Simon Hawkins, duke of Trent, is no stranger to scandal. Rumors and innuendo have darkened the House of Trent for decades, and it has fallen to Simon to restore his tattered family name. He lives by a strict code of honor, but when he is called home to investigate his mother's disappearance, the distinguished duke will tangle with temptation. For there waits the only woman he has ever loved--and the last woman he should desire . . .Sarah Osborne has spent her life dreaming of Simon's touch. But dukes do not long for lady's maids-or so Sarah believes, until a stolen kiss sparks a passion that could be her ultimate undoing. As the couple begins a forbidden romance, a cunning enemy plots to destroy the duke and everything he loves. Now, caught in a blackmailer's web, Simon faces an agonizing choice: sacrifice his family's future or break Sarah's heart.
The title of Ms. Haymore's latest historical romance is a play on words: Simon Hawkins, duke of Trent, has decided it's time to marry, and is on the lookout for a bride; Simon Hawkins, duke of Trent, is also on the investigative trail of what happened to his mother, the dowager duchess. The search for the dowager duchess isn't resolved in The Duchess Hunt, however. It looks to be fraught with twists and turns as the House of Trent rallies to find the dowager before something grim happens.
Simon's quest for a bride is just as emotional, though this plot is seen through to fruition.
What I love about Ms. Haymore's writing is its richness and the sexual tension she can show between two characters with a simple look. Simon and Sarah do not have an easy path to love -- they've loved each other for years, but Simon is a duke and Sarah is from a lower class -- but it's a believable one. Dukes don't marry beneath their station. And while the members of the House of Trent are shown to buck convention, his love for Sarah is one issue where Simon is at war with himself.
I'll be interested to see how long the mystery of where the dowager duchess has gone can logically continue as we move through the remaining two books of this trilogy. But I loved The Duchess Hunt quite a bit and am eager to learn more about the House of Trent.