Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day 78 - 'My Dangerous Duke' by Gaelen Foley

I should say up front that I normally read sweet romances. As much as I support people's right to talk about their character's throbbing manhood it's not usually the kind of thing I want to read about. I like the story, the growing affection and tension between two characters who are falling madly in love with one another.

So when I picked this up, I thought it was a sweet romance. You might ask, as did my husband, "Julia, how did you manage to miss the prominent quote from Publishers Weekly on the front stating the book was exceptionally sexy?"
Good question.
But I did miss it, and I'm glad I did.

My Dangerous Duke is a really good story.  It follows Kate Masden, if that is her real name, as she is kidnapped and given as a gift to a cursed Duke with a dark reputation. Managing to convince him that she is not a local girl with ambitions to become a famous courtesan, she and Rohan, Duke of Warrington and assassin for the notorious Inferno Club, attempt to solve the mysteries of Kate's birth, upbringing and capture.

I really liked the characters and in particular the dynamic between Kate and Rohan. The tension between them is tight right from the beginning of the novel and continues well. I especially liked that they were not afraid to talk about things openly - at times when I thought there would be a comedy of errors that would leave me cringing Foley surprised me by averting it through a well-timed conversation.
Bliss! Two characters who listen to each other's explanations!
I also loved how Rohan, a cold-blooded killer doomed by his bloodline, was handled. There was no watering down of what he did as part of his occupation, and Kate's acceptance of him as he was seemed to flow naturally from her growing feelings for him.

The pacing works well for most of the book, and I can't say much about the level of sensuality because I tend to skim sex scenes just to make sure I'm not missing any plot (Seriously, authors, don't do that! Who talks about the people trying to kill them while they're in the middle of coitus?). They only thing I will say was that I felt their change of heart over whether to have a physical relationship or not was a bit forced. The reasons not to didn't seem that important in the first place, and I couldn't really see what had changed to allow it when they did fall into the sack.

The ending of the book - and I won't give away anything here - was extremely unusual, and I liked that about it. Personally, I felt it lacked something, but I really, really appreciated what she was attempting to do.

All in all, a fun read and I'm looking forward to reading the others in the same series.

(By the way - I should also mention that the cover art on my copy is superior to, and less revealing than, the cover art on Gaelen Foley's website - it has convinced me that if I am ever published I am willing to settle for a smaller advance if they are willing to put in the contract that Blacksheep do the cover art. Go check out their publishing portfolio - pretty!)

Word count - 3,165

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