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Beauty and the Duke Mass Market Paperback – July 28, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Melody Thomas is a wordsmith, a creator of dreams, and a passionate believer in happy endings. A product of thirteen schools and twenty-two moves stretching across the United States and Europe, she is a self-proclaimed gypsy. Her fascination with historical romance began when, in her teens, she visited the Tower of London and learned that Henry the Eighth had beheaded two of his wives. This was great fodder for her teenage imagination and the start of a love affair with history, intrigue, and irresistible heroes.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Original edition (July 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061472670
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061472671
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,006,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Melissa VINE VOICE on November 11, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Melody Thomas's latest novel Beauty and the Duke might have been better titled Beauty and the Dragon. Not that the Duke is a dragon but it would incorporate a little more of the heroine's personality and interests. This novel is an entertaining read mostly because the leads are intriguing and there's enough of a mystery to keep the reader interested in the story without it overshadowing the romance.

Heroine Christine Sommers is a paleontologist. She is a matter-of-fact miss, a woman of science and she has it in her head that she will map out her well ordered life logically. However her plans fly out the window when she sees her first and only lover, Erik Boughton, Duke of Sedgwick. He has been widowed for seven years and a cloud has followed him ever since; his wife disappeared mysteriously. The two are reunited at a gala celebrating the book Christine's father published about the connection between dinosaurs and birds (it's like an early Jurassic Park Thesis).

Christine is still attracted to Erik, and why not? He has a mysterious air about him and he is quite, quite passionate. When he offers Christine an opportunity to make a landmark dinosaur discovery she is more than willing to jump at the chance. There's a catch though, the fossils are on his ducal estate in Scotland and he needs her help in solving the disappearance of his wife. For Christine, this golden opportunity is just too good to pass up, even if it means spending time with Erik.

At first the protagonists of this story harbor no idealist romantic notions toward each other. Yes, they are physically attracted to each other and Erik admires Christine's intelligence and determination but they both believe their relationship is much more of a business endeavor.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Nix on June 23, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Christine Sommers is a peer in the burgeoning field of paleontology. She had a plan for her life that involved a voyage to a dig that would make her name in her field and a marriage to a friend in the field. When both hopes are dashed, Christine doesn't know what to make of it. When she puts on a "magical" silver ring and is told she will get what her heart desires within 5 minutes, she doesn't believe it...until someone knocks on her door.

That someone is Duke of Sedgwick, Erik Boughton, and he comes bearing fossils that indicate Christine's theories about a mysterious creature might right. But is Erik or the chance to make her name what her heart desires?

Erik came to Christine despite a history with her due to her knowledge in the field of paleontology. Not only does he have mysterious animal bones to find out about, but the bones of his missing wife might also be turning up. Erik makes Christine a deal - marry him and bear him an heir, and she has complete access to his home and lands to find her mysterious beast. But is it just a partnership or is it more?

I was completely entranced at the idea of a female paleontologist as a protagonist in romance novel, especially a historical one. Not as thrilled with the more mystical aspects of the book, but the love story and the characters held my attention when it might otherwise have wandered. Christine and Erik's love is sweet, and while I would have preferred more of the backstory up front, their marriage is entertaining and fun to read. Definitely a good read. Beauty and the Duke held my attention until the end.

Niki Lee
Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on August 2, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When they were young, Erik and Christine were once lovers, but that ended with both still attracted to each other. She went off to see the world of fossils while he did his ducal duty and married twice.

In 1840 while London is swamped with tourists including a horde of unkempt children, fossils are found on Erik's Scottish estate. Erik asks Christine to lead an excavation of the dinosaur remains. Fearless Christine travels to Scotland looking forward to the dig and seeing her former lover who has buried two wives. When they meet, both know they still love one another, but at the dig site a female human bone is uncovered that places suspicion on the Duke; already rumored to have done away with two spouses.

This is an excellent second chance at love Victorian romantic suspense with the most fun being logical Christine's archeological skills as she carefully leads the Scottish dig while also not carefully gives away her heart. The whodunit enhances the fine tale as the pair investigates an apparent homicide. Fans will enjoy the escapades of the female paleontologist and the duke as they fall in love over bones.

Harriet Klausner
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Helen Hancox on August 27, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's taken me about a week to read this book, rather than the normal 4-6 hours that a story like this would take. Why? Mainly because the story was very disjointed and not at all gripping. I generally only read a couple of chapters in one go before getting bored.

The underlying premise is OK - a woman who is a fossil collector is asked by a former lover, the Duke of Sedgwick, to come and examine some bones he has found on his Scottish estate. Not only has he found the bones of a great beast, but also bones he thinks may belong to his former wife who has been missing for six years. As Christine Sommers marries the duke and then investigates the bones, she discovers some strange stories - that he will die before his 34th birthday and that he may have killed his former wife.

There were several problems with this book. The first is, as mentioned before, it was rather boring. The characters were also rather hard to understand and get a grip on - the duke particularly. What did Erik Boughton think and feel? Why did he have such a bad relationship with his mother? Why did he fall in love with Christine?

Christine, also, was an oddity. Apparently a modern American woman plonked down into 1840s Britain, there is talk of trust funds for women, people going to gala museum events - none of this stuff felt right for the time. Not to mention the liberal use of Americanisms that got more and more annoying - the Plough constellation was called the Big Dipper, for example. Her fossil hunting could have been more interesting but instead it seemed an aside and wasn't well explained.

There was a mystery thread in the book as to what had happened to Erik's former wife, and was she still alive, but this wasn't enough to lift the book from its status as rather dull. I don't know entirely what the author's aim was in writing this story but, for this reader at least, she missed.

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2009
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