This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.To the Duke, with Love by Amelia Grey
Series: The Rakes of St. James #2
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Format: ARC, E-book
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble ◊ Book Depository ◊ Google Play ◊ Kobo ◊ IndieBound ◊ Books-A-Million ◊ iBooks
There may be times when a gentleman is desperate to gain a lady’s attention, but a gentleman would never resort to desperate measures to obtain it.―A Proper Gentleman’s Guide to Wooing the Perfect Lady
Sloane Knox, the Duke of Hawksthorn is guardian for his sweet, younger sister. Due to his misguided past as one of the infamous Rakes of St James, Hawk is hoping to avoid the Season by securing a match for her before it begins. He has the perfect gentleman in mind, but for one infuriating―and unexpectedly intoxicating―obstacle: the intended groom’s own sister, Miss Loretta Quick.
Having narrowly avoided her own arranged marriage to an unacceptable nobleman, Loretta is determined that her dear brother―a gentle, good-natured soul―should marry for love. Matching wits with Hawk may be her greatest challenge yet. . .until she realizes it may also be her greatest pleasure. For the young duke’s irresistible charm has not only begun to crumble her stubborn resolve, it has claimed her heart in true love as well. . .
To the Duke, with Love is the second book in The Rakes of St. James series. The premise of this series is that a group of rather rakish friends were reading a book called ‘A Proper Gentleman’s Guide to Wooing the Perfect Lady’ for a lark and they decided that there were going to do a prank. They wrote to twelve girls individually who were going to be having their upcoming debuts posing as a secret admirer requesting a secret liaison. The men really didn’t think the girls were going to come to the liaison, at least not all twelve, but when they did come it created a scandal for the girls and gave the rakes a reputation as “The Rakes of St. James Street.” Now the friends all fear for their female relatives as there have been rumors about retribution.
Sloane Knox, the Duke of Hawksthorn was one of the group of friends and he specifically heard that someone was out to compromise his little sister’s debut. Although, since the scandal, he had sworn off messing with any innocents and was trying to be honorable but his change of heart did not matter to the masses. Soon after hearing the rumors, he devised a plan to save his sister’s heart and reputation. He had decided that he was going to finalize an engagement for his sister prior to her debut so that she would effectively be off the market and no one should be able to scandalize her or her reputation. In his desire to make a good match for his sister, Hawk had come to the Mammoth house to have a meeting with a Mr. Paxton Quick.
What the Duke was not aware of was that Paxton had been away from the Mammoth house for a while and had not received the notice that the Duke would be arriving. What the Duke found on arrival was actually a Miss Loretta Quick, sister to Paxton, and woman who knows her share of scandal. Loretta had been previously engaged and had at the alter declined to proceed with the marriage. Since that time, she had fallen out of society and was something of a mystery to the Duke. What Hawk did not expect was the vehemence with which Loretta disagreed with the notion that Hawk would bring up the subject of the engagement. Loretta believed that her brother was too young to consider such things and that when he did marry she wanted him to marry for love. She did not want a Duke to use his influence to barter a marriage.
Hawk was intrigued with Loretta at the start. He was not used to anyone being so resistant to his wishes, especially that of a woman. Although he had sworn off his rakish ways he decided to try and use his rakish honorable ways and seduce Loretta. Luckily for Loretta she had a backbone and despite letting herself get a little carried away at first, she quickly regained her reasoning and refused to enter into an affair with Hawk. This left Hawk feeling out of sorts and he immediately decided that a challenge had been issued on two fronts, Loretta’s refusal of him and her professed commitment to advise her brother against the matter of engagement to Hawk’s sister. Getting more than he bargained for Hawk soon discovered that there was much more that he wanted from Loretta than a brief affair and he just needed to change her mind on the matter.
I liked that this series has an overarching theme. It makes me want to read each story to see how things panned out with the rake that it features, adds a little humor to the overall series for me. I thought that there were some nice elements in this story such as positive sibling relationships, social commentary on the rakes of St. James comings and goings, romance, and a cranky uncle who needed to be thwarted. Although, there were parts that I just didn’t really care for which was mainly Hawk’s salacious attitude towards Loretta. He kept trying to compromise a woman who had received the short end of the stick after she ended her “almost” marriage. What a jerk! He did end up redeeming himself in the end but I was not in a happy place with him for a while so it took away from the warm fuzzy feeling for the story. Overall though, I did find that I liked To the Duke, with Love and think that it is a nice installment of this series.
*Thank you to Netgalley & St. Martin’s Press for this eARC of To the Duke, With Love*