Friday, December 4, 2015

REVIEW: "Dukes Are Forever" by Anna Harrington


Dukes Are Forever (The Secret Life of Scoundrels, #1)

(The Secret Life of Scoundrels #1)

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

Forever -- Published on November 24, 2015
eARC, 384 pages
Read in November 2015
Received from Netgalley

RATING: 3.5 STARS

THEMES/TROPES
Guardian/Ward, Returning Military, Revenge Plot

SUMMARY
ALL'S FAIR IN LOVE

Battlefields and barrooms hold much more interest for Edward Westover, Duke of Swarthmore, than a little girl's fondness for dolls and lace. When he takes possession of his enemy's estate, everything that villain held dear—including his daughter—belongs to Edward. Hire a governess, arrange a dowry, give a few reassurances, and be off on his way—that's Edward's plan. But he's in for the shock of his life. For his new ward is a beautiful, impetuous, and utterly irresistible woman...

...AND WAR

Kate Benton is stunned. Who is this arrogant, infuriating man who's invited himself into her home and taken over her life? Her vow: to do everything in her power to convince him to leave her—and Brambly House—alone. Yet as chilly days melt into sultry nights, Kate sees glimpses of kindness underneath Edward's cool fa├žade . . . and a passionate nature that takes her breath away. There's so much she doesn't know about this man. But does she dare trust this devilish duke with her heart?



FIRST LINE
"Forward!" Colonel Edward Westover yelled above the cracking gunfire and the clashing steel bayonets as he raised his saber into the air.

MY THOUGHTS
I received a free copy of this book from Forever via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Dukes Are Forever is the debut historical romance for Anna Harrington.  I requested it from Netgalley due to the beautiful turquoise/gold cover and the fact that it is a guardian/ward romance.  I love that theme and have struggled finding recent examples of it.  I definitely saw potential in this story and enjoyed it despite some misgivings.

Edward Westover is an army colonel whose life is changed forever when his older brother and his wife are killed in a carriage accident.  The accident was caused by the drunken antics of Philip Benton so, when Edward returns to England with the title of Duke of Swarthmore, he vows revenge.  Over time, he accumulates Benton's debts and even gains guardianship of the man's daughter.  Edward is prepared to make sure the Katherine Benton is healthy and taken care of, but is not ready for the reveal that she is not a child, but a beautiful young woman.

While vengeful characters aren't usually my preference, I liked Edward.  I felt for him when he found out what had happened to his brother and understood why he was so determined to seek justice.  Once he learned the truth about Kate and the state of Brambly House, he couldn't hide his generous nature and tried to help.  There was one moment where he found out that Kate was hiding something from him and he reacted terribly.  I was not a fan of his solution to the problem at all and I'm still not sure whether he apologized enough by the end.  I'm still muddling over my overall opinion of him though all the other aspects of him were decent.

Kate was likable enough as well.  She was devoted to Brambly House, its servants, and the villagers nearby.  Her mother's disastrous relationship with her father has made her wary of marriage so she is happy to keep living her life independently.  Her big flaw is her loyalty to her father despite the fact that he deserves none of it.  I understood her desire to finally get him to love her, but I thought she held on to her idealized image of him too long.  I wish there had also been more time to developing her work as a healer.  I loved the idea and wanted to see more examples as well as learn about how she got into that field.

Kate and Edward are two very stubborn people who are thrown by their attraction to one another.  They banter back and forth and are determined to one up each other.  But, as they spend time working on improving Brambly, they begin to connect and the chemistry moves beyond just the physical.  There is a time of separation that I think hurt the development of the romance since their reunion was overwhelmed by external drama rather than actually talking about their problems.

For a debut, I found Dukes Are Forever to be entertaining and worth my time.  Anna Harrington's writing was clear and the plot was well-paced.  While I didn't always agree with the characters' actions, they were well-written and their motives were explained.  I am excited to check out more in this series especially after the interactions I read with Edward's friends, Nathaniel and Thomas, who will be getting books soon.

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. Dukes are Forever
2. Along Came a Rogue (Coming 2016)
3. How I Married a Marquess (Coming 2016)

LEARN MORE
Goodreads -- Author Website

WHERE TO GET IT
Amazon -- B&N -- BAM -- Book Depository -- Kobo -- Google Play -- All Romance

1 comment:

  1. I'm pretty excited about her books too and seeing what'll happen next. And whew boy! You're so right they were stubborn! lol

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