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How to Find A Duke in Ten Days Paperback – September 13, 2017
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About the Author
Carolyn Jewel was born on a moonless night. That darkness was seared into her soul and she became an award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of historical and paranormal romance. She has a very dusty car and a Master’s degree in English that proves useful at the oddest times. An avid fan of fine chocolate, finer heroines, Bollywood films, and heroism in all forms, she has two cats and two dogs. Also a son. One of the cats is his. Shana Galen is the bestselling author of passionate Regency romps, including the RT Reviewers' Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Kirkus says of her books, "The road to happily-ever-after is intense, conflicted, suspenseful and fun," and RT Bookreviews calls her books "lighthearted yet poignant, humorous yet touching." She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston's inner city. Now she writes full time. She's happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making. Grace Burrowes started writing romances as an antidote to empty nest and soon found it an antidote to life in general. She is the sixth out of seven children, and grew up reading voraciously when she wasn't enjoying the company of her horse. Grace is a practicing child welfare attorney in western Maryland, and loves to hear from her readers.
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As others have noted, the three loosely related novellas in this anthology center around retrieving priceless manuscripts that may or may not actually exist. For those of us who adore books (and adore the type of characters who love books as much as we do!) and prefer a little suspense and adventure with our romance, the premise is incredibly intriguing and rich with potential. The reality falls somewhat short of that potential, but given the low price and quick, fairly engaging readability, I'd recommend it overall in an 'it's a decent enough diversion during times you don't have anything else on your Kindle that you're really dying to read' sort of way.
I'll timidly voice the unpopular opinion that Grace Burrowes' story was actually my least favorite, and I really had to push myself to even finish it. The author has a definite flair for language, which explains why I so often buy her books despite often finding them far too slow and repetitive. In this one, her characters seem insipid and generic. Neither the H nor h ever springs to life for me, and despite finishing the book just last night, I struggle to even remember them well enough to come up with specific adjectives to describe them. The heroine is supposed to be extremely intelligent, well-educated and resourceful, all of which I normally adore, but somehow that didn't quite come through in most of her dialogue and actions.
Speaking of 'action'...there really wasn't much of it at all :) As happens too often with Grace Burrowes' work, in my opinion, there's literally almost no plot. I know that romance novels tend to be more about characterization, prose, dialogue, evoking emotion etc. than actual story/plot, but there still needs to be SOMETHING other than two characters just having the same boring conversations over and over, and that's what this one amounted to for me. Ostensibly, tension revolves around translating an old will, but it doesn't really amount to anything of interest and all has a very predictable, 'by the numbers' feel. As someone else said, I admire that Grace Burrowes is so extradordinarily prolific, but sometimes I feel like her work has taken on a very rote, assembly line feel.
The second story, Shana Galen's, was my favorite. Galen doesn't have Burrowes' gift for spinning lyrical prose, but she's one of the dwindling number of historical romance writers whose stories always have actual PLOTS! The result is a highly engaging, entertaining story that moves along quickly and completely captured my attention. As someone who's a huge mystery lover, I love how much adventure and suspense Galen weaves into every story. Her stories aren't especially realistic, but that doesn't bother me much. At this point, I'll gladly read about Galen's spies, detectives and, in this particular case, a heroine who resorts to crime to fund her sick brother's medical expenses, if it means that we get such a fun, diverting tale rather than the usual 'H and h talk in one room, H and h talk in another room, H and h have sex, H and h have more or less the same conversation again in a different room...' :)
Without giving too much away, our hero sees our heroine trying to pilfer something and realizes she could be of use to him in procuring the manuscript that he wants to present to his beloved retiring mentor---and also wants in order to prove his own worth. So he hires her to journey with him to a vaguely creepy castle in order to search for it, and the rest unfolds from there. I thought I'd automatically dislike a heroine who's a thief, but Rosalyn is actually quite a likable heroine - spirited, down to earth, and the perfect person to call out our hero on how stuffy and rigid he can be. She's independent but not annoyingly cocky, daring and borderline reckless without being an idiot, and manages to come off as a genuinely decent and moral person in the ways that truly count despite resorting to stealing so that her sick brother can receive medical care. If you're a fan of heroes who are reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice's Fitzwilliam Darcy, you'll really like the hero, who manages to be amusingly Darcy-ish without being a mere generic rip-off of that well known hero. He's imperious, haughty, reserved and inflexible in ways that all feel very realistic for a duke of that era, yet also genuinely kind, principled, brave and honorable. Bonus points for these characters not immediately jumping into bed together like in so many other HRs---though we do get a very enjoyable kissing scene :) The duke even formally and adorably asks if he can "court" Rosalyn at the end of the novel, which is a refreshing change from the usual HR novellas in which characters go from strangers to bedmates to 'together forever' within a very few pages :) This was a definite A-/A for me, and it prompted me to seek out Galen's other work.
Carolyn Jewel's story ranked somewhere in between the first story (which I found deadly dull and could barely finish) and the second (which, as I rambled about above, I loved!) The hero, Harry, was genuinely charming and warm, and the heroine, Magdalene, was the type I really connect with: a book lover who loathes large social events! The H and h had been close friends for years and both lost people close to them, so that helped make them seem a little more connected than they might have otherwise. It's a nice tale that made me smile a few times, but nothing about the writing style or the actual plot reeled me in quite as much as I'd hoped.
As I noted above, the premise is so interesting to those of us who love books that my expectations were probably too high, and as much as my short attention span and I usually prefer novellas over many of today's excessively long romance novels, in this case I couldn't help wishing for a more intricate, well-plotted book that did justice to this intriguing idea and allowed us more time with a few of these likable and compelling characters. Overall, though, if you keep your expectations moderate, I think you'll find at least two of these three novellas a fairly entertaining diversion and worth the low price. Enjoy!
The Duke’s Book of Knowledge, volumes of a priceless Renaissance manuscript, has been the subject of legend and rumor. Three members of London’s Bibliomania Club want to find the manuscripts and present the gift to a professor they think highly of, before he retires. They are determined to vindicate his faith in the Duke’s existence while rescuing a great literary work from obscurity. The problem? The book must be found in ten days. Matters of the heart intrude as each book hunter realizes that locating an ancient manuscript might just lead to happiness ever after.
Grace Burrowes gives us The Will to Love. On the quest to find the manuscript his lordship may find true love!
Shana Galen brings us How to Steal A Duke in Ten Days. The search is on and leads a haughty lord and a lady turned cat burglar to the wilds of Cornwall and a mad earl.
Carolyn Jewel gives us The Viscount’s First Kiss. In this regency the shy Magdalene Carter and Viscount Daunt find that friendship can turn to love during their search.
Each of these authors books are filled with action, page turning passion, romance, twists and turns, secrets, and lies, humor and heartbreak. The reader reaches the last page feeling they have read a complete romance, feeling as if they became a part of the story and have escaped into another time and place.
This book, each author, and everything they have written is highly recommended. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves to read historical romance and I look forward to each new release.
In the first story, The Will to Live by Grace Burrowes, the Earl of Ramsdale attempts to translate his uncle’s will in an effort to find clues to the location of one of the sections of The Duke. In an effort to hire a translator he finally finds that the Professor’s daughter Philomena is the most talented translator.
As they work together on the translation, Grace Burrowes shows her talent to witty characters. She writes wonderful, intelligent men and woman who can converse on any topics. As they search for the book they find the hidden feelings and love they each deserve.
In the second story, How to Steal a Duke, Shana Galen unfolds a delightful tale of a Duke who is intent on finding a section of The Duke. HE would even go so far as to hire a cat burglar to break into a castle in Cornwall to accomplish it. Luckily, as he is driving home, a cat burglar drops into his path.
Shana’s characters are delightful. The Duke is used to getting his way in everything but Rosalyn won’t bend to his will. As they barter back and forth about what the plan is you can’t help but love these characters. The banter turns to love before they even know it.
I haven’t read many books by the last author Carolyn Jewel, but her addition to this collection, The Viscount’s First Kiss was a delight. Viscount Daunt has been in love with his neighbor for years but she was married to his friend. Now that she has been a widow for 2 years he is finally wondering if he can let her know the truth. Like Daunt, Magdalene is also a lover of books and agrees to help him find The Duke in a collection of books he recently purchased. The interplay between the two of them is delightful to watch unfold. She is unconvinced that someone as popular as him could ever feel anything for her. He is hesitant to press his feelings. Watching them interact to find The Duke while being threatened by someone trying to steal it. This was the perfect end to the trio of stories.
Most recent customer reviews
None of this.
The Duke, in fact, is a rare collection of books, from the 15th century, deemed worthy...Read more