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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 1, 2002
The very beautiful and very feisty Katherine Ralston was banished to London from her home Crestly Park by her very obnoxious uncle. She was afraid that he would sell off her heritage while he disposed of her in London.
Her godparents were delighted to take her under their wing and introduced her to all the right people of the ton - including the notorious "Black Duke of Sommesby", Nicholas Varon, who she insulted on the very first night she met him. HE was surprised to say the least that this petite slip of a girl did not seem impressed with him, nor was she frightened of him either.
Kate's godfather, Neville requested that Nicholas because of his connections, attempt to buy Crestly on the quiet so that when the rightful heir was able to inherit it, in two years time, it wouldn't have been sold off to a stranger. Of course, what Neville failed to let Nicholas know was that Kate was the rightful heir, an omission that caused all sorts of problems. Alas, after many mishaps and misunderstandings - true love will prevail!
This was a darling story. One to enjoy over and over and well worth the effort of locating a copy!
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2011
One of the best things about ebooks and the Kindle is getting to read old romances that we enjoyed years ago. That's certainly true with The Black Duke's Prize. I think this was Suzanne Enoch's first novel, and I remember loving the story and the heroine (Katherine Ralston). Well, I just read this wonderful story again, and I don't think it has aged a bit.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon November 30, 2011
This is out of print as a hardcopy book, so if you're interested in reading Enoch's very first published novel, don't pass up this e-book at only $2.99. The out-of-print 1995 book new costs almost $170.00 and used ones start at $16.00 so this is quite the bargain.

The story itself is kind of cute but Enoch has definitely improved as a writer over the years. I mostly enjoyed this as a curiosity. Authors' first books sometimes are great works of art but sometimes they're just practice. This one shows she had some polishing to do but it's entertaining.

Enoch's characters even in recent HRs behave and speak out of period, but I've learned to read them for the romance and interaction of H and h, not for any historical aspect to them. Heroine Kate Ralston and hero Nicholas Varon, Duke of Sommesby, of this book do not spark in their interactions as much as, for example, the H and h of London's Perfect Scoundrel (Lessons in Love, Book 2) but it was still fun to read Enoch's first published romance.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2011
I first read "The Black Duke's Prize," many, many years ago when I first became a fan of S.E. and when I first became interested in romance novels. I remember vague things about the book but I remember really liking it so when I found out a kindle version was available and at a decent price, I jumped at the chance to read it again. Sadly, perhaps I shouldnt had revisted the book... Kate was so annoying and stubborn and did so many stupid things and made dumb assumptions that I really cant see why Nick fell for her. She truly didnt deserve him and i didnt understand why everyone liked her so much over the Duke! The book does have its moments though and had me laughing out loud, sighing and smiling and there are good secondary characters here to read about - especially Thomas. Overall, if you are a S.E. fan and havent read this, you should read it but if you arent familiar with her works, dont start with this one...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2012
The Black Duke is a man with a temper who strikes fear in everyone who knows him. He does what he wants and pity the fool who gets in his way. In spite of his bad humor, he does have a close circle of friends who seem to tolerate him. A group of friends who take under their wing one Katherine Ralston, a young lady of considerable strong will herself -- and the only one, it seems, who can put the Black Duke in his place and live to tell about it.

Katherine is the heiress to her deceased parents' estate, but her uncle is in control of it until she comes of age. He sends her away to London for a Season to live with her godparents, while he secretly sells her inheritance off piece by piece. She suspects his motives and is determined to keep her property. But her plans are thwarted by her own godfather and the Black Duke himself...or so she believes. And in spite of her connection to her inheritance, she will have to choose between that and rescuing the man she loves.

This is a well-written and clean romance novella. It was a quick read and sucked me in to the story line immediately. The plot was well-developed throughout. And the characters were both strong. Their evenly matched tempers made the tension mount steadily, which developed the relationship between them as well as set up the climax of the story. My least favorite thing about it was the double-antagonists, which is less a reflection on the writing and more a reflection of me as reader. I can only take so much confrontation. :)

What's not to like? Great writing. Strong characters. Clean romance. Suspenseful twists and surprises. It's easy to see why The Black Duke's Prize has been a top-seller for such a long time. A very enjoyable read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2013
The Black Duke's Prize is about Nicholas, the Black Duke, and Katherine Ralston, who is described as "fiesty" in the book description. Right there, I knew there was going to be a problem. The two meet, Nicholas helps her to become popular in society, and the two slowly begin to fall in like and then love.

The black duke doesn't seem to be as "black" as the story and society seem intent on naming him, and the only things we see him do is punch a man who is about to accuse him of cheating and be almost killed through his crazy mistress's manipulations. Yet everyone (his friends) is ready to think badly him and blame him for those thoughts because he should have had a better reputation.

Katherine Ralston, in contrast, is a woman who is quick to anger, jumps to conclusions, shoots at our hero and then slaps him when he makes a suggestion about her property, which he not only has helped her save from her greedy guardian, but has loaned her the money she needs to fix it after her guardian's neglect. Yet despite her questionable actions, he is the one at fault for her shooting at him, he is at fault for her reputation being ruined when he saved her from a kidnapping, and he is at fault for her slapping him and telling him to get off her property. She ends up blaming him for walking away when she told him to go, physically abused him and questioned his morals. In the end he does come to the rescue and saves her reputation, by asking her to marry him, but I can only feel sorry for the man and wonder why he has to be stuck with this woman for life.

There are attempts to liken this to the Taming of the Shrew, but this was nothing compared to that. 99 cents was too much to pay for this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2012
I bought this book because of good reviews, but I was very disappointed. Both of the main characters were totally immature and unlikable, and the plot was silly. Two separate and unrelated kidnappings was a little ridiculous, and neither villain had strong motives.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2000
This is a sweet story about an innocent but feisty young lady, an unscrupulous uncle and a notorious (but handsome) Duke.
Katherine, a country miss, is forced to endure a Season in London by her Uncle, who she's convinced is going to destroy something beloved to her (buy the book to find out what!) while she's gone. The Duke, much admired by the ladies but determined to change his ways, naturally comes to the rescue.
I highly recommend this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2012
Neither Nicholas nor Katherine were very likable. The plot and dialog were sadly predicable and lacks meaningful substance. Any number of times I just wanted to throttle Katherine and her ability to leap to conclusions. Wasn't enamored with Nicholas either. Expected him, as a man with a black 'reputation' to actually have one. Disappointing. I have a number of keepers from Ms. Enoch, this isn't one of them. Didn't love it, didn't hate it. Wanted it to be better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2012
I really liked this book. The characters in this book were familiar. I am a detailed person so I fell in love with all the details the author provided.
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