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Reviewed by Cecelia Hopkins for Readers' Favorite
The Duchess of Sydney (The Lady Amelia Saga Book 1) by Dawn Knox sees Georgiana Aylwood board the Lady Amelia bound for New South Wales. Georgiana has accepted the blame for her cousin’s petty thieving, but her innocence doesn’t reduce the penalty or the risks of illness during the voyage. She is surprised when Lieutenant Francis Brooks invites her to share his cabin and housekeep with him until they reach Sydney. He reveals he was asked to protect her by Judge Thomas Tilcott. Affection develops between Georgiana and Francis and he proposes to marry her until a discussion reveals this is impossible. Forbidden by blood, the couple part, and Georgiana begins work at the hospital. She receives a startling revelation upon her mother’s death, but will Francis ever return to Australia?
The Duchess of Sydney by Dawn Knox is a charming character-driven historical romance. I am from Australia, so the scenario had a particular geographic appeal for me. Although it was mostly a feel-good story, the narrative incorporated the exciting adventure of sea travel with the dark penal mechanism underlying colonization. I enjoyed the melodramatic elements of wrongful sentences, mistaken identity, and prohibited relationships. I admired Georgiana’s independent spirit and initiative in carving out a new life for herself. Even before all the information came to light, I believed the heroine had been wrongfully treated and deserved happiness. Francis had a wild past but seemed like an honorable man and a suitable romantic hero. The distance involved once he sailed away made my heart beat with anxiety. The Duchess of Sydney by Dawn Knox was entertaining to read, with a rewarding romantic storyline.