Thursday, March 31, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: The Shy Duchess By Amanda McCabe

Harlequin Historical Feb 15 2011

266 pages By Amanda McCabe


With her golden hair and dazzling emerald eyes, Lady Emily Carroll should have her pick of suitors. Instead, her crippling shyness has earned her the nickname "Ice Princess."
Nicholas, Duke of Manning, isn't looking for a bride, but he won't pass up a stolen kiss at a masked ball.
With her blushes hidden, Emily lets her inhibitions go. Only to find herself betrothed! Now it's her wedding night, and her new husband seems determined to thaw his Ice Princess and reveal her every secret….


This was a leisurely, inoffensive read, much like the shy duchess herself. Emily hides among potted palms at social events, such is her painful shyness. Even though she is beautiful and her parents have pinned their hopes on her marrying well, most of the eligible men call her 'The Ice Princess', Emily overhears just such talk from a couple of gentlemen, and in fleeing the scene in mortification, falls against a well muscled chest.

It is Nicholas, Duke of Manning. He is every inch the proper Duke, in looks and bearing. They had met before at a house party (part of the Anthology The Diamonds of Welbourne') They have an enlightening conversation. Nicholas cannot forget her. Perhaps, she would make him a good Duchess, she is well mannered and well born. But did he want an ice princess in his bed?

Nicholas is a fine hero, upstanding, a true gentleman, and one with a secret. He has been lonely a long time, and the more he comes across Emily, the more he senses a simmering passion under the ice princess facade.

Nothing really earth shattering happens in this book, it is focused almost exclusively on Emily and Nicholas, and their sweet but short courtship was endearing. But I felt it lacked a real narrative heat, no real tension in the plot. An over zealous suitor of Emily posts a touch of menace, but hardly merits a raised eyebrow. Also Emily herself is keeping a secret, but again, it is not enough to cause any great shock.

However, once Emily becomes the duchess, things heat up between her and Nicholas. She discovers Nicholas' secret, and it has her doubting they could ever be truly happy, despite how well matched they are in the bedroom.

A satisfactory read, I found the hero and heroine well thought out and their love story sweet with a nice balance of heat to keep things from getting too dull. However, I wished there was more going on here to create a little tension.

2.75 out of 4 for the book

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