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The Duke's Wager and Lord of Dishonor Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Edith Layton, critically acclaimed for her short stories, also writes historicals for HarperCollins and has won numerous awards. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached at http://www.edithlayton.com.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451201396
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451201393
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.3 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,588,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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I have been a fan of Edith Layton since the original publication of 'The Duke's Wager' in the mid 1980's. I was blown away the first time I read this book, especially since it came from a first-time Regency author. I'm pleased to see Signet reissuing two of the best stories ever written by anyone and certainly my two favorites by this author. Both of these are original, well-written books that would be worth twice the price singley. Here you get 2 great books for the price of one!
'The Duke's Wager' features the Duke of Torquay, a hero to die for, in pursuit of a beautiful, poor woman without family to protect her. He discovers that not the love OF a good woman will redeem him but the love FOR a good woman.
'Lord of Dishonour' has a handsome but decadent hero who is living down to his expectations of himself, based on what he believes to be true about his family. Through the machinations of the heroine's mother, he becomes engaged to a virtuous maiden who is determined NOT to live down to the expectations of society which are based on her mother's past. How these two grow as people and develop respect and love for each other is truly a beautiful story. I highly recommend both of thes books!
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By kellytwo on August 21, 2000
Oh, frabjous day! Thank you, Signet, for giving us this perfectly splendiferous double-dip, just in time for those hot summer days when reading the ultra-cool Ms. Layton is the perfect answer for what to do while lazing in a hammock under a big, green, leafy tree.
Forget the champagne, you won't need it with this wonderful duo. Any time you feel the need to treat yourself to something truly splendid, there is no vintage as splendid as vintage Layton.
THE DUKE'S WAGER is a re-issue of her very first book, and all the reasons for her continuing success swirl and bubble around the reader like the very finest of sparkling libations. Who else but Edith Layton could--or would?--write a Regency romance in which the supposed villain gets the girl?
When Regina Berryman, a beautiful commoner with no family and no dowry, is left totally adrift by the death of her uncle, she is perceived as a target for the affections of two of the most attractive men in London--the Duke of Torquay, Jason Thomas, and the Marquis of Bessacarr, Sinjun St. Charles. One offers love, the other wants her for his mistress. Although men have, for centuries, made a near-crusade about male honor, it is Regina's own sense of honor which brings both men literally to their knees. Within the space of an hour, she receives the final accolade from each of them--a proposal of marriage. Regina has learned her lessons only too well, and makes the only possible choice.
You'll want to thrust your fist in the air and shout, "YEESSSS!" when you come to the end of this book. But you don't have to wonder whatever happened to these stay-in-your-mind characters. Layton brings many of them into her subsequent books.
LORD OF DISHONOR didn't follow the above book chronologically, but no matter.
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What can you do if you're a well-brought up young lady, but your mother is a byword for scandal? This is Lady Amanda Amberley's problem: her mother, the Countess of Clovelly, has not lived with her husband for many years, and indeed now lives 'in sin' with an elderly duke. While Amanda is truly the daughter of the Earl, the majority of her siblings are fathered by other men: hence the commonly-used description of her family as the Amberly Assortment.
Amanda herself has suffered by association with all of this scandal: at twenty-three she is unmarried, and although she has a (rather pompous and dull) suitor, he is in no hurry to propose - she suspects that her background deters him. Amanda's mother, on the other hand, is keen to ensure that her daughter marries, and marries well.
Christian Jarrow, Lord North - a handsome gentleman, but with the unusual feature of having one blue and one grey eye - seeks shelter and rest at Kettering, the home of the Duke of Laxley (the Countess's lover). Showing him to a bedroom, the Countess becomes 'confused' between the Blue Room and the Grey Room, and shows him to the Blue Room... in which Amanda is already ensconced. The obvious happens: they are disturbed minutes later, as North and Amanda are busy working out what must have happened and how they can resolve it.
Neither Amanda nor North wish to be forced into a marriage neither of them wants. However, since this happened at a house party, there is no way of escaping the scandal. North therefore comes up with a suggestion...
Layton takes time to allow us to get to know both North and Amanda, and they are both very likeable characters.
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I've only just finished the first book in this 2 volume edition -"The Duke's Wager". I was deeply moved by this story - it was not the usual Regency novel - it was dark, deep and difficult - sometimes almost painful to read. Others have summarised the plot (and the very few faults which appear) and pointed out the main area of conflict betwen two seemingly similar but ultimately different men.
From the start I was attracted to the "Black Duke". Very recently I read an outstanding new biography published in the UK of the 2nd Earl of Rochester by Cephas Goldsworthy ("The Satyr"). Lord Rochester is best known as a Restoration Poet and is given a bit of coverage to high school students. However, what your teacher never told you was that he was not only a poet but a rake, debauchee (possibly bi-sexual), pornographer in chief to Charles II, sufferer of syphillis and a man bent on self-destruction who was redeemed on his deathbed (I think) by his love of life, the arts, women and the passions of friendship. The character of the Duke of Torquay in many facets of his personality, attitudes and experiences put me in mind of Rochester. However, Torquay is able to redeem himself before sinking into the abyss of total despair, self-loathing and possibly, even, a prolonged and ugly death from venereal disease. How he does this is the core of the novel. That the heroine was able to allow and encourage him to do it made me admire her when at first I despaired of her good qualities.
I have found a copy of "The Disdainful Marquis" and will now read that to see if the Marquis of Bessacarr is able to put his experiences in this story to his advantage.
A well written, passionate, deep and unusual story. I am so glad I read it - thank you, Edith Layton!
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