How to Tame Your Duke
Release Date: June 4, 2013
A Princess In Hiding #1
Genre: Historical Romance
Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), ebook
Book Source: Publisher
Three intrepid princesses find themselves targets in a deadly plot against the crown—until their uncle devises a brilliant plan to keep them safe…
England, 1888. Quiet and scholarly Princess Emilie has always avoided adventure, until she’s forced to disguise herself as a tutor in the household of the imposing Duke of Ashland, a former soldier disfigured in battle and abandoned by his wife. When chance draws her into a secret liaison with the duke, Emilie can’t resist the opportunity to learn what lies behind his forbidding mask, and find out what adventure really means…
The duke never imagines that his son’s tutor and his mysterious golden-haired beauty are one and the same. But when the true identity of his lover is laid bare, Ashland must face the demons in his past in order to safeguard both his lady—and his heart.
What Ang’s talking about:
I want you all to know that I really wanted to like How to Tame Your Duke. I have enjoyed everything else Juliana Gray has written up to this point and frankly, I don’t want to make her mad. I want her to keep writing. Not that my one little review is going to keep that from happening, but if the next novel is as tepid as this one is, I probably won’t continue to read this series. Seriously, these characters were so unremarkable I can’t even remember their names sitting here writing this review. I know there was princess. She was smart and snarky. There was a wounded duke, his son who was hilarious, and a maid who was so clueless that she offered a lot of comic relief from the boredom.
There was a lot of potential here. There was a princess, spies, abductions, hidden identities—sounds good, right? The seduction was really beautifully written. I felt the emotion and struggle of it. The side characters offered a wonderful distraction from the main plot.
However, the rest of the story was like a roller coaster ride where you wait five hours in line, finally get to the top of the giant incline, and—nothing. It’s just a straight shot to the finish, no dips, no turns, no flips, no corkscrews. It really isn’t a bad book, it just isn’t a great one.
What went wrong? Here are my issues (and I freely admit they’re mine):
1. The title. It’s called How to Tame Your Duke. This Duke didn’t need taming. The only character in this book that needed taming was the son and he just needed a good spanking.
2. The whole disguise thing. It works in theory, but anyone who was paying attention to the newspapers within the book would have figured it out very quickly. A haircut and moustache does not a convincing disguise make…especially when living in the same house with a spy.
3. The princess does things that feel completely out of character. First and foremost she’s been trained to be a princess. I don’t think a princess, even one trying to save her country, would have participated in numerous improprieties. The duke is also guilty when he puts the princess in danger even after he knows who she is.
I feel like many of these and other issues could have been dealt with by better editing. (See, I’m quick to blame the editor because I LIKE Juliana Gray!) Although How to Tame Your Duke wasn’t a winner for me, I’m willing to read the next story because Ms. Gray does push the envelope with historical fiction, and that’s a good thing.
Finished it – take it or leave it (C)