Burrowes, Grace. The Duke and His Duchess/The Courtship. Naperville: Sourcebooks Casabalanca, 2015. ISBN-13: 978-1-4926-2617-6. Print List Price: $6.99.
Note: This is a compilation edition of The Courtship (2012) and The Duke and His Duchess (2013), which were previously ebook-exclusive.
This was an enjoyable read about, as the title suggests, the courtship between Percival Windham and Esther Himmelfarb who become of the parents of the Windhams, Grace Burrowes’s most well-known fictional family. While charming, it didn’t feel original, in that common tropes are present throughout, including falling in love at a house party, and the concept of a man of lofty status falling for a woman of a slightly lower class, not to mention the whole “virgin heroine who wows the sexually experienced hero into forgetting about his experienced former paramours.” But it is a fast read, that sets the stage for the follow-up novella.
The Duke and His Duchess
It’s very rare that we see a a couple encounter new significant problems after finding their HEA, but it is more realistic to real life, and considering there weren’t a lot of obstacles to Percival and Esther’s love in the first novella, we see their love truly tested here, with different problems facing them, like Esther’s health, the possibility of Percival inheriting the dukedom if both his father and sickly elder brother die, and the reappearance of both of his former mistresses, both of whom have children by him.
I love how Burrowes showed how difficult life could be for women who are forced into the position of selling their bodies to survive, and shows how it can affect women differently. I also admire that how she had Esther behave about it, visiting one of the women as well as she and Percival agreeing to raise both of them children, despite the fact that this is not something that most historical wives would have done.