Last Night with the Duke
Book 1 in the Rakes of St. James series
Author Amelia Grey
Narrated by Alison Larkin
Published by Tantor Media
Publication date Mar 7, 2017
Running time 10 hrs
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book provided by the publisher. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
The Duke of Griffin has never lived down his reputation as one of the Rakes of St. James. Now rumors are swirling that his twin sisters may bear the brunt of his past follies. Hiring a competent chaperone is the only thing Griffin has on his mind—until he meets the lovely and intriguing Miss Esmeralda Swift. In ways he could never have expected, she arouses more than just his curiosity.
Esmeralda Swift considered herself too sensible to ever fall for a scoundrel, but that was before she met the irresistibly seductive Duke of Griffin. His employment offer proves too tempting for her to resist. She can’t afford to be distracted by his devilish charms, because the stakes are so high for his sisters’ debut Season . . . unless one of London’s most notorious rakes has had a change of heart and is ready to make Esmeralda his bride. https://tantor.com/last-night-with-the-duke-amelia-grey.html
Other readers seem to dislike anachronistic names (http://sarahs-history-place.blogspot.com/2011/09/regency-era-names.html) and so I feel justified in asking “ESMERALDA?” But then, while the described fashions seem Regency, there is nothing to date it as Regency and it could be placed in a later 18th century date. The name Esmeralda was, of course, used by Victor Hugo as the name of the gypsy girl in THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1831) which is late-Georgian, as King William IV, had ascended the throne in 1831. It would certainly be possible that the book’s character’s mother had read Hugo’s book and swept by the romantic nature of the story had decided to give the child Hugo’s character’s name. That would put the story sometime into the 1850s, well into the reign of Queen Victoria.
But, alas, the author has opted to leave that information out. So I can let my quirky, odd detail, oriented mind stop circling back to this one.
What strikes me as strange is how similar the beginning of this book is to a recent book by Eloisa James, SEVEN MINUTES IN HEAVEN: a Duke with a need for a governess/chaperone goes into an agency and decides he wants to engage the woman who runs it for that role. He is willing to pay anything to make it happen. In both books the characters are attracted to each other, in both books they are reluctant to work, and in both they hide their rank.
There are, of course, differences with Eloisa James’ character being a widow, and Grey’s being a spinster and the ages of the charges are different too. In both instances, however, there were outlandish parents affecting the plight of minors, and a separating crisis feels similar as well.
It does seem as if there is a fashion in novel releases at times with similar tales popping up all the time.
The relationship between Esmeralda’s Sister, Josephine and her dog is sweet and the story touching but sad.
Otherwise, I thought this was an okay story, with a good amount of sex, and the Duke’s two sisters are fun. Larkin does a decent job with the narration. The story feels quick, and moves at a brisk pace. There is not a lot of meaningless filler.
The theme of the Duke’s past, cavalier, misdeeds coming back to haunt his sisters is a bit biblical but not overly used. Aside from the similarities to Eloisa James’ novel it was a pleasant story to listen to.
AMELIA GREY: http://www.ameliagrey.com/main.html