Hello fellow romance lovers! Today I am featuring Along Came A Lady, the first book in the All The Duke’s Sins series by Christi Caldwell. This is a beautiful, heart-racing story of belonging and love. I gave this book a deserving five stars. I wanted to share this unique love story with all my readers! In this tour you will find the synopsis, my review, an excerpt, and author information. So scroll down, I know you will love this book as much as I do!
USA Today bestselling author Christi Caldwell makes her Berkley debut this summer with ALONG CAME A LADY (Berkley Mass Market; August 24, 2021), a sparkling, banter-filled, enemies-to-lovers tale about letting go of society’s preconceived notions and finding love.
In a reverse retelling of My Fair Lady, ALONG CAME A LADY follows the budding romance between the irascible son of a duke and the lady hired to teach him the ways of a gentleman. As the lessons go on, the two engage in a battle of wits and passion. Rafe Audley detests his father, the Duke of Bentley, for abandoning his family. Born illegitimate, Rafe has worked the mines his whole life to care for his younger siblings. Edwina Dalrymple has spent her life making a name for herself as an instructor in etiquette, and she has yet to fail in preparing her charges for Polite Society. Edwina soon learns that Rafe is no ordinary charge. He is wholly uninterested in joining the Gentry, making his lessons Edwina’s most difficult undertaking yet. Taming the foreman would surely elevate her status, but can Edwina put her own feelings aside in order to get the job done? As the bold teacher and stubborn pupil work to sabotage each other at every turn, Edwina and Rafe will learn that while opposites attract, the unlikely pair have more in common than they think.
Along Came A Lady weaves a mesmerizing story of redemption and love. This opposite attracts love story enchants and delights the reader at every turn.
Rafe Audley and his three siblings are the abandoned illegitimate children of the Duke of Bentley. After thirty years, the Duke reaches out. A recalcitrant Rafe refuses to have anything to do with the representatives the Duke sends; Rafe wants to keep his everyday life in a coal-mining town. Edwina Dalrymple is the latest weapon in the Duke’s arsenal to get Rafe to London. Edwina prepares young ladies for their entry into society. Edwina is tasked with instructing Rafe in the ins and outs of the peerage while convincing him to go to London to meet his father.
I have never read two more tenacious characters than Rafe and Edwina; they meet their match in each other. The banter between the couple is deliciously written. As the book progresses, we discover the tragedies that have sculpted our couple. Both are damaged and untrusting. Rafe and Edwina have many similar difficulties, yet they handle them oppositely. Rafe’s loyalty and love for his family and community radiate off his character. At first, Edwina’s constant cheerfulness was grating; however, once I got to know and understand her, I learned to love Edwina.
The love-hate relationship of the couple flourished under the sharp, witty dialogue. Their journey to love for these enemies turn lovers is tumultuous, yet so well designed that I couldn’t put the book down. The attraction between the couple grew exponentially as the book progressed. The sensuality built gradually to a fiery culmination.
The plot unfolded effortlessly and flawlessly. There were so many nuances and depth that built layer upon layer of the poignant story. The story was engaging and written exceptionally well. Along Came A Lady is the first book in the All The Duke’s Sins series. These novels focus on the illegitimate children of a Duke who tries to enter into their lives many years too late. The bare bones of this story are the different facets of forgiveness. It focuses on the forgiveness of others. However, it also addresses how one must forgive themselves for situations that one cannot control. There is no peace with others until one finds peace within themselves, which resonated with me. A first-class, excellent start to an exhilarating romantic saga!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book through Netgalley and the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
“Are you going to drink it or cradle it?” he asked, changing the subject. Rafe lifted his tankard, clarifying his question.
Edwina raised the steel cup to her lips and inhaled. Her pert nose wrinkled, and her face pulled in a grimace, and with that, Rafe managed another smile since he’d caught sight of his brother in all his happiness. “It smells horrid.”
Holding his tankard out, he clanged the ring against hers in a mock toast; challenging her.
He thought for a moment she intended to reject that challenge,he should have known better.
Taking in a deep breath, Edwina raised a glass, tipped it back, and chugged.
The long, graceful column of her neck moved rhythmically and quickly as she downed the contents of her drink.
“Whoa, you are not supposed to consume it quite so quickly,” he instructed, hastily reaching across the table, and resting a hand on the fingers cradling her mug.
Edwina set it down with a little splat, and then ever so gingerly, dabbed at the corners of her mouth. “That is…rather horrid stuff,” her shoulders and chest lifted as she hiccoughed, and he grinned.
Mr. Ward immediately reappeared and eyed Edwina’s empty tankard approvingly. “I knew I was right about this girl,” he said proudly. “Knows her spirits, she does.”
From over the top of the innkeeper’s hand, as he poured, Edwina caught Rafe’s eye.
“Do not say anything,” she silently mouthed, perfectly annunciating each syllable.
“I wouldn’t dream of it.” Rafe followed that assurance with a wink.
“What is that, Mr. Audley?”
“I was just saying to the lady I couldn’t dream of a more splendid ale,” he expertly substituted, and the already tall innkeeper grew several inches under that praise. Bustling off, Mr. Ward went to refill the tankards of the table of nearby patrons.
“You’re not horrified.”
Her tankard still in her hands, Edwina dropped her elbows on the table and leaned across the small, cylindrical surface. “That was your intention and plan.”
Rafe’s cheeks went warm.
Edwina’s eyes rounded. “Why…why…you are blushing, Mr. Audley.”
“That is p-preposterous,” he sputtered. “I would never do anything like… Like…”
“Blush?” she winged up an eyebrow and edged forward another fraction so that their elbows touched. “You needn’t worry,” she whispered. “Your secret is safe with me. The men and women who work for you will never learn about your blushing.”
And that brief good humor, ended with that reminder; the reminder of his brother’s new role. And their father’s determination to control Rafe’s life.
From ALONG CAME A LADY published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 by Christi Caldwell.
Christi Caldwell is the USA Today bestselling author of the Sinful Brides Series and the Heart of a Duke Series. She blames novelist Judith McNaught for luring her into the world of historical romance. She enjoys torturing her couples before they earn their well-deserved happily ever after. Originally from Southern Connecticut, Christi now resides in North Carolina, where she spends her time writing and being a mommy to an energetic little boy and mischievous twin girls who offer an endless source of story ideas. Learn more at christicaldwell.com.