How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreiling

Setting: Regency 1816

Summary:

Tristan, the Duke of Shelbourne is a man with a mission: find a wife he can tolerate as long as they both shall live. No love is necessary—nor desired. But how to choose amid a dizzying array of wealthy-yet-witless candidates? Hire London’s infamously prim and proper matchmaker. Then pretend she’s not the most captivating woman he’s ever met . . .

Helping a devilish Duke create a contest to pick his perfect mate is the kind of challenge Tessa Mansfield relishes. Her methods may be scandalous, but she’s determined to find the notorious bachelor more than a wife—she’ll bring him true love. Yet when Tessa watches the women vie for the Duke’s affections, she longs to win his heart herself. And after a stolen kiss confirms Tristan’s desire, Tessa knows she has broken a matchmaker’s number one rule: never fall in love with the groom.

Click cover for more info!

Review:

Considering the amount of praise covering the cover and inside of this book from top romance authors, I had expectations for this debut. Very high expectations. Needless to say, Vicky Dreiling’s first book (although with some flaws) overall doesn’t disappoint with its fast-paced, funny, The Bachelor-meets-Emma story about a sceptical duke and an ambitious matchmaker who unexpectedly falls in love with her own client.

I really liked Tessa, the matchmaker, though other reviewers might find her manipulative, petty, and silly. She is a relatively young woman, and like Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse, makes mistakes but ends up growing on you. I promise you there is a good reason for the way she is. Tristan was great as well, starting off like a shallow rake, but ending up revealing other greater qualities.

The premise for the plot was a bit over the top and anachronistic to be honest. 24 girls all competing for a duke’s hand in a The Bachelor-like setup?  It’s a great idea for modern TV but doesn’t translate that well into frills and laces. Still, it was a fresh idea, and despite the implausibility of it, was still well pulled off, considering the physical limitations of the time between men and women. I applaud Vicky for adhering to the social rules while still making funny ‘tests’ for the competitors.

I also enjoyed getting to know some of the competitors more and was so happy when I found out one of them will be getting her own book. I liked how well-rounded they were, not your cardboard cut-out of the typical contestants, i.e the bitch, the nice girl etc.

However, I found the writing was a bit inconsistent (but this is a debut after all) and it seemed to change styles from one chapter to another. At the very start, the writing felt forced, almost as if she was trying too hard to make herself sound funny. It was also very repetitive at times. Afterwards, though, the writing improved and she seemed to develop her own style by the end of the novel.

I also expected the novel to be wittier with great banter between the hero and heroine. Though there was some wit, most of the novel was plot-driven. The good side? It was very addictive though because of the competition and had me up all night just to finish it and to find out what the next test was and who would be eliminated next!

Stories about matchmakers are generally full of hilarious antics (who can forget Jane Austen’s Emma’s bungled attempts at matchmaking!) and in this area, How to Marry a Duke excels. The plot was hilarious, had some good twists and kept me glued to the page. Once you get over the huge implausibility of 24 girls openly competing for the duke’s hand in full view of society, the novel is a fun ride!

Sensuality Rating: Hot (Love scenes are short but explicit)

Verdict: Addictive, hilarious and fun! Don’t start this one at night 😉

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Special Regency Dolls!

Aren’t these the cutest things? You can almost imagine them as heroines of their own historical romances! Enjoy a peek at these limited Pullip dolls based off Jane Austen’s Emma!

Published in: on May 11, 2011 at 9:58 PM  Comments (1)  
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Kiss Me-A Period Drama Fan Vid

Hey guys,

Ok, I’m going to be a bit selfish now and do some self-promoting, while of course, holding your best interests at heart 😉

Long ago, I made this video to the song Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer featuring all my favourite period drama kisses. It’s still one of my personal favourites among all the videos I’ve made and I thought I would share it with you guys!

Enjoy!

Lessons from a Scarlet Lady by Emma Wildes

Setting: Regency Period

Summary:

No real lady should take lessons from a scarlet woman…

The Duke of Rolthven’s new wife, Brianna, is the perfect aristocratic bride. So what would society say if they saw her with a copy of Lady Rothburg’s Advice–a courtesan’s lessons for the boudoir? When his innocent wife suddenly becomes a vixen in the bedroom, the proper Duke is truly astounded by her seductive powers. Following a courtesan’s advice might lead to trouble-but will it lead to Brianna’s ultimate desire: winning her husband’s love?

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Review:

After reading Emma’s first book, An Indecent Proposition, I admit I was intrigued by this author. Her writing was good, and her story new and interesting. Usually, when discovering new authors, I give them two chances. If their first book was pretty good, then I will read the second. If their first book was not at all good, then I wouldn’t bother with another.

In Emma Wildes case, although her first book wasn’t one of the best romances I read, it was pretty good, so I decided to buy and read her second. Both premises were intriguing and unlike anything I had read before.

I am pleased to say that now, she is added to my favourite authors list 🙂 Her second book was simply wonderful and I could not stop reading it and thinking about the characters afterward which is always a good sign.

The story of a woman trying to get her husband’s attention was well-plotted and wasn’t just full of sexy love scenes 😉 but also truly romantic scenes and wonderful heroes 🙂 Oh, that’s right-her book isn’t just one love story but two, adding on a secondary love story that was just as good, if not better than the original.

I’m not going to ruin the surprise and tell you who’s it is-you’ll have to read it to find out but I CAN promise you that it’s delicious and involves a rake 😛

I’ve always had a thing for distant heroes who are emotionally damaged (think Mary Balogh’s Duke of Bewcastle) and this was the Duke of Rolthven was no disappointment. I loved reading how he finally came to love his wife and I laughed at how bewildered he was by his wife’s sudden change in behavior in the bedroom.

I liked Brianna right from the beginning because of her strong determination to win her husband’s affection. Sure, she was your typical gorgeous heroine, but she had intelligence and wasn’t ready to give up without a fight.

The only thing I didn’t like in the book was the way it ended. I would have liked to have seen someone else live happily ever after and when reading the excerpt of the next book, I was sad to find that the book wouldn’t be about him. The end made it seem like there would be a sequel involving his story… Who knows? Maybe in the near future?

I say Emma Wides is a great writer of romance and cannot wait for her next book which is due out this September!

Sensuality Level: HOT (Lots of detailed love scenes)

Verdict: Romantic, sexy and just plain wonderful 🙂 A must read!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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