Wednesday, March 16, 2016

TBR Challenge: Miranda Davis - The Duke's Tattoo

After being grievously wounded at Waterloo, Jeremy Maubrey returns from war to find his new life as the tenth Duke of Ainsworth painful, dull and full of obligations. That is, until he wakes to find himself indelibly decorated in a mortifying place and mocking manner.
Though he cannot recall much of the hellish night when he was abducted and tattooed, he cannot forget the waif-like villainess responsible or her haunting eyes. Ducal duties must wait till he finds the culprit and takes his revenge.
Miss Prudence Haversham, Bath’s only female apothecary, knows she has a problem. A big, broad shouldered problem. At least she will have, if the tenth Duke of Ainsworth ever discovers she is to blame for tattooing him. Unfortunately, she meant to have tattooed the previous Duke of Ainsworth, who tried to debauch her and disgraced her with his lies. Worse yet, she learns this duke is one of four infamously implacable cavalry officers known as ‘The Horsemen of the Apocalypse.’
No sooner has the vengeful duke traced his abductress to Bath, than Prudence Haversham overturns the duke’s every expectation and intention. In turn, the duke proves himself an honorable and surprisingly forgiving man who earns the wary apothecary’s love.

Comment: Here we are again, a new TBR post... March is the month for a recommended read. This book is the first I've tried by author Miranda Davis and I knew bout it on GoodReads because friends have read it and recommended it to anyone and I kind of decided to follow their advice and got the book a couple of months ago or something. I think it was appropriate for the theme and I had the hopes it would be a good story to get me back on the motivation to read, as the previous two books weren't very amazing to me.

This story presents us the duke of Ainsworth, a man who fought in the war and now is looking to finally marry and to do that he is thinking about attending balls and other social meetings. But the story starts with him waking up one morning and finding out he has a tattoo on his groin. And the only think he remembers is the eyes of the woman who did that to him.
The heroine is miss Prudence Haversham, a young lady of 27 - therefore considered a spinster - and she tattooed the duke because she thought he was his brother, someone who caused her unfair fall from grace. But since she got the wrong man, she feels bad about it but the harm is done. Hopefully, he will never discover who she is or care about it... but likely that would be too good to be true and he comes looking for her alright...

This was a very good book to me. I liked the characters, I liked the development, I loved the epilogue, I just didn't care much for some of the scenes where nothing was actually happening and how, from a certain point on, the action turned almost to a comedy of errors and delayed what could have been a more polished final section of the book.

The plot is quite imaginative as I don't recall any other novel where the heroine had tattooed the hero in his more private parts as revenge. But because she's not really a bad person, she regrets her impulsiveness (despite the years she imagined what she could do) when she realizes she got her revenge on the wrong man. Why she needs revenge in the first place is something we learn quickly but the explanation for it and all that happened after seemed too simple for me. But if people do struggle to communicate the simplest things, I can imagine how things got twisted as it happened here.
The duke then plans a revenge of his own when he learns who did the tattoo but then they slowly fall in love and to be honest I loved this part, it was both sweet and different even if quite reckless if one thinks about the conventions of the time.

Prudence is a fascinating character, more innocent than she seems at first, but I liked her practical side and the vulnerability, her dreamy feminine side as well..
The duke was more intriguing, seemed to have more layers to his personality, but after a certain point he has things to do and keeps delaying any sort of decisive action which kind of made me bored with him. 
As a couple they seem well matched, he's more impulsive than her despite the book's premise but overall I think they suit well. I enjoyed knowing them and seeing how their personalities would make them make decisions and have ideas about what the other would think when, in reality, both were more synchronized than they thought. The dialogues were good, their interactions always funny or intense and mattering...
But let's just say they discuss their feelings and it's wonderful but from then on to the end there is a part where everything drags and just doesn't seem to move along...I found this part a bit boring but because I was curious I kept reading and wanted to see the couple get their HEA.
HEA that is so lovely...I loved the epilogue for certain, so adorable!!

The secondary characters were interesting too, even those who played a smaller role. We are introduced to the duke's friends in the army and obviously they would be the heroes of the following novels. I feel curious about them and will read the next book, at least.

I liked the writing and for a first novel I think it was quite well. Sure some transition scenes or chapters didn't seem to flow as easily as others but if I have to consider this as a whole it was quite successful. I think this is a good historical story, focusing on many good and fascinating elements and not only caring about how well they match in bed. I was hoping to see them happy and although it was as smooth as it could have been, it was surely vibrant and captivating.
I do recommend it, despite its little leas than good parts in my opinion.
Grade: 8/10

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