NOTORIOUS NOBLEMAN SEEKS REVENGE
Name and title: Adam Penrose, Duke of Stratton. Affiliation: London’s elite Society of Decadent Dukes. Family history: Scandalous. Personality traits: Dark and brooding, with a thirst for revenge. Ideal romantic partner: A woman of means, with beauty and brains, willing to live with reckless abandon. Desire: Clara Cheswick, gorgeous daughter of his family’s sworn enemy.
FAINT OF HEART NEED NOT APPLY
Clara may be the woman Adam wants, but there’s one problem: she’s far more interested in publishing her women’s journal than getting married—especially to a man said to be dead-set on vengeance. Though, with her nose for a story, Clara wonders if his desire for justice is sincere—along with his incredibly unnerving intention to be her husband. If her weak-kneed response to his kiss is any indication, falling for Adam clearly comes with a cost. But who knew courting danger could be such exhilarating fun?
Madeline Hunter is one of my favourite authors. It’s that simple. I’ve loved every single one of her books I’ve read, and I loved this one, too.
There was just so much to like about The Most Dangerous Duke in London. I wasn’t sure how we were going to get close to the usual word count when the hero declared to the heroine they were engaged (hilariously and without her permission) right at the beginning, but there’s a big, complex, interesting plot to follow.
I like that the heroine was unusual but not anachronistic, and I like that the hero was such a bloody aristocrat, but also fair and easy to fall in love with.
Hunter gives her characters a real sense of time and place; these are not modern-day characters in fancy outfits.
One of the best features of Hunter’s work is her ability to write male friendships. I don’t know of many (any?) authors who do this as well as she does. Her men are “real” men, and they talk and act like men of their time and level of power would. It’s not contrived, and it’s something that makes them seem larger than life without the usual romance-genre references to muscles and looks and all of that other standard stuff.
However, it’s not just the male friendships she write well. She ALWAYS gives her heroines close female friendships and relationships, and she manages to give them interests and even careers without making them historically inaccurate. She does this better than just about any author.
With Hunter’s more complicated storylines it means that the plot doesn’t wind up near the start; there were still discoveries and revelations in the last pages of the book, and everything was wrapped up expertly. I’ve been a bit bored with some historical romances recently because they seemed so preoccupied with the romance to the point I couldn’t see an actual story by a quarter of the way through; this book is exactly what I needed.
One thing that does occasionally irritate me, however, is that the Americanisms are always there. It really is the only thing that I dislike about Hunter’s work. She is SO talented at creating a sense of class and power – and England – and then the snucks and gottens and asses (though I’m not sure that one turned up in this book) are sneaked in and some of the magic is lost.
However, this is a fantastic to start to a new trilogy, and I cannot wait to read the next two books.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.