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~Aunt Dimity and the Duke~

by Nancy Atherton

Heroine: plump

 

       CompuTech executive Emma Porter, a dumped frump abandoned by her lover of 15 years for a blonde sylph 20 years her junior, is anxious to leave New England for Old England and a long, relaxing vacation among the finest gardens of the world.

 

       Once there, a series of odd coincidences lands the amateur gardener at Cornwall's infamous Penford Hall, where his grace, Grayson Alexander, insists she is the one meant to restore his grandmother's favorite flowerbeds.  While there she meets the duke's old friend Derek Harris, widowed earl's son and father of two precocious young children, who was hired by Grayson to renovate the manor and ferret out a missing antique lamp in the process.  Derek expresses concern to Emma that his old friend's estate is in terribly fine shape considering that his grace had been left in penury by the late duke.  In fact, the Hall and its nearby village appear to have undergone extensive expensive renovations in the very recent past.

      But where did the money come from?  Was it possible Grayson was dealing in illicit funds?  And did it have anything to do with Lex Rex, the punk rocker who met a tragic ending on the duke's yacht, and who turned out to have been penniless himself at the time of his death?

 

      Perhaps only Grayson's super-model cousin Susannah knows the answer, but she's not talking--at least not since an "accident" in the ruins of a nearby castle left her unconscious.

     

 

What worked for me:

       An avid gardener myself, I'm always keen to read a story that involves flowers.

           

       The mystery kept me turning the pages, as did the sweet romance blossoming between Derek and Emma.

 

        I haven't tried it so can't vouch for it, but the strawberry tart recipe certainly sounds scrumptious.

 

         Size-wise Emma is full-figured, plump in her own eyes but deliciously curvy in her hero's.  In fact, the men in the book seemed to prefer the charms of "hippy" women to that of the willowy super-model-in-residence.

 

What didn't work for me:

           I thought the writing quality fell off a smidge in the middle of the book.

 

           This is the second novel, albeit a prequel, in the Aunt Dimity series, yet she only appeared briefly in the story.  In fact, "Aunt Dimity and the Duke" seemed more like "Emma Porter and the Duke's Friend".

Overall:

         

           A good read for fans of British cozies who like a gardening theme, a hint of romance, and a dash of the paranormal in their stories.

 

If you liked "Aunt Dimity and the Duke" you might also enjoy "Thornyhold" or "The Dancing Floor".

 

Have you read this book and have a comment to make on it? Join a discussion about the book at the Dangerous Curves forum or submit a review to this website

 

 

Good-bye, Mom.

I love you and will miss you forever.

 

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