The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean


For those following Sarah MacLean’s Scandal and Scoundrel series, The Day of the Duchess is finally Seraphina and Malcolm, Duke of Haven’s, story. Malcolm was the one who got knocked ass-over-teakettle into a fish pond in The Rogue Not Taken  and launched the whole series with his soggy duke-pants.

Now, you don’t need to read the other books to read this one, but I do think the series works really well in order. That said, this is also the weakest book.

I was really excited for this story which promised to be a super angsty reconciliation story–which it is–but I found that I could never forgive the hero. Even though The Day of the Duchess is really just a prolonged grovel by Malcolm (and he needs to grovel, ya’ll) I still  didn’t like him at the end.

Weirdly, despite not liking the hero, I still liked the book. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that Seraphina is amazing and badass, and so are her sisters. They spend a lot of time together in this novel, and they have no fucks to give. They love each other and support each other and will shove Malcolm in as many fish ponds as needed to make Seraphina feel better.

Also there was this line:

“Perhaps not. But perhaps you will. And when you are, I shall be here.” [Malcolm] said it as though he had nothing to do but languish here, in his underwater lair, waiting for her to wander in and ask him to make love to her.

I NEED THAT AQUAMAN FANFIC RIGHT THE FUCK NOW.

Beads of water fly of Jason Momoa's windswept hair.

Anyway, the book opens with the return of Seraphina, the-up-till-now missing Duchess of Haven. Seraphina is the oldest of the Talbot sisters aka The Dangerous Daughters aka The Soiled S’s. Her father, a wealthy industrialist, won his earldom at cards with Prinny (like you do) and so when Sera and her sisters had their debut, it gave everyone in the ton something to turn their noses up at.

Sera and Malcolm met at a ball and it was basically lust at first sight. Malcolm courted her–kind of. Like they could meet in secret but he wasn’t going to visit her family or act like he would with a “respectable” lady. Afraid that if Malcolm didn’t marry her, her reputation and her sisters’ (and their marriage prospects) would be in tatters, Seraphina traps him into marrying her by sleeping with him (which was his idea) and then getting caught (which was her mom’s).

For the record, he was going to marry her anyways, but he was being a tool about it.

So after they’re married, Malcolm is all asshurt because he thinks she trapped him for his title (despite the fact that he was totes willing to ruin her before proposing). They kind of live apart, but then he finds out she’s pregnant and he’s mad that she didn’t tell him she got pregnant (WHY SHOULD SHE? YOU’RE ACTING LIKE A TOTAL DOUCHENOZZLE) so he does the logical thing and…

Click for spoilers!
has sex with another woman. But just the once. Like that makes it better.

Then their child dies during childbirth, Seraphina almost does, too, and the doctor declares her barren.

So she figures, fuck this noise, takes her money and runs away.

It’s a lot of prologue, I know.

The book opens three years later. Seraphina is back, and she wants a goddamn divorce. Malcolm, having three years to get over his hurt feelings, realizes he loves her and wants her back. He agrees to divorce her if she comes to his estate to help him pick out his next duchess (cuz that’s not fucked up) which is really a ploy to woo her. Seraphina shows up with all her sisters and one pissed off cat as backup.

I never forgave Malcolm. I never really liked him because it was really hard to come back from all the shitty things he did. MacLean tries hard to redeem him, making it clear that he wasn’t sure of Seraphina’s intentions and that he felt betrayed by her actions. The problem is, his actions were super shitty, and having hurt feelings isn’t an excuse to behave horribly. Welcome to adulthood dude. You gotta own your shit.

That said, I found myself compulsively reading this book. I loved Seraphina. LOVED HER.

This is from one of her first meetings with Haven, before everything went to shit:

“You called me ‘my lord,’ It’s ‘Your Grace.’”

She smirked. “How did you know how thoroughly women adore being corrected by men? And over forms of address, especially. It’s a great wonder that none of us have ever fallen in love with you.” She dropped a little curtsey, the movement making him feel like a horse’s ass. “Farewell gentlemen.”

Cheers to you, madam.

And after everything goes to shit:

“You stood in the house where we might have built a home, our wedding breakfast barely over, and you told me to leave you.”

When he opened his mouth to reply, she found she was not through.

“And do you know the great irony of it? The whole world thinks you ruined me before you married me, when the truth is I was not ruined until after the fact. You ruined my hopes. My dreams. My future. You ruined my life. And I’ve had enough of that. I am here for one reason only, Your Grace. I want my life back. The one you stole.”

I want to drink with Seraphina. I want her to hang out and come to book club and be my new friend.

Malcolm acknowledges that he’s been a douchebag, but like a true romance hero, rather than offer her a sincere apology making it clear he understands what he did wrong, he manufactures a scenario in which he can win her back. It includes the underwater apology cave he built.

I mean, underwater apology caves are the shit, and this one has stained glass and everything, but I’d take a Hallmark card and some honest conversation over that.

Unless Jason Momoa is in the cave. Then the cave wins.

“Go away. I’m having Jason time.”

Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac (sadly, no public beta for the Apple Watch). While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That’s why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.

<h2>How to set a preset kaleidoscope watch face</h2>
<ol>
<li>Launch the <strong>Watch</strong> app from your Home screen.</li>
<li>Tap the <strong>Face Gallery</strong> tab.</li>
<li>Tap <strong>Kaleidoscope</strong>.</li>
<li>Tap <strong>the photo</strong> you want to use.</li>
<li>Tap the <strong>Style</strong> you want to use. Either Facet or Radial.</li>
<li>Choose the <strong>Complications</strong> you want on the watch face. </li>
<li>Tap <strong>Add</strong>.</li>
</ol>
<h2>How to make a custom kaleidoscope watch face</h2>
<ol>
<li>Launch the <strong>Photos</strong> app from your Home screen.</li>
<li>Tap on <strong>the photo</strong> you want to use. </li>
<li>Tap the <strong>Share</strong> button. </li>
<li>Swipe <strong>right</strong> on the list of actions at the bottom of your screen. </li>
<li>Tap <strong>Create Watch Face</strong>.</li>
<li>Tap <strong>Kaleidoscope Watch Face</strong>.</li>
<li>Tap the <strong>Style</strong> you want to use. Either Facet or Radial.</li>
<li>Choose the <strong>Complications</strong> you want on the watch face. </li>
<li>Tap <strong>Add</strong>.</li>
</ol>
<h2>What do you think of the new kaleidoscope watch faces?</h2>
<p>Let us know in the comments below!</p>
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</p>
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” data-medium-file=”” data-large-file=”” class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-60305″ src=”http://ift.tt/2sMPsK6&#8243; alt=”Jason Momoa is scratching his tattoo and his tongue is doing a thing and I cant even” width=”495″ height=”386″/>

Grand gestures aside, I couldn’t forgive Malcolm. I couldn’t forgive him for

Click for spoilers!
his infidelity, for not being there when Seraphina was almost DYING IN CHILDBIRTH, for courting her in such a shitbag way.

It was too much to come back from.

Which makes grading this book hard.

As a romance, it doesn’t really work if I didn’t feel like the hero deserved the heroine.

As a book about a woman who has come to burn the fields and salt the earth, and her sisters are there to back her up, it totally worked. I mean, I loved this part. The sisters are all crammed in a carriage, heading to Haven’s estate to wreak havoc, one of them gets carriage-sick, and there’s a pissed off cat who doesn’t appreciate being stuffed in a basket:

“Does Haven like cats?”

[Seraphina] looked to Sesily, already coming to the edge of her seat, Brummell in arms, as though she was prepared to do battle. Sesily was often first into the fray, even when she was green at the gills. “I don’t know. But I doubt it.”

“Excellent,” she said.

Haven opened the door, and Sesily flew from the carriage, thrusting the panicked cat into his arms. “Hold this!”

Surprisingly, he did, somehow controlling his own shock as failed to control the animal, which immediately went wild, hissing and clawing and flailing to be free.

All while Sesily cast up her accounts upon the duke’s perfectly polished boots.

Sera’s hand flew to her mouth, as though she could capture her astonished gasp. As though she could hide the pleasure that edged though it. She couldn’t.

His head snapped up at the sound, and he met her eyes, at once furious and shocked beyond words. Sera lowered her hand, revealed her grin, wide with the realization that everything had, in fact, gone pear-shaped.

For him.

Ah sisterhood. Sometimes it means throwing up on somebody who desperately needs to be barfed on.

If you really like a good grovel, this book might be your catnip. As much as I loved Sera and her sisters, I just couldn’t buy the reconciliation.

I am, however, super excited for Sesily to get her own story…and I’m off to read some Aquaman fanfic.

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The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean

June 27, 2017

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