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The Duke's Holiday (The Regency Romp Trilogy) Paperback – April 7, 2015
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About the Author
Maggie Fenton is an avid reader, reviewer, and writer of romance in between her work as a professional musician. She writes steampunk romance under the name Margaret Foxe and has enjoyed success as a self-published author in that genre. The Duke's Holiday is her first foray into the historical romance genre, one of her personal favorites.
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On a much smaller scale we see Astrid transform, or at least come to a realization, that her family can and will survive without her overseeing every aspect of their lives.
To that end we have an H&H who are kindred spirits in the responsibility arena. And that's where the similarities stop. To say that they get along like oil and water (for 95% of the story) is putting it too mildly.
Astrid's characterization was ridiculous in the extreme, a 26 year old who acts like a spoiled teenager. She runs a business, stomps, rants, flails, yells, wears trousers, has bluestocking tendencies, curses, has flaming red hair, freckles and curves -- you get the picture. Basically every independent Regency-era heroine cliché was rolled into one woman. (Oh, and these outstanding qualities garnered her two offers of marriage by upstanding community members, the vicar included.) Hmmm....
Montford was the more sympathetic of the two leading characters, especially given his traumatic childhood history, although his OCD and unbending will became tiresome rather quickly. The chemistry he and Astrid shared was exciting and suspenseful at times but the constant (and I do mean constant) bickering and immature behavior ruined the anticipation in many parts of the story.
(Astrid kicks a ladder down when Montford is at the top of it because she's mad he followed her? Montford ties her hands up for their carriage ride after Lightfoot threw her in a carriage, tied her up and beat her? How is that romantic, Montford?)
There are some amusing segments to the story which kept it moving at a good pace. I just wish there had been less teenage dramatics and clichéd characters (the dotty aunt, the bad guy - speaking of which, whatever happened to him? - the snooty London relatives, etc.) and more afterthought.
While reading the first 1/3-1/2 of it, I was like, "yes! This is rad. It's hilarious, well written, and a really nice break from the typical Regency romance novels that I've been a bit bored with lately". I loved it so much, in fact, that I was going to rush over and give it five stars before the mid-way mark.
I'm glad that I didn't, because the second half of the book just didn't hold up for me. The silliness began to border on ridiculousness, and started to feel tedious to read. The heroine never seemed to grow or evolve at all, and I struggled to like her or even care what happened to her in the second half. The hero was okay, but as noted in other reviews, love alone does not cure OCD. The fact that they were making out after he had barfed all over himself left me wanting to take a shower, and when he tied her up after she had been bound and kidnapped? I was done.
I do enjoy the author's voice and humor, and will give her another try. I hope that the next book comes with a strong editor and without any vomit. I think that this could be a five star, must read author for me, but we're not quite there yet.
The hero Montford starts off sounding like a dry stick - OCD, pretty much friendless, a stickler for duty etc etc but it's quickly apparent that he has vast hidden depths. He & Astrid have a total dislike for not so much each other but what each represents. Neither can fathom what on earth the odd feelings are that the other makes them feel & brush if off as intense dislike (of course it's their chemistry and attraction!)
The situations that the author puts them through before they get to their HEA or even before they realize it's really An Attraction they are feeling is so entertaining; interlaced with little touches of poignancy, this new to me author is definitely on my watch for list now.
I waited with bated breath for their 1st kiss. Naughty Ms Fenton for teasing us poor readers (not to mention Montford & Astrid) for more than half the book.
Definitely a keeper.