Saturday, August 23, 2008
Never Deceive a Duke - Liz Carlyle
They call her the porcelain princess...
With her fragile beauty and regal bearing, the Duchess of Warneham knows how to keep her admirers at a distance. Twice wed and twice widowed, Antonia has vowed never again to marry; never again to surrender her freedom. But when her husband’s death is deemed suspicious, and his long-lost heir returns to seize control of the dukedom, she finds that fate has placed her future in yet another man’s hands—but not just any man.
They call him a cold-hearted bastard . . .
Deep in London’s docklands, Gareth Lloyd runs Neville Shipping with an iron fist. Unrecognizable as the starving orphan who was abandoned by his family and sent an ocean away from home, Gareth has put his troubled past behind him. That is, until the Duke of Warneham is found dead, and Gareth turns out to be the dynasty’s last living heir. Wrenched from his solitude, Gareth neither wants nor needs the honors and obligations of nobility—especially the Duke’s all-too-tempting widow... Or does he?
I'm starting to think I may have a severe case of romance burnout. Carlyle used to be a sure bet. I didn't love all her books but they were always satisfying and pleasant to read.
In this Never Deceive A Duke I started out thinking that expressions like "exquisite breasts" or "ankles" or whatever body part is mentioned are just too unreal and frankly I've read them too many times already to feel anything else than bored. Then Antonia did indeed look like she wasn't very well in the beginning. She didn't look bad enough for me to think she had something clinical, nor did she have that type of recovery, but she seemed a bit out of this world. Like Gareth I was wondering if she knew who he was in that first scene when they are together and didn't that come a bit too sudden? Oh and Gareth is of course another tortured hero with a difficult childhood. Ok I could buy that (although I've read better) but he tells Antonia and then regrets it because she is too fragile to hear about the harsh facts of life?? Come on!! He had an horrible childhood but he is the one who ends up consoling her? He comes across as strong despite us being told that he should be tortured and she comes across as fragile and dependent even if in the end she is supposedly strong. I also didn't see how they fell in love, I think it was more a case of falling in lust. Regarding the mystery I must confess I was a bit uninterested, like the policeman I was happy to think that Warneham had received what was coming to him. The best part was to have Kemble (I love Kemble!) around for a while and those little bits of Rothwell.
As you can see I was never engaged in the story, I was always an outsider to which most of it did not ring true. Maybe it was me, maybe I'm really burnout and in need of a romance break! I still like Rothwell though and want to read his story!
Grade: C+ (because I still like Carlyle's writing)