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A runaway bride dumps a duke and rewrites her own love story in this enchanting Victorian historical romance from the author of The Duke Undone.
Pretty and pampered, Lavinia Yardley always dreamed of becoming a duchess. But family disgrace forces her into marriage with the most vile duke in England, and she finds herself desperate for a way out. When a rustic stranger mistakes her for globe-trotting botanist Muriel Pendrake at a train station, Lavinia has a split second to decide whether to submit to her fate or steal someone else's.
Neal Traymayne spent his youth traveling the world as Varnham Nursery's most daring plant hunter. Now he runs the nursery and is ready to settle down with a like-minded wife who'll fit right in with his large, happy, down-to-earth family. His correspondence with Muriel Pendrake proved they're the perfect match. Odd that the woman in the flesh seems more like a society belle than a scientist.
As they tramp the Cornish moors together, Lavinia and Neal discover a wild and rare desire. But this blossoming love is rooted in lies, and when the real Muriel Pendrake shows up, they can't hide from who they are. The truth may wither their hopes of happiness, or it may bloom into the sweetest love of all.
About the Author
Joanna Lowell lives among the fig trees in North Carolina, where she teaches in the English department at Wake Forest University. When she's not writing historical romance, she writes collections and novels as Joanna Ruocco. Those books include Dan, Another Governess / The Least Blacksmith, The Week, and Field Glass, coauthored with Joanna Howard.
“Lowell’s finely wrought characters don’t have it easy when it comes to navigating restrictive Victorian society, but even their most outrageous actions ring true. Readers will be swept away by this entrancing, intelligent romance.”
—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Compelling and exquisitely crafted, The Runaway Duchess is a beautiful romance that enchants from the very first page. Lowell's wit, sumptuous imagery, and vivid, endearing characters combine to make this a swooningly gorgeous read. Highly recommended."
—India Holton, Author of The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels
“Lowell's smart and sumptuous tale is sure to please fans of Victorian romance.”
Praise for The Duke Undone
“I loved The Duke Undone and so will my readers!”
—Eloisa James, New York Times bestselling author of My Last Duchess
“Lushly dark, riddled with secrets, and seductive….Lowell’s writing oozes a sense of place. [The] sense of authenticity never falters, making this the most Victorian of romance novels.”
“A beautiful blend of seductive suspense and heart-tugging romance that I could not put down. Romance fans should make room for this author on their keeper shelves!”
—Lyssa Kay Adams, National bestselling author of Crazy, Stupid Bromance
“Joanna Lowell's skillful storytelling and dazzling characters create one of the most exciting new voices in historical romance today.”
—Julia London, New York Times bestselling author of A Princess by Christmas
"A charming romance with an atypical heroine and a to-die-for (and hot!) hero in this unique tale of a duke and a struggling artist in Victorian London.”
—Jennifer Ashley, New York Times bestselling author of The Stolen Mackenzie Bride
“I really loved this book—in fact, I couldn't put it down. It's a fabulous feast of a story that plunges you into the Victorian era with all its levels and complications — into the art world and among aristocrats and slum-dwellers. There's tension, adventure, derring-do, a fight against corruption on several levels, a rich cast of characters and a hero and heroine to admire and cheer for. All in all, a rich and heartwarming historical romance. Highly recommended.”
—Anne Gracie, National bestselling author of Marry in Scarlet
“Lowell conjures vivid characters in this intelligent Victorian romance… provides plenty of atmospheric intrigue, deepened by Lowell’s willingness to engage with ideas of gender, class, and empire, and by the complexity of the characters.”
“It’s a lush, sensual and outstanding romance that makes the heart ache in the very best way.”
—BookPage (Starred Review)
"Impeccably researched, Lowell's latest emphasizes justice. This love story tackles weighty issues but remains suspenseful and spellbinding."
—Library Journal (Starred Review)
"Lowell’s prose is vivid and evocative, and issues such as class inequity, women’s rights, and alcohol addiction complement the intense on-page evolution of the love story...those looking for a happy-ever-after for complex and passionate characters will be very satisfied here. A new voice in historical romance that will keep readers riveted."