Devil’s Duke #3


Katharine Ashe

✮✮✮ 3 STARS ✮✮✮

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Six years ago, when Lady Amarantha Vale was an innocent in a foreign land and Gabriel Hume was a young naval officer, they met . . . and played with fire.

Now Gabriel is the dark lord known to society as the Devil’s Duke, a notorious recluse hidden away in a castle in the Highlands. Only Amarantha knows the truth about him, and she won’t be intimidated. He is the one man who can give her the answers she needs.

But Gabriel cannot let her learn his darkest secret. So begins a game of wit and desire that proves seduction is more satisfying—and much more wicked—the second time around…

I used to read a lot of Historical Romance so I have read Katharine Ashe’s books before and know they tend to be a bit more angsty than others. She has a beautiful way with words and knows how pull you into the era and place she writes about and makes it feel authentic.

While this is absolutely true for this book I have had a couple of issues with it. This story is about an idealistic, bright-eyed young woman and a charming, gorgeous rogue who meet under adverse circumstances, fall in love and have both of their hearts broken, a circumstance neither of them has a say in. Ms. Ashe sets us up for an epic love story and it would have been that if the story hadn’t lacked proper guidance for the reader.

While reading we are introduced to multiple characters and names which we don’t get a proper explanation for or introduction to. There are multiple subplots happening at the same time and they got me really confused, especially because I had to go back and look up who the people were who were written about at the time.
I admire Katharine Ashe for picking a topic that didn’t shine a bright light on humanity – the slavery in the early 19th century and while it is obvious that the author has vast knowledge about it the confusion overshadowed the theme and I never got really into it. With all the facts, names and omissions I just got lost in the story and didn’t know anymore what was relevant and what wasn’t.

I have absolutely not complaints about the hero, Gabriel, who was just beautiful. He wore his heart on his sleeve and  his humor cracked me up and his shameless flirting completely charmed me. I loved him fiercely.

“A commander who hordes what his men need to survive has no honor,” he said as though it were the most obvious thing in the world. “But, lass, when he finally takes a cup into his hands and tastes that water . . .”
“I have no idea what you are trying to say to me.”
“Amarantha Vale—”
“’Tis unconscionably good to see you again.”

The heroine, Amarantha, was endearing although I did get frustrated with her toward the end. She was a free spirit and at some point I shouted “ENOUGH” at my Kindle because she kept running – never in her life she wanted to be under a man’s control again, yet, her free spirit is exactly what Gabriel loved about her so much and it was so obvious.

Five and a half years ago the girl straining to be free of her restraints had captivated him. This woman, entirely free of shackles, filled every part of him with truly insane euphoria.

Their banter was a thing of beauty. Especially when Amarantha addressed Gabriel with Shark Bait, referring to his profession as a naval officer, his refusal to address her with her wedded name.

The captain bowed. “Ma’am.” She nodded. “Shark Bait.”

The romance was wonderful and sweet and the author’s writing is beautiful and suits the time this story is written. This book could have been easily a five star read – but with all the issues it just fell short. I KNOW that Katharine Ashe can do better.

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