(Roxton Series, #3)
Genre: Historical Romance (Georgian – 1777)
A beautiful duchess mourns for her beloved.
A sun-bronzed merchant returns to claim a birthright.
Disparate souls in need of love and renewal.
Paths cross and the journey begins…
Hampshire, England, 1777: Antonia, Dowager Duchess of Roxton, has been mourning the loss of her soul mate for three long years. Her despair is all-consuming until into her life steps a devilishly handsome younger man. Unconventional and self-assured, wealthy merchant Jonathon Strang will stop at nothing to convince Antonia she can love again, and deeply.
The highly acclaimed historical romance AUTUMN DUCHESS is widely regarded a classic and a rule breaker: A rare example of a much-loved heroine’s second chance at love in the autumn of her life. Deeply emotional and uplifting, AUTUMN DUCHESS is the stand-alone story that takes the Roxton Family saga into the bold new future of the next generation, led by Antonia’s son, the 6th Duke of Roxton.
A beautiful and deeply emotional second chance love story by Lucinda Brant superbly narrated by Alex Wyndham – it doesn’t get any better than this!
This is the third book in the Roxton family saga and, although it can be read as a standalone, I would definitely recommend reading the first two books because I feel it gives the reader a fuller understanding of Antonia’s emotional state at the beginning of this book. They are also well worth reading.
It has been three years since her husband, Renard, passed away and Antonia, Dowager Duchess of Roxton is still in deep mourning over the loss of the love of her life. She was 20 years younger than her husband and, at the age of 48, is still a beautiful woman. Her son Julian, the current Duke of Roxton, and his wife, Deborah, are very worried about Antonia’s state of mind and, over the past three years, Julian has tried everything to convince his mother that life is still worth living but to no avail. She refuses to put off her widow’s weeds and her lonely days in Crecy Hall, are only brightened by the twice-weekly visits of her beloved grandchildren.
Jonathon Strang Leven, a wealthy merchant, has returned from India having made his fortune there. He has inherited a title and estates in Scotland on the death of a distant relative, but is also seeking the return of an inheritance stolen from his ancestor Edmund Strang Leven over a century ago by the Roxton family. This inheritance being Crecy Hall. He also wants to secure his daughter Sarah Jane’s chances of marrying into nobility. Jonathon is completely self-assured, used to getting what he wants and cares nothing for society’s expectations.
…he did not do as Society expected. He did not apologize. He was not penitent. He did not bow and scrape and back away to be swallowed up by the crowd.
I was totally captivated by Antonia and Jonathan’s love story and enjoyed the older woman/younger man aspect. Having read Noble Satyr (Antonia and Renard’s story), it was easy to see the marked contrast between the vital, exuberant person she once was and the withdrawn, grief-stricken person she has become. I really felt for her son, Julian, who wanted so desperately to help his mother but didn’t know how. I knew he was only doing what he thought best for her although his actions often seemed cruel, unfeeling and misguided.
He was at a loss to know what else he could possibly do or say that he had not already done or said, to drag her out of the vat of grief and self-pity in which she was slowly drowning.
I absolutely loved Jonathon. Having lost his beloved wife in childbirth many years before, he understands Antonia’s grief better than anyone and he is the perfect person to reawaken her to the joys of living. I love his dogged pursuit of her regardless of the consequences whether it be asking her to dance or turning up for breakfast at Crecy Hall uninvited. I also adore him for accepting that “Monseigneur” will always have a place in her heart.
I loved watching Antonia’s initial reactions to Jonathan’s outrageous behaviour and comments. It creates some very funny moments and this is one of my favourites.
“In my experience, Mme la Duchesse, full breasts droop if—”
“Pourquoi? Droop? Droop? What is this-this droop?”
Antonia was aghast. Angry pride spurred her to give an outrageously candid and thus indiscreet response. But she had always spoken her mind; it was second nature to her.
“Monseigneur he says I have the most perfect breasts imaginable because they are firm and full, and suspend like ripened fruit still on the tree. That is not droop.”
I also loved the inner conversations between Jonathon’s Business Brain, Heart, Stomach and Vital Organ. So funny!
Ms Brant weaves elements of factual history into the sub-plot involving Antonia’s cousin who is accused of aiding American Revolutionaries. This also provides some suspenseful moments.
If I have one small criticism, it would be that the story ends rather abruptly but, as this is a continuing family saga, I hope to see more of Antonia and Jonathon in later books.
Once again, Alex Wynham’s narration was superb. He continues to amaze me with the wide range of character voices he can produce, each distinctive and sustained throughout the book. I have listened to Noble Satyr and Antonia’s French accent is exactly the same pitch and tone that I remember from that book. His rich, smooth voice is perfect for the deliciously gorgeous Jonathon and his narration of the passionate, romantic scenes made my toes curl.
MY VERDICT: A beautifully crafted, superbly narrated and emotionally satisfying love story that truly touches the heart. Highly recommended.
REVIEW RATING: STELLAR 5 STARS
SENSUALITY RATING: SUBTLE
Listened to March 2016
Roxton Series so far (click on the book covers for more details):
**I received a free download of this audiobook from the author in return for a honest review**