Thursday, July 13, 2017

Kelly Bowen - Duke of my Heart

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.

Comment: I decided to get this book after seeing very positive reviews and opinions by people whose opinion I tend to trust. I was so eager to try it that since I purchased the book (not that long ago) until adding it to this month's list wasn't such a big stretch.

This is the story of Ivory Moore, a woman who has been many things in her life, including an opera singer and a duchess and now she is simply part of a team that specializes in controlling and downplaying scandals. This book opens with Ivory and a co worker of sorts trying to minimize the fact a young lady is missing from her aunt's ball and in her bed, tidied, is a dead naked aristocrat.
At the same time, the lady's older brother, the Duke of Alderidge, is returned from his ship and demands to know what is happening. As Ivory makes her moves to not only find out the duke's sister but also why she needed to flee in the first place, the duke is always close by, wanting to know which progresses are being accomplished. But for Ivory he is more trouble than hep as he stirs her emotions as no man has done for a long time...

I liked this book overall, but I have to admit my grade is slightly more elevated than what I would say because  I liked the idea of two very different people having found love in a situation that, realistically speaking, wouldn't be as easy or, maybe, the way it was written simply led me to think that. 
I think what stays the most with me is how unlikely it is for this couple to end up together but not because of their social positions per se. Several books portray unlikely relationships. But the author didn't include as many romantic gestures/scenes/situations/even thoughts to make me not only want to see them together but to believe their feelings were really going that way.
Yes, one can say there are little clues and it's all in how we read between the lines but... I just don't feel that captivated by them as a united front.

The plot isn't too complicated and it does offer interesting situations for us to connect the dots when it comes to some whys an hows. 
What really makes this novel in my opinion is the two main character's personalizes and their takes on life and responsibility. Both come from different backgrounds but in common they have the fact they didn't always feel comfortable in the roles they were given or that were expected of them.
Thinking this, I must say I liked the heroine best. She - we learn - has had a childhood no one today would want to imagine, and her adult life hasn't always been as free and happy as some recent years were. I admire this character's attitude and how noble she is.

The hero, on the other hand, felt rather childish in his actions, even bearing in mind how he was put aside by his parents when his brothers were alive and he only a third son. I can admit the change from an always forgotten son to a duke could be a harsh one and that he prefers freedom and his ships, his "job" as captain and so on. But isn't his title as a duke a task he should honor and defend and apply himself to when he knows there are no heirs? It just made me a bit hesitant to believe his efforts and his words about taking care of his sister, of being aware of others' needs around him and whatever when he clearly hasn't felt the will to be a duke. Does he need to like it? No, but if it's his role, if others depend on his position...can he simply put it behind him with no care? I just didn't like this aspect of him and it's not like he just found out he is a duke, so...

The HEA still happens, obviously, we get the idea they end up together but I was hoping for a not so subtle end, where is the epilogue with them being happy and having a life together? I don't need much, just a little domestic scene of them dining and talking or something. I think the HEA lacked dynamism.
I'm not sure I'll read the other books in the series although the characters were in this book and I do feel some curiosity. Maybe much later...
Grade: (a weak) 7/10

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