Review: The Heart of a Duke

heart of a dukeReviewed Janell

This Regency begins with Lady Julia, the daughter of an earl, riding her horse to her fiancé’s estate to tell him that she is ready for marriage. They’ve been engaged for years, after growing up alongside each other. Julia put off the wedding after her mother died, and then after her sister’s fiancé died, because she spent her time taking care of sad people and semi-managing her grieving father’s estate. But now she’s ready.

Along the way, she runs into her fiancé, the Duke, and tells him that it’s time they kissed. And then get married. He’s reluctant to kiss her, but Julia won’t take no for an answer, so they share a fiery kiss. Afterwards, he confesses that he is not the Duke, but the Duke’s twin brother, Daniel, who has been in America for the past ten years. D’oh!

This is a promising beginning and set-up, but then things slow down. Daniel, of course, is hot for Julia, but he returned to England for other reasons. He spends a lot of time with his friend Robbie, catching up and making plans. Julia, of course, is hot for Daniel, but as a proper girl engaged to his twin, she can’t do anything about it, so she continually puts him out of her mind.

Daniel starts out as kind of a rakish character — kissing his brother’s girl, oh my! — but soon he seems larger-than-life good. And perfect. I don’t know, my head probably wasn’t in the right space when I read this, but I didn’t feel attracted to him so much as I felt that I should be attracted to him, you know?

And Julia is a very fine and noble woman, too. Even when circumstances change, allowing her to be with Daniel, she still tries to take the high road and look out for his best interests, thinking he should return to America. Later, when he convinces her that he’s not running away until he gets all of his questions answered, she agrees to think about being with him. But deep down she wrings her hands because he hasn’t spoken of love! What about love?!

Maybe that was my problem with this story, that I wasn’t emotionally connected with the characters. They were both very good and brave, everything they did was helpful and noble, the barriers to their relationship were easily overcome, and they chased after a bad guy who was very bad. Daniel really liked sweets and there was a long scene about “breaking the fast” with lemon treacle, and the lemon treacle was mentioned a lot, because the cook makes good lemon treacle, and this is just me being petty but I started to wonder when Daniel would get fat, given his lemon treacle fetish.

I think I would have enjoyed it better if the scenes of Daniel chasing bad guys were much shorter, and if there’d been a little more wickedness in his interactions with Julia. Maybe I have a thing for bad boys that wasn’t satisfied by this book. So, I don’t know, is it me? Is it the book?

Rating: C+

*ARC Provided by Berkley

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Heart of a Duke
by Victoria Morgan
Release Date: December 3, 2013
Publisher: Berkley Sensation

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