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Ratings and Book Reviews (3 9 star ratings
3 reviews
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3.2 out of 5
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    Want to keep reading the series.

    3.5* Review originally published at Romancing Romances. I received an ARC through a giveaway, and I am leaving a voluntary and honest review. Thank you. This is the first book in a brand new series about... Dukes! Grey was a great character, I liked how fierce he was, how he grows throughout the book, how he deals with some things that are problematic (although here I do think some things could have been different, but I’ll expand on that next). I wasn’t a fan of Beatrice… I didn’t connect with her. I understood some of her reactions, I think she had to go through a lot, and she handled herself the best she could, that’s not the point. I just… didn’t like her. I liked the middle part of the book the best. The beginning felt a bit slow, and the end was rushed without actually having much happen… It did leave me with enough interest to read the next book in the series, especially since I liked the secondary characters more than the main ones. Joshua and Gwyn have a great chemistry, and I can’t wait to read their story. Now, this is important. This book handles forms of abuse. Abuse from men towards women. Not rape, but still sexual abuse. Unwanted touching, blackmailing, disgusting comments… Beatrice did have to endure a lot from someone she should have been able trust: her uncle. Grey is super concerned if the heroine was raped – spoiler alert – she wasn’t. And, of course, he is relieved but, at the same time, it ends up being a bit of a dismissal of the other things Beatrice had to go through. Heroes, especially in (today’s) historical romance, seem always ready to go and defend the heroine’s honour (“let’s go and punch/hurt/kill the aggressor” kind of thing) and, even if it’s something protective, in a way it almost diminishes Beatrice’s role in standing up to herself – which she does. Apart from that, I did enjoy the book enough to want to keep reading the series.
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    A great first in a series

    I’m just back from Le Festival du Roman Feminin in Paris where I was lucky to meet a bunch of awesome authors, so I have a bit of struggle put back my feet on earth. This is my second read by Mrs Sabrina Jeffries, I do remember my first one, I liked it but I had mixed feeling about the heroine. But here, she outdid herself and crafted a great young woman, with no weak knees ( how I dislike women who become puddles of drool at the sight of a man! ). Beatrice is strong woman, she was shaped by her upbringing and the behavior of her uncle toward her. Instead of undermine her character, it strengthened it, she blossomed in a woman who speaks her mind and lets nobody thwart her projects. Sure, it rendered less prepped to face London society. Fletcher Pryde has ressentes his family since he was estranged at ten to be raised by his uncle and guardian, worst, his uncle abused him to have him comply to his wills. He changed him to a man who refuses any emotional involvement. Why his life is turned upside down when around Beatrice, he feels a compulsion to be close to her, to hold her, to kiss her when at the same time he suspects her to might have part in some wrongdoings. I loved they were able to tell what they have in mind, that they do not shy away and ask instead of turning around. They are far from perfect as their faith in the other is put to test at each bend. Their trust is balanced between their certitudes and hearsay and rumors. They each time come to realize when they have made mistakes and then they try to fix them, as it often done by blurting out before thinking but words can cause great pains. Why the truce they made to be true when they are together is often challenged as they must compromise between sentiments and secrets. As a first in a series, the storyline introduced a wide range of characters, will each of the sibling get its story? I just wondered why Gwyn, Grey’s half sister, never had a debut, even when they were not living in England. If I figure out my sums, she is in her thirties, I do like my heroines not fresh out of the nursery which it is more a spinster’s age than a debutante’s, but she acted rather like a very young woman instead of an adult one. In all, it was a good beginning in this Duke Dynasty series, there are plenty of great tales in the making. I was provided an ARC thanks to Netgalley and the editor Kensington Books/Zebra but I had previously preordered my own copy, so here is my true and unbiased opinion.
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    Disappointing, too much sex, too little plot

    Two and a half stars. Fletcher “Grey” Pryde, 5th Duke of Greycourt is summoned to his stepfather's estate when he receives news that his stepfather Maurice has died unexpectedly. His mother had married three Dukes and had five children, three of whom were now Dukes in their own rights (following the deaths of their respective fathers). Grey has never forgiven his family for sending him to England to live with his abusive uncle when he was only a young boy, leaving him to grow up alone. When Grey arrives he mistakes his stepfather's niece Beatrice Wolfe for a maid or a representative from the undertakers, he is arrogant and abrupt for which Beatrice cuts him nicely down to size. Originally Grey intended to spend only a night with his family before returning to London, but when his stepbrother Sheridan shares his suspicion that Maurice was murdered, and indeed that his brother Armie was also murdered before him, Grey feels compelled to stay and help with the investigations, especially when suspicion falls on Beatrice's older brother Joshua. Meantime, Grey's mother is determined to present Beatrice at court when she presents her own daughter Gwynn, ashamed that Maurice's brother Armie didn't do more for his niece. She forces Grey and his brothers to help in coaching the girls in the etiquette of high society, including teaching them to dance. At first Grey cultivates Beatrice's company to further his investigations into Joshua but soon he is intrigued by her honesty, her beauty and her wit. But his childhood has made him slow to trust others, especially with his heart, and a lowly woman with no dowry is not a suitable candidate for the role of Duchess of Greycourt. I really enjoyed the start of this novel, the idea of a woman who had been married three times, the hint of mystery, the feisty heroine and the supercilious hero - catnip I tell you! Unfortunately, all too soon the focus of the novel turned to page, after page, after page of heavy petting and sexual encounters with little to no plot development. On and on it went, full of florid language like his 'large staff' and references to 'ravishing' and 'plundering', it felt repetitive and frankly derivative. I was also massively disappointed by the end(view spoiler). This felt 'wrong', also the heavy-handed use of historical words alongside the modern sexual attitudes just didn't sit right for me. Even the cover doesn't fit the novel, given that the family is in mourning and Beatrice is a poor relation. I have only read one novella written by Sabrina Jeffries which I really enjoyed, maybe her writing style is more appealing to me in a shorter format. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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