The first in Kelly Bowen’s Season for Scandal titles is on the blog today for review. An unconventional Earl, a naked peer creating a compromising situation and a heroine who is bold, brash and perhaps a touch too modern for her era highlight this story. Please read on for my review of
Duke of My Heart
When a story starts with a very dead naked man tied to a Lady’s bed with red ribbons, and no sign of said Lady but a few items of clothing scattered over the floor, you know you have my interest. Unfurling this mystery will require a fixer in the form of Ivory Moore, brought in by the missing Lady’s aunt to forestall utter ruination when she is returned to her proper place.
Unfortunately for everyone, MaxImus Harcourt, sitting Duke finds Ivory, his Aunt Helen and the scattered clothing of his missing sister Bea in the room with the bound corpse. Fresh from his shipboard control where there Captain Harcourt rules with an iron fist, he’s never faced such a challenge: unmitigated and unrelenting, as the one coming from Ivory.
And we are off! There is an instant attraction that burns solidly through the initial meeting between Max and Ivory, partly fueled by these two alpha characters, unwilling to bend, both believing they have the best solutions. And the mystery does overtake and overshadow the budding romance as the twists and turns are delightful – an historic version of Where’s Waldo with a PR conscious spin doctor, in Ivory, keeping the gossips at bay.
These two DID have thoughts about one another though, and usually these dropped into the story in some of the most inappropriate movements ever, but that just added to the sweetness of the developing relationship as we watch them get to know one another and share their stories with each other and us. They are completely compatible – neither deferential to one another nor one actually taking the upper hand. A relationship that works all the better for their individual, and combined complexity.
Narration in this story is provided by Ashford McNab, a narrator that I’ve encountered previously with mixed results. While the distinction between character voices is consistent: I always knew who was speaking, and there were no hiccups in flow or progression, there was also a decided lack of emotional inflection in a more subtle sense. Anger was always strident and louder, while tender moments are more aptly described as normal conversation. What I’ve consistently found is a workmanlike, if uninspiring approach to narrative performances by Ms. McNab, and I think that this shall be the last title with her narration that I will review.
With narrative issues aside, the story was well-paced, the dialogue solid, and the mystery intriguing while the romance slowly developed with an organic pace that felt natural and believable. A wonderful start to a new series and I can’t wait to read the next book.
Stars: Overall 4 Narration 1 Story 4
Title: Duke of My Heart
Author: Kelly Bowen
Series: Season for Scandal #1
Genre: Historical Romance
Narrator: Ashford McNab
Published by: Forever
Published on: 26 January 2016
Source: Hachette Audio
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 30 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
Scandal can be handled...
Captain Maximus Harcourt, the unconventional tenth Duke of Alderidge, can deal with tropical storms, raging seas, and the fiercest of pirates. But he's returned home from his latest voyage to find a naked earl—quite inconveniently deceased—tied to his missing sister's bed. And he has only one place to turn. Now he's at the mercy of the captivating Miss Ivory Moore of Chegarre & Associates, known throughout London for smoothing over the most dire of scandals.
Miss Moore treats the crisis as though it were no more serious than a cup of spilt tea on an expensive rug. As though this sort of thing happened on the job every day. Max has never in all his life met a woman with such nerve. Her dark eyes are too wide, her mouth is too full, her cheekbones too sharp. Yet together, she's somehow...flawless. It's just like his love for her, imperfect, unexpected—yet absolutely true.
A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.