Don’t Believe the Hype, Bedding Lord Ned (Duchess of Love #1) – Sally Mackenzie

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Bedding Lord Ned was cute, you know in that completely forgettable way like a third rate rom-com starring Katherine Heigel? I think I fell victim to the “old saw” of believing the hype. Book preferences are wildly subjective and nowadays in the wonderful world of the internet and fabulous sites like Goodreads it is all too easy to taint your reading palate.

Being inundated with books these days I am not even sure how Bedding Lord Ned came up on my radar. I think it was on a comparables listing with The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie and  A Lady Never Lies both highly rated and patiently waiting their turn in my TBR pile. But ultimately I believe the problem was my high expectations of the story itself.

Determined to find a husband, Miss Eleanor “Ellie” Bowman attends a ball put on by the Duchess of Greycliffe, fondly referred to as the Duchess of Love. But she roundly dismisses the suitors the matchmaking hostess has invited on her behalf. For it’s the duchess’ dashing son, Ned, Lord Edward, who long ago captured Ellie’s heart—and roused her desire. All it takes is a pair of conveniently misplaced silky red bloomers to set the handsome widower’s gaze on this unusual girl who is clearly more than meets the eye.

After four years of mourning, Ned must find a wife. At first glance, the birthday ball his mother has thrown in his honor is decidedly lacking in suitable mistresses. But he senses something unexpectedly alluring beneath the veil of Ellie’s plain exterior—and suddenly she’s invading his dreams in a decidedly scandalous manner.

Ellie Bowman has loved Ned, the Duchess of Greycliffe’s middle son for most of her life and stood aside when he married her best friend instead. Four years later, tired of waiting for Ned to realize what he has in his good friend, she is determined to find a husband. Hi-jinx ensue when the Duchess’ thieving cat steals a pair of Ellie’s incongruously colored undergarments. Strangely the cat brings his gifts only to Ned and it seems that bulls are not the only animal strongly affected by the color red.

Traumatized by his wife’s death in childbirth Ned is a worrier par excellence, however understandable his apprehension, it is about as sexy as one of Woody Allen’s fretting narratives? Beyond his conviction that he could never love again and that he is inflamed by the color red there wasn’t that much about Ned that would seem to inspire Ellie’s life long devotion or vice versa. Far more compelling were Ned’s brothers, the rapscallion youngest sibling Jack and the mysterious married in name only Ash.

Ultimately, Bedding Lord Ned was just too precious for me, bordering on saccharine, between the machinations of the match making Duchess and her equally interfering cat I swear I could feel a cavity starting but that might have just been an over indulgence in the kid’s Halloween candy?

AUTHOR: Sally Mackenzie

RATING: 2 1/2  Stars

GENRE: Historical Romance

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