Review: A Duke Never Yields

Posted February 8, 2013 by Ang in 3 stars, Historical Romance, Rating B Tags: , , ,

A Duke Never Yields
Author: Juliana Gray 
Release Date: Feb. 5, 2013
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Affairs by Moonlight #3
ISBN: #978-0425251188
Genre: Historical Romance
Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
Impatient with the strictures of polite British society, Miss Abigail Harewood has decided to live life on her own terms—and the first thing she requires is a lover. When the commanding Duke of Wallingford arrives on the doorstep of her leased holiday castle, she thinks she’s found the perfect candidate: handsome, dashing, and experienced in the art of love.
But tempting Wallingford into her bed proves more difficult than she imagined. Restless and dissatisfied with his debauched life in London, the formerly rakish duke is determined to spend a year chaste. But as Abigail tries her best to seduce him, Wallingford finds his resolve crumbling in the face of her irresistible charm…and her alluring secrets.
What Ang is talking about:
Those that read A Lady Never Lies will enjoy this parallel tale about her sister Abigail and the Duke of Wallingford. Overall it is a delightful Shakespearean inspired lark complete with meddling ghosts, haunted castles, snarky dialogue and head strong characters. The chemistry between Abigail and the Duke is clear from the get go, and the building tension as guards come down and true characters are revealed is well written.
The characters are easy to like in their stubborn natures, and although I struggled with Abigail’s relentless perusal of the Duke, it really did fit her nonconformist style. What I truly enjoyed about both of their characters though was the last third of the novel when Abigail stops fighting for Wallingford and allows him the opportunity to become the hero of the story. I love a good heroine, but I love it even more when the hero realizes who he is and steps up to the plate to get the job done.
The love scenes and foreplay were well written and romantic without being taken to the NC-17 level, which I appreciated. I also felt like Ms. Gray did a beautiful job of capturing the awkwardness, surprise and discomfort so many ladies experience upon loosing their virginity, and I appreciated that Wallingford didn’t give up and let Abigail believe that that experience was what sex was always like.
Overall, I found the story to be a fun quick read with lots of twist and turns that, for the most part added to the story, keeping it fast paced and entertaining. However, with that being said, there was one twist that I felt was so unnecessary that it dropped my rating a full letter grade. This twist took up the last 15 to 20% of the novel, which was too much space. I felt like Ms. Gray had a beautiful ending with all the pieces tied up perfectly at the garden in the cathedral or even at the hotel room after the cathedral, but instead of leaving things there she wrote another one or two chapters that, in my opinion were completely unnecessary and added little, if anything, to the story line. It almost felt to me as if she added the pages so she could write one more sex scene, and it wasn’t even well written. It just felt like an after thought and although it didn’t ruin the novel for me, it definitely left with a nasty aftertaste. In fact, I dropped my rating from an A to a B because of this ending. The key to a great novel is having a great story that is well written and knowing when to end that story. Ms. Gray got the first to elements but missed the last one.
Despite the drop in letter grade I will say those that enjoyed A Gentleman Never Tells or A Lady Never Lies will likely enjoy this romp in the Italian countryside as well as having so many of questions answered about the castle and those living there.
Angs Rating:
Liked it, but I had some issues – recommend (B)
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