All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Dastardly Duke by Eileen Putman

on June 3, 2016

Dastardly DukeThe Dastardly Duke
Eileen Putman
2016, eBook
Copy courtesy of NetGalley

Blurb {from}:

Tormented by a dark secret, Julian LeFevre, Duke of Claridge, is a notorious and dissolute rake. His half-hearted attempt to reform his character has left him bored to death. To relieve the tedium, he wagers a friend that he can mold any pretty trollop from the London streets into a lady who’ll pass muster with the ton.

But Hannah Gregory is no biddable lump of clay. She has solemn gray eyes, a rebellious streak — and is deaf from a long-ago accident. And although she conceals her real past, she can’t conceal her attraction to the scoundrel who offers her a small fortune that could pay for a new medical treatment.

The charade might heal her, but it also might break her heart — if she forgets that this dark and dangerous duke is well past the point of redemption.

Aren’t all dukes dastardly? I kind of thought it was part of the job description!

This one was quite fun….. Julian LeFevre is of course the pre-requisite womanising rake who has sort of attempted to become respectable, something he finds super boring. His closest friend desperately desires to marry Julian’s sister although she kind of keeps laughing at him, assuming he’s joking because they are friends. Julian decides to make a wager – he’s so supremely confident of his ducal privilege that he thinks he can choose any random woman and elevate her to the state where no one would bat an eyelid at her marrying well and socialising well. If he wins, he’ll take his friend’s best matched pair. If he loses, he’ll help his friend with the campaign to win his sister. That’s a bit douchey really but it’s the sort of thing you might expect bored lords with too much money and time to do.

The woman Julian chooses from a home for wayward prostitutes actually isn’t a prostitute but Julian doesn’t know that and doesn’t particularly care to be enlightened on it. She’s also deaf, which makes his goal to elevate her even more difficult but he doesn’t shy away from a challenge. His choice Hannah is also spirited and pretty with the ability to call Julian out on his lofty manner. Ostensibly Julian presents her as a companion for his sister, as her only chaperone for her season is a crusty old aunt and Hannah has no trouble becoming friends with Lucy, Julian’s sister.

Hannah is such a strong, admirable character. She’s the sort of independent woman that doesn’t really seem to fit the mold of the portrayed time and she’s had to learn to survive on her own but also accept assistance from the most unlikely sorts. She knows that in the path she’s chosen, people (like Julian) will make assumptions about her, given where he found her. They aren’t true but she has her eye on the end game – with the money Julian offers her for playing her role and helping him win the wager, she wants to try some controversial new medical treatment to restore her hearing. She wasn’t born deaf and she’s sure that somewhere, someone holds the key to unlocking how to fix the damage that was done.

Julian is interesting too. He has a very dark secret, something that shakes his sense of belief in who and what he is and is the underlying reason for his reckless behaviour. Julian had his flaws but I found myself mostly liking him although his treatment of Hannah is at times, a bit ordinary with what he believes her to be. That is something that often annoys me about the “ton” – they believe themselves to be far better than the other classes but they have absolutely no qualms being rude to people they consider beneath them. They say things that are just unnecessarily cruel, supposedly to reinforce just how far below them these people are but all it really does is make them look like jerks.

There are a couple of cute little side plots running through this story, which I really enjoyed. The first is about Julian’s sister Lucy and Charles, his best friend. Charles loves Lucy and wants to marry her but he seems to keep mucking up the presentation of his offer, unable to get Lucy to see him as more than just a friends. The way in which it plays out is sweet and the sort of cute evolution I like to see. The second involves Lucy and Julian’s aunt, a character presented at first as a bit of a histrionic old biddy but slowly you are given more insights into her character, particularly through the unique eyes of Higgins, her…..manservant? Devoted slave? The way in which that little story line evolved might’ve even been my favourite part of the entire book.

A very nice read that will definitely have me seeking out more of this author’s work.


Book #216 of 2016

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