Review – The Way to the Duke’s Heart by Caroline Linden

The Way to a Duke's Heart (The Truth About the Duke, #3)The Way to a Duke’s Heart by Caroline Linden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Charles de Lacey, Lord Gresham, is running out of time, running from his responsibilities, and running from love.

Destined to be a duke, Charles de Lacey has led a life of decadent pleasure, free of any care for propriety or responsibility. It comes as a terrible shock to learn that he might be stripped of everything, thanks to his father’s scandalous past. He has no choice but to find the blackmailer who would ruin him—and his only link to the villain is a woman who may be part of the plot…

To save his fortune and title, he vows he’ll stop at nothing—in fact, he’s all too eager to unravel the beautiful, tart-tongued Tessa Neville. She intrigues him and tempts him like no other lady ever has. With only his heart to guide him, and keenly aware that his entire future is at stake, Charles must decide: is she the woman of his dreams, or an enemy in disguise?

A charming and touching end to a The Truth about the Duke series with witty and fun characters you have come to expect. Caroline Linden has created another set of characters that are easy to relate to and have you cheering them through out the entire book.

Charles de Lacey is an unforgiven rake and scoundrel. He has spent the last eleven years proving to his family just how worthless he could be. Now with the issue of his inheritance and title, unceremoniously dumped into his lap, he must solve the problem all on his own, something he isn’t sure he can do.

Tessa Neville spends each day making up for a rash incident in her past. While she wishes she handled the situation differently, she has no regrets over the outcome. She is the last woman to be taken in by a charming scoundrel and is rightly suspicious of Charlie’s attention to her. Her forthright and confident demure is refreshing despite her seeing it as an enormous flaw.

Like the previous novels, Charlie and Tessa teach each other how their perceived weaknesses make them the person each loves. In this series, each heroine and hero and to overcome weakness/flaw within themselves in order find their happily ever after and this couple was no different. But, for Tessa and Charlie, their journey was longer and much harder/emotional. It is hard enough to ask forgiveness of others, but almost impossible to forgive yourself. But it is the journey of discovering that they are more than their past and that they are able to move on that allows them to embrace their future. Ms. Linden does this with emotional and moving scenes, especially with Charlie’s self discovery.

As for Charlie and Tessa together, who ever knew that writing a letter and getting a cup of coffee could be so erotic.

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Review: How to Ravish a Rake

How to Ravish a Rake
How to Ravish a Rake by Vicky Dreiling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

SCANDALOUS DESIRES . . .

Amy Hardwick has one last Season to shake off her wallflower image and make a love match. If she can’t, she’ll set aside her dreams of romance and return home to a suitor who can provide security-if little else. What she doesn’t count on is the inappropriate-and irresistible-attention lavished on her in a darkened library by rake extraordinaire Will “The Devil” Darcett . . .

DEVILISH DELIGHT

When Will is caught in a tryst with the tons shyest miss, he knows he must offer for her hand. Yet Amy is not the shrinking violet she seems to be. Passion lies beneath her prim exterior and Will is eager to release it. But winning Amy isn’t simply a matter of seduction; first, Will must convince her that he’s mended his wicked ways

This is the third book in Vicky Dreiling’s inaugural How To series featuring Hawk’s brother Will and Amy (from the first 2 books). I did receive my copy as an ARC from the author.

Amy happens to be my favorite of Ms. Dreiling’s three heroines so far. She is an introverted thinker who must deal with a lot of social anxiety. This leaves her tongue tied in social situations and confused in larger crowds, which explains the idea that she is aloof, first mentioned in Duke. Amy is the type of heroine that many women can relate to. While insecure, she is strong enough to face it and begin to overcome it. She does so by using her natural talent as a way to move past her anxiety and relate to people, especially the ladies of the ton.

William, Hawk’s younger brother, has been living his life on the run from his family. He keeps his exploits public and is as charming as possible as a way of garnering attention, especially from his family. Will is like many overlooked children where any attention, even for bad behavior, is welcome. But he is conflicted because he fears his family’s intervention and disapproval due to his anger at them. Instead of confronting his family with his feelings, he prefers to stay away. This becomes impossible when Hawk cuts off his allowance and Will makes a major mistake in trying to garner funds. Despite his family issues, he is loyal, steadfast, and honorable.

Will and Amy’s story is endearing and refreshing. They are very different people who handle difficult feelings in the same way, withdrawal. Ms. Dreiling caught perfectly the swirl of emotions that anxiety can cause in a person and how it can easily rip apart the fragile self-esteem. Unlike other stories where both the heroine and hero have to go through extreme emotional upheaval to grow, Will and Amy gradually work their way through their problems. Despite them not knowing each other well, they quickly learn to rely on each other for strength and the importance of fully believing in each other.

It was an absolute thrill to finally read a book where when the twist comes, the hero and heroine act like rational mature adults instead of following the first emotional impulse that flits through their brain. Of course given both Amy and Will’s tendency to withdraw from adversity, it underscores their development and why they are so perfect for each other. As in her other two books, the hero and heroine compliment each others strengths and weaknesses and bring out the best in each other. The rapport between Amy and Will is light, witty and bewitching. Watching Will fall in love with Amy was utterly delightful and easily made this my favorite book of the series.

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Review: Demon’s Bride

Demon's Bride
Demon’s Bride by Zoe Archer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The 2nd book in Ms. Archer’s series picks up a few months after the end of the first book as we peak in on Leo’s wedding to Anne, a poor baron’s daughter on the verge of becoming a spinster. Like in the first book, the story starts out by isolating the heroine. Anne, who finds Leo overwhelming and confusing, is left in Leo’s dreary and lonesome townhouse, immediately after the wedding, as he pursues his fortune and revenge on The Exchange (recall that Leo’s gift was the ability to foresee future financial disasters).

As Leo tries to get to know his wife, he, like Whit in the previous book, finds himself pulled away from his gift and the work the Devil wants him to do. But it is not just Leo’s drive to for more money that drives him. It is also his desire to be accepted into the gentry that pushes him further into the Devil’s grasp. Anne, desperate to please the man she’s falling in love with, because an unknowing pawn in his game. But as Anne finds her own inner strength to overcome her own beliefs that she never quite fit in (as she stated she and Leo had something in common, they both stood on the outside and watched people dance) and find her own self confidence her doubts about Leo grow, driving them apart.

Of course the Devil, unwilling to lose another Hellraiser, grants Leo an additional gift, which is how Leo discovers Anne is learning the truth about him and that he is slowly losing her. Of course even the Devil can’t stop himself from messing up his own well laid plans. It is the Devil’s own desire to continue controlling the hellraisers at any cost that allows the man to overcome their own demons and find the things that truly matter to him.

Like the first book, the ending is resolved quickly and the main plot stays focused on Leo and Anne finding their own internal strength. You will see old friends again in this book and discover that there is more than one way for the band to reclaim their souls plus a few other twists at the end setting up for the 3rd book (which I believe will be Bram’s and I cannot WAIT to see how his gift is dealt with and the type of woman he is matched to)

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