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on September 17, 2017
<y partner enjoyed listening to the book and then immediately ordered the next episode. BUT. both books ended in mid sentence and was wondering if Kindle books are shorter than the written version? YTried raising the issue with Amazon but no way of contacting easily with such a query. Plus i am based in the DR not USA so they couildnt ring me, and they didnt offer to reply by email. Will buy more Kindle versions of this author if someone answers my query
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on December 17, 2007
Wonderful reading. Liz Carlyle is a great author and this book shows just how talanted she is. Couldn't put this book down.
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on October 10, 2007
i was bored with the storyline. this is the first i have read this author and was quite disappointed in the plot! the book continued to say the charactars had chemistry but it wasn't portrayed in the story. i would not recommend this book to others.
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on August 6, 2008
The story line is already described elsewhere in reviews. I loved the combination of romance and mystery. The author has already developed the character of our Gareth in prior stories but it is not necessary to have read them, but it is your loss if you dont. They are well worth the read. Gareth's/Gabriel's horrific life story is given in all it's heartbreaking detail. He and Antonia are both damaged in ways that create a bond as one tries to aid the other in becoming a whole person. This is an underlying theme in all the books in this trilogy. This is my second favorite in the series, but I waver. I love them all. Ms. Carlyle has a wonderful way of bringing humor, usually through one of my favorite characters, Kem, in to a story to help take the edge off of the drama. Ms. Carlyle's books introduce her main characters in other stories, but then she does a thorough job of reintroducing us to them and giving us their back story.

I confess a bias toward this author's books. I love her characters; the reintrodction of these "old friends" as I think of them, in successive books. Ms. Carlyle is an excellent writer, and thank the gods she has incredible editors. I never get sidetracked by offensive grammatical and typographic errors.

I find all of the love scenes well done and HOT; and the interactions between the characters very realistic. She is an author that does the rare thing for me, her characters take on life and make the story multidimensional not just a flat read.

Unless she changes radically, I will be a fan for life.
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on October 28, 2007
Two lost and damaged souls - Gareth and Antonia - find and heal each other in this second book of Liz Carlyle's 'Never' series. Ms. Carlyle is to be commended for the marvelous character development in this book.

Antonia is twice-widowed, and the trauma in her past has made her so emotionally damaged that she lives within herself. Just when we think she may have over-reacted to events (many women of that time had to deal with their husbands' mistresses, after all - and fathers were known to use their daughters as bargaining tools), we discover the full extent of the trauma that caused her to emotionally leave the world. Gareth is a reluctant duke, and we gradually find out why. I especially liked how, at the beginning of each chapter, the story of Gareth's brutal past slowly unfolds, instead of the author just telling us all at once.

I found the timing and circumstances of the first sexual encounter (I can't call that one love-making) disappointing and not really in tune with the emotional development of the characters, especially Antonia, but I nevertheless gave this book the full 5 stars because of the beauty of the rest of the story, and because I loved the character of George Kemble...

Kemble has really been an essential part of each story. Ms. Carlyle continues and expands his role in each book (No True Gentleman, Never Lie to a Lady), and he is a true joy to experience. He says that he is 'just a simple shopkeeper in the Strand', but he is lethal in a fight and he knows something about everything...or almost everything. I loved the scene where Kemble asks Mrs. Waters about "female things. I mean female, er, functions; possibly the only subject about which I know nothing." I agree with the reviewer who calls him an enigma. He is sure to appear in Kieran's story, and I look forward to what witty, fastidious Kemble will do there.
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on March 6, 2013
Second in the Neville Family historical romance series. The couple focus is on Gareth Lloyd, er, I mean His Grace, the Duke of Warneham, and the widowed Duchess,

My Take
Carylyle continues her unique take on the post-Regency period with her feisty women and rakish, but caring men. It was not a nice place with the old duke. I'd say the world is better off without him or his ideas. Now that he's dead, the duchess is determined to have a say in her life from here on no matter what her father demands---she has some very modern notions---while Gabriel is determined she shall be happy.

I did enjoy it for the warmth of the series' characters---and the addition of Antonia, although this was an odd story with some truly horrible people in it. And it certainly sounds to me as though Gareth getting press ganged did him a world of good---if only so he wasn't raised as a "proper" Ventnor. We do learn what happened to force Gareth onto the youthful path he had to follow. Could almost make you appreciate social workers and their interferences.

It's a lot of vague references for which Carlyle sometimes spills out additional information, dribble by dribble. The duchess' madness was one of those vague bits; Carlyle only hints at the possibilities. I'm certainly glad we've become more enlightened in our times about grief.

The whole rainstorm/sex encounter was rather odd. Almost as if Carlyle was looking for a different encounter from the usual and just gave up and used this one to help reinforce her desire to have Antonia appear mad. Another vague bit.

A lot of trouble caused by bullies, and we're still allowing them to get away with it today.

The Story
Seems Gareth Lloyd is really Gabriel Ventor, the new Duke of Warneham. A position he struggles against until Rothewell talks him into going down to Selsdon Court to see what's what only to find madness and too many mysterious deaths.

The Characters
Gareth Lloyd is who he became; Gabriel Gareth Lloyd Ventnor is who he was. He is an owner, along with Xanthia and Kieran Neville, of Neville Shipping.

His parents were Ruth and Major Charles Ventnor. Rachel and Malachi "Zayde" Gottfried were his Jewish grandparents (Zayde had some very practical ideas about life).

George Kemble is back and helping out down at Selsdon Court as valet/secretary/what-have-you. Is there anything this man cannot lay his hand to? Vicomte de Vendenheim-Sélestat works at the Home Office. Mr. Peel is the Home Secretary.

The Ventnors of Selsdon Court
Cyril is/was the son and heir. Coggins is the butler; Mrs. Musbury is housekeeper; Mr. Benjamin Watson is the estate agent; Metcaff is a discontented footman (and one of the duke's bastards); and, Statton is a pensioner who's come back to work in the stables with this quinsy going around. Howard Cavendish is the lawyer charged with finding the only remaining ducal heir.

The delicate, widowed duchess is Antonia Notting, the old duke's fourth wife (the old boy was desperate to get himself an heir); Nellie Waters is her maid. Lord Swinburne, the earl, is her father with a new young wife, Penelope. James, Viscount Albridge is her dissolute brother. Eric, Lord Lambeth, was Antonia's first husband. He and their three-year-old daughter Beatrice died.

Reverend Needles crammed Gabriel's head full as a child. Captain Larchmont of the Saint-Nazaire became the young Gabe's "protector".

Sir Percy (gay) and Lady Ingham; Dr. Martin Osborne, the village doctor (his mother, Mary Osborne died three years ago); and Rev. Hamm and his wife (whom the duke seduced) dine weekly at Selsdon Court. John Laudrey is the local justice of the peace. Celeste de la Croix was a high-flyer and the toast of London---and married to Jean de la Croix. Sir Harold Hardell is a barrister now and a former schoolmate of the late duke's. He and the bullying, lying Jeremy, Lord Litting, the first duchess' nephew, were guests that night the duke died.

Xanthia Neville is about to be married to Stefan, Marquess of Nash. Kieran Neville, Lord Rothewell, is her dissolute brother. Trammell is Rothewell's butler.

Knollwood Manor is the decrepit dower house that Gareth wouldn't wish on an enemy.

The Cover
The cover is a shower of yellows from the softly hazy background to Antonia's buttery yellow satin empire-waisted gown, falling off her shoulders.

The title is appropriate, for the culprits should never discount one's friends and Never Deceive a Duke, especially this one.
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on March 12, 2008
Liz Carlyle is a fabulous writer who seems to continually push the envelope in terms of trauma her characters have experienced. I think on some level she is warning her audience not to get too complacent.

--Spoiler--
Each chapter begins with a memory or flashback in which we learn about the hero's past. Thanks to plenty of foreshadowing I knew what was comming: that the hero as a captured cabin boy, would be raped and abused, "prostituting" himself to survive before he escapes. However, nothing could really prepare me for how difficult it was to read about it.

Ironically, prostitution, childhood abuse and also rape are almost standard fare in romance novels. It's not where you are but how far you've come. But the horrific combination in this book were much much more difficult for me to absorb.

I appreciate everything Liz Carlyle writes, and even though this is not her best book, I still recommend it. However, this wouldn't be my choice if one were looking to "escape".
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on May 13, 2009
If anything, Liz Carlyle can certainly write. Even when the story she tells isn't quite as well put together, her prose sweeps you up and places you right in the minds of her characters. Never Deceive a Duke picks up right after Never Lie to a Lady, after Gareth Lloyd's unrequited love, Xanthia Neville, heroine of NLL, has been married off to Lord Nash. Gareth isn't too pleased, and things just keep getting worse when he finds out he's inherited a dukedom upon the death of his cousin. There's bad blood between Gareth and the former duke, which comprises a twisted family history of murder(s), anti-Semitism, betrayal, and abuse. Gareth has tried to put all that behind him, embracing his life as a shipping magnate and unofficially adopted brother to Xanthia and her brother - they're all three of them joint owners of Neville Shipping. Gareth's tortured past comes rushing painfully back to him once he's forced to very reluctantly join the unwelcoming aristocracy and assume responsibility for his estate. This includes meeting and deciding what to do about the dowager duchess, the former duke's widow, Antonia. She happens to have a whole boatload of baggage of her own, which makes them quite a depressed/depressing pair.

Never Deceive a Duke is a pretty good read. Its pacing falters at times, but not too badly. There's a murder mystery, which develops into several murder mysteries, actually, and this aspect of the plot seemed well constructed. Though things did a little complicated near the end, when it seemed like everyone and their mother had been murdered at some point. The ubiquitous George Kemble makes an appearance here. He's called in to do all the dirty work and get to the bottom of the former duke's death. There have been nasty rumors that Antonia did him in for her own gain, and Gareth, having instantly taken a shine to her, wants her name cleared. I love George Kemble. He's hilarious, but still chillingly dangerous, and steals the show every time.

As for the romance, it was unbalanced at best. Gareth I really liked. He's a very tortured guy. The flashbacks prefacing each chapter provide powerful, moving vignettes of his childhood, the difficulties of being raised between two worlds, neither fully Jewish, nor accepted into the English aristocracy. I've never come across a Jewish hero before, and I think that through the flashbacks this aspect of his character was well drawn. He's a unique character. The extent and depth of his pain, what he's suffered, isn't readily apparent. The way in which his character is thus layered and gradually explored was skillfully handled, and my favorite part of the book. Gareth quietly suffers throughout, never wallowing in self pity. He's a very strong, very appealing hero.

Antonia, while equally tortured, is more pathetic than noble in her suffering. She's basically a depressed, shattered, shadow of her former self, having undergone a nervous breakdown and been committed to an insane asylum. This was before her marriage to the former duke, which took place barely a year after her first husband's death, which had precipitated her mental collapse. She's also exiled from society because of all the nasty murder rumors. I thought it was really interesting to have a heroine purported to be mad, after coming across so many supposedly mad heroes. Maybe madness is sexier in men or something... who knows. Either way, Antonia fits into the woman in white role perfectly - fragile, not quite all there, sad, weak, and broken. Unfortunately, the romance suffers for her overriding weakness, because Gareth has to take care of her the whole time, despite her protestations that she's getting stronger and starting to know her own mind. Their conversations sound like therapy sessions as Gareth dispenses pearls of wisdom and tries to piece Antonia back together. (I have to mention, even though it's nitpicking, that their conversations bugged the hell out of me though because Gareth kept saying Antonia's name over and over again. Every sentence it was, "Well, Antonia..." "Did you know, Antonia..." "I think, Antonia...) Anyway, his protectiveness towards her, the way he lays himself completely at her feet and becomes her white knight of sorts really is romantic and noble, but also sad - both for her and for him. She doesn't develop enough as a character - she stays pretty weak throughout, which means that, even though she grows to depend upon Gareth, he can't do the same with her, and so he has no one to heal him in turn. Never Deceive a Duke was very readable, (despite my complaint about the obsessive repetition of Antonia's name,) with a great hero, and an interesting mystery. The romance though, was a bit of a disappointment.
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on March 20, 2009
I have to admit that the first two or three chapters really bored me. I almost stopped reading. I think it didn't help that I didn't read the first book of the series so I'm sure that didn't help.

I gave the book five stars despite the first few chapters because the rest of the book was so amazing. My heart broke for both characters, and I was touched by how much they loved each other. A book has never made me cry as this one had. What Gabriel had to go through as a young boy broke my heart. Antonia's loss and her ability to survive and love again was inspiring. I hated to see the book end because I just wanted to keep going a long with them. I wanted to see their happily ever after. No two characters deserve it more.

Liz Carlyle is one of my favorite authors, and this is one of my favorite books. Now I am off to buy the rest of the series!
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on October 11, 2008
Gareth, part owner of Neville Shipping, finds out he's the last surviving member of a dukedom he wants no part of. The previous Duke hated Gareth so much that he handed him over to a ship when he was a boy. He reluctantly takes responsibility and starts taking care of his people. There he meets the late Duke's wife, Antonia. Antonia gave the impression of being timid and broken down, but also very snappy during certain moments. Passion leads to a hesitant relationship.

While a boy on the ship Gareth experienced some very traumatic events; horrible things that readers should prepare themselves for. Gareth is also half Jewish in a time when anti-Semitism was pretty much the norm. Yet, despite all of that, I didn't feel as if Gareth was shaped by his past. The words of the pages didn't match the character. Of course, Gareth might just have been that type of man but I was expecting a little more due to what I experienced from the authors other books. The bigotry was real and I'm glad the author didn't shy from it.

I was disappointed that Antonia wasn't strong enough to hear what Gareth had to tell her. She was an aristocratic lady but I hoped that during Gareth's painful admission she would have had to fortitude to comfort him. I understand her past; I just wished she had been a bit stronger.

I also felt as if there were too many lose ends in the book. The mystery wasn't really explained too well and it got somewhat cluttered with all of the names. I was also disappointed that Gareth, whose Jewish background was extensively explained, never really returned his faith. In fact, he didn't really ever come to any conclusions about his beliefs. I was a bit disappointed with that. I felt as this book lacked some of the emotions and depth that I have read previously from this author.

Despite all of the negatives I brought up, I liked Gareth (who Antonia called by his first name, Gabriel) and a few of the secondary characters. Overall, I recommend it for those who are reading this series and for the uniqueness of having a Jewish hero in romance. But I wouldn't rush this to the top of your TBR list.
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