Review of “Beguiled by a Baron” (The Heart of a Duke #14) by Christi Caldwell

Caldwell, Christi. Beguiled by a Baron. [United States]: Christi Caldwell, 2017.

Paperback | $10.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-1547203475 | 252 pages | Regency Romance

4.5 stars

Beguiled by a Baron is definitely one of the better Christi Caldwell titles I have read. And something I did notice about the Heart of a Duke “world,” as opposed to the interconnected “world” of her other series, is up to this point, at least, there isn’t quite as much interconnectedness, at least not as much as there have been in her Sinful Brides and Wicked Wallflowers, where the latter is a direct sequel to the former, and reading in order helps the character relationships make more sense. While neither hero nor heroine appears to be new to the HoaD world, having prior connections that date back to at least the previous book in the series, these connections are explained well enough that I had no issue reading this as a stand-alone.

And the story in its own right is probably one of the most compelling as well, right up there with books two and three in the Sinful Brides series. I was particularly drawn to the mention of the heroine, Bridget’s, disability, in the blurb, and felt it was portrayed in a realistic way, especially considering the time period. I also love that, despite being raised in isolation, she isn’t naive, due to her family circumstances, and every choice she makes is to protect her son, Virgil, from her awful brother.

And Vail may just be my new favorite Caldwell hero. While he does deal with a hefty amount of angst, as Caldwell’s heroes often do, I love that he is truly good at heart to those he loves, and would do anything for them, making him a great counterpart for Bridget, even if at first it doesn’t seem that way, due to her reluctantly about to steal from him. Even when he is wounded by her betrayal, he trusts her word that she did it for a reason of desperation instead of malice, and marries her to give her his protection, doubling down on it once he learns the full truth.

The one (minor) flaw is with the characterization of Bridget’s brother the marquess. While I don’t expect to feel any sympathy for a villain, he did feel more cartoonishly evil than flesh-and-blood person. I do understand that sometimes people are just awful, but I would have liked to get some inkling of his motivations beyond being evil for the sake of it.

This is my current favorite Christi Caldwell book, although that could change if and when I manage to read more of her extensive backlist. However, at the moment, I recommend this as one of the essential Caldwell books that all historical romance lovers should read.

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