In Sarah MacLean’s The Day of the Duchess, Sera steals my heart and the show, aside from when I’m so distracted by Sophie and King having a baby that I forget to breathe. Also, look at the cover:
Isn’t it amazing? I’m madly in love with that dress, honestly.
If you asked me for my least favorite trope, I would probably struggle substantially because if we’re being honest, I love most tropes if they’re well written. However, I’ve read a few too many second chance romances that were not well-written for it to leave a funny taste in my mouth. This book, despite being a second chance romance, is also… Well, not.
It’s a story about Seraphina. It’s a story about Sera taking control of her life, going after what she wants, and about Malcom learning to be okay with Sera having agency over her life and her choices. It’s also a story about family and the importance of sisters. Now, neither of my sisters have disappeared for years without reaching out, but even if they did, I know that I too would be there immediately. That’s what sisters are for and that is something that Sarah MacLean expresses beautifully.
Now, for a real summary…
You may remember that in the first book of the Scandal & Scoundrel series, The Rogue Not Taken, that Sophie pushed Maclom, Duke of Haven into a fountain and then ran away because, well, you can’t cause a scandal quite like that. You may also remember that Sophie pushed the Duke of Haven into this fountain because she found him doing things he shouldn’t have with a woman who was not his wife and therefore, not Sophie’s sister. Sophie, like all good siblings, was not okay with that. So, she shoved Malcom into a pond.
In the time between that event that sets The Rogue Not Taken into motion and the opening of The Day of the Duchess, Seraphina took off and has now returned to London demanding a divorce. She does this in Parliament at the close of the legislative season when everyone’s dying to leave London. If you’ve seen Wonder Woman recently, you understand just how scandalous this truly was. (P.S., you have seen Wonder Woman, right?) So I’m all:
And Haven is internally like:
because omg, that’s my wife! I’ve been searching for her for three years! DID SHE JUST ASK FOR A DIVORCE?
But outwardly he’s all:
because Haven has an annoying habit of keeping all of his emotions trapped inside his mind because… Well, because he’s stupid, honestly.
Anyway, so Sera is basically being Wonder Woman and she and Haven engage in a battle of wits that was like Wimbledon, which eventually winds up with Sera agreeing (reluctantly) to go to Haven’s estate to play matchmaker for him.
If you, like me, are going, wtf Haven?, I KNOW, RIGHT? Anyway, but Sera doesn’t go into battle alone. Oh no. She takes her sisters. All of them. The Soiled S’s and y’all, my heart. I love it.
Oh, and in the three years that Sera’s been gone, she started singing in pubs and now she’s come back to England to open her own! At the moment because women aren’t people yet (*cue eyeroll*), Caleb (super cute American business partner) is taking care of business. But that, you see, is why Sera needs a divorce.
I’m stopping here to prevent myself from spoiling things for you, but… Um… Yes. Please come talk to me when you’ve read this book. We can squeal over it together on twitter or on tumblr or literally anywhere you can find me. THE END, Y’ALL.
In case it’s not apparent, this book gets a FIVE STAR rating from me on Goodreads, which, let’s be real, does not mean much from me. But it also gets my, I can’t stop thinking about this book and want to be best friends with Sera stamp of approval so, you can take that with a little more force. Me to Sera:
As for whether or not Malcom is fully redeemed… I’m not sure I would forgive him, but I’m also not convinced there wasn’t a lot more groveling between the end of the book and the epilogue. But the important thing is that I do believe in their love for one another. And right now, more than ever before, it is imperative that I believe that love prevails over all. Because Love Trumps Hate, it just has to.