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The Most Dangerous Duke in London (Decadent Dukes Society) Mass Market Paperback – May 30, 2017
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Praise for Madeline Hunter’s The Most Dangerous Duke in London
“The writing is lively and the characters fun, and the duke’s cronies promise to make good heroes in future books. A thoroughly enjoyable read.”– Kirkus Reviews
“Hunter has created an intelligent, fast-paced romance, chock-full of sensuality and spiced with mystery.” - Publishers Weekly
“The Decadent Dukes Society are just what Hunter fans crave; gorgeous, sexy, scandalous men who are about to meet extraordinary women. Hunter merges passion with vengeance, and pride with romance in this perfectly balanced love story. As always, the wonderful, witty prose and unforgettable characters enhance the intricate plot, and there is no doubt readers will be captivated.”– RT Book Reviews, Top Pick
“The first in Hunter’s seductive new Decadent Dukes Society series is an elegantly written story with richly nuanced characters and a surfeit of intoxicating sensuality that will have fans of soigne Regency-set romances sighing happily with satisfaction.”– Booklist
“This is a historical romance to savor, and readers will root for the pair of lovers and the justice they seek.” – Bookpage, Top Pick
About the Author
Madeline Hunter is a New York Times bestselling author with more than six million copies of her books in print. She has twenty-nine nationally bestselling historical romances in print, including most recently, The Wicked Duke, Tall, Dark, and Wicked, His Wicked Reputation, and The Accidental Duchess. A member of RWA’s Honor Roll, she has won the RITA Award twice and been a finalist seven times. Her books have appeared on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly, and have been translated into thirteen languages. She has a PhD in art history, which she has taught at the university level. Madeline also writes the Romance Unlaced column for USAToday.com’s Happy Ever After site. Madeline loves to hear from her readers, and can be reached through her website at www.madelinehunter.com, on Facebook, www.facebook.com/madelinehunter/, and at twitter.com/madelinehunter.
Top customer reviews
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In addition to the romance between H and h in her books, there's always an element of mystery or intrigue and I've always appreciated that. Well, this one, the first in her new Decadent Dukes series, is no exception. Many of the trademark aspects of a Hunter HR are here:
1) "Dangerous", studly, sexy, somewhat brooding male with several studly, sexy friends (It's a series, folks; gotta set up the next books) with whom he has a great, close bond.
2 ) A lovely, albeit a bit prickly and independent-minded (but sexually of limited experience) heroine, who is an independently wealthy heiress and has an occupation (secret) that shows us readers that she has a brain. She and a group of like-minded, free-thinking women publish a journal (anonymously).
3) The mystery here involves the hero's late father, who committed suicide after being accused of treasonous activities. This caused the hero and his French-born mother to flee to France to escape gossip and censure in England. But now he's back to discover the truth about his father and to uncover who was responsible for his father's betrayal and disgrace.
There are problems and distrust between the hero's and the heroine's families that go back years. In addition, the hero suspects the heroine's late father of being the one responsible for his father's disgrace. When H begins pursuing h, it's not clear if it's real attraction or a desire for revenge. OK, fair enough. That makes for an interesting romance.
Compared to many of the mediocre messes being published as HRs nowadays, this one is a "tour de force". But compared to other Hunter books, it is not. Here are my criticisms:
1) This book is too short, with only 296 pages. This made for a shallow, less compelling mystery and a romantic attraction that became too serious too soon.
2) The heroine is independent and somewhat abrasive and her own woman, yet all the hero has to do is touch her or kiss her and she melts into a stupid puddle. By page 30 he has declared his intention to marry her and sets out to seduce her. There's lots of kissing and fondling and by page 101 they're having an open-air intense make-out session on a picnic blanket. That will lead to you-know-what very soon. Say, girl, have a bit more self-respect and play a little harder to get, why don't you.
3) There's nothing really "dangerous" about this duke, nor do all three duke friends seem particularly "decadent", in the same way that there was nothing "wicked" about the three brothers in Hunter's previous trilogy. I'm tired of this type of marketing of romances that hypes the sex in a romance and tries to imply some kinkiness when it's just about people enjoying some consensual sexual activity.
I'm glad I got this for free with the Amazon Vine program. Yet, despite all my gritching, I may be interested in checking out the next book of this series. The heroine in it may be a jewel thief. Could be interesting, although even that type of plot has been done before in one way or another in other HRs I've read.
All that said, this book isn't bad. As someone else noted, Hunter's worst books are far better than most romance novels. She's a good writer, she always provides a solid plot, her female characters are mature and smart, and she doesn't do The Big Misunderstanding. There's a sophistication to her romances that put them in a class all their own. So, compared to what else is out there right now, "The Most Dangerous Duke in London" is definitely a solid 4 stars.
THE STORY: Adam Penrose, Duke of Stratton, has returned to England after years in France following his father's death. Adam has returned for revenge and to find out who set the events in motion which led to his father's death. He is also in pursuit of a wife. He discovers Lady Clara Cheswick, the daughter of his family's longtime enemy. Lady Clara has no intention of agreeing to Adam's determined pursuit of her as she is independent and spending her time managing her own property and interests. Then there is the also the question of what Adam's true motives are.
OPINION: This book was more intimate and personal than I expected from the description. Really focusing on the developing relationship between Adam and Clara, the reader is left questioning what Adam's motives are.
Clara is a woman who desire for independence even if that means upsetting conventional behavior and roles for women. Having inherited property of her own, Clara plans never to marry but instead publish a paper for women -- written by women. She is independent but isn't willing to toss away all convention. That creates tension as she tries to exist both in and outside of society's expectations. She also struggles with her relationship with her family. While she doesn't always feel close to them, her loyalty to her father makes her suspicious of Adam's motives -- perhaps rightfully.
Adam is mysterious through much of the book. By the end of the book, however, I loved Adam. In the book, people wonder what Adam's motives are for returning to England...and the reader is left to wonder as well. By not cluing readers in to Adam's thoughts on the matter, the story has more tension and mystery. And the story needs that mystery because this book is truly driven by Adam's reasons for returning to England and what his plans are.
This book feels more intimate and personal because the focus of the book is truly the relationship between Adam and Clara. Can Clara trust Adam? Why is he pursuing a relationship with her? Does he truly intend to marry her? Why? What I ended up loving about this book is that the answers are more complex than a simple narrative.
WORTH MENTIONING: Oh, I can't wait for the other two upcoming heroes. There are some good stories to be told there.
CONNECTED BOOKS: THE MOST DANGEROUS DUKE IN LONDON is the first book in the Decadent Dukes Society.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.
Most recent customer reviews
With an animosity between the families, it makes sense for Clara to regard Adam's courting with speculation.Read more