Queue My Review

September 19, 2008

Review: The Dangerous Duke by Christine Wells

Filed under: Review — Tags: , , , , , , — jjmachshev @ 10:30 am
The Dangerous Duke by Christine Wells

During the late regency period in England, there were fears of a ‘British Revolution’. Remember that not so long before this time the ‘colonies’ had successfully achieved their independence and established a democracy, throwing off the bonds of a monarchy. France had their ‘Glorious Revolution’ and did away with their monarchs via ‘Madame Guillotine’. In any event, the regency period encompassed more than the blissful excesses of ‘Prinny’ and the ton, but it’s very rare to read anything about this in a regency romance novel.

“The Dangerous Duke” by Christine Wells opens with the plight of a vicar imprisoned under suspicion of sedition because he refuses to name the rebels accused of burning a peer’s home. The fire killed four members of the aristocracy and is assumed to be a prelude to revolutionary activities. I personally found this fascinating (history geek alert!), but the author quickly moves on to more salacious events involving the theft of a scandalous diary, a headstrong widow, and a hardboiled Home Office investigator who has become a Duke.

The vicar’s sister, Lady Kate, is the widow of a politician. He was apparently a cold fish so she began a personal diary where she wrote about her ‘dream’ lover. The diary is quite spicy for an upright regency widow and each chapter heading is a short quote from her diary. She decides to free her brother (even though he has repeatedly asked her to butt out) by whatever means necessary including threatening to publish a scandalous tell-all book about the secrets she knows about current politicians. In those times (unlike today?) this was a particularly BAD idea as safeguarding the status quo meant anything up to and including murder was condoned! Threats and attacks by an unknown assailant/s occur and she ends up with no choice but to trust the handsome Duke of Lyle to keep her safe. How convenient.

The brand new Duke of Lyle is the one who (unbeknownst to Kate) put her brother in prison in an effort to get him to spill the names of the rebel conspirators. Since the vicar won’t talk, he decides that kidnapping Kate and holding her hostage until her brother talks is the most expedient way to get what he wants. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s very attracted to Kate.

The history and the fluid writing made reading the book a pleasure. Unfortunately, I found Kate to be a bit of a twit. Loyalty to family is important, but if her brother has (repeatedly!) asked her to butt out, can she not assume he has a plan and doesn’t intend to die? One of them is stupid and either way that kind of irritated me throughout the book. The villain is hinted at fairly heavily throughout the book, but there are a few red herrings thrown around in an effort to be less blatant. The hero has definite flaws…he’s not a particularly good guy through most of the book. His plans for Kate were fairly clear and it irritated me again that Kate couldn’t figure this out. The sex scenes were, I must admit, pretty darn hot for a regency. But a senseless misunderstanding regarding their sex life could have been prevented with a simple conversation! Another irritant for me.

I read Christine Wells first novel “Scandal’s Daughter” and had some of the same issues with miscommunications and not-so-bright characters. I do think “The Dangerous Duke” was a better read than her first and I’ll likely pick up her next release when it hits the shelves. If the above mentioned irritants for me don’t bother you, then you’ll likely really enjoy the story of a shady Duke and feisty widow.

Until next time…


Reviewed by Julie


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