Booktrope, $15.95, ISBN 978-1-62015-670-4
Historical Romance, 2015
In my review of the author’s previous book, I mentioned the annoyance of having to pay for a more expensive trade paperback format when a cheaper Kindle version is not available to me due to geographical restriction. Well, the annoyance has turned to acute pain when it comes to The Duke I’m Going to Marry, because I’ve paid $15,95 for a tale of two people who insist that the other person is too good for him or her, culminating in the heroine pulling off the tired and dreaded “I will never believe that he loves me even if he does everything nice and lovable because he doesn’t say the L word, so it’s time for THE SELF-PITYING WOE IS ME DUMMY BOO-BOO FEST!” nonsense. Given the deplorable currency exchange rate at this time, my pain cuts deep, deep inside.
Daffodil Farthingale – Dillie to everyone – is vexed by the presence of Ian Markham, the Duke of Edgeware, in her life because he’s a notorious rake that constantly manages to make her grit her teeth with his nonsense. And then, there is that one time when he kisses her while under the assumption that she was one of his floozies… okay, that was hot, but ooh, how he vexes her! When the story opens, she finds Ian wounded outside her window one fine night, and she ends up taking him in and gets her uncle to help him recover, Well, he spends a week at her place, so some drama breaks out over Dillie’s supposedly lost virtue, and naturally, the best thing to do when faced with such a situation is to leave town. Ian shows up again, because he’s actually a spy and Dillie’s sisters are married to his spy buddies, so it’s not long before Dillie gets dragged into some pretty standard and not very exciting “When Dukes Play as Spies” stuff.
The Duke I’m Going to Marry has many, many commonly done tropes, but unlike My Fair Lily, this one just trots them out and leaves them flapping in the wind as if they are laundry someone has forgotten to take back inside. Worse, they are some of the most dire tropes around.
Ian will never, ever marry! First, it’s because he doesn’t want a cheating spouse – somehow he knows that all women would cheat eventually. No, later he would claim that marriage would be horrible because both partners would lose that old magical feeling and start seeing other people. No, no, later it’s because he has a horrible past that makes him unworthy of Dillie. And then, after some great sex, he decides that he’s going to marry Dillie after all.
While I’m so glad that a heroine’s honey pot has once again stopped a man from whinging and whining like an overwrought drama student, Dillie ramps up her own nonsense to make up for the hero’s lack of silly drama. As you can probably guess, she’s not okay with marrying someone she doesn’t love, but she’s okay with having premarital sex with someone she has finer feelings for, without caring for potential repercussions of her actions. She will constantly act like Ian will never, ever love her even if his actions often suggest otherwise, so she will never, ever accept his proposal. For his own good, of course, but in the meantime, putting out is still fine because virtuous selfless heroines love to give the milk away for free to any thirsty hot guys that get their charitable hormones all fired up. She also starts shedding tears and crying to herself every time she imagines Ian as this gloriously noble and suffering hero inside her head, to the point that I start to wonder whether she’s demented.
By the time I reach the last chapter, Dillie and James have been reduced to overwrought monologues complete with italicized sentences for maximum drama. Both of them act as if the other person is the most amazing, noble, virtuous, and inspiring person ever for having endured what is, in their minds, the most horrible suffering ever. In truth, he is a wealthy fellow surrounded by friends who adore him and stick by him. It’s the same with Dillie. There is never any moment when these two are the wounded lone wolves greatly wronged by the world like they seem to think they are.
At the end of the day, these two are just being long-winded and melodramatic, and the real victim is me, for having been subjected to their nonsense – nonsense that I paid $15,95 for, ugh.