on October 30, 2004
Adele Ashworth has created real people in Duke of Sin. The emotions ring true and have you turning the pages feeling you know these people. The mystery has some actual mystery to it. I made several wrong guesses in the course of the book before banging my head and saying 'Of course!'. The solution makes perfect sense - I just missed it.
Two examples of realism - the first comes when the hero is explaining to his friend how he became involved with the heroine - he sums it up along the lines of 'So I said I'd give her the manuscript if she became my companion'. Instead of shock or dispproval or any of the usual best-pal novel reactions, the hero's pal proclaims him a genius and swears he WILL use that ploy in the near future. I laughed. The second is something I won't spoil - but the hero reveals it only to his friends. He never tells the heroine. This moment is much more satisfying than the standard gut spill every hero starts doing about page 243.
If you have a low tolerance for sex scenes, be warned - this book is very hot. Generally you would find me complaining about that but Adele Ashworth has written them into the story and the characterization so seamlessly that I found myself reading and not skimming until the last 3rd of the book. (Normally I hit the first one and skip ahead). Rather than detract from the story they really do advance it and enhance it. Great read.
on July 15, 2006
I REALLY liked this book. Great writing, great character development, more to the story than just a light-hearted romance. I really liked the two lead characters. I could pick apart a couple of un-realistic aspects of the story (her being a virgin still @ 35, him living in seclusion with only his servants for the last 5 years) but I enjoyed it so much I am not going to.
My only complaint is the Title of the book & the picture on the back of the book. I felt like I needed to hide it from my kid's. I was afraid it was going to be a really trashy romance. It was not. Really only one "R Rated" sex scene.
He's called the "Duke of Sin" but the only sin he committed was being wrongfully accused of murdering his wife. Again, this is the best romance story I have read in a long time. I will be looking for more from this author.
I was surprised so many reviewers focused on the inconsistent eye color. My husband, me & our 3 boys have a mix of eye color depending on what shirt we have on. I never even caught this & it seems a weird thing to get hung up on. Again, it was a good book.
on July 24, 2005
this is the first book i've read by adele ashworth and it definitely won't be the last! duke of sin, while flawed in a few ways, is ultimately a great story because of the two lead characters. the heroine, vivian rael-lamont is strong, independent, and forthright with her emotions. rarely does the hero have to guess how she's feeling. she is candid and honest about them whenever he inquired.
the hero, william raleigh, duke of trent, is just as candid, which brings a mature voice to this story. it's not a love story between an experienced hero who falls in love with an innocent and naive chit, this is a love story between two mature adults who aren't afraid to say how they feel or tell each other what they want, and THAT'S why i love this story.
the emotions here ring true and are never melodramatic. ashworth does an amazing job of depicting the characters in a way in which the reader can see the vulnerability they share because of the hardships they've experienced in their lives. despite what other reviewers have said, i DID see the chemistry between the two and saw the love develop on a deeper level. i could see it because vivian and william were fleshed out so that the reader could see all facets of them, which made the reader understand why they would fall in love with each other.
the one main weakness of the story was the plot. the blackmail plot was so convoluted that even when it was resolved, i still didn't quite understand what had happened. however, the pace of the book was such to where the plot meant little to me because the focus was always on vivian and william, which is how i like my romance novels. so what if the secondary characters weren't drawn out? it didn't hinder the development of the love story between vivian and william, so i didn't care. it made the whole thing more intimate.
one strength of the plot was that william guessed early that vivian wasn't a nefarious creature bent on ruining him. he knew she was being blackmailed, so the reader was spared all of the crap that goes with misunderstandings like that: cruel treatment of the heroine at the hands of the hero followed by the heroine desperately trying to convince the hero she's telling the truth. sure, there are a couple of secrets that vivian held close to the vest, but they were ultimately revealed in such a way that the hero didn't doubt her, except for one time and his friends help him recognize the fact that she's innocent of any wrongdoing against him so it only lasted for a second.
and BOY...those love scenes were as hot as they come. ashworth is gifted in both her description of sensual tension and verbal foreplay, all without it ever becoming a vulgar thing. there were also some, um, UNUSUAL love scenes here. let's just say that william can be a bit overeager and finish things before they begin. the fact that he couldn't control his desire DEFINITELY made him sexier in my eyes.
while i do agree that some of the dialogue was more sophisticated than i would have expected for victorian england, frankly, i found it refreshing. just because it's not the usual dialogue doesn't mean it's not likely to have existed. i'm not a stickler for that kind of thing.
so in the end, strong character rendering, burnng sensual tension and some of the most luscious love scenes i have ever read, made this a good story in my book. if those are the kinds of things you look for in a romance novel, then pick this one up. if you're more of a stickler for accuracy in historical data, are uncomfortable with graphic love scenes, or are easily distracted by a weak plot, then you probably won't like this book.
on March 8, 2005
William Raleigh the Duke of Trent suspected of murdering his wife and shunned by society, has been living as a recluse on his vast estate. Vivian Rael-Lamont is a widow living near the duke. She has secrets from her past that are threatened to be exposed unless she can retrieve a valuable Shakespearean manuscript from the duke's estate. While the blackmail plot is rather weak the two characters were so strong and engaging that you were quickly drawn into their tragic lives and this allows you to accept the plot that brings them together. The book was truly more about the growing feelings between William and Vivian.
This was a truly incredible romance between two lonely people who had been damaged by their previous marriages. William was just so loving and caring. The way his body reacted to Vivian was incredible. Obviously it had been awhile for him. I loved how Vivian was intuitive enough to realize that this sensitive loving man could not have done all the horrible things that had given him the name, Duke of Sin. As she opened up her heart finally after thirty years both of these lonely people would find real and true love.
On a romance scale this book ranks high with some highly charged emotional love scenes. In fact the love scenes are some of the best I have read in a long time. This is a real page turner and four strong roses. I highly recommend and do not think you will be disappointed.
on April 14, 2005
I think too many reviewers give away 5 stars like candy on Halloween. This book was flawed in so many ways. Giving 5 stars when there were obvious mistakes makes you wonder exactly who reads these books! How could any editor miss the fact that the author describes H/H both at different times with different eye color?? That is inexcusable. I liked Will, Duke of Trent. But the "conflict" in the story does not really work. First of all, Will is charged with murder, rightfully gets off with the help of his two best buddies, two other Dukes. But...he lives 11 months of the year in Cornwall alone. This makes zero sense: if they were such good friends, would they not be associating with Will? Would Will not visit with them and them him? I do not get it. Also, Lady Vivian has a legal separation. Well, so what? Plenty of the Ton lived separate lives. The concept that she had to maintain a separate life and not even see her sisters is well, stupid. If the family maintained the illusion she lived in France with her husband, would she not come and visit??? And how could her husband have died 9 years earlier and she not know? He married her for her money and she apparently settled money on him with the legal separation, so if he was no longer looking for funds, what happened to him? Also, what about Will's family? He is a Duke so who is his heir? So, Will supposedly has two valued friends who he never sees. And another point: the author is going to continue the series obviously about the other two Dukes. But his book does not really have them enough in the story to make a sequel about them interesting. She created zero curiosity about them. The only reason I would even read the next book is to find out what happens with Vivian and Trent. They marry I guess, but an heir? His her family? Visiting London? Society accepting them? Poorly plotted storyline.
on December 13, 2004
I have never read a book I was compiled to write a review on. This book was one of the best historical romance's I have ever read. It launched me back to a magical time where fantasy and reality could seem to be a real possibility. Because the Author did such a wonderful job of developing the heroine and hero,(he was to die for) they seemed like I was reading about real people. The love scenes were wonderful and you have the sense the characters really loved and respected each other. The end of the book had the most beautiful, romantic words I have ever read, I was so moved by the words, I wept. Thank you Ms. Ashworth for a book I will keep on my keeper's shelf. I have already read it twice. I hope you write a book about the secondary characters of Colin and Sam, especially Colin, he seems to be the kind of rogue I would go for. I have already pre-ordered this Author's new book coming in the Spring of 2005.
on November 21, 2004
This is the first book that I have read by Adele Ashworth and I enjoyed it a great deal. It is not a flawless book, but it is very well-written and different enough from the garden-variety historical regency to rate 4.5 stars to my mind.
The heroine of the story is Vivian Rael-Lamont, a widow living in a small town on the coast of Cornwall, who supports herself with her floral business. Vivian has a secret that she wishes to hide from the town, so when the slimy Shakespearean actor, Gilbert Montague, threatens to reveal her secret, he is able to blackmail her into approaching her wealthy neighbor, William Raliegh, the Duke of Trent. Vivian's task is to obtain a valuable original Shakespearean sonnet that is in the Duke's possession. William is a recluse, suspected of murdering his wife and shunned by society. He is intrigued by Vivian and her request and offers her the manuscript in return for her "companionship". Vivian, attracted to him and desperate to appease Montague, agrees to his proposal.
I thought that the characters of both Will and Vivian were well-developed, sympathetic and attractive. The fact that they were both in their mid-thirties was a refreshing change from the usual fare (in which the hero is in his thirties and the heroine barely 20 years old.) The romance between two lonely people who were damaged by their previous marriages was quite well done and the sexual attraction/tension between them was great. (One quibble--the language that they use to discuss sexual matters is more in line with Dr. Ruth Westheimer and less in line with a Victorian gentlewoman and man.)
The mystery part of the story is a bit convoluted and while entertaining, was rather hard to believe. This story really shines whenever the hero and heroine are interacting--initially with verbal fencing and later learning to love and trust each other.
In summary, this is an well-written historical romance about two interesting, lonely people. I recommend it to readers of historical romance who need a break from stories set in London and peopled by members of the *ton* and to those readers who enjoy character-driven romance.
on December 1, 2004
Vivian Rael-Lamont has a secret. A secret that she has kept carefully hidden...until the day she is threatened with exposure. Vivians life comes tumbling down around her when an unexpected visitor arrives on her doorstep with blackmail on his mind. His demand? Vivian must aquire a valuable manuscript that is in the possession of none other than William Raleigh - the infamous "Duke of Sin". If Vivian fails in this endeavor, her visitor will reveal what she so desperately wants to keep hidden.
Vivian, unable to stomach the idea of the unmasking of her past, but not willing to resort to thievery, boldy approaches the Duke with an offer - money for the manuscript.
However, William has other things on his mind. The document is not for sale...not for money. But, he would be willing to exchange it for Vivians "companionship"
First off, let me just say how I admire and enjoy Adele Ashworth. Her "Winter Garden" is one of my favorites, but "Duke of Sin" did not one thing for me. I couldnt connect with the characters at all and honestly, I didnt feel much of a connection between them either. Was there intimacy? Sure, but no CONNECTION, no SPARK..it was all just sort of...blah. I found myself truly not caring one way or another what became of the h/h.
Also, there were some inconsistencies that drove me insane. For example, Will is first described as having hazel eyes, but pages later they are brown. And Vivian has blue-grey eyes one minute that are mysteriously a "lovely hazel" only chapters later.These are minor complaints I realize, but they pulled me from the story again and again.
"Duke of Sin" is, sadly, not a book that I would recommend...but I would still love to read more that Adele Ashworth has to offer in the future.
on October 27, 2004
In 1856, an actor Montague visits Widow Vivian Rael-Lamont in Cornwall. He has evidence proving she is not widow and more damaging information that would destroy Vivian, who hides from the London aristocracy. Montague blackmails Vivian, insisting she visit the Duke of Trent to seduce him out of an original Shakespearean sonnet manuscript.
A bit of a recluse in spite of his reputation as the DUKE OF SIN, William Raleigh wonders why Vivian is visiting him as he has no doubt she has some hidden agenda. Besides surprising himself by finding SOMEONE IRRESISTIBLE, William is curious as to why she is here so he allows her to stay so that he can learn the truth. As they fall in love, Vivian wonders how to tell her Sin why she came expecting he will distrust and loathe her; as well as how to cope with that dastardly Montague who will ruin her if she fails to accomplish his task.
This is an engaging Victorian romance due to the fabulous metamorphosis of the relationship between the delightful lead couple. The story line has a gothic feel to it with William being somewhat of a brooding hero and his home striking fear into Vivian when she first arrives there. This first of the Duke trilogy is a fine mid-nineteenth century tale in which readers will hope that all ends well for this likable pair.
on November 3, 2004
Ms. Ashworth is back. After reading other books written by Ms. Ashworth, Duke of Sin is by far one of my favorites. Ms. Ashworth has a talent of taking an intrigueing story and making it an experience in which the reader has difficulty putting the book down. The sex encounters were very hot, yet the plot was full and fun. This truly is a number one book!