Published by Avon, Harper Collins Genres: Historical Romance, Nineteenth Century
WHEN THE DUKE WAS WICKED
by Lorraine Heath
ebook and Mass Market PB: Pages: 384
Finished copy provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
They are England’s most eligible bachelors, with the most scandalous reputations. But for the right woman, even an unrepentant rogue may mend his ways . . .
Lady Grace Mabry’s ample inheritance has made it impossible for her to tell whether a suitor is in love with her— or enamored of her riches. Who better to distinguish beau from blackguard than her notorious childhood friend, the Duke of Lovingdon?
With no interest in marriage, Lovingdon has long lived only for pleasure. He sees little harm in helping Grace find a proper match. He simply has to teach the lovely innocent all the ploys a scoundrel uses to gain a woman’s favor— by demonstrating his wicked ways. But as lessons lead to torrid passion and Grace becomes ensnared in another man’s marriage plot, Lovingdon must wage a desperate gamble: Open his heart fully—or risk losing the woman he adores . . . HarperCollins.com
How do you know someone loves you? All of you — not just your boobs, your ability to do long division while singing the Star-Spangled Banner, your bank account, or any of the many parts that make up the entirety of the appearing-in-this-universe-one-time-only you? And how can you free yourself of your past hurts to love someone else? These are the questions posed throughout this heartwarming book where a man filled with grief and misplaced guilt denies that he can ever love again and a young woman with a difficult secret wishes he could.
You will see right away what will happen; it’s a romance novel so you know he’s not going to fix her up with someone else, right? We KNOW this going into the majority of romance novels we read.
What charms in this story is Grace and her larger-than-Victorian sensibilities and her personality that displays bravery and thoughtfulness despite the big, dark secret that has not been shared outside her family; Heath doesn’t really share all of it with the reader in one go either. It helps that she comes from an unconventional family with great wealth and greater generosity. She’s been exposed to all kinds of experiences most ladies of the Ton will never see.
Lovingdon, is a more typical character who is pretty much the noble scoundrel wracked by grief burying himself in scandalous activities to numb himself.
The story is well written with good continuity. It’s sexy and very romantic, but the sex is more ethereal than graphic. For example, Lovingdon counsels Grace that if a swain really loves her, he will know her favorite flower.
There’s also a tendency toward repetition: one example is Drake, a young man from the streets her family took in. Grace’s mother was a child from the slums too. I lost count of the times we’re told about his present and past. Grace’s friends and her father have some importance in the story, but the really developed characters are Grave and Lovingdon.
It is really hard to imagine there was a time when love was not the most important factor in deciding who to marry; at least not in the upper classes. We’re told that Victoria and Albert really loved each other, so perhaps that is one reason that the concept seems to take off in the latter half of the 19th century. My point is that Grace wants to hold out for love, and has a reason to, but she recognizes that she could have a perfectly normal, correct and reasonable marriage to any of a number of young men. But she wants the real thing, a man like Lovingdon who would truly mourn her forever were she to die. We see the emotions blossoming, of course, before they do. And we know without a doubt that they really love each other even without a sign.
This is a heartwarming romance; the epilogue is fantastic and worth the read on its on, but the rest is a treat too. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this one.
So, tell me, how do you know when he loves you and how do you know you love him (or her – love is love)? Comment below and use the Rafflecopter form to enter to win my gently-read copy of this sweet and sexy story.
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•How do you know you’re in love and loved??
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