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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Review: I Dared the Duke by Anna Bennett

Seriously, I can't get enough of Anna Bennett's Wilting Wallflowers series! Alex and Beth were so much fun!

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: April 4, 2017

Alexander Savage, the Duke of Blackshire, is known throughout the ton for three things: the burn scars on his neck, his ornery disposition, and the trail of broken hearts behind him. None of which would concern Miss Elizabeth Lacey in the least―if she weren’t living under his roof. As his grandmother’s companion, Beth is all too concerned with the moody and compelling duke. Incensed by his plans to banish the sweet dowager duchess to the country, Beth refuses to do his bidding. If Alex wants her help, he’s going to have to take her dare…and grant her three wishes.

Alex adores his grandmother, which is precisely why she must leave. A string of unfortunate incidents has him worried for the safety of everyone around him―including the dowager’s loyal and lovely companion, Beth. But the notorious wallflower isn’t as meek as she appears, and as their battle of wills heats up, so does Alex’s desire. He’s dangerously close to falling in love with her…and revealing secrets he’d rather keep hidden. How can he convince her that his darkest days are behind him―and that, for the first time in forever, his heart is true?

What’s it About? Alexander Savage, the Duke of Blackshire has quite the reputation in society but all he cares about is moving his grandmother out of his house and into the country. He doesn’t anticipate being defied and outright challenged by his grandmother’s companion, Miss Elizabeth Lacey. Now Alex has yet another person to worry about because after a series of suspicious accidents he’s certain someone wants him dead. He can’t tell Beth the truth of why he needs her to help him convince his grandmother to leave London so he agrees to Beth’s bargain, she’ll help him get his grandmother to move to the country if he grants his grandmother three wishes.

Describe the hero in five words: Sneaky. Funny. Secretive. Loyal. Vulnerable.
Did you like him? Yes.
Why? Aside from being pretty arrogant in the beginning, Alex was a good guy pretending to be a typical aristocrat. He was a sweetheart pretending to be a rogue and while he wasn’t exactly inexperienced with women, he didn’t have legions of them. Alex had a vulnerable spot in the form of his grandmother and while he wasn’t obvious in his affection he did love her very much so it wasn’t difficult to fall in love with Alex. Of course, Alex was no angel, he did like to ruffle Beth’s feathers with his remarks and his flirting but I never felt like he was being too pushy or forceful, he always remained aware and respectful of Beth’s wishes. Alex’s generous heart and snarky attitude landed him on my book boyfriend list for sure!

Describe the heroine in five words: Determined. Stubborn. Intelligent. Courageous. Caring.
Did you like her? Yes.
Why? Beth had the guts to stand up to Alex and I loved the way she did it. She used logic and sheer determination to win her fair share of arguments with Alex. With her background, Beth made an admirable companion for Alex’s grandmother. She had a good heart and was a natural caregiver. She had a lot of spunk and sass when it came to defending Alex’s grandmother and getting Alex to grant her three wishes but when it came to her attraction to Alex, Beth was unsure and vulnerable. I loved both sides of her.

Let’s talk about the romance:
Alex and Beth were so well matched and it showed from their very first meeting! Alex came in expecting to very easily move his grandmother to the country and dismiss Beth as her companion but Beth put the brakes on that dukely swagger so fast I swear I could smell the smoke from Alex’s back peddling! She wasn’t having his nonsense at all, Beth challenged Alex and it kind of threw him off at first which is what I love to see in romances where there’s a difference in social classes. Nothing says “strong” like a woman who can throw a duke off balance and keep him guessing! Of course that just added to the spark of attraction that was already there. I thought Alex and Beth were delightful to be honest. They’re both vulnerable people who have experienced tragedy at a young age but they also had this drive to protect the people they cared about. Anna Bennett certainly knows how to transition a relationship in a way that feels natural and special, I loved how Alex and Beth’s relationship went from antagonistic to baffled to desperately in love.

How about that supporting cast? Beth has two sisters, Meg and Julie who both have differing personalities. They didn’t show up until later in the book but they were always present in Beth’s mind and heart. Alex’s grandmother was so sweet too but she wasn’t at all what she appeared and I had to laugh at her end game because she was so sneaky. I do wonder if there is a story in the future for Alex’s friend, the Marquess of Darberville or Darby as Alex called him. He seemed like a decent enough guy and Alex trusted him with everything.

Overall reaction to the story? I Dared the Duke met and in some ways exceeded my expectations. The first book had such a romantic and fun vibe to it and I’m happy to say this latest book in the Wilting Wallflowers series has that same vibe all while keeping Beth’s story totally different from her sister Meg’s. I loved Beth’s chemistry with Alex, not just the physical chemistry but the way they challenged each other mentally and emotionally. The pacing of the story was brisk but nothing that would be too fast for anyone to follow along. I appreciated Anna Bennett’s attention to a reader’s time. I never felt like my time was being wasted with drawn out scenes or dialogue.

Click It or Skip It? Click It. Alex and Beth’s chemistry is irresistible and the romance is totally sigh worthy.

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