Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Spotlight Review:

HOW TO TAME YOUR DUKE - Juliana Gray
Berkley Sensation
ISBN: 978-0-425-26566-6
June 2013
Historical Romance

Yorkshire, England, 1889

Princesses Emilie, her older sister Luisa, and her younger sister Stefanie of Holstein-Schweinwald-Huhnhof take refuge with their mother's brother, the Duke of Olympia. Their father was murdered in the unrest of anarchists in Europe. Their father's valet, Hans, and their governess, Miss Dingleby, secretly and safely removed the sisters to England. Now their uncle must hide them to keep them safe until his agents can identify and catch those behind the murder. His Grace uses his persuasion and power to find 'places' for his nieces. Intellectual Emilie, her hair cut and a false beard applied, ends up in isolated Yorkshire as Mr. Grimsby, a tutor Olympia recommended to his friend the Duke of Ashland for his son.

Mr. Grimsby meets the son, Freddie, in a tavern by the train station. Fifteen-year-old Freddie is playing a card game and winning too much, which makes his fellow card players believe he is cheating. This starts a brawl that soon involves Mr. Grimsby. Only the arrival of the duke stops the ruckus. Emilie, inside Mr. Grimsby's disguise, thinks he looks like a god until he turns and she sees the scarred and ruined other side of his face. He is also missing his right hand.

Freddie wants to leave the lonely desolation of Yorkshire by applying early to Oxford in five months, but must pass the examination to enter. While he is very intelligent, he only wants to learn what he wants. So Mr. Grimsby has his hands full taming this wild, mouthy, and undisciplined young man.

In an interesting and unusual circumstance, Emilie as Emily, becomes the focus of the duke's monthly tantalizing assignation in a back room of the duke's hotel, which starts a whole series of events. HOW TO TAME YOUR DUKE is a complicated story with the heroine changing personas and the political situation behind the plot. Interesting characters, strong emotional involvement, and the unusual plot elements will hold historical romance readers' interest in a trap as strong as the one surrounding the princesses. Well done!

The story contains very sensual sex scenes and is the first story in an unnamed trilogy about the princesses, so readers can expect more adventure. It also has relevance to today and all our wounded returning soldiers.

Robin Lee

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