Mad About The Duke by Elizabeth Boyle

Setting: Regency

*The second book in The Bachelor Chronicles: The Standon Widows trilogy*


Level-headed Lady Elinor Standon will not allow her greedy stepfather to wed her younger sister to the highest bidder! The only way to stop this evil plan is for Elinor to to gain control of her sister’s guardianship, but to do that she needs to get married. Convinced that nothing less than a duke will do, she hires Mr. St. Maur, Esq. to help her land her lofty lord… However her plans go awry as she discovers that beneath her solicitor’s rumpled coat and haughty demeanor is a man all-too-desirable to ignore and she finds herself falling for more than his unconventional legal advice.

James Tremont, the ninth Duke of Parkerton, is astonished by the freedom and anonymity he’s gained simply by donning his brother’s ill-fitting jacket, especially when an exquisite, peer-hunting beauty mistakes him for a solicitor… Now he finds himself tangled up by more than her legal woes. For until he can undo the straight-laced yet delectable Elinor, his identity must remain a mystery—because by not having revealed it immediately, this dedicated bachelor may have already sabotaged his one chance for the madness of finding his one true love.

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I really wanted to like this book. I really did. I bought the book, without having read any of the author’s previous books, based on the blurb (who doesn’t love a classic mistaken identity story?) and the cover/stepback (simply gorgeous!) and in this case I have to say I learned my lesson-NEVER judge a book by its cover! This book was like a creamy dessert that looks amazing and is amazing for the first couple of bites but ends up having a bad taste in your mouth.

What a brilliant premise! Hero disguised as a low class solicitor helping the desperate heroine to find a rich husband, but ends up falling for her himself. But so badly pulled off. I felt like the author was rushing to fulfil her book contract and didn’t bother thinking the story through. There were so many plot holes and so many ‘What the heck’ moments, I was quite tempted to just stop reading altogether! I held on though, thinking things would get better, but they sadly didn’t.

One of the biggest plot holes was the fact that NOBODY recognized the duke even though his ‘disguise’ was a worn out, shabby coat he borrowed from his brother. This could have actually worked IF he had been in the country, but there he was in London of all places walking around in this ‘disguise’ I found it unbelievable no one recognized him! Then there was the fact that if the hero had simply told the heroine right at the start he was a duke (exp since they both fell in love at first sight) and could solve her problems, the problem would be solved and there would be no need for the whole book to happen! If only there had been a few tweaks here and there-the story would have been much more plausible. I simply didn’t get why the he didn’t confess to her until about halfway through when we are given a paltry excuse that the hero was badly hurt by his first wife and then we are never given details and it doesn’t go deeper than that.

Then, there was the predictable misunderstanding fight-though it wasn’t about the heroine discovering the hero’s identity, but the alternative was much worse. Why, Elinor, why oh why? You claim to love the hero and then suddenly abandon your faith in him and believe your EVIL stepdad when he tells you he’s a liar and a fake???

Now, I’m not saying the entire book was a mess-there were brilliant parts-in particular, the writing was a joy and I loved the author’s wit and sense of humour-in fact, if it weren’t for the writing, I might have given up long ago! Some of the side characters and scenes were entertaining as well, and I must add that even though this was part of a long series, you didn’t have to read the others to understand this one-it managed to stand alone. I also really liked the hero, despite his stupidity at certain times, and the heroine was a nice enough character, except the believing-the-evil-stepdad thing.

All in all, this was such a great opportunity missed, thanks to bad plotting. I hope your next book is better, Ms. Boyle.

Sensuality Rating: Warm (Love scenes are short and non explicit)

Verdict: Don’t bother-unless you like collecting pretty covers and sexy stepbacks

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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