Diary of the Reluctant Duchess - Book Review

Diary of the Reluctant Duchess

Author: Sharon K. Middleton
Genre: Romance - Historical
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date Published: August 2, 2020
ISBN-10: 1684335698
ISBN-13: 9781684335695

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Book Review of :  Diary of the Reluctant Duchess


Sharon K. Middleton, author of Diary of the Reluctant Duchess, is a prolific writer of time-travel, historical romance novels. Her inter-related characters from The McCarron's Corner Series share many backstories that are successfully integrated into her new novel. She successfully stitches together the history and culture of the late 1700s and contemporary life. Middleton's competency as a research historian is evident in her description of her characters' lives, cultures, and surroundings in both time periods. 

This intriguing story captures the reader in the opening paragraph. A statement by one of the main characters, Richard Winslow, sets the stage for romance and time travel. He says he loves Francesca with all his heart and has traveled 240 years back in time to find her. After a brief back story, the first-person account by Francesca seizes the reader as she narrates her travels on a sailing schooner in 1782 while under attack by pirates.  

The story alternates between the two main characters as they try to reconcile their divergent lives. Richard, from the twentieth century, had deliberately searched out the time gate to escape from the modern world and to join others who had gone before. After falling in love with Francesca, called Fancy, a beautiful mulatto girl, he loses her to slave traders. The author has successfully incorporated the culture of colonial times into the story.

The story develops with intrigue and suspense. Fancy's health is challenged, as is her mental-emotional being. Middleton addresses mental health through a new lens that is both beautiful and poignant. A mental issue that would be called PTSD in modern times. Through her struggles to deal with situations life has given her, she becomes stronger. Fancy's life choices are met with determination and grit as she searches for happiness. Finally, at the high point of disaster, she is swept through the time warp into the twenty-first century and back into Richard's life. Fancy is amazed and intimidated by the modern developments in medicine and everyday conveniences. Can she adapt to the new lifestyle that is 250 years advanced?

She and Richard face multiple challenges as a couple and as individuals. She faces surgery for a defective heart valve. In addition, a stalker appears to have materialized from the 1700s to harass her.

There are many minor characters woven into the tale and many of them the author takes care to make you care about their fate. Middleton's satisfactory conclusion to the Diary of the Reluctant Duchess also leads the reader to speculate on the future of one of the characters who returns back in time. Will this character be the subject of another captivating volume in the series? Mystery, intrigue, intense adventure brings this story to life. Rich in history and social issues, Diary of the Reluctant Duchess is both deep and emotionally compelling. Another fine read from a PenCraft Book Award winner. 

Reviewed by: Carole W

Latest Author Interview

Beyond McCarron's Corner: Sassy's Story

A fascinating interview with Sharon K. Middleton about her latest book, "Beyond McCarron's Corner: Sassy's Story," a fictional tale about a woman who is transported back in time to the Revolutionary War era.

About Sharon K. Middleton


I am a fourth-generation Texan who grew up in San Antonio. My first relative was a boy who came to the Colonies in 1747 as a Scottish indentured servant at age 12. My great-grandmother immigrated from Mexico in the 1890s.

I am a semi-retired attorney with a family practice near Houston, Texas. I write, quilt, and raise and show Skye terriers. I love North Georgia and we hope to retire there next year. We finally bought our land overlooking the Cohutta Wilderness I love so much!

The McCarron's Daughter is not a typical romance. Fancy has been seriously abused both while growing up by her older brother by adoption, Tom Selk, and is later abused as a young woman during the Revolutionary War. War is never kind to women and children. Fancy must learn to love herself despite the abuse she has suffered and to allow herself to move beyond her youthful abuse to be able to find the love of her life. Although not a typical romance, the McCarron's Daughter won two awards for literary excellence, the Pencraft Award for Historical Romance in 2019, and the Texas Best Book Awards in Historical Romance in 2020. She finds her happy-ever-after in Diary of the Reluctant Duchess.

Path of the Guiding Light was released on 12-20. It is about Baylie Smith, the Cherokee woman who goes back in time to help fulfill part of the prophecy only to be sent back to the future to resolve a problem. Once returned to the future, she learns she is expecting a 'differently-abled child. Will she be able to return to the past and help her people avoid the Trail of Tears? Will she be reunited with Shadow Wolf, the love of her life? How will her 'differently abled' baby fit into the prophecy?

My next book, The McCarron'a Destiny, is about Charlie, who will be going back in time to assume his duties as Duke Ranscome. Didn't you wonder how on earth Fancy could be a Duchess? Charlie love with, Kelly Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American girl. Will she go back in time, too? What problems will a mixed-race couple face in Regency England? The McCarron's Destiny comes out 10-14, and Charlie's cover will be quite different from earlier covers!

I enjoy writing about children as they are growing up. This is the first book of the next generation as we move closer to helping the Cohutta Cherokees move westward to Oklahoma before the infamous Trail of Tears.

The next book deals with Elizabeth, who falls in love with Dr. Ari Hotep. After Elizabeth will come Sara, with an unexpected mystery. Check back to see what is coming next!

I hope you enjoy the books. If you do, be sure to leave positive feedback. You can reach me at sharonmiddleton359@gmail.com if you have ideas about future plots or other constructive suggestions.

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