fairest of them all book coverReviewed by Bethany Kelly

After dissolving the terms of his arranged marriage to Elin Morris because his brother, Benedict, fell in love with her, Gavin Whitridge is on the search for a suitable woman to take as his wife. However, with not wanting just a marriage of convenience, but a marriage to someone he loves and who makes his blood boil, his quest isn’t nearly as easy as it would seem–even if he is the Duke of Baynton.

Lady Charlene Blanchard is in the care of her aunt, a penniless actress and scriptwriter. Because of their struggle to survive – and because she likes the thrill – Char has been making ends meet by picking the pockets of those better off than she. However, when she is handpicked because of her beauty and bloodline as a potential bride for the Duke of Baynton, she begins to think things may turn around for her. Well…except for one small thing; the Duke’s twin brother, Jack, who “went missing” ten years prior, caught her picking pockets, a spark igniting between the two instantly.

Will Char do what is expected of her and marry the Duke? Or will the spark between she and Jack turn into a flame?

The Fairest of Them All, the second book in the Marrying the Duke series, starts off strong. I loved the main characters, including the stuffy Gavin Whitridge. After reading the first book in this series, I wasn’t very fond of him, but after this book, I have a better understanding of what made him into the person that he is. Char is a strong-willed and boisterous character, straddling the line between what is expected of her, and what will make her happy.

Jack, Gavin’s brother, is also very interesting, but we don’t see as much of his character as I would like. The story behind Jack’s “disappearance,” however, is quite intriguing. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the historical details that went into this novel were only peppered in, but they made all the difference to the story line…in a good way.

The romance in this book was interesting, and the book ended exactly how I expected it to (as most romance novels do). I will say that I was a bit disappointed with the ending because it was rushed. And if there’s one thing that can make or break a book for me, it’s a rushed ending.

Fortunately, I was happy that I read this book, and if you are a person that doesn’t mind the ending being a bit rushed, the beginning and middle make it worth the read.

Bethany Kelly is currently getting her MFA at Goddard College and has a BA in English. She is a writer, editor, and stay-at-home mother and wife who spends her spare time (when she has some) reading and cooking.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Avon. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.