The Most Dangerous Duke in London

Madeline Hunter
The Most Dangerous Duke in London
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Publisher
Zebra
Release Date
May 2017
ISBN
9781420143904
Series
Book 1 of Decadent Dukes Society
Genre
Historical Romance

SUMMARY
Three sinfully handsome dukes, three scores to settle, three hearts about to meet their matches. All in one thrilling new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Madeline Hunter . . .

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?

Book Review by Dawn (reviewer)
May 10, 2017   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
76 people found the following review helpful
Also posted at Reading Alley:

Adam has returned to England to clear his father's name. But as soon as he arrives, a rival family is looking to make amends by merging their two families through marriage. The girl they want him to marry doesn't pique his interest but her sassy sister sure does. In fact, he might be able to kill two birds with one stone: learn information to help get revenge for his father and have some fun with the beautiful woman along the way.

Clara isn't interested in any of this marriage business, however. Not to the duke or anyone else. She values her freedom and the women's journal she secretly runs and distributes. She doesn't need a man to come in and take over her life and her business. Even if the man in question is dark, mysterious, and makes her melt with his kisses.

As their friendship develops into something more intimate, Adam begins to wonder if his plan for revenge is worth the risk of losing Clara. And Clara starts to question her plan to become a spinster and wonders what life might be like with Adam by her side for good. Neither of them are sure if they are ready to let go of their plans and allow their hearts to guide them. And until the mystery of their fathers is solved, there will always be a wedge between them. It will take some investigating on both sides to uncover the truth.

I really enjoyed reading this book. Historical Romances have found a firm spot in my favorite genres. In this story, we have a man with a troublesome family history who is trying to find his place in a society that shuns him. And we have a woman who is in much the same situation; she is no man's first choice and most treat her like an outcast. Neither of our two go into this expecting to make it a permanent arrangement.

The pairing was really well done. This couple's chemistry sizzled and their bantering was quite entertaining. I only wish that the secrets could have been revealed a bit sooner or that the two might have confided in each other earlier than they did. I think our pair would have been a great team together at uncovering the mysteries and it could have given them more of chance to develop as a partnership.

The romance was a lust-before-love situation that I appreciate, yet it also came as a bit of a surprise to me. This author was creative in her naughty scenes in a way I haven't seen very much in this genre. But at the same time, it was also fairly tame as explicit terms were pretty much omitted. It was dirty without being dirty, if that makes any sense.

I enjoyed the plot of this story, as well. I can honestly say that I didn't figure out the mystery until the characters did. There were a lot of different possibilities and the guilty culprit wasn't even on my radar until it was revealed. This story kept me guessing the entire time. I loved the camaraderie between the three dukes, as well.

In closing...
I'm excited to see what the second book of this series has in store for us. Looking forward to seeing the next duke fall! Actual Rating: 4.5 stars!
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Book Review by BJ (reviewer)
May 18, 2017   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
69 people found the following review helpful
Also posted at Reading Alley:

Lovers of independent heroines and the family feud trope will be delighted and intrigued with Madeline Hunter's latest novel, THE MOST DANGEROUS DUKE IN LONDON. Featuring a colorful cast, with various motivations, and demonstrating how an inheritance can make a difference in the marriage needs of women of the day, this historical romance set in the 1820s in England is sure to pique your interest. Moreover, for those that enjoy a bit of suspense with their romances, there is a secondary plot that revolves around the mystery surrounding the hero's father's suicide and missing jewels that also brings in a potential espionage connection.

Lady Clara Cheswick, the oldest and favorite daughter of an Earl, is now set for life due to the generous inheritance that her father left her. Having always enjoyed a special connection to her father, Clara got to do things (such as learn how to shoot) that should in that day only have been reserved for a son. Part of this atypical upbringing was also her father's understanding that she wished to never marry. Now at 24 years of age (virtually on the shelf for the marriage market of the day) and with an inheritance to boot, she uses her finances to clandestinely publish a journal called Pernassus, which featured political news as well as essays from a feminist perspective and reviews of things more of interest to women, like theater performances and travel destinations. However, its success depends on her anonymity and the anonymity of many of its authors.

Adam Penrose, the Duke of Stratton, is known as a dangerous duke. Having fled England for his mother's homeland of France shortly after his father's mysterious death, he has just recently returned. However, his dangerous reputation of having been involved in several duels while in France precedes him, and the neighboring family (Clara's family) who had been rumored to have had a feud with his father (and possibly having been involved in his death) is on alert. Rather than risk his wrath, Clara's grandmother (and her brother the new Earl) arrange a meeting to propose a truce with Adam. As part of the truce, they have offered up the hand of her much younger sister. However, at first sight, Adam decides that Clara would suit him much more. Thus ensues the cat and mouse chase where Adam proposes to Clara but she just rebuffs him instead. However, their chemistry sparks other more physical interests. Could there possibly be a HEA under the circumstances? Moreover, what are Adam's true motivations (to ruin Clara, her father's favorite daughter, or truly to find married bliss with her)? And just what transpired all those years ago that led to Adam's father's death?

I enjoyed both the romance and the suspense of this book (though I will say that both require your dedicated attention and patience until the very end to finally find their resolution). This was my first experience with Madeline Hunter, but it definitely will not be my last. I look forward to exploring more of her works soon. Moreover, THE MOST DANGEROUS DUKE IN LONDON was a great start to a series about three dukes that are members of the Society of Decadent Dukes (thus the name of the series). I look forward to reading about the other two dukes, Brentworth and Langford, in future books to come in this series.
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