Review: Duchess By Design by Maya Rodale

Reviewed by Jen

If you’re looking for a historical with a somewhat different flair, look no further. Duchess by Design features the requisite duke the title suggests, but it takes us out of Regency England to New York’s Gilded Age, while he searches for his bride. It’s fresh and fun, and it’s filled with the kind of feminism and empowerment that made me want to cheer out loud.

Brandon is the stereotypical impoverished duke, in need of an heiress to help fill the coffers of his estate. The well of women who fit the bill in London is running dry, so he travels to America to take advantage of the surfeit families with new money. It’s when he first arrives that he lays eyes on Adeline. Since she is well dressed and appears to be staying in his high-class hotel, he believes her to be the kind of lady he’s searching for. But that would be too easy. Adeline is actually a seamstress visiting a client at the establishment. [Read more…]

Review: Chasing Lady Amelia by Maya Rodale

chasing-lady-ameliaReview by Janell

Did you see the movie Roman Holiday, with Audrey Hepburn? This book is totally Roman Holiday, only set in Regency England, and wackier, and with sex and a happy ending. Other reviews have pointed out how much of the dialogue and activities aren’t exactly period-appropriate, and I agree. This is not the book to read to learn about proper drawing room etiquette, because the drawing room scenes made even my easygoing head spin. [Read more…]

Review: Seducing Mr. Knightly

Reviewed by Jen

You don’t have to be a longtime reader of Maya Rodale’s Writing Girls series to enjoy this romance. But if you’ve been following along, you know it’s about time for sweet and quiet Annabelle to finally get her HEA with the man she has been pining over for years: her boss, the completely oblivious Derek Knightly.   After suffering through the pangs of unrequited love for so long, she finally decides to take matters into her own hands to win him over.

Annabelle writes an advice column for the paper. She solicits her readers for ideas to gain the attention of the man she loves… the clueless oaf who adopts the nickname “the nodcock.”  All of London ends up catching Annabelle-fever.  She tries suggestion after suggestion, then writes about her successes and failures.  Until her efforts begin to work.

What ends up happening is a real transformation for Annabelle. It was fun watching her come out of her shell and really live for the first time.  And even more engaging, is watching Knightly succumb to her charms.   Unfortunately, our hero has set his sights on a politically advantageous marriage to another woman and he must ultimately decide what really matters to him.  It takes him a while to work it out.

I really, really liked the romance.  The sexual tension was good. The sex was hot. And there is something so satisfying about watching a deserving character find happiness.

It wasn’t without some bumps in the road.  It was a bit implausible that Knightly could be so obtuse for so long, not just to Annabelle’s affections but to the articles running in his own paper.   I also had a little trouble swallowing the idea that she would go on to print details of her sexual conquest in the paper.  Considering the time and place, I couldn’t believe an unmarried woman would admit to such things in such a public way.

But honestly, neither issue really turned me off.  It was sweet and sexy, with an ending that hit the spot.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by Avon 

Click to purchase: Amazon
Seducing Mr Knightly
by Maya Rodale
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Publisher: Avon

Review: The Tattooed Duke

Reviewed by Jen

Her job as a writer is the most important thing in Eliza’s life. But she hasn’t had many stories published in the paper lately. The scandalous return of the Duke of Wycliff might change that. Her boss has given her the assignment to get the gossip on Wycliff –and put together a titillating article– or consider her career as one of the so-called “Writing Girls” to be over. She accepts the challenge and decides to go undercover as a maid in his household.

Wycliff has been away from London for many years, exploring the world.  He’s traveled the seas, been to exotic locations, and experienced different cultures. The stories of his exploits are legendary. Now that his father is dead, he must take over the dukedom, but his passion still lies in exploration. More than anything he wants to return to his travels and become the first Londoner to journey to Timbuktu and back.As a maid, Eliza has unfettered access to the duke and she quickly begins amassing information for her column.  But she never expected the attraction that begins to burn between her and Wycliff. As a relationship grows between them, she must weigh her ambition with her growing feelings for her subject… because her scandalous articles are wreaking havoc on his already tenuous reputation.  Add to that, a nefarious man from her past, the duke’s financial troubles, and his jilted ex-lover and things grow even more complicated.

I liked the story overall. Eliza is spunky and it doesn’t take long for her conscience to catch up with her.  Wycliff is sexy and worldly and free thinking. I was happy to find a heroine who was not a prim miss –one who works hard to take care of herself and direct her own life.  However, I did have some issues.

I felt like the amount of time it took Wycliff to figure out Eliza’s identity was ridiculous.  In addition, I thought the character development was only slightly beyond superficial.  Other than a desire to escape the confines of London and to indulge his wanderlust, we don’t see much depth to Wycliff. We do get a better glimpse into who Eliza really is, thanks to the unveiling of a major event in her past. But speaking of which, the resolution to Eliza’s personal obstacle to their relationship was dispensed much too easily.  And there was no sex until the very end.

This is book three in Maya Rodale’s Writing Girls series.  And while some of the previous couples are secondary characters, this works very easily as a standalone.  3 1/2 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Tattooed Duke
by Maya Rodale
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Avon