Reviewer: Trudy Smith
Title: When a Duke Says I Do - 3rd in the Men of Defiance series
Author: Jane Goodger
Release Date: December 2011
Genre/Sub-genre: Historical Romance
Year/Setting: 1862 / Nottinghamshire, England
Overall Rating: 4.0
Sexual Content Rating: Subtle/Sensual
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Mild
Violent Content Rating: Minimal
Jane's Website/Blog: www.janeblackwood.com
Living in Nottinghamshire, Elsie (Elizabeth) Stanhope was surrounded by the elite of the realm. With the promise of becoming the Duchess of Kingston some day, Elsie only had to wait until she was told it was time to wed.
With a disabling affliction of extreme shyness, Alexander Wilkinson, was basically "thrown away" (sent to an asylum) as a child and soon thereafter declared dead. His father, the Duke of Kingston was ashamed of him and after the death of his oldest son; the Duke couldnít stand the sight of Alexander (the second son). It didnít take long for others to know, that though Alexander couldnít speak, he had talents that needed to be cultivated. Raised by a gifted French painter, Alexander was able to nurture his gifts.
The talented French painter and his assistant were all the rage among the peerage and Elsie wanted a mural painted in the ballroom. Elsie discovers Alexander is the talent behind the duo and for some reason bonds with the mute man. It doesnít take long for Elsie to also discover that Alexander isnít mute itís just easier to talk to some people and it appears that Elsie is one of them.
Friendship blooms and soon turns to love. Then the summons comes from the Duke that the wedding was imminent. Elsie didnít know that the Duke was Alexanderís father and Alexander didnít know that Elsie was required to marry his younger brother.
When the Duke realizes what has happened, he compounds the mystery with more lies, betrayal and manipulations. As each lie is revealed the mystery deepens and through the twists and turns to expose the truth misunderstandings arise. Will their love survive or will the Duke get his way?
Elsie and Alexanderís story is a deep yet heartwarming tale that draws the reader in from the start. The twists and turns are surprising and pulls on the heartstrings. Elsie is whimsical and outgoing the perfect opposite to Alexanderís selective mutism disability. Ms. Goodger portrayed her characters depth and emotions so real it seemed you could reach out and touch them. You could feel the emotions, the depth of Alexanderís anxiety and Elsieís humbling and loving compassion. Thereís more than just a sizzle between the two, itís a mating of souls.
The Regency era is not normally my genre of choice but I have to say that I highly recommend When a Duke Says I Do to readers of all genres. This is one that will stay with you long after the last page is read.
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