Clementine Fitzroy is the Duchess of Rosenbrook and she is broke. Clementine grew up in an impecunious household, watching her family struggle after her famous grandmother sold off their birthright to pay for her dreams. As a result, Clem wants nothing to do with dreamers. She just wants to survive and take care of her mother who was in a nursing home battling dementia.
Evan Fox is a dapper Peter Pan butch with dreams to change the world. She is the CEO of Fox toys, a company she inherited. She is a dreamer, full of positive energy and wants everyone around her to be happy. Evan is presented with an opportunity of a lifetime to buy the Rosenbrook estate. She views this as her opportunity to make her dreams of changing the world come true.
Evan will not let the skeptical Clementine stop her dream of changing the world. Even though she is sure Clementine is her Mrs. Fox.
Clementine is not about to fall for another dreamer after her grandmother, no matter how good looking she is, but can you really fight the attraction when destiny is at work?
Clem comes of as a standoffish character and given the cards life has dealt her we understand her. She is written as a loving character who loves her mother and wants to do right by her and the people of Rosenbrook. At the same time, she bears scars of her grandmothers misfortunes and does not want to be sucked into dreams and buy into hope. She does not trust easily.
Evan is an absolutely loveable character from the get-go. She is the kind of character you want to meet in real life because she sounds so down to earth and fun to be around. I didn’t think I would like the whole ‘big kid who still plays with toys’ character, but it works for Evan. She has this believe that she will know immediately when she meets the right woman for her. Her Mrs. Fox.
They are supporting characters that I really enjoyed in this book and hope she continues on with this story so we can visit those characters and village.
The Writing Style
Jenny Frame is not new on the block, her writing was perfectly paced. Every time I felt like I wanted more, I got more. Her writing is engaging and her characters are relatable.
Keira Grace narrated this one. I prefer an English Narrator to narrate English books or someone who can stay in character the whole book.
The English accent didn’t feel natural and some pronunciations were off, I could tell it was an American narrator trying on an English accent. That takes away from the story.
This is a slow burn but not anxiety inducing slow burn, it is lite angst. Jenny Frame writes drool worthy butch characters and Evan is certainly that. The Chemistry is great and well-paced.
I wish I got more of Evans family. They were always spoken of but not in the picture until later in the book and that was just for a few pages. I wanted to get to know them because they were a part of the story.
The narration is also a big con.
Excerpt from The Duchess and the Dreamer by Jenny Frame
The next morning, Clementine heard a knock at the door. She hoped it wasn’t one of the villagers to tell her what a wonderful future the village had now that Evan Fox had arrived. Going by Mr Fergus’s visit this morning, and Kay’s exuberant phone call, Evan Fox had managed to hook most of them into her unrealistic dream last night at the church meeting.
As Clementine walked to the door, she said to herself, “I mean what kind of woman’s name is Evan Fox, anyway?”
She opened the door and felt what her mother had once described as collywobbles—the feeling you got when you were instantly and unexpectedly attracted to someone. Her mother had told her that she felt these so-called collywobbles when she first met her father, but Clementine had never quite believed in them. Attraction was lust and felt in a completely different area.
Nonetheless, the aforementioned collywobbles did indeed instantly gather in her stomach at the sight of this unknown dapper butch standing with a bunch of flowers in her hand, and for some reason a stuffed toy fox in the other.
This someone was dressed in a tweed suit and waistcoat, with a colourful tie and pocket square. She had never seen a dapper butch before in real life, only online, on social media, where she liked to follow the styles and butch looks that attracted her, but the run-down Rosebrook village was certainly not the usual habitat for a butch lesbian, dapper or not.
The dapper butch smiled, and Clementine felt her chest tighten.
“Good morning, Your Majesty…Your Lady—no, Your Grace, ma’am.”
Clementine had to stop herself from smiling at the adorable way the dapper butch stumbled over her title.
“It’s Clementine, and you are?”
Her eyes were drawn to the tie and lapel pins in the shape of a fox’s head, along with the stuffed animal she was holding, and her stomach dropped. It was her. The one who had finally brought her family’s association with Rosebrook to an end.
“I’m Evan Fox, ma’am, Clementine, ma’am.” Evan Fox then thrust the bunch of hand-tied flowers and the toy fox at her. “A small token, ma’am. I wonder if I might have a few moments of your time?”
Clementine was taken aback in many ways. She recognized this was a bunch of wildflowers—unusual—and that the giver was highly unusual as well. Evan Fox was not only dapper, she was a dandy, going by her precisely styled hair as well as her immaculate dress. She was really good-looking but must be a good bit younger than herself.
Clementine sighed. “Thank you, but I fail to see the relevance of the stuffed animal.”
Evan seemed surprised. “Why?”
“They’re for children,” Clementine said flatly.
“Surely not, I have loads of soft toys, and this little chap is the mascot of Fox Toys.”
Looking at Evan’s appearance, with her now visible red braces peeking out from underneath her tweed jacket, Clementine didn’t doubt she had children’s toys. “I’ll give it to my friend’s children. Come in.”
As Evan followed her in she said, “Oh, you mean the Dayton family? Toby and Dexter? I met them last night. Great kids, they have one each already, so keep Mr. Fox for yourself, please.”
“Sit down,” Clementine said.
Evan felt a distinct frostiness coming from the duchess, and she hadn’t been expecting that. She also hadn’t been expecting such a young, normal-looking but naturally beautiful woman, dressed simply in a jumper and jeans.
She had expected an older lady—that’s how she pictured a duchess—but Clementine had opened the door, looked her in the eye, and then she had been whacked in the head with a banjo, or so it felt. Hence why she got the titles so embarrassingly wrong at the door.
Her dad had described the feeling of meeting her mum as being hit in the head with a banjo, and Evan, being a romantic, had set that as her benchmark for love and had been waiting a long time to feel it.
And I called her Your Majesty. Evan felt the embarrassment still but shook it off and decided to charge on with positivity.
“You look wonderful today, by the way,” Evan said with enthusiasm. Clementine gazed at her with suspicion from the chair across the room. “Excuse me? I don’t need flattery, Ms. Fox.”
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781635556025
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
- Audiobook Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
- Narrator: Keira Grace
- Jenny Frame Online
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