I hope the pirate’s daughter won’t come for me because of this review…

How to Beguile a Duke by Ally Broadfield

hmm…this dress may not be the best cover choice! It’s a beautiful cover, but where are the stays to keep it nice and tight? She could definitely keep her cutlass under her skirt in this loose dress!

The spirited Catherine Malboeuf has just arrived in England to reclaim her ancestral home, Walsley Manor, and a valuable missing heirloom. Nicholas Adair, the attractive and frustratingly inflexible Duke of Boulstridge, however, is quite unwilling to sell the estate back to Catherine. Unless, of course, she accepts a small wager…
Nick will sell Walsley Manor if—and only if—Catherine secures an offer of marriage from an eligible member of the ton before the end of the London season.

You know when you’ve finished a good romance book, but you can’t quite figure out a way to distinguish it from all of the others you’ve read?

That is how I feel about How to Beguile a Duke by Ally Broadfield. It was a good story but it lacked that spark for me in books that are generally published by Entangled Publishing. I was so excited to read this story based on the enticing book summary, but that exciting tension of two people (Catherine and Nick) both fighting to win a wager while struggling to fight their growing attraction..well, that just fell flat for me. It was quite obvious early on in the story how the plot would progress. I also believe the author tried to make the story different from other regency romances by having the two main characters hunt for a missing tiara by reading a journal, yet they never actually did any serious hunting in the manor house in which it was supposedly located. I felt like the sole purpose of the journal was really to make Catherine blush in front of the duke (Nick) for reading salacious entries rather than to honestly offer clues that would allow the missing diamond tiara to be discovered.

Compared to some other Entangled Select novels I’ve read as an advanced reader, I feel like there wasn’t quite as much character development that would have helped me connect to the characters as strongly as I would have liked. At one point, Nick actually ticked me off when he called Catherine “my little impatient one” right when they were about to make love for the first time. That line just struck me wrong–like the two characters weren’t two equal adults consummating their relationship. I know that unmarried women were shielded from knowing about sexual relationships as much as possible in that time period, but I just couldn’t buy that Catherine was THAT innocent when she was reading out loud some juicy sexual exploits written by her great-grandmother. True, she blushed some, but still..

Basically, I’m being tough on this novel, but I would still recommend this novel if you want a quick read, say at the beach or when traveling. It won’t knock your socks off, but it will still help you pass the time in an enjoyable way. For $.99, it is an affordable source of entertainment for a few hours!

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