Monday, September 29, 2008

Julia Quinn: The Lost Duke of Wyndham

The Lost Duke of Wyndham: A
Grace Eversleigh & Jack Cavendish-Audley

I had a really good time reading this one, which, in all honesty, was surprising to me. After the eight Bridgerton novels which ranged from great to not-so-great with the majority being in the slightly-less-than-average range (two great and the rest, I don’t really recall), I expected this one to be equally as average.

Plus the real model (Ewa da Cruz) on the cover mildly freaks me out. (I said it before, but she looks like a raptor.)

To my great surprise, Ms. Quinn introduces a really unique storyline with intriguing characters.

Grace Eversleigh is the companion to the dowager Duchess of Wyndham, a very crusty, cranky, viciously mean and very proper old woman. She acts like she doesn’t have a heart… and it is speculated that she just might not be in the possession of one. But Grace hasn’t had a choice; when her parents passed away and her slimy cousin came to the possession of her home, she was given the option of either marrying the slimebag or dealing with the crusty dowager.

She chooses the dowager.

It is on the way home from a ball (not a wedding, thank the heavens) that their coach is pulled over by highway men – a really handsome (Grace thinks he’s handsome from the bottom half of his masked face) and witty highwayman. To her surprise, he kisses her. On the lips! (Oh, how scandalous!) And then the dowager recognizes – and insists – that the highwayman is her long-lost grandson… and quite possibly the next Duke of Wyndham. This is a problem given that the Duke of Wyndham already exists.

The highwayman Jack Audley is brought to the Wyndham castle to solve the very fascinating mystery of who the real Duke of Wyndham is.

While Jack stays with Grace and the dowager duchess, he falls more and more for the real Grace – the witty and slightly sarcastic woman who keeps herself carefully masked for the dowager’s pleasure.

Now, I am normally not fond of fall-in-love-within-two-weeks type stories, but for some reason, I really liked this one. Ms. Quinn made it work and it clicked with me!

Reaaaaaad it. It’s gooooood.

I’m superbly excited for its sequel: Mr. Cavendish, I Presume. I want it now! Now! Now!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Is it March yet?

I cracked and I read the preview of Lisa Kleypas's latest contemporary, Smooth Talking Stranger.

Aw, damn it!

I think this might be the second book - ever - that I plan on buying without reading. Well, maybe not, but if I don't read it the week it comes out, I'm off to my closest bookstore and getting my grubby little hands a copy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Celeste Bradley: The Duke Next Door

The Duke Next Door: C+
Deirdre Cantor & Calder Marbrook, Marquis of Brookhaven (future Duke of Brookmoor)
The Heiress Brides 2

Since this was the pick for August from my book club, I jumped right into the story. Apparently the ladies chose the first book of this series, Desperately Seeking a Duke, several months back and enjoyed it so they chose to select this one.

In case you haven’t read the first novel or are new to the series, three young women have an inheritance that they will only receive if they marry a Duke. The first of the three to get hitched was Phoebe in Desperately Seeking a Duke;


She apparently “leaves” Calder at the altar, or rather he gives Phoebe away, to marry his rakeish brother, Rafe.


In seeing the situation, the stunningly beautiful but cold (cold from the first book) Deirdre makes up her mind to marry Calder. She swiftly proposes and he agrees. By the twenty-fifth page, Calder and Deirdre are married in a marriage of convenience.

She is surprised to discover that Calder has a daughter, one whom he ignores and doesn’t even look at because of her resemblance to his first wife, who died while she was running away with her lover. The daughter, Meggie, is introduced as a wretch – a completely spoiled brat (I’da smacked her.) but because of Deirdre’s horrible relationship with her evil stepmother, Tessa, she understands Meg and Meg’s desire to get her father’s attention and love.

They bond in a strange, kind-of unloving way.

Meanwhile, Calder, or the Beast in according to the ton, and Deirdre’s relationship is on the rocks. He demands that she listen to him, that she dress for dinner (like from the movie, Beauty and the Beast – the book is based relatively off that Grimm Fairy Tale), that she would be denied parties and nice clothes should she defy him.

Deirdre, angered, team with Meg to give Calder a taste of his own medicine… and in the process of everything happening, Deirdre and Calder start to fall in love.

However, when Stickley and Wolfe, Deirdre’s family’s solicitors, find that Deirdre is close to being a real duchess and that she will ask for the withdrawal of her inheritance, they start to panic. Apparently, they’ve been entrusted with taking care of the inheritance for so long that they have no other clients and want the retainer from doing business for Deirdre’s family. Wolfe, the more rakeish solicitor, decides to start trouble by creating unpleasant emotions in one of Deirdre’s very-devoted admirers.

The end is chaotic mix of kidnappings, a disguised pygmy, shootings, tough barroom men…and reconciliation.

A nice read… one that didn’t necessarily click with me, for some reason. I am inclined to say that Ms. Bradley’s writing style was choppy…? In showing the progression time, there were a lot of mental stops made in my mind. But most of the other book club ladies enjoyed it, so give it a try.

PS: I'm having a hell of a time trying to organize the format of my posts. Effing blogger!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Elizabeth Hoyt: To Taste Temptation

To Taste Temptation: A-

Lady Emeline Gordon & Samuel Hartley

The Legend of the Four Soldiers 1

After Ms. Hoyt’s very successful debut with the Prince series (The Raven Prince, The Leopard Prince, & The Serpent Prince), she follows up with the start of her new series: The Legend of the Four Soldiers.

The proper and beautiful Lady Emeline Gordon is a respectable widow with a young son. She is fashionable, highly admired, and moves among London’s elite social circles. When one wants to be properly chaperoned and introduced into the ton, she is the one to seek. She accepts offers from families from the utmost crème de la London; therefore, society (and she!) is shocked when she agrees to launch Rebecca Hartley, the younger sister of American soldier and Boston businessman Samuel Hartley. While she feels as though being around Samuel is a bad idea, she knows that he fought in the battle with her deceased brother.

In London, Samuel is branded as a coward, with most believing that he ran away from the battle where the British soldiers were ambushed and killed. No one knows the reason he returned to London is to investigate into what he thinks was a planned betrayal by one of his fellow soldiers.

Emeline, wanting to find out if there was indeed a traitor for the sake of her brother, chaperones Rebecca and is forced to be in Samuel’s presence. She hates it – and she hates the fact that she might so willingly fall in love with Samuel because of the pain she felt when her first husband passed away.

It is at a dinner party that they “hook up.” (LOL)

And it’s then that they venture into the land of looooooove.

A nice side mystery and hot romance with plenty of tension between the characters…I definitely recommend this.