Author: Cathy Maxwell
Genre: Historical Romance
My Copy: ARC via Avon
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: In New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell’s glittering new series, wedding bells are ringing…but which Whitridge twin is the right groom?
The penniless orphan of a disreputable earl, Lady Charlene Blanchard thrives on the adventure of picking the pockets of unsavory gentlemen to survive. But due to her extraordinary beauty and prized bloodlines, she is hand-chosen as a potential bride for the Duke of Baynton, who is on the hunt for a suitable wife to provide heirs. All Char has to do is act the part she was born to play and charm a duke she’s never laid eyes on into proposing. Except the duke turns out to be the tall, dark and sexy stranger who just caught her red-handed as a thief!
Or is he? Jack Whitridge is the duke’s twin who had “gone missing” over ten years ago. Now back in England, he knows that the supposed Lady who has his brother’s love is hardly duchess material—except he needs her to save his adopted country from war. He is willing to bargain with her heart, until he finds himself falling for Char . . .
I’ve always enjoyed Cathy Maxwell’s books and sadly, I haven’t kept up with her. When given the opportunity to read The Fairest of Them All, I couldn’t pass up the chance to get reacquainted with her work! Fairest is the second in her Marrying the Duke series and if you haven’t the read the first, The Match of the Century, it’s not necessary to enjoy Fairest.
We have really good character development. Lady Charlene Blanchard had a difficult childhood and I can’t imagine growing up the way she did. She’s feisty and courageous. Charlene is also very loyal to her friends and will do anything to make sure they have everything they need. And then we have Jack Whitridge, the long lost and presumed dead twin brother of the Duke of Baynton, Gavin. Jack is back in England and is prepared to swallow his pride in order to obtain peace and prevent the War of 1812. I liked Jack and could sympathize with his pain of being a spare in case something happened to his brother. We have a few secondary characters that play a vital role including Jack’s brother, Gavin and Charlene’s aunt, Sarah Pettijohn.
What I liked about Fairest was the unique opening chapter! My heart ached for Charlene and tried to imagine what her life must have been like afterwards. We also have a group of women who will do anything to make ends meet and aren’t ashamed of what they do. I really liked that Charlene was a trained pickpocket! You might be wondering why if I liked the book, I gave it a three rating and the reason is, Gavin! I’m sorry, but I just adored him the moment he appeared on the page! I wanted this to be his book and it’s rare for an author to give us a hero who is smitten from the start and is just so awkward around Charlene that it is almost adorable. I wanted to take him by the hand and show him how to woo a woman. I’m also not a fan of love triangles and Charlene has to choose a brother. And, in the end, this has nothing to do with Maxwell’s writing and trust me, I keep having to remind myself that I can’t rate this lower than a three because I didn’t like the outcome!
If you’re a fan of historical romance and are looking to try a new author, I recommend Cathy Maxwell’s The Fairest of them All. Just don’t get too attached to Gavin! I’m really looking forward to his story, but admit, a bit worried about his potential match. Maxwell gives us a bit of teaser within Fairest and if it’s who I think it is, ah, she better be worthy of Gavin!