Reading the synopsis above, what on earth is a duchy??
I generally don't read paranormal romance like this, but it was sent through a book club I'm in (her premier into Dorchester). Although it was a bit heavy on the fantasy I was able to enjoy the book for what it's worth; the characters were easy to get into and the writing style was descriptive and smooth. Scenes ran together quickly, not lagging to allow dull moments, while there was plenty of tension (particularly on Blackwell's side) to keep suspense in the air at all times.
I had begun to suspect one of the culprits before the hero seemed to, and am a bit surprised he didn't catch on earlier. The side sub-plot of Cousin Ralph dished out a surprisingly juicy tidbit, and the story began with a dreadfully tense moment where she was revealed as being powerful. I literally bit my lip through the entire scene, practically feeling her humiliation. I found the heroine's preoccupation with Blackwell's sisters a little too much on the melodramatic side, but hey, whatever floats the characters boat. The ending where she shows a new talent toward her mate was also almost too convenient and slightly cheesy, but in another way warm and the only way it could be. (I don't almost make sense here, folks.) I haven't read Kennedy before, but the woman has a wonderful way with words that manages to convey emotion admirably.
The world is much different than others typically penned; titles are granted not on money and esteem and family name, but on the amount of magic descendants prove. There are relics to be used for dark magic, which the court cannot defend themselves against, and these relics are why I think this is borderline fantasy. I never would have envisioned a seductive lion, but Blackwell is done in a way to where it works. I'm more of a vamp gal than a shifter fan, but nevertheless it was still a rewarding reading experience.
This Victorian-type fairy tale is laden with beautiful settings, an almost mystical enemy (have to love the plants), funny sidekicks, and a blissfully happy ending. I especially enjoyed how Blackwell threw everything out the window eventually, even deciding that if the magic were being used by Felicity for evil purposes, that he would still love her. There's enough of a mystery present to keep the reader wondering about various aspects and in the dark to the true intent of many; in the end it all wraps together and leaves no loose weavings that would ultimately unravel this wondrous tale.
If you are into paranormal romance with a bite of fantasy, this is sure to please. At 292 pages, it's a shorter novel, and with Kennedy's writing style, it goes even quicker.