Book Review (and a Giveaway!): The Duke’s Refuge by Lorri Dudley

Posted January 13, 2020 by meezcarrie in Christian, giveaway, historical, Lorri Dudley, romance / 27 Comments

The Leeward Islands #1

GENRE: Inspirational Historical Romance
PUBLISHER: Wild Heart Books
RELEASE DATE: January 7, 2020
PAGES: 368

When love comes in a tempest, who knew it would wear pink?

Georgia Lennox has traded in her boyish ways for pink gowns and a coy smile to capture the eye of the Earl of Claremont. However, on the day she’s convinced the earl will propose, Georgia is shipped off to the Leeward Islands to care for her ailing father. But when she arrives on Nevis, the last thing she expects is to learn that her abrupt departure was not at her father’s bidding but that of the infuriating, yet captivating, island schoolmaster. And now her plans may well be shipwrecked.

Harrison Wells is haunted by the memories of his deceased wife and hunted by the subsequent women who aspire to be the next Duchess of Linton. Desiring anonymity, he finds sanctuary in the Leeward island of Nevis. He’s willing to sacrifice his ducal title for a schoolmaster’s life and the solace the island provides. That is until unrest finds its way to Nevis in a storm of pink chiffon—Miss Georgia Lennox.

As Georgia and Harrison’s aspirations break apart like a ship cast upon the rocks, a new love surfaces, but secrets and circumstances drag them into rough waters. Can they surrender their hearts to a love that defies their expectations?

“Sometimes what’s best for us isn’t how we pictured it.”

What a delightful debut! I was captivated from word one and then laughed, cried, and swooned my way to the end all in one sitting.

Georgia and Harrison may at first seem to be polar opposites but the chemistry between them is off the charts (and once the kisses start – you might want to read the book from the safety of your trusty fainting couch). And really they aren’t so different after all, down deep where it counts. Both have put on a sort of external armor to protect their true nature, and I especially loved watching Georgia’s heart & personality blossom on Nevis. (Harrison is swoony with a capital S – keep a fan handy.)

The writing in The Duke’s Refuge is truly fabulous. Dudley excels at scene-setting, and at times I could have sworn I heard the waves crashing against the shore, the land pikes screeching, the other more subtle sounds of a tropical island. I could smell the spices and the seawater in the air and hear the people’s layered accents chattering in the background. Excellent job of showing vs. telling, and it immersed me even more deeply into the story.

Aside from the romance, my heart was also affected by the reminder that the Regency era was not, in fact, all delightful balls and lovely gowns and genteel pastimes. There was a much uglier side to that time period, as well, especially in its Caribbean holdings which is where The Duke’s Refuge takes place. Slavery by England in the Regency era was just as brutal and inhumane as it was in America’s history. Like our own history, there were men and women whose heart aligned with God’s heart and saw the Divinely-created value in every human being – and stood in the gap for the oppressed until they too had a voice that would be heard. But also like our own history, there were many more who twisted Scripture to meet their own evil nature. You’ll figure out pretty quickly in this book who is the former and who is the latter.

Bottom Line: The Duke’s Refuge is a keep-a-fan-handy swoonilicious romance with beautifully layered characters and a tender message of finding your worth in the One who made you. The Caribbean island of Nevis comes alive under Dudley’s pen, as do the people you’ll encounter in the story, and the author excels at drawing a range of emotions from the reader – from laughter to tears and everything in between. Including some mighty fine kisses that will leave you all aswoon. A must-read for fans of Regency romance. Lorri Dudley is a refreshing new voice in the genre, and I look forward to reading more from her!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4.5 stars / Fabulous!

KissingBook Level: 4 / keep those fans and fainting couches handy

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Lorri Dudley has been a finalist in numerous writing contests and has a master’s degree in Psychology. She lives in Ashland, Massachusetts with her husband and three teenage sons, where writing romance allows her an escape from her testosterone filled household. Find her online at

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After being buried under the largest snowfall in Massachusetts history, I wrote The Duke’s Refuge as an escape to warmer tropical climates, and what better respite than a romantic Caribbean isle with a mysteriously missing Duke? In the process I fell in love with the beauty of Nevis, it’s rich culture, and history.

My heroine Georgia lured me in the moment I realized she only wore pink. My psychology background had me digging deeper. I needed to know why. Why the obsession? What was the root behind the hurt? Why pink? How did she go from being a Tomboy to a dignified, Regency socialite? And how did she wind up in the Leeward Islands? Enter her beloved, sick father who always saw Georgia’s potential even when it was hidden under boy’s clothing and often smelled of marsh. Although, he held the best of intentions, his relocating to Nevis left Georgia with deep abandonment issues.

Harrison was a completely different beast. After reading about Mudlarks who trolled the Thames River searching for treasure and even picking the pockets of dead people washed up on the shores, I knew Harrison’s would wind up caked in the Thames’s thick mud and devastated at the loss of his wife. The Leeward island became not only a reprieve from his grief but also from the women who snuck into his carriage or cornered him at parties clamoring to become the next Duchess.

Oddly enough, part of the story formed when a friend of mine spoke of their family trip to visit his mother. She happened to own a parrot, and after a week of the kids yelling each other’s names, the parrot imitated their shrieking. Even long after they returned to the U.S. the bird still screeched out their names. I couldn’t resist adding a mimicking parrot to add a comical element and harass my main characters.

The Duke’s Refuge is meant to be a fish-out-of-water, case-of-mistaken-identity, love triangle romance with a happily-ever-after. It demonstrates how God’s love fervently pursues us, no matter how far we run, and that sometimes, something we would never have chosen can bless us in a way we would never have expected.

To learn more, check out my website at or click here to watch The Duke’s Refuge’s book trailer:

To celebrate her tour, Lorri is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

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This giveaway is hosted by Celebrate Lit, not RimSP
Follow along with the tour by clicking the banner below!

What about you? What interests you most about The Duke’s Refuge by Lorri Dudley?

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27 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): The Duke’s Refuge by Lorri Dudley

  1. Misty M. Beller

    Oh, I loved this book too! I totally agree with everything you said, especially the setting that comes alive and the super-swoony romance!?

  2. Arletta

    I love regency era books and this one sounds wonderful. Need a fainting couch for the kissing scenes!?!? Awesome! Let me at it!

  3. Sherri G

    This sounds terrific and it’s getting great reviews. I hadn’t heard of Lorri’s books before so I’m looking forward to reading one.

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