The Duke of Castleford has been so bad for so long that scandal can’t be bothered to rise up around him anymore. To alleviate the boredom of his privileged life, he occupies himself with drinking and whoring, not to mention the occasional duel. When something piques his interest, however, he has been known to emerge from his ennui and employ his considerable mental faculties to finding answers to the questions that fascinate him.
When Daphne Joyes rejects this notorious hedonist’s seduction, she assumes that he will forget about her and continue on his path to hell. Instead her beauty, grace and formidable composure captivate him, and she becomes one of those fascinations to him. That he intends to have her, and soon, is actually the least of the dangers that his pursuit of her presents. More troublesome is his interest in her past and her history, and the way he keeps poking his nose into the secrets behind the distant relative’s bequest that gave him ownership of the property where she lives.
Madeline Hunter deserves some sort of award for getting such amazing covers!
I’ve enjoyed this series quite a bit. This is the fourth and final book, and I thought it was great. The first two made it onto my “Favourites” shelf, the third was fairly good, and this one was just wonderful. It takes a bit to convince me when it comes to reformed rakes, but I was convinced with this one.
I loved how the revelations came throughout the book, how things were held back for us to try and figure out before the characters did. This is one of the more complex storylines I’ve read in a book in this genre, and it was appreciated.
We are faced with a hero who has been known for doing anything and everything he feels like doing, a man everyone seems to think has no substance whatsoever to his character. We’ve seen him make some generous gestures to other characters in past books, but he maintains a façade of being the most dreadful rake in the history of rakes.
Match him with a heroine who has remained mysterious and totally secretive for the past three books, and I wasn’t sure how I was ever going to like this book.
It turns out Hunter is a good enough author to make me change my mind about characters I was uncertain could have a happy ending together.
I finally realised why this series – and this author’s writing – appeals to me so much: the way she weaves history into her books.
There’s been a huge rise of the I deliberately write stories that aren’t grounded in history, stories that could fit into any time period author recently. They’re proud of not writing historical romance, and I have no idea why. I don’t see the point.
Madeline Hunter’s books are Regency books. They’re not mindless fluff that wouldn’t seem out of place in a Disney movie. Bigger events of the time aren’t the focus of the story, but they’re influencing the story, dictating how characters think and act. That’s how historical fiction works.
It’s all well and good to dismiss that all as I don’t write history lessons; I write good books, but it’s such a stupid argument. Sure, people have always been people with human thoughts and emotions, but from country to country and time period to time period, the way people act on their thoughts and emotions is shaped by their culture and surroundings.
Hunter is far and away one of the best at recognising this, and that is why I will continue to choose her books over those of many others.
As with the earlier books in the series, one of my favourite things about this book is the interaction between the men. In fact, I like that both male and female characters have strong friendships with each other; there’s more to their lives than their romantic interests. Again, I thought the interaction between the men was funny. I also like that these are men I believe could be living in Regency England; they actually go about their days as men back then would have.
I would recommend this series to anyone who likes some substance with their historical romance.