Amelia Grey returns to the blog today with the first in her new historic series, The Rakes of St. James. Redemption and Rakes – who could go wrong? Please read on for my review of and an excerpt from
Last Night with the Duke
So, I have to begin by saying that this is not an action-packed, jump from one moment to the next story. In fact, it actually is a slow meander to the sprint at the end, and this did make for some interesting, and not so, moments in the overall impression of the story. But, there are good moments, and those were enough to keep me reading on, interested to see just where the story would go.
Griffin is a Duke, more than mildly obsessed with keeping the family reputation free from scandal and seeing his twin sister’s off on a successful debut. As is not uncommon, he was tagged with the reputation of Rake as a younger man, and was privy to some scandalous behavior with his friends, but on the whole does regret those indiscretions. Now, with his Aunt ill, the need for a chaperone to guide Sara and Vera through their debut, he needs to hire a companion.
Esmerelda is the granddaughter of a Viscount, unrecognized as her mother was disowned after marrying her father, an Irish Poet. Now without support or protection, and a young sister to care for, she has parlayed her skills and social knowledge into a business that provides governesses and chaperones to the tonne. She’s a wonderfully drawn character, with a gentle yet firm demeanor and a solid sense of ‘managing one’s charges”. Sight unseen, Griffin happens to hear her dispensing this advice to one of her employees, and is determined she should work for him.
And here is where things got muddled: there was a general push and prod from Griffin, despite Esmerelda’s knowing of the secret he’d prefer not surface before his sisters’ debuts, he makes no secret of the fact that he finds her attractive, and he is not above throwing money at her to gain acquiescence. And he does. Now, the story is setting up, so the interplay between these two would be reasonable, if there weren’t such a sense of insta-love on Esmerelda’s part, and the lack of convention that would be properly (and rightly) expected for the time.
Then just at the point of believing that nothing will happen, the sisters are introduced, and the interactions between them and with Griffin show humor and genuine fondness, as well as a touch of Griffin’s more honorable and protective side as the old scandal threatens to rear its ugly head. But still, the back and forth with our couple, combined with a rather slow development of a real regard that seemed to overtake any action or movement forward with anything: growth, the mystery, or even the events of a debut. Contrast this rather slow pacing with the rapid increase in the rush to tie up all of the ends, some better than others, and the story was uneven, even for the setup of a new series and world. I missed the whole ‘feel’ of a historical that Grey has done so well in stories I’ve read before, and while the humor and heart of the characters did come through, the secondary players were a bit thinly drawn, and no one seemed to really be ‘of their time’. Esmerelda was a bit too modern in outlook and approach while Griffin, while sweet, reminded me of the “when I was younger, this was how we did things”, sort of person. Neither quite fit into the Regency era for behavior or custom, and I was hoping for more. A decent start for readers who prefer the sweeter and less steamy historicals, particularly if they don’t mind taking the long way round to the end.
Title: Last Night with the Duke
Author: Amelia Grey
Series: The Rakes of St. James #1
Genre: British, Historical Romance, Regency
Published by: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Published on: 7 March 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 37 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Tantor Audio
Could finding love be his greatest scandal of all?
The Duke of Griffin has never lived down his reputation as one of the Rakes of St. James. Now rumors are swirling that his twin sisters may bear the brunt of his past follies. Hiring a competent chaperone is the only thing Griffin has on his mind--until he meets the lovely and intriguing Miss Esmeralda Swift. In ways he could never have expected, she arouses more than just his curiosity.
Esmeralda Swift considered herself too sensible to ever fall for a scoundrel, but that was before she met the irresistibly seductive Duke of Griffin. His employment offer proves too tempting for her to resist. She can’t afford to be distracted by his devilish charms because the stakes are so high for his sisters’ debut Season. . .unless one of London’s most notorious rakes has had a change of heart and is ready to make Esmeralda his bride?
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Read an Excerpt
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: