Series: Dukes Behaving Badly #2
Published by Avon on June 30, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Source: Advance Reader Copy, Avon Addicts
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He was once happily bedding and boxing, but in the newest Duke's Behaving Badly novel, Nicholas Smithfield has inherited a title and a bride . . .
To keep his estate afloat, the new Duke of Gage must honor an agreement to marry Lady Isabella Sawford. Stunningly beautiful, utterly tempting, she's also a bag of wedding night nerves, so Nicholas decides to wait to do his duty—even if it means heading to the boxing saloon every day to punch away his frustration.
Groomed her whole life to become the perfect duchess, Isabella longs for independence, a dream that is gone forever. As her husband, Nicholas can do whatever he likes—but, to Isabella's surprise, the notorious rake instead begins a gentle seduction that is melting every inch of her reserve, night by night . . .
To his utter shock, Nicholas discovers that no previous exploits were half as pleasurable as wooing his own wife. But has the realm's most disreputable duke found the one woman who can bring him to his knees— and leave him there?
I’ve been sitting on this review for months, because I really like the author. But I didn’t love this book.
This is a DNF for me. All the reviews say that the heroine finds herself in this book, and that’s great, but I’m not invested enough in her to care. I don’t like who she is now. The hero is…sort of a cliche rake who will reform.
Quick summary-Isabelle is engaged to the Duke of Gage. Her parents have brought her up to be a duchess. Her entire life is “this is a how a duchess behaves.” So she is a paragon of duchess-ness (sorry about the made up word!). She is a blank canvas. She has no personality. But, she is far from a cardboard character. See, she realizes she doesn’t even know who she is. She is to be a duchess, but who is Isabelle? So when the Duke of Gage turns out to be illegitimate, the estate and title are passed on to Nicholas Smithfield. And Isabelle is passed on to him as well.
Supposedly, she comes into her own and finds herself. Supposedly, he reforms from his lowbrow and rakish ways. That actually sounds quite interesting, in fact, I don’t think I’ve read a plot like this before! Kudos to Ms. Frampton for such an engaging and intriguing idea!
But the biggest deterrent for me is that I think the author is still finding her voice. It reads as if she can’t decide she wants to have an Historical voice (a la Meredith Duran), or a humorous voice (a la Tessa Dare).
I think she has a stronger formal voice, and I enjoyed the less humorous parts to the book. If she can develop that formal Historical aspect to her storytelling, I think she’ll do so well! I like the originality of the plot, and I see most people are giving her 4s and 5s, so I’m hoping you guys can find more positive reviews to read both sides. I truly look forward to reading her again, but I think I’ll wait until maybe book 3 or 4.
***ARC courtesy of Avon Books