Emily Bryan is a pseudonym for author Diana Groe, whose writing style here is somewhat altered from her previous books, being more sexy and comedic in tone. The duchess in Distracting the Duchess is the widow Artemisia, an artist who has rather shocked polite society by painting nudes. When a man arrives in her studio,
she assumes he's the newly hired model and he goes along with this assumption.
In reality, Trevelyn Deveridge is actually the second son of an earl and spy working at the Great Game in India against Russia.
is a former spymaster who now suffers from dementia; Deveridge has been sent to try to find the list of his contacts to keep the people safe. He thinks that one way to find this list is to get closer to Artemisia, and posing as her nude model certainly helps them to spend time together. However Artemisia is soon drawn into the plot against Russia when one of her employees is captured, and she and Trevelyn have to work together to try to keep the list of spies' names from falling into enemy hands.
This is a lighthearted book with some amusing moments. Historicity isn't its strong point and certain elements of the plot strain credulity, but it's an enjoyable ride with appealing main characters and some amusing side characters, such as Artemisia's butler. Thereis nothing particularly new
here but it is worth reading for those who like lighthearted historical romances.