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Monday, June 22, 2015

REVIEW: "The Duke and the Lady in Red" by Lorraine Heath


The Duke and the Lady in Red (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, #3)
The Duke and the Lady in Red by Lorraine Heath
(Scandalous Gentleman of St. James #3)

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Historical Romance -- Victorian England

Avon -- Published on April 28, 2015
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Read in June 2015
Borrowed from library

Rating: 4 Stars

THEMES/TROPES
Tearjerker, Con Artist Heroine

SUMMARY
When Rosalind Sharpe gains the attention of the deliciously wicked Duke of Avendale, she’s torn between her distracting attraction to the notorious rogue and the knowledge that he—rich as Croesus—is the perfect target for a deception that will put her swindling days behind her.

However, Avendale is no fool. After he discovers the tantalizing lady packing up to leave London with his coins in tow, he confronts her with a scandalous proposition: she can have all the money she requires…for a week in his bed.

Desperate for the funds, Rose agrees, but on one condition: he must never question her motives. Avendale quickly sees beneath her mask and discovers she is more than passion and pleasure—she is everything he has ever desired. But claiming her requires he unveil her secrets and lose her forever. Unless he can put his own dark past aside and risk everything for a chance at love.


FIRST LINE
"She could make a killing here."

MY THOUGHTS
The Duke and the Lady in Red is the conclusion of the Scandalous Gentleman of St. James trilogy and focuses on the rakish Duke of Avendale.  He has been portrayed throughout the series as dark-humored man who thinks only of immediate pleasures and has no desire to ever get married.  But, after attending the re-opening of a famous gambling club, he meets the mysterious Rosalind Sharpe and is thrown completely off his game.

This book is clearly divided into two parts with the first focusing on Avendale and Rosalind's circle around one another.  They have amazing chemistry and it was a delight to read their banter.  But, what Avendale did not know was that Rosalind is deceiving him for reasons unbeknownst to the reader for quite some time.  Rosalind and Avendale go on many outings together and their relationship grows deeper and deeper.  But, when she tries to skip town with some of his money, Avendale catches her and demands retribution.  This is where the story really picks up and becomes one that I will not forget.

Avendale and Rosalind are both well-developed characters who are flawed, but likable.  Avendale has been carrying around a great secret in reference to his late father which has altered his outlook on life and relationship with his mother.  But, it is obvious that there is a genuine heart underneath all the wicked behavior that Rosalind begins to bring out.  For her part, I really did like Rosalind.  I may not morally agree with her con artist ways, but I understood her reasons and applauded her ingenuity.  They are a good match who I was rooting for from early on.

But, the real star of The Duke and the Lady in Red is Rosalind's brother, Harry.  I will not spoil what ailment affects Harry though I admired Heath's respect for him.  Avendale meets Harry about halfway through the book and immediately bonds with him.  They develop a wonderful brotherly relationship which had me tearing up with happiness.  Harry has not had an easy life and Avendale devotes himself to making him happy which helps Rosalind really see his true nature.  It is obvious that this is really Harry's story with Avendale and Rosalind's romance providing a decent side story.

While the romance isn't something that I haven't read before, I definitely would recommend this book if only to have more people meet Harry Sharpe and embrace his unique approach to life.  Be prepared with a box of tissues because the story will reek havoc with one's emotions, but I believe it has something important to say and I feel better for having read it.

FAVORITE QUOTE
Nature could be both wondrous and cruel, creating immense beauty and then offsetting it with ugliness.


BOOKS IN THE SERIES
Scoundrels of St. James
1. In Bed with the Devil
2. Between the Devil and Desire
3. Surrender to the Devil
4. Midnight Pleasures with a Scoundrel
4.5. The Last Wicked Scoundrel

Scandalous Gentleman of St. James
1. When the Duke was Wicked
2. Once More, My Darling Rogue
3. The Duke and the Lady in Red

LEARN MORE
Goodreads -- LibraryThing -- BookLikes -- Shelfari
Author Website

WHERE TO BUY
Amazon -- B&N -- BAM -- Book Depository -- Kobo -- Google Play -- All Romance -- Audible -- Scribd -- Oyster

6 comments:

  1. I'm just not sure if I want to read this. The whole con artist thing stresses me out. BUT I'm super glad that you enjoyed it, Jennifer.

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    1. If it helps, the con artist plotline goes away in the second half. I recommend it for the depiction of Harry and his life alone.

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  2. Yes, it was all about Harry! I loved him, he brought out the best in Rosalind and Heath so to me that made the book even better!

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    Replies
    1. He did bring out the best in everybody. It was a very hard read at times, but I'm glad I pulled through it.

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  3. I really enjoyed this story!! So emotional though...Harry was so heartbreaking.

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    Replies
    1. It was heartbreaking, but I'm glad that the author didn't pull any punches with his storyline. It definitely left a mark on me!

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