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Beauty and the Duke Mass Market Paperback – July 28, 2009
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
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.
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
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The author did a truly outstanding job! Melody Thomas has a remarkable way of writing that keeps me wanting to read more. Read morePublished 9 months ago by tjarch
This story captivates you from the beginning! Not your typical historical read but a story that goes deeper with the characters and the plot. Read morePublished 20 months ago by J. Myers
Questions were left unanswered, Erik's relationships were not fully explained and lots of questions remained between Erik and Christine. My biggest annoyance by far was Joseph. Read morePublished on February 4, 2014 by Isa
Very entertaining .i enjoyed the book. I read it quickly. Would like to experience a sequel or series. The characters had charm.Published on August 5, 2013 by Tan
the heroine is smart but she is a pushover where the hero was conserned. the hero did not love her. Read morePublished on November 14, 2011 by Blue Lily
Although I did not love it, this was truly a treasure to read. There were some things unanswered, yes, but by the time you realize it you don't particularly mind. Read morePublished on April 17, 2011 by Not Telling