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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Review: The Daring Duke by Jess Michaels

The first in a TEN book series and it's setting a high bar in my opinion!

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: The Passionate Pen
Release Date: March 14, 2017

The wild and charismatic Duke of Abernathe is the kind of friend anyone would wish to have. He even formed the 1797 Club, consisting of ten men who would all be dukes. But he has full-throatedly declared he will never marry and no one understands why.

But Miss Emma Liston doesn’t care why. A longtime wallflower with an absentee father who is a scandal waiting to happen, she needs to marry. Now. She decides to take a wild chance and ask the help of her friend Meg’s brother James. She asks him to pretend he’s interested in her just long enough to gain the attention of others. He agrees but is quickly taken aback by how easy everything is with Emma.

When her father returns, threatening her with a terrible future, their courtship swiftly becomes all too real. Will James ever reveal the true man beneath the outer shell? And can Emma discover her own worthiness before it’s too late?





What’s it About? A group of boys in line to become dukes form a club they call “The 1797 Club” in order to help each other navigate the world that they’ll soon be a part of. As adults they’ve become more like brothers and their unofficial leader James, The Duke of Abernathe has sworn never to marry. He's making good on his promise until he meets wallflower Emma Liston. When James finds out that Emma needs to marry and fast, he agrees to a pretend courtship to improve her chances of attracting suitors. Except it's too easy for James and Emma to be together and when her scandalous father reappears with news for Emma, James quickly steps in to save her. By marrying her.

Describe the hero in five words: Kind. Intelligent. Vulnerable. Funny. Loyal.
Did you like him? I fell in love with him.
Why? James was a powerful man, a duke but throughout the entire story I saw him as this kind, patient, passionate man who was more than a little bewildered by his attraction to Emma. He was genuinely shocked and unsure of himself when it came to her and that vulnerability was endearing to me. He didn’t act like the world revolved around him, he was more of a reluctant duke and he truly cared for those in his inner circle. I loved the glimpses of his relationship with the other members of the 1797 Club because it showed just how much these men respect and care for each other. However it was James’ relationship with his sister that really got me right in the heart. He adores his sister Meg and would do anything for her and that’s clear in the way the two interact. They’re true siblings, teasing and supporting each other. My heart ached for James and how he was forced to grow up but in some ways it made him into such a caretaker of those too weak to defend themselves. I was in love from the moment I saw how he was with his sister and then with Emma.


Describe the heroine in five words: Observant. Caring. Intelligent. Funny. Honest.
Did you like her? Yes. She’s best friend material.
Why? Despite Emma’s low view of her place in society, she’s a doll. She was kind and courteous even when people didn’t deserve it and she had a different kind of strength in her that came from having lived her life waiting for the other shoe to drop so to speak. I loved her pragmatic attitude but at the same time I loved watching Emma become more hopeful and trusting when it came to James and Meg. Emma was such a sweet and likable character that even I wanted to jump into the book and defend her whenever she was treated badly. I hardly ever feel like that about a character! Emma definitely had the most growth in the book, going from someone who didn’t dream of much happiness to someone who fought for the dreams she was starting to have and who started to stand up for herself because she her own worth. I love characters like that, especially female ones.


How convincing were the main characters as a couple? Jess Michaels brought the heat and sexual tension to the relationship but an added bonus was the deep friendship that James and Emma built along the way. They were both so honest with each other and it definitely influenced the direction and tone of their relationship in the best way, they saw through the other’s pretenses as well which definitely deepened their strong connection but their attraction to one another was what was surprising to both of them. I loved watching James and Emma navigate the unexpected obstacles that their attraction brought. Their frustrations, their self torment, all

Is there a “Scooby Gang” worth mentioning? With ten dukes being the focus of the series some or all of them were bound to make appearances. The 1797 Club isn’t a typical men’s club like had thought. These men have a great affection for each other beyond the regular shoulder slapping, drink guzzling, womanizing relationship that usually defines these kinds of clubs. To put it in more blunt terms, it’s one big bromance going on and I loved it. These men are bonded through emotional struggles, not physical ones and that did change the dynamic of their friendships. James’ closest friends are fun but they also knew when to let their guards down and be there for James. I’m dying to get to know all of them but it was Simon and Baldwin who drew my attention the most. Simon seemed to be hiding something having to do with James’ sister Meg whom James betrothed to his other friend Graham. And Baldwin had a moment with James where he offers some advice and it was a personal piece of advice that showed how much these men trust one another. The only supporting character I just couldn’t stand was Emma’s mother. I can’t stand a scheming, nagging, mother who expects to be taken care of. She drove me nuts!



How “Lost” did you get in the story? Oh man, it didn’t take me long to become engrossed in James and Emma’s romance. But it wasn’t just the romance though! There’s an entire cast that is both mysterious and engaging. Jess Michaels has something special here with her group of dukes who are more family to each other than anyone else. I loved the dynamics between the men and though all of the club members have yet to be introduced, if James is any indication on how these men are I just know that this is going to be one heck of a series.


Click It or Skip It? Click It and prepare to fall in love with James and his fellow club members!



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