All The Books I Can Read

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Review: Dueling With The Duke by Robyn DeHart

on April 18, 2016

Dueling With The DukeDueling With The Duke
Robyn DeHart
Entangled Publishing
2016, eBook
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

England, 1838

Gabriel Campbell, Duke of Lynford never intended to carry that title, but when his reckless brother gets himself killed in a duel over a woman, Gabe has no choice. Now he’s sworn off love, blaming the woman that broke his brother’s heart and led to his untimely death.

Lilith Crisp, Lady Thornton, knew from a young age that pretty girls grow up and get married off to the highest bidder. Being paraded around London as her husband’s trophy has taught her some unique skills and now she can manipulate any man for his darkest secrets.

Gabriel’s position in the Brotherhood of the Sword leads him directly to Lilith’s door. For Gabe, Lilith is the one woman he’s always wanted, and Lilith is now forced to deal with a man who seems immune to her charms. But a secret about Lilith’s niece brings them together to face a danger that threatens not only their lives, but the fate of England’s Crown. Resisting Lilith is getting more and more difficult and Gabe finally recognizes that he can’t keep blaming her for his brother’s fate. Finding love means forgiving the past and that might be the one thing they simply can’t do…

So my devouring of all things historical romance continues with this book I requested from NetGalley. Now apparently it’s the second in a series and I could easily figure out what the first book was and who it involved from this one but I didn’t really feel as though I lost anything in the experience for not having read it before this one.

Years ago Gabriel, then just a mere younger brother of a Duke and Lilith, a Lady having her Season met outside at an event and connected over the stars. However then Gabriel’s brother swept in and Gabriel, knowing how these things go, gracefully bowed out. Unfortunately Lilith was also being courted by an Earl and the Earl challenged the Duke to a duel, the Duke lost (both the duel and his life), Lilith married the Earl, Gabriel became a Duke and blamed Lilith for everything. Now Gabriel has reason to believe that the Earl is consorting against the Crown, which Gabriel is charged to protect through his role with a secret group known as the Brotherhood and now he gets to question Lilith and perhaps punish her for the death of his brother.

Backstory over with, Gabriel finds his determination to punish Lilith challenged by a) his desire for her and b) the fact that he finally begins to see that Lilith had no real control or even role in any of the events that happened in the past. Her father needed money, Lilith was a valuable tool because she was young and beautiful and he was happy to marry her off to the highest bidder, which ended up being the Earl who was also a cruel man.

Although I did enjoy this book, I did feel that it was a bit short and that it didn’t really delve deep enough into the issues it set up. Gabriel is a notorious celibate, his fellow Brotherhood members refer to him as ‘the Priest’ because he’s apparently never tempted. Whether this is because being tempted by Lilith cost his brother his life or whether or not no girl has interested him like Lilith (or perhaps a combination of both) I’m not sure. The point is, quite a few references are made to it early on, which is both interesting and refreshing because heroes in historical romance are nearly always notorious rakes, ruining (or supposedly ruining) girls left right and centre. So I did find the fact that a Duke was celibate and made no attempt to hide it, unusual. It seemed to be set up that Lilith would test this, make him feel some sort of conflict but this doesn’t really play out at all. Gabriel basically capitulates immediately and it no longer becomes any sort of issue, or really anything at all. It seemed a bit pointless in the end. It would’ve been nice if Gabriel had of showed more of a struggle, especially as he believes early on that Lilith is the reason for his brother’s death. This isn’t true but that is something that Gabriel almost seems to realise without it being addressed properly either.

I found the plot revolving around Lilith’s niece a bit fanciful but probably not the most far-fetched thing I’ve ever read. I think it’ll probably continue on in the 3rd book, which seems nicely set up by this one. I’m a bit curious to see how it plays out so I think I’ll hopefully read the next one. I wouldn’t mind going back and reading the first one either, simply because I like making sure my series reading is complete!

6/10

Book #71 of 2016

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