The Duke of Olympia Meets His Match
By Juliana Gray
Author Website: http://www.julianagray.com
From Juliana Gray comes an all-new historical romance novella featuring the famous—and often infamous—Duke of Olympia.
Aboard the luxuriously appointed SS Majestic, the duke is on a mission to retrieve a most important portfolio of papers and thwart a known anarchist. As the ship steams across the Atlantic, the duke’s search for the notorious master of disguise forces him into close quarters with an American heiress and her widowed governess, Mrs. Penelope Schuyler.
While Olympia has known his fair share of intriguing women, Mrs. Schuyler seems to have a way of challenging his expectations at every turn. But as their clandestine meetings lead them down an unexpected path, the duke must determine if Penelope is a woman to be trusted…(Goodreads)
The Duke Meets His Match is a fantastic novella full of wit, charm, glamour, and danger.
Nothing means more to The Duke of Olympia than serving the British Crown, and though he is beginning to long for a life sans espionage, he has agreed to answer his country’s call to track an anarchist and intercept important papers. He expects the trans-Atlantic voyage on the SS Majestic to be rather easy, but he has not taken into consideration the brash efforts of an American mother to snag him for her daughter or his immediate interest in said daughter’s travelling companion Penelope Schuyler. Thus ensues a story of secrets, clandestine meetings in disguise, verbal sparring, and romance. The fate of all of the passengers of the ship, and even farther reaching ramifications, are in the hands of an aging gentleman and a strong minded widow.
I have not read any of Juliana Gray’s works, but based on the quality of the writing and plot here, I must seek out more of her work (I have read some of her other writings penned under the name Beatriz Williams). Honestly, I did not have high expectations for this novella simply because I do not read many shorter works. I was pleasantly surprised – the writing is top notch, the characters are well developed, and the plot fully realized. The charming Victorian time and glamorous shipboard setting, witty dialogue, and interesting mystery provide pure escapism reading, and it is flat out fun.
Olympia is a striking character, debonair in appearance and endearing in his high born gloss and curmudgeon attitude toward Americans. How very English of him. Penelope is indeed his match, a spunky woman longing for independence beyond her sex and station. I find their more mature ages (he is seventy-four and she is 50ish) refreshing. Why can’t they find love and excitement at any age? The interactions between these two are my favorite bits in the story. The supporting characters are also engaging. Ruby, the young American heiress is a product of her time and, thus, occasionally annoying, but not overly so. I love that there is much more than meets the eye to Robert Langley, Ruby’s secret love interest. Olympia’s connection to the anarchist adds complexity to the tale.
The Duke of Olympia Meets His Match is a prequel to the forthcoming full length book A Most Extraordinary Pursuit (publish date October 4, 2016), and it is definitely going on my TBR list. Whether you are acquainted with Olympia from Ms. Gray’s Princess in Hiding series or not, I highly recommend this frothy, humorous spy adventure to fans of historical fiction, espionage, and light romance alike.