The Dangerous Duke of Dinnisfree (A Whisper of Scandal book) by Julie Johnstone
Overview by Amazon:
Justin Holleman, the Duke of Dinnisfree, is used to being wanted—in bed, for missions, and even dead. He’s protected his country more times than he can remember, gaining enemies along the way, but he failed to defend himself from the past that hardened his heart. Instead, he became an expert at shutting people out. Yet now, in order to save the king, Justin needs to let go of his old ways and let someone closer to him than ever before. He approaches the mission with his classic cold calculation, but his fiery new ally upends his ordered world and entices him at every turn. Suddenly he’s in danger of compromising his assignment and losing his heart, two things he swore never to do.
Desperate to protect her parents from poverty, among other things, Miss Arabella Carthright unwittingly becomes a pawn in a dangerous political battle when she agrees to aid an enigmatic stranger. Having learned long ago to count only on herself, she’s surprised when time and again the duke actually aids her. But when his true assignment becomes clear, Arabella realizes the man she’s come to care for poses the greatest threat to those she loves.
As Justin and Arabella face their feelings and their web of deception falls away, they must decide how high a price they are willing to pay for love and loyalty.
Justin AKA James Bond is a spy for Prinny. He is like a male Olivia Pope – he puts out the fires of the overindulged Prince. His latest mission brings him in contact with the lovely Arabella. To say that she has a difficult life is an understatement. Arabella’s life is very typical of the average Londoner. She has finally reached low enough to have to self her body when fate intervenes.
What was great about the book was how the class divide was explored. Arabella was from the working poor of London and Justin is a Duke. Their world’s should never have crossed in this time and age. But Justin isn’t like other Duke’s and his work for the crown has him spending more time in the underbellies of London streets than the gilded halls of Buckingham Palace as a courtier.
The mystery of the letters and the Queen was great! I found the plot very well paced and I knew that I was hooked when I was frantically trying to figure out what was going to happen. Justin’s role in the political arena was just as interesting and I found it engaging how he was able to work at the highest levels of Parliament and the mean streets with the same efficacy.
The evolution of Justin and Arabella was quite extensive throughout the story. Justin’s journey was one of an emotional nature. Always a kind man, he became Arabella’s protector and knight. It made me fall more in love with him as he took on Arabella’s problems as his own and solved them. Arabella was a pawn in Justin’s and others game in this book, but she came out the winner in the end. I really adored how she trusted Justin and believed in him enough to let him help her. Arabella’s flight drove home how scary it would have been to live in that time period with no social security or safety nets.
A great book filled with adventure, love and enjoyable characters. I found the story of the dangerous Duke to be a wonderful journey that made me believe in the kindness of humanity.