I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
August might be a duke now, but he spent two years surviving on the streets while his father was in debtor's prison. He now can't make enough money and after he acquires a prime location that has a girl's school on it, he wants to buy Strathmore Shipping. The family is in dire straits, so he doesn't foresee a problem of them wanting to sell.
Clara is used to feeling ostracized, deemed a bluestocking and therefore of ridicule, she's ran the Haverhall School for Girls. Her family's money issues have forced her to sell and now the one man to ever catch her eye, is starting to show her attention again.
He had danced with her on a dare.
A Duke in the Night starts off showing the readers how a young, trying to fit in August asked Clara to dance on a dare. The dance and conversation they share ends up leaving quite an impression on both Clara and August and many years later they both still think about it. While this one waltz was a sparking way to start the story and their relationship, hinging so much of their initial feelings for one another on it created a lack of other emotional building moments. Our leads do a good job of talking and listening to one another, August especially has great growth moments, but they didn't crackle and jump off the pages as much as I would have liked.
His eyes crinkled at the corners as he grinned at her, and Clara felt rivulets of longing run down her spine. No man had the right to look that handsome when he smiled.
Clara was a great heroine, she's a bluestocking and experiences some of the consequences (shunned for friendship and romantic relationships) of her choosing to follow her heart and teach. In order to keep her school running, she must also keep her reputation in good standing. I thought the author did a great job giving us a strong-willed, intelligent, and courageous heroine that felt true to the times and honored her with also showing the difficulties. I would have liked more scenes with her siblings to get some emotional impact from those relationships, they seemed like such a wonderful supportive family. I did think her closed off actions and emotions toward August in the middle and end lasted too long and gave a bit of a dragged on feeling.
“I don't want the woman you're supposed to be,” he said, his voice low. “I never have. I want the woman you are, and everything that that encompasses. I wanted her ten years ago, and I want her now.” He stepped closer to her, his hand coming up to toy with the ribbon at the front of her bodice. “A woman who knows her own mind. A woman who can make a man lose his. Make him do reckless things.”
The details of August's character were compelling but his background of having to survive on the streets just didn't completely emotionally come through to me; his supposed ruthlessness wasn't felt. His growth arc felt more centered on allowing his sister her agency and realizing she didn't want a quiet life of glitz and glamour. I thought his excuse for not wanting to marry, his parent's had a horrible marriage and he doesn't want to marry someone he “thinks” he loves. I think concentrating on his years of trying to survive and build his empire (workaholic) would have better served his character makeup; the whole not marrying for love theme fades away so much I almost forgot about at the end when he was still struggling with his feelings.
August and Clara were both intrigued by each other and I thought it was cute how the author showed them liking the other and having moments of feeling stupid because they thought they said the wrong thing, sweet beginning relationship stages of insecurity. Angst is brewing under the surface because the reader knows August bought Clara's school and that he wants to buy her family's shipping company, the school plot I liked simmering under the surface but the resolution was left to the very end and kind of emotionally dealt with quickly. The shipping company felt more clogging up as the predictability of Clara ending up thinking August was only paying attention to her for the company.
This was a good start to the Devils of Dover series, Clara's siblings are showcased enough to entice readers to want to know more about their storylines. August was a great hero in that he actually listened to Clara and took her thoughts to heart and Clara trying to help woman in the capacity she could was lovely to read. There were some arcs that I thought clogged up more than adding, especially the villain of a man felt he was done wrong by August and we get a whole kidnapping danger but oh wait, everyone is fine. A Duke in the Night had two characters that even years later were intrigued by each other, the power of one waltz.
Gavin finds out his wife has been faking it. They have just barely checked in to their marriage recently, and now Thea is checking out. She has asked him for a divorce, and he is unsettled by this. He truly loves her and wants to get back to the hot and heavy he thought they were.
Thea is fed up about it all. She is sick of being taken for granted. Sick of the other wives and girlfriends of her husbands team shunning her. Sick of her husband not wanting to be with her the way they used to. She wants to get back to the happy, but must first find what was lost.
Stories about married couples can be tricky. I loved that this one was not afraid to go there. Both characters really had to come out of their shell and be honest. The sexy times get lively, and heavy in the heat. The story is solid and the pace is steady. I loved that these MC's had to work for it. I really hated the female lead for about 90% of the book. I was so pleased I shouted when the storyline caught up with what I thought. Nicely played. I give this read a 5/5 Kitty's Paws UP!
This is book #2, in the Hopeless Romantics series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment, and understanding of this amazing series, I recommend reading these in the order intended.
Charlotte comes back to Hope Lake after some serious disappointments. She figures spending the summer with her Dad and Gigi, that she will have a brighter future. Then she gets back with most of her childhood friends and finds out that all is not what she thought.
While hot men abound in this small but very active community, she has the hearts of two men somehow intertwined with her unknown future. On one hand, she has Max - who is actively pursuing her. Then there is the sweet Henry, whom she is trying hard to remember from her days of living here before.
This story was just bold and lovely. I loved the characters. I love the interaction. I also have come to love the little community in the small town. While this author always takes me places, she also gives me a riveting story about someone who must learn to come into their own. Never fails to bring me to my knees with all the surprises you never see coming. I give this read a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!
***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.
MY REVIEW FOR DICTATING DEATH (wrote on 2.5.15)
I’m going over the falls and into deep water. And I go willingly.
Maria hated waiting for the death part. The fun was in the lead-in to the final act – the revenge.
The creepiness of the cover drew me in and after reading the blurb, I was hooked. Knowing what’s inside only whet my appetite for blood. And I got it. Right from the getgo. From the opening pages the knife was cutting, the blood flowing, the torture beyond belief. It wasn’t enough to kill. It must be a long, drawn out, painful and excruciating death. And Maria reveled in it.
Samantha and Maria are at odds with each other. Samantha wants to love Doctor Luke Lawson, while Maria wants to kill him. Call them the Threat Specialists – one is proud, the other horrified. What is the end game? What creates someone so twisted, reveling in brutality, savagery, enjoying the kill? Maybe you will find out…if you read Dictating Death by Bonnie R Paulson
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of Dictating Death by Bonnie R Paulson
MY BONNIE R PAULSON REVIEWS