Thursday, February 17, 2011
BOOK REVIEW: What I Did For A Duke By Julie Anne Long
Avon Historical Feb 22 2011
384 pages By Julie Anne Long
BLURB ON BACK OF BOOK:
For years, he's been an object of fear, fascination . . . and fantasy. But of all the wicked rumors that shadow the formidable Alexander Moncrieffe, Duke of Falconbridge, the ton knows one thing for certain: only fools dare cross him. And when Ian Eversea does just that, Moncrieffe knows the perfect revenge: he'll seduce Ian's innocent sister, Genevieve—the only Eversea as yet untouched by scandal. First he'll capture her heart . . . and then he'll break it.
But everything about Genevieve is unexpected: the passion simmering beneath her cool control, the sharp wit tempered by gentleness . . . And though Genevieve has heard the whispers about the duke's dark past, and knows she trifles with him at her peril, one incendiary kiss tempts her deeper into a world of extraordinary sensuality. Until Genevieve is faced with a fateful choice . . . is there anything she won't do for a duke?
I had seen such great reviews for this book, I scurried over to Netgalley to request it for myself for reading and reviewing. Since I only had until February 22, I thought I could read if over a few nights. Well, I started in the afternoon, and hours later, I was still reading it. I could not tear myself away from my laptop. I called out for hubby to get his own supper. Yes, the book deserves the gushing accolades that have been generously poured over it.
So enchanted with the writing, I called hubby in to read a few passages aloud to him. He listened, agreed it was well written, then sniffed, 'men do not think that way.' Well, of course not, why else do we (women) read romances??
Alexander Moncrieffe, Duke of Falconbridge is no man in the flush of youth. He is in fact almost forty, with grey at his dark haired temples, very tall, whip cord tight with sinewy muscle, and not classically handsome. His wry, cynical sense of humor and look at life will grab you right from the start, especially when he catches his fiance naked in bed with the much younger Ian Evansea. His handling of this situation was fantastic, and I fell for Alex right off.
But no man likes to be cuckolded, especially not a Duke, so Alex has a little revenge in mind for Ian Eversea.
Showing up at the Evansea's for an extended house party, Alex decides seducing and ruining one of Ian's unmarried sisters will be just the proper amount of revenge. He sets his sights on Genvieve, not as pretty as sister Olivia, but as he engages her in conversation, he finds, he is quite intrigued.
Genevieve can barely tolerate this much older Duke, she is too busy watching her oldest and dearest friends, Harry Osbourne and Millicent Blenkenship. Harry has confided he intends to propose to Millicent. Genevieve is crushed, as she is secretly in love with Harry, and has been for years.
Slowly, expertly and with a great amount of finesse, the Duke manages to interest Genevieve in return, their conversations sparkle and are full of life. And Alex is unflinching honest in his growing interest in her. She soon catches on to his scheme, and he readily admits at first, he did have sinister plans for her seduction. Now, he wants her...for reasons other than revenge.
The writing in this crackles, I found myself smiling or laughing in more than one place, I was thoroughly entertained. And for once, the heroine did not get on my nerves in one form or another. Genevieve is forthright, honest, smart and caring. And more than a match for the older, imperious Duke, in all ways. Her unwavering love for Harry was a little puzzling, much as Scarlett O'Hara's was for Ashley Wilkes. But made for a great conflict throughout the story.
Alex is a revelation. His sardonic look on life is enthralling, and try not to melt as he seductively compares a kiss to the slash of saber. He tells Genevieve in raw, unfiltered language just want he wants, then goes about showing her. Both realize there is more going on here than lust, though neither will admit it. Alex has love and lost before, though that does not seem to factor into his actions here, which I found refreshing. Usually heroes in this situation are guarded, tortured, closed off, not Alex. At least, he wasn't to a point. He is a fantastic hero. Sexy, sensual, a bit dangerous, and ultimately, gentle, caring and loving.
I also liked the secondary characters, even poor hapless Harry, and Genvieve's rakish brother, Ian.
A truly romantic read, crisply and intelligently written, infused with enough heat to set the page ablaze, and the Duke will melt your heart, a marvelous hero on so many levels.
4 out of 4 stars for the book
Very lush, great colors, even the length of the hair is right, with a little gray at the temples for the hero.
3.5 stars out of 4 for the cover