While I absolutely love everything KJ Charles has ever written and everything she has yet to write, I have to say that the Regency-era stories are my most favorite among the sea of five star reads. Needless to say, I was excited about the opportunity of jumping into an all-new queer Regency romance.
Robin and Marianne Loxleigh have come to London with a singular purpose: scam the good people of the ton, and if they play their cards right, walk away with a wealthy bride and groom, setting themselves up for life.
Their plan grinds to a halt when Sir John Hartlebury catches on to the grift. In order to avoid utter ruination, they come to an… agreement of sorts. But surely—anything that happens as a result of this…indecent proposal… is just part of the terms, right? Neither of them is going to do anything silly like catch feelings for each other? Oh, what a lark that would be!
Readers who are familiar with The Union of the Rakes series remember McCameron from his secondary role in the previous books, and they will also remember Beatrice from her appearance in Would I Lie to the Duke.
Now these two characters have been thrust together (pun intended) as the protagonists in the final book in a most delightful series.
Beatrice, the Dowager Lady Farris, intends to attend a house party, but it’s not just any run-of-the-mill house party, it’s an orgy! And that’s exactly where Beatrice intends to start living her life.
The event is several days’ journey away, and her friend the Duke of Rotherby arranges for his friend Major McCameron to accompany her on the journey. This proves to be rather fortuitous because calamity strikes at every turn, each disaster bringing the unlikely duo closer and closer together. But Beatrice remains undeterred, determined to get to that orgy if it’s the last thing she does!
While I don’t want to take too much time talking about myself in a book review, I do want to explain my sporadic review writing over the last few months. In short, 2020 was a year to be remembered, and it was often difficult to find the motivation to read and write. Fortunately, thanks to many—to borrow a word from this very book—charming things to read, I am hopefully back on the road to productivity.
But on to the book!
Jane Kent is a penniless waif who shows up on the doorstep of the esteemed Penhallow manse. She claims to have a connection to the family, and the letter she produces, as well as the strong family resemblance, is all the Penhallows need to take her in as one of their own.
Although Jane is twenty years old, she has never received a formal education, and arrangements are made for her receive tutelage from the local vicar, whose only other pupil is eight-year-old Wakefield Farr, the only son of the Duke of Radcliffe, the titular worst duke in the world.
Ten Things I Hate About the Duke is the second book in the Dangerous Dukes series, and it begins immediately after the events of A Duke in Shining Armor. The Duke of Ashmont—His Grace with the Angel Face—whom readers last saw [redacted spoiler] has retired to a pub, where he encounters the headstrong Cassandra. Through a series of unfortunate events due entirely to his carelessness, Ashmont puts Cassandra’s already-shaky reputation into even greater peril.
This leads to what is known in modern vernacular to a “come to Jesus” moment for Ashmont, who after being left at the altar in the previous book, has begun to realize that he is a hot mess. He wants to make amends, but Cassandra wants nothing to do with this disastrous duke. Ashmont is persistent—but not in an invasive way—and he’s determined to prove to her that he is more than a party boy scandal-maker.
One of the huge jokes in the historical romance community is the overabundance of dukes. Everywhere you look, there’s yet another handsome young(ish) duke in want of a wife. So what did these five amazing authors do?
They made an entire anthology with nothing but dukes, baby! Hot dukes! Dukes I’d like to f***.
And wow, buckle up friends, this is going to be a bumpy ride. No pun intended.
Gabriel and Edward were childhood friends, but then Edward went to London as the heir to the Caddonfell dukedom, and Gabriel (who has some sort of minor title) became a vicar.
They have not seen each other for over a decade, so it comes as a surprise when Edward returns to the ducal manor to find Gabriel passed out in the flowerbeds. Edward—scandal personified—is on the run from the vengeful Duke of Sussex, and Gabriel—who has always avoided scandal—quickly becomes entwined with Edward, both metaphorically and physically.
Alex and Emmy first met at a masquerade ball several years prior to the main events of the book, and Alex has been thinking about the mysterious young woman with the unique scent ever since that night.
Now, Alex is working as a Bow Street Runner, along with his friends, and Emmy is the elusive jewel thief that he’s trying to catch, so a romance between these two personalities seems impossible.
The irony of the situation is that Alex and Emmy encounter each other socially in addition to the cat-and-mouse game they’ve been playing. Naturally, the lines between these two worlds begins to blur as the stakes increase.
I have been waiting for this book ever since hints were dropped at the end of A Gentleman Never Keeps Score almost two years, but I can assure you that it was 100% worth the wait.
Will Sedgwick and Martin Easterbrook have been friends for their entire lives. Their paths diverged at some point, but as the story begins, Will has essentially kidnapped Martin and brought him to recuperate in an abandoned gamekeeper’s cottage. At first, Martin is quite ill, but Will manages to bring him back to good—well, decent—health.
So, there they are, living together in a small cottage. There is plenty of time to reacquaint themselves with the men they have become, and of course, to acknowledge the feelings that have always been there.
Did I mention that there’s only one bed?
A common source of conflict in the plot of a romance novel is a Big Misunderstanding that drives the couple apart. What makes this book rather unique in that regard is that the misunderstanding has already taken place years before the story begins—and the two protagonists never reconciled.
Despite this acrimony, when Violet finds out that her husband James has been injured, she rushes to the country house to be by his side—only to run into him at an inn, in perfect health and annoyed by her concern for his well-being. Read more
“Historical accuracy” is a loaded term in the historical romance genre, and I’m not going to be unpacking the implications today; believe me, I could go on for days about the subject, but then I wouldn’t be able to discuss this lovely new book.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a duke can almost never lose his title. This comes up in books: the titled protagonist is in danger of losing his title if he doesn’t meet some unconventional requirements, like failing to find a wife by sundown on his thirtieth birthday. But that’s not accurate and titles don’t work like that.
However, if a duke’s parents’ marriage is deemed invalid, then that would mean that he was no longer his father’s legitimate offspring, and therefore render him ineligible for the title. Read more