My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I just finished Manda Collins’ first book in her new Ugly Duckling series, How To Dance With A Duke. This book dances to a lovely tune of romance and mystery. I love books that bring in unique settings, and Collins has woven Egyptian archeology into this story to add to the intrigue.
Three beauties that set the ton on fire in their day now have daughters that prefer to be wallflowers instead of social butterflies. The nasty whisperers of society have deemed the three daughters the Ugly Ducklings.
In this first book, readers will learn about Cecily Hurston, a bluestocking desiring to follow her father’s occupation in archeology. When her father returns from Egypt suffering from an illness rendering him unable to speak, it is up to Cecily to clear his name of wrongdoing. Lord Hurston’s secretary has gone missing on the dig, and the ton is circulating nasty rumors about murder and Egyptian curses.
The Duke of Winterson will stop at nothing to find out what happened to his younger brother who traveled to Egypt as secretary to Lord Hurston. It could be that the bookish but beautiful daughter of Lord Hurston could help him in his quest.
Collins does a nice job of creating interesting characters. Each of the main characters has an area of expertise, and yet outside that knowledge base they are just as human as the rest of us. The avid romance reader will notice the subtle introduction of other characters which will be sure to bloom into heroes and heroines in the rest of this series. I’m always particularly fond of any book that has a female lead that is smart enough not jump the shark and put herself into dangerous situations. Cecily is intelligent and uses common sense which is such a nice combination in a romance novel. I’m looking forward to reading the other books in the series, How to Romance a Rake and How to Entice an Earl.