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Review: To The Duke, With Love by Amelia Grey

To The Duke, With Love (Rakes Of St James #2)
Amelia Grey
St Martin’s Press
2017, 352p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

There may be times when a gentleman is desperate to gain a lady’s attention, but a gentleman would never resort to desperate measures to obtain it.
―A Proper Gentleman’s Guide to Wooing the Perfect Lady

Sloane Knox, the Duke of Hawksthorn is guardian for his sweet, younger sister. Due to his misguided past as one of the infamous Rakes of St James, Hawk is hoping to avoid the Season by securing a match for her before it begins. He has the perfect gentleman in mind, but for one infuriating―and unexpectedly intoxicating―obstacle: the intended groom’s own sister, Miss Loretta Quick.

Having narrowly avoided her own arranged marriage to an unacceptable nobleman, Loretta is determined that her dear brother―a gentle, good-natured soul―should marry for love. Matching wits with Hawk may be her greatest challenge yet. . .until she realizes it may also be her greatest pleasure. For the young duke’s irresistible charm has not only begun to crumble her stubborn resolve, it has claimed her heart in true love as well. . .

I’ve read books by Amelia Grey before and I actually thought I’d read the first in this series but I haven’t. I read the first book in the Heirs Club of Scoundrels series, not the Rakes of St James series. Honestly, it’s surprisingly difficult to keep all these complicatedly named series’ straight about rakish Dukes.

The Duke of Hawthorn intends to marry his younger sister off to a man he has handpicked for her. His sister trusts him to weed out the rakes (like himself), the wastrels, the ones who gamble too much or who aren’t as deep in the pocket as they like to be seen as. However when he goes to broach the idea with his choice, he discovers that the man is absent from the house and instead he encounters his sister, Miss Loretta Quick. The Duke finds her immediately interesting – she’s not afraid to question him, confront him and she’s definitely not a fan of his plan to marry his sister and her brother.

Loretta once had a marriage arranged for her and it ended in disaster and her social isolation. Now she lives her days in one of her uncle’s houses, where the only person she really sees is her brother. The Duke is somewhat of a novelty but Loretta is horrified by his plan. She’s determined that her brother have the freedom to marry a woman of his choosing, someone that he can build a life of love with. Not someone coldly chosen on the back of breeding and social compatibility. She makes it defiantly clear to the Duke that she will counsel her brother against this match, no matter how many interesting things the Duke makes her feel.

This book was a mixed bag for me. On one hand, I appreciated the bluntness with which it deals with the idea of arranged marriages. The Duke is undertaking his duty as head of the family to ensure that his sister marries someone worthy of her and he’s not just looking for the man with the title or the most money. He’s also taking into account his sister’s temperament and the sort of lifestyle to which she has become expected, which is interesting. He wants a man who will treat her kindly, not just one who can further the family dynasty. His sister is perfectly content to trust in her brother’s choice, not really caring about having an input. She looks to avoid the stress of a season by being betrothed before it begins, having been somewhat frightened about it by her chaperone. Loretta on the other hand, is perhaps before her time, wanting her brother to marry for love and happiness, not family connections and good breeding. There was a lot of spirited debate between Loretta and the Duke about arranged marriages and the pros and cons as well as debates about other things. Loretta is certainly quite forthright and perhaps her social isolation has really made her treat everyone equally. The Duke finds it very refreshing that she talks back to him, because, you know, he’s a Duke and people don’t do that to them.

But I have to admit, I found this book a bit boring. I didn’t really feel the connection/chemistry between the Duke and Loretta at all and sometime the debates became well, tedious, rather than exciting. Their interactions really didn’t hold my interest at all and I found the Duke not particularly rakish, despite his formidable reputation.   Loretta seemed to spend a lot of time halfheartedly protesting something based on a ridiculous vow she’d made years ago and I honestly didn’t really get the angst circling around it. As if her uncle, who was intent on punishing her for her rebelliousness, would protest at her marrying a Duke of all people and bring up that vow from years ago. It just made no sense and there was a lot of time devoted to it at the end of the book. Also the story with the Duke’s sister and Loretta’s brother could’ve been a really interesting secondary plot but it fizzled out and both of them lacked personality. In fact it made all the debates basically meaningless.


Book #191 of 2017

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Review: The Duke In My Bed by Amelia Grey

Duke In My BedThe Duke In My Bed (The Heirs’ Club of Scoundrels #1)
Amelia Grey
St Martin’s Paperbacks
2014, 320p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Bray Drakestone is a member of the Heirs Club, reserved for those who are to inherit titles. He’s a rake and a hellion of course and he cannot resist a dare to race from another member of the club. When the carriage race ends in tragedy, Bray finds himself promising his friend that he will take care of his five sisters and marry the eldest. The promise is heard by other members of society and it isn’t long before the entire Upper Ten Thousand know about it.

Two years later and Miss Louisa Prim, the eldest of the five sisters is still mourning the loss of her parents and brother. The title her brother Nathan was to inherit has gone to an uncle who isn’t entirely impressed about having to take care of five girls. Nevertheless Louisa has convinced him to allow the girls to come to London so that she may supervise the sister below her in a season. Louisa has long resigned herself to the fact that she will not marry until she sees all of her sisters settled. The best chance of a match for them is in London and their uncle agrees so that he may relinquish his duties.

Louisa hasn’t even met the man who promised her brother he would marry her two years ago but it doesn’t matter. She won’t marry him anyway. When they finally do cross paths, Louisa finds him arrogant and knows that his tolerance of her sisters is low. When the Duke wagers that not only will she marry him, but she will ask him she knows that she must think of her sisters first. Because while there’s no denying that the Duke is tempting, Louisa wants two things out of life….a marriage for love and to always take care of her sisters. And it doesn’t seem like the Duke will be able to grant her either.

The Duke In My Bed is the first book in a new series based around members of a notorious club in London where the members are all heirs to a title. At the beginning of the book, Bray has not come into the Dukedom yet and is challenged to a race by another member which ends in tragedy. He makes a promise and two years later, now the Duke of Braystone, it seems all of London is waiting for him to announce his engagement to Miss Louisa Prim. Although Bray knows a man doesn’t go back on his promise and that he will most likely have to marry the woman, he’s definitely trying to wait and see if the anticipation just goes away or if there’s some way that the promise can be rendered null and void. Basically, society isn’t going to let it just ‘go away’ and it goes all the way to the very top when Bray is surprised to find some pressure being exerted on him to marry Louisa by a very unexpected person.

When Louisa refuses him, Bray is incensed. Even though he doesn’t want to get married, the idea that he could be rejected bothers him and he finds himself telling Louisa that she will propose to him, which sounded like a really fun sort of story line. I was sort of looking forward to seeing Bray taken down a bit and how that would play out but I have to admit, it didn’t really seem as entertaining as I expected. A lot of the story seems to revolve around Louisa’s sisters and they’re screechy and a bit annoying, particularly the younger ones. Louisa seems to find it impossible that people would not be as enamored with them as she is and when Bray winces at their shrieks or seems a bit reluctant to include them in everything, she’s pretty judgy. There’s a time when one of them does do something rather sweet to him and he’s not quite sure how to say thank you which is a product of his upbringing, not because he doesn’t like what has been done for him and Louisa uses that as some sort of reason they could never be married. I know she feels a responsibility to her sisters and that if she did marry, her husband would be at least financially responsible for them until they each married. The youngest is about 6 I think, so this would be a long term commitment. But Louisa seems to expect that Bray love them immediately and treat them as she does which is a bit unfair as they aren’t his sisters and he barely knows them. He tolerates them at first, quite well really and as the book progresses he comes to care about them, which is rather normal. It’s Louisa that seems to have expectations that are quite high, which means that she tends to get herself disappointed which is the conflict of the story.

The vested interest society and more had in the pending marriage between Bray and Louisa felt a bit far fetched but it did add another amusing note to the story. All in all this was a pretty decent read, I’d be interested in checking out the next in the series and seeing how it goes.


Book #265 of 2014


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