Monday, November 12, 2012

Review: When You Wish Upon a Duke by Isabella Bradford

Charlotte Wylder has the bloodlines but not the title, money, or proper behavior for London Society.

March has the title, money, and proper behavior -- but not the bloodlines. The marriage arranged by the previous Duke and the late Earl (Charlotte's father) comes as a blessing for March, who has very little experience dealing with the opposite sex.

When March first meets Charlotte, he forgets all about propriety and the purpose of this marriage -- he falls in love with the unconventional, fun-loving Charlotte --

And Charlotte forgets her initial worries about marrying a complete stranger and falls in love with March, who makes her tingle with his touch and stolen kisses.

What should be happily-ever-after for March and Charlotte turns into a marriage of silence and tears as March realizes his "error" at bedding his wife so eagerly and passionately -- and poor Charlotte is too innocent to understand what she did wrong.

When You Wish Upon a Duke is the first book in Isabella Bradford's Wylder Sisters trilogy -- and Susan Holloway Scott's debut historical romance novel writing as Isabella Bradford.

In this novel, we see two young people struggle with their own needs and wants and what society expects of them. March grew up and lived his life fulfilling all that was expected of a duke. He avoided scandal and complications and always, always did what was proper and acceptable.

His ancestry haunts him -- his great grandmother was the mistress of the King and his bloodline traces back from that. Add to that, his title isn't old and esteemed -- and he longs for that sort of perfection.

Enter Charlotte Wylder, whose lineage traces back farther than March's -- but having been raised in Dorset has allowed Charlotte to enjoy a carefree life and she really isn't what society would expect of a duchess.

Bradford presents us with the question of need and want. March wants perfection -- but what he really needs is someone like Charlotte, who can show him the lighter side of life.

It is clear from the beginning that our hero and heroine are meant for each other -- the chemistry is there and they do everything in their power to contain their desire for each other. (But they still end up kissing in the mantua maker's shop. See Chapter 5.)

But the quest for perfection that March strives towards keeps him from enjoying his married life with Charlotte.

What is wonderful is seeing Charlotte's transformation throughout the novel. She begins as socially clumsy and inept, with her aunt constantly reminding her of how lacking she is in social graces. She struggles to find her place in London society.

Charlotte stood in the corner of the stone-paved path in the garden behind her aunt's house. After the wild gardens and fields of the old manor house in Dorset, this city garden seemed oppressively small and restrained, with tall brick walls on three sides and the house on the other. Everything was bound by geometric precision, with the neat stone paths crossing one another at perfect right angles, and every raised bed of flowers was so neatly trimmed that no leaves or tendril vines dared curl beyond their boundaries.
- p. 77

But as the story develops, Charlotte develops into a woman who is capable of speaking out, making her own decisions and standing up for herself. She grows and matures along with March.

March, on the other hand, is not as easy to like. He sometimes did a Jeckyl-and-Hyde with Charlotte -- sweet one minute and cold the next and I really felt bad for Charlotte.

But I understand that Bradford wanted to build an internal conflict in the Duke of Marchbourne and to show how he struggles with his own self-doubt and insecurity.

And I did love seeing glimpses of the unguarded March -- the March who wasn't over-thinking or over-analyzing the situation. And I'm glad that, in the end, he allows himself the freedom to be his true self.

A very good first book for Isabella Bradford. I am definitely curious about her next book. The second book, When the Duchess Said Yes was released last September 25 and the last book in the trilogy, When the Duke Found Love will be released this November.

To find out more about Isabella Bradford and her books, visit her website. She's also on Facebook.


  1. Nice blog!
    I'm following you now! Follow my blog too?
    Thank you

  2. Hi, Montse!

    Thank you for dropping by!

    Have a great day!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...