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My Fair Duchess (A Once Upon A Rogue Novel Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 265 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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I'm pretty easy when it comes to historical fiction. It doesn't have to read like a history textbook, but I also need to believe what I'm reading--at least while I'm reading it. I'm not an expert in the Regency time period, but I've been reading books in this genre for a very long time and I have certain expectations. Now I'll admit--I only got to the 15% mark on this one. Maybe the author turned it around in a big way and once the book gets going, it's a winner. I guess I'll never know. Let me tell you what I found in the book's opening:
- At one point a character moved towards another character "and his world 'titled'."
- One of the characters refers to "a night and shining armor." It's not a pun or made in jest. It's just wrong.
- A carriage in London in the early 19th century rolls down a "driveway" to where a young woman waits on her "front porch" to be picked up. (There is so much wrong there, I won't even go into it.)
- There is the lack of psychological insight or motivation on the part of basically all the characters. The hero decides, in order to help his father, who is being humiliated by his wife's behavior, he is going to become a rake. Huh? How is that helpful? In the line before the decision is made, the hero decides he is going to give his father 'a bit of the happiness he so richly deserved.' How does sleeping around help with that? We get one follow-up line that says it will give the gossipmongers something else to talk about. Perhaps. But they aren't the only family in the ton, are they? Isn't there a juicier scandal that could have diverted attention? Why hasn't it? It makes no sense.
- Nor does our hero's fascination with the heroine prior to meeting her. The author simply tells us how stories about the girl fill him with a "lighthearted feeling." Tells us. It's nothing we've heard him even mention before.
- Nor does our heroine's behavior, which as far as I could tell was socially and physically awkward simply because the author decided it should be. A young woman of her background and breeding would have had decorum beaten into her with a stick (figuratively speaking). She talks about how it's important she behaves like a like a lady, et she makes faux pas after faux pas. She's supposed to be a bright girl. You'd never know it.
- Nor does the behavior of our hero's bedmate Lady Diana (at least not in the one scene I read where she was featured). She knows the hero wants to end their arrangement, yet she demands he escort her to a ball so she can have suitors line up to court her. How does that make sense? Wouldn't she be better off if she were free to pursue a new liaison?
No one behaved with any sense of logic. I tried with this one. Truly. But in the end, I had to file it in the Not Recommended folder.
I don't say the tale is bad; it just didn't quite satisfy because of muddied characters. Strangely, I could see -- and understand -- Colin's contradictory nature (kind and careless, a conscientious rogue...). Amelia's just didn't fit for me. I could see her being self-conscience; I just couldn't see her as idiot enough to lavish eons-long devotion on one who barely acknowledged her.
Colin, Duke of Aversley is jaded and cold of heart. In his world all women are untrustworthy creatures to use and discard. Then he meets his best friends sister, Lady Amelia. He still hangs on to his misguided beliefs, and even makes a wager to prove his point. Will winning or will losing set him free, or will it finish breaking his fragile heart.
My Fair Duchess by Julie Johnstone is a very well written and mostly sweet romance. The clever and charming banter, as well as the deep soulful emotions, kept me turning pages. I loved all of the main characters and there was even a bit of suspense. There was some sexual intimacy, but it is mild by current standards. I only wish the author had included an epilogue, but I suppose that readers are expected to read the next book in the series to savor Colin and Amelia's HEA.