Madeline Hunter is definitely an author that I keep tabs on. She writes historical romance and, in my humble opinion, doesn’t always get the credit she deserves. She’s a fantastic writer and has written many books that happily sit on my keeper shelf. So, when I read the back story of The Wicked Duke, it went on my TBR pile immediately.
Lancelot Hemingford is the Duke of Aylesbury, a rake with a devilish reputation with women. Unfortunately, he’s also suspected of his brother’s murder, something that bothers Lance enough that he wants to finally be rid of the condemnation. To clear his name, he makes a bit of a deal with the devil and, in the process, ends up married to Marianne Radley.
Marianne is legally dependent on her uncle, but she’s incredibly intelligent and smart. She’s figured out a way to make money–something of an impossibility for women back then–by writing under a pseudonym gossip letters to the newspaper. It’s that same cunning that has her sniffing out what truly happened to the Duke’s bother.
Their marriage is a busy one. Things start to be uncovered. First and foremost, the Duke wants to clear his name but, along the way, secrets are revealed that test their commitment to each other. The wonderful aspect of the book is that they fall in love with each other by the end, something I was hoping for all along but fearing might never happen.
The Wicked Duke has a great pace. It’s not rushed, the marriage doesn’t happen three days after they meet or anything and yet, I kept turning pages trying to find out what was going to happen next. I think what kept me glued was the great characters, the sad but not over-the-top circumstances and the superb dialogue. Historical romance dialogue has to show feeling without using today’s expressions and that’s not easy with polite, restrictive English sayings. Still, Madeline Hunter manages to do just that.
Madeline Hunter is certainly no dim wit. She has a PhD in art history and more than twenty seven nationally bestselling historical romances in print. If you haven’t tried her before now, check out her website and try some of her books or go for this one. It might be the third in a trilogy but it can be easily read on its own and it’s got everything you want in a historical romance, the love story, the historically accurate pieces and dialogue, great characters and a rakish duke. It’s definitely a great summer read.
Note: to go to site, click on cover.