to this strange new life and not embarrass her husband, Emma is determined to learn all she can, hopefully from her step-mother-in-law, and Beranger's half-sister, Audrey. But their welcome, while cordial, is frosty at best. It's obvious that the dowager duchess isn't happy about Beranger's return. And Lady Audrey isn't all that hospitable either. Emma bravely smiles and is ready to support her husband, but she will watch her back, and Beranger's too.
Charlotte works at the bakeshop for her aunt, who makes it abundantly clear that she's done the girl a favor by raising her after her mother (the baker's sister) dies. Charlotte works hard, has learned the trade well, and tries to keep the peace. However, one day while delivering bread, she witnesses some strange behavior by one of the locals. Keeping it to herself, Charlotte hopes it's nothing bad. Later, she meets the gamekeeper's nephew, Tristen, a new arrival in the area, and they become friends.
Emma and Beranger find that Ashbury has some financial issues, and having the frowning, sharp-tongued dowager duchess and her daughter around add to the negativity. When something Emma treasures is stolen, the newlyweds are sure that someone in the house is causing havoc. Is it too obviously the dowager? Or is there someone else working against the young couple?
AN AMERICAN DUCHESS is a romance, as well as a very interesting mystery. Readers may think they know the answers, but they may be surprised. Well written with a very different premise, and some engaging characters, I highly recommend AN AMERICAN DUCHESS. Please check out the author's webpage for previous novels in the Colorado Hearts series.