Ballantine, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-345-48762-9
Historical Romance, 2007
The Devilish Pleasures of a Duke is a familiar story that could very well be gift-wrapped for fans of Stephanie Laurens and such. This is a “bluestocking gone wild” story. You know, prim and proper heroine who loses her mind upon meeting the hero and is soon bumping uglies with the hero left and right without regard to her reputation. The saving grace of this story is that it is funny.
Emma Borcastle, who runs an academy for young ladies, is shocked when she finds the man she believes to be courting her trying to get fresh with a maid. During a wedding that she has painstakingly planned to perfection, no less! Emma will not stand for it, of course, and in the resulting chaos, our hero Adrian Ruxley has to step in to help Emma. He gets hit in the chair by the enraged beau of the maid who has mistaken him for the jerk who tried to molest his girlfriend. Emma has to spend some time giving Adrian some TLC and you can guess what happens next, I’m sure.
Emma is the bossy one who tries to keep the rest of her Borcastle clan in order while Adrian is the ex-soldier with lots of issues about his past. That thing about Adrian makes him pretty much a clone of some of the other Borcastle dudes so it’s a given that he will fit right in with the family if you ask me. These two soon are embarking on an affair, the other Borcastle family members show up to advertise past and future books in the series, et cetera.
The heroine has her moments of mischief and the hero can be really charming with his wry and self-effacing humor. The story has plenty of chuckle-inducing scenes as well. But on the whole, I don’t really find much that is memorable or original about The Devilish Pleasures of a Duke. It’s one of those books that try very hard to be just like every other book out there. Surely I can’t be blamed, therefore, for having a most lukewarm reaction to the story. It’s an okay read, but eh, whatever, really.