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Monday, October 16, 2017

Review: The Duke by Katharine Ashe

Be still my romance loving heart, this book had such a strong love story that I just could not put it down! I may have had one or two small issues with it but overall it was so well done!

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: September 26, 2017

Six years ago, when Lady Amarantha Vale was an innocent in a foreign land and Gabriel Hume was a young naval officer, they met . . . and played with fire.
Now Gabriel is the dark lord known to society as the Devil’s Duke, a notorious recluse hidden away in a castle in the Highlands. Only Amarantha knows the truth about him, and she won’t be intimidated. He is the one man who can give her the answers she needs.
But Gabriel cannot let her learn his darkest secret. So begins a game of wit and desire that proves seduction is more satisfying—and much more wicked—the second time around…

What’s it About? Amarantha Vale first fell in love with Gabriel Hume when she was engaged to another man and Gabriel was a naval officer. Separated by circumstances they didn’t fully understand, Amarantha married another man and Gabriel inherited a title. Six years later while searching for her missing friend, Amarantha hears tales of The Devil’s Duke who is none other than Gabriel Hume. Refusing to believe that he is what the tales say and knowing that he may have the answers to her questions, she tracks him down at his home. She doesn’t expect to feel the same consuming attraction to Gabriel she felt years ago and he can’t afford to let her learn his secrets but he also can’t bear to let her go again.

Overall reaction to the story? The Duke is a sweep-you-off-your-feet romance that enchanted and engaged me from start to finish. Gabriel and Amarantha’s love story was wonderful and in no time at all I fell in love with them as a couple. I had a few issues with The Duke but none of them took away from the fact that Katharine Ashe made this book feel like an epic romance with a heavy dose of edge-of-your-seat suspense. Now I just have to go back to read the previous books in the series.

Describe the hero in five words: Loyal. Intelligent. Stubborn. Caring. Odd.
Did you like him? Absolutely.
Why? Gabriel was hiding quite the secret and I’m glad Katharine Ashe didn’t wait too long to reveal it because it really defined him as a character. Plus there was no believable way to hide that big of a secret once Amarantha arrived on the scene. He was super charming and it was obvious that he cared about the people under his care. I loved that about him, here was this big, strapping highlander who could scare the crap out of even the most dangerous of men, yet he was like a sweet, dare I say almost cuddly teddy bear with the people he took into his home. He had a way with words too, and I enjoyed the way he would verbally spar with other characters, particularly Amarantha. He was so desperately in love with her in such a lovely, enviable way too.

Describe the heroine in five words: Inquisitive. Bold. Kind. Intelligent. Stubborn.
Did you like her? Yes.
Why? First of all, what a name right? Amarantha. Sounds like an exotic flower and in a way she is. Amarantha is all backbone and steel on the outside, vulnerable woman on the inside. Actually, her soft side was prevalent where her friends were concerned but with Gabriel she was quick to shut down her softer emotions and replace them with a teasing, unflappable air of nonchalance. I admired her ability to banter with Gabriel and the fact that when they first met she nicknamed him “Shark Bait” and later when they were reunited she changed it to “Urisk.” She was never cruel though, just honest about everything except her present feelings towards him. She was almost unbearably stubborn though, oh boy was this woman so stubborn and willfully blind to Gabriel’s romantic gestures towards her. She was in a state of denial and she almost lost out on a second chance with her first true love.

Let’s talk about the romance: Here’s where The Duke stumbled a bit in my opinion. There was such a great buildup between Gabriel and Amarantha when they first met and then it was almost combustible when they were reunited but not only did these two do a prolonged sexually charged verbal dance around each other, when they finally reached that point of no return and had sex, the scenes were short and didn’t live up to the tension and teasing that had been part of that sexual foreplay. There was only one of their love scenes that I felt lived up to the grand passion these two had and I also felt like since the first love scene happened so late in the book, there had to be a certain amount of them crammed into the last quarter of the book. I think if that part of the relationship had occurred a bit sooner then it wouldn’t have felt rushed to me. However, I never once had reason to doubt how much Gabriel loved Amarantha. I never doubted the love between them at all, it was so clear and so strong even after being apart for five years.

How about that supporting cast? Another little glitch in The Duke was the mind spinning amount of supporting characters coming in and out of scenes with little to no introduction. I had to fight hard to keep them all straight! Amarantha’s friends, Gabriel’s friends and relations, not to mention various people living in the areas surrounding his properties. Oh my goodness but I almost got dizzy with all of them coming and going. Most of them were so delightful though so I couldn’t complain too much but it would have been nice to have a bit less of them and a bit more of an introduction to the ones that were there.

Click It or Skip It? Click It. The Duke is so terribly romantic that it shouldn’t be missed.

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