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What the Duke Doesn't Know (The Duke's Sons) Mass Market Paperback – September 6, 2016
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"Ashford's delightful second venture into the social lives of the six sons of the Duke of Langford (after Heir to the Duke) pokes gentle fun at British society stuffiness in a story that pits propriety against authenticity, passion, and personality." - Publishers Weekly
"Readers already acquainted with The Duke's Sons will be delighted to see so many previously introduced characters included in the enchanting story. Kudos to Ashford for bringing a free-spirited Polynesian heroine into strict Regency society, adding diversity and interest to a charming romance. 4 Stars." - RT Book Reviews
"Ashford soars to new heights of literary excellence by creating a cleverly conceived story that takes all the traditional elements readers love in Regency romances and making everything seem refreshingly new. Throw in Ashford's gift for creating intriguingly different characters and her dry sense of humor, and you have a romance worth cherishing. " - Booklist
"Every bit of WHAT THE DUKE DOESN'T KNOW is a joy to read, and I can't wait for the next book in this, so far, fabulous series." - Fresh Fiction
About the Author
Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Her historical and contemporary romances have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, and Spain as well as the United States. Her website is janeashford.com and her Facebook page is facebook.com/pages/Jane-Ashford/154028944714495?ref=hl
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James’s father is the Duke of Longford and James is one of six brothers. James’s younger brother, Alan, and Alan’s wife Ariel, are at a garden party when an intruder runs in and James is able to stop the intruder from shooting him. Dressed as a man, the intruder turns out to be a female. Her name is Kawena, age 20, from the Polynisian island of Valuta. The young woman believes that when James’s ship stopped at her island, James killed her father. But when she meets and talks to James, she realizes that he is not lying and he did not harm her father. Her father was English and married to a Polynesian woman. Kawena claims that when James’s ship stopped at her island, someone from his ship stole her father’s cache of gemstones. Since the ship is now disabled, an Admiral must be located to help find the men who had been on James’s ship and try to discover who might be the thief.
As they work together, they are attracted to one another. However, Kawena realizes that since she is not a proper English woman, she would not make him a good bride.
This was a different type of plot and Kawena is a stubborn young miss. However, the story did not appeal to me for I found it difficult to believe that a family would simply accept this young lady’s story and invite her into their home and lives. However, I’m sure others will enjoy the story.
Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a honest and fair review.
Heroine Kawena is from a Polynesian Island and she has arrived in England like a whirlwind. She is righteous and she is angry and she is bent on justice. This is a young woman who has a strong will, is also brave but she is reckless. She is on a quest to find her late father’s treasure which in essence is her dowry. She believes that hero, Lord James Gresham is the one who stole the treasure as his ship was the last to depart her island before her father died. Kawena’s father was from England and she knows little of English society, but she does speak the language. When she arrives in England she comes armed and furious. Fortunatley James's, sister-in-law assists her as she is a woman of compassion and kindness.
James is completely unaware of this treasure but does believe Kawena’s story and joins with her to help find it. Their search takes them to different parts of England. They must travel together and Kawena just will not listen to others regarding the propriety of English ways. In fact, she does not heed much advice at all. She abhors the English ways as she has grown up with very different values to include women having much more say in society and a much freer sex life.
James wants to protect her from English talk and scandal yet he contributes to it. He feels guilty for this which Kawena just cannot understand. She cannot reconcile the culture differences very well at first.
SPOILER…Rather surprisingly though Kawena decides to become proper and here is where the book lost some of its steam. Kawena’s desire to become part of an English society that she really does not approve of or even admire is such a a strange plot twist. The reasons for it seem rather vindictive and competitive, two traits I did not notice in her before. Her search for her treasure was based much more on justice than revenge and she has spoken many time about how much she does not care about English rules.
Kawena who was on a search for her dowry was an interesting character, someone who knew who she was, unafraid to face the future. She certainly had some flaws, she can be arrogant, stubborn and impulsive and illogical. These are magnified even more after she falls for James. I found both her and James to be a little immature. James is at heart a restless wanderer and he has trouble reconciling this to the British way of life. I was not overly impressed with this story and I felt there could have been so much more humor and discovery here. Instead it felt bogged down by both characters self doubt.