Incurring debts, insulting men’s honor, and impregnating young women and then abandoning them are
among the misdeeds attributed to Thornton Matherton, Duke of Wyldehaven. Yet "Wylde" maintains that
an imposter resembling him committed the crimes. No one, especially the lovely Miranda Fontaine,
seems to believe him.
Miranda’s personal history has made it clear to her that titled gentlemen often mistreat women of
a lower social class. Both her recently deceased friend and her late mother were victims of these
kinds of men. When Miranda visits Wylde and appeals to his sense of honor regarding the motherless
baby that he fathered, she is appalled that he blames another man for pretending to be him. Even so,
Miranda finds herself drawn to the handsome duke and wishing that this loathsome imposter really
exists. She fears, however, that this is merely a cover story for Wylde’s reckless behavior.
Wylde also has trust issues resulting from his late wife and his disreputable father. Because of
these earlier problems, he doubts Miranda’s claims that the baby isn’t hers, that she’s as innocent
as she claims, and that she has no interest in his money. He also has a difficult time believing
her statement that she’s not interested in a relationship with him when her physical responses seem
to say otherwise.
To Ruin The Duke provides an intriguing premise that plays out nicely in the book. Though
determining the identity of the imposter presents no great challenge, figuring out who is sending
Miranda threatening messages does offer a mystery to be solved. Watching as Wylde and Miranda work
through their many problems, readers can identify with these characters struggling for the love and
happiness neither has previously experienced.