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The Duke: A Devil's Duke Novel Mass Market Paperback – September 26, 2017
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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“Likable lovers, witty dialogue, intriguing supporting characters, and a zippy pace result in a lively page-turner.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Unusually complex, and delightfully so… [this] romance will win over historical fiction readers from all corners.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“Lushly written… A romance that Kathleen Woodiwiss herself would be proud to have written.” (Booklist (starred review))
“Classic sweeping romance reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast.” (RT Book Reviews (top pick))
“In its sensuality and brilliant evocation of history, this book is extraordinary and powerful.” (Thavolia Glymph, author of Out of the House of Bondage)
From the Back Cover
Katharine Ashe continues her lush and sensual Devil’s Duke series with a sweeping story of unbreakable love
Six years ago, when Lady Amarantha Vale was an innocent in a foreign land and Gabriel Hume was a young naval officer, they met . . . and played with fire.
Now Gabriel is the dark lord known to society as the Devil’s Duke, a notorious recluse hidden away in a castle in the Highlands. Only Amarantha knows the truth about him, and she won’t be intimidated. He is the one man who can give her the answers she needs. But Gabriel cannot let her learn his darkest secret.
So begins a game of wit and desire that proves seduction is more satisfying—and much more wicked—the second time around . . .
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"His palm cupped her cheek and her breaths stopped. His hand was so large, so strong, yet it held her gently..............He touched her there, on her lip, stroking,barely a caress. It tore the air from her lungs.She struggled for more air, with a gasp then with a long sigh. He caressed again and she was liquid, fire. Her heavy eyelids closed and she felt him everywhere, across her lips and in the deep core of her where she ached so fiercely now. She wanted him to touch her and touch her and never cease. "Wait for me." she heard him whisper. "Dinna marry him." The raw heat of his words came against her brow. "Wait for me." Her throat had closed entirely. She nodded. Abruptly he released her...... She opened her eyes and she was alone. "
That partial passage should beg for you to want to know more, hear more, feel more. Believe me when I say you will not be disappointed with this book, it's a romance story that is not to be missed.
When the book opens, Amarantha is a naive young woman with rose colored idea about a perfect husband. She falls in love with a clergyman, whom she believes meet all her perfect husband criteria, and she follows him to Jamaica to help with his clergyman training. While there, Amarantha meets with Gabriel (not yet a Duke at the time, but a sailor in the Royal Navy). The two meet right when a hurricane hits the area and they take cover in a cellar. This part (which is the part of the book's excerpt) was truly written well: full of witty banter, the part where they're forced to trust each other in such dire circumstance flows naturally, and it captures nicely both Amarantha's and Gabriel's characters and their attraction to each other. Their attraction grows and by the time Gabriel is about to leave for his assignment, they both agree that Amarantha needs to break her engagement with the clergyman so they can be together. Unfortunately, Amarantha receives news that Gabriel perishes while at the sea, but later finds out that he's alive but has taken another woman as his mistress instead. Brokenhearted, she then marries her clergyman, and 5 years later, he dies and she becomes a widow. She decides to return to England in search of her friend and sister in law, who leaves Jamaica without word to anyone, only to find her friend in England 9 months pregnant and ready to deliver the baby. Her friend later dies in delivery but not before mentioning the Devil Duke's name as her last word. And so Amarantha starts her journey across Scotland to find the Devil Duke and what happened to her friend before she died.
Phew! I was exhausted just typing that short synopsis because there were simply too many things going on in this book and not in a good way! There was the ongoing mystery of the Devil Duke and what happened to the disappearing women, then the mystery of what happened to Gabriel while at sea 5 years ago and why he abandoned Amarantha after promising otherwise, then there was topic about slavery in Jamaica, not to mention characters popping in and out of the book that I was having a hard time keeping track of everyone (and I read previous books in the series, mind you!). As a result, the romance suffered greatly.
There's clearly a misunderstanding over what happened 5 years ago, but all Amarantha and Gabriel do after their reunion is to circle round and round each other, but neither is willing to communicate to clear up the misunderstanding. I really, really, hate big misunderstaing that drags on and on like this. Had I known this was the main plot, I wouldn't have bought the darn book! Then, after the misunderstanding is revealed, that's it. There's no repercussion over the person who causes the Big Mis, and Amarantha continues to doubt Gabriel and asks him to prove his love for her again and again. Seriously?!
Then about 2-3 chapters before the book ends, the lamest blackmail plot is introduced out of the left field, perhaps so Amarantha can come up with an even more lame-ass plan and to be all noble and such. Bleh! By this time, I was just so done with Amarantha. I was hoping Gabriel would just cut her loose and find another woman more worthy of him, but no, the poor fool takes her back after everything.
To say I was disappointed with this book is an understatement. It appeared Ms. Ashe started the book with such ambitious goal in mind, but in the end she ended up covering too much and accomplishing nothing.
Unfortunately, Amarantha was betrothed to another man, then she was intentionally deceived by Gabriel's cousin which resulted in Gabriel and Amarantha being separated for five long years. Although both Gabriel and Amarantha were laboring under some misconceptions, it soon becomes obvious that Amarantha's beliefs have penetrated so deeply into her soul, she's dead set against ever trusting another man.
To Gabriel's credit, he's a much more simple person in his approach to life. He has, as we later learn, loads of stamina when it comes to getting what he wants and he's determined that no lady will do for him except Amarantha - the "Wild One."
I will keep my review simple and state - this is one of the sexiest romance novels I've ever read. However, there were so many superfluous characters, I actually got confused. I'm a little embarrassed to confess that although I've read it twice in in two days - toward the end, when the name "Alice" is mentioned, I could not recall who she was and still can't. I would have given this book 5 stars hands down, except for the confusion in the storyline - in part due to the number of supporting characters and their goings on which had minor plots trailing off into the wild blue yonder for which I couldn't give a rip. But my biggest frustration by far and why I re-read the book was to try and get some clarity regarding the issues below.
Ms. Ashe is too vague about some of the happenings in the past. What happened to Gabriel when he ran away and his cousin had to rescue him on the docks? This is never explained. Issues related to his older brother are also referenced, but no real explanation except for the fact, he apparently struck a maid. Then, when Amarantha desperately wants an answer as to whether or not he deceived and used her for his own fun and games when they first met, he will not explain exactly what was in his mind. This has tormented her throughout the years. When he finally does let her know his mind and heart and dedication toward her since the time they met, it isn't until the very end of the book. Then there are Gabriel's feelings about his evil past in his youth. What did that entail? The only revealing part is that he had the reputation of being a libertine. Also, how could Gabriel not beat the tar out of Jonas when he learns that he was the reason Amarantha married Preacher Garland instead of waiting for him? Both Amarantha and Gabriel allow him a place in their lives even though they both come to realize he's the reason for their five year long separation during which time Amarantha suffered in a loveless marriage? I have some other items I could bring up, but I want to bring this to a close. One star removed due to these vague parts of the storyline.