Sunday, February 25, 2018

ARC Review: A Duke in the Night by Kelly Bowen

A Duke in the Night (The Devils of Dover, #1)From the blurb:

Duke. Scoundrel. Titan of business. August Faulkner is a man of many talents, not the least of which is enticing women into his bedchamber. He’s known—and reviled—for buying and selling companies, accumulating scads of money, and breaking hearts. It’s a reputation he wears like a badge of honor, and one he intends to keep. 
Clara Hayward, the headmistress of the Haverhall School for Young Ladies, on the other hand, is above reproach. Yet when she’s reunited with August, all she can think of is the way she felt in his arms as they danced a scandalous waltz ten long years ago. Even though her head knows that he is only back in her life to take over her family’s business, her heart can’t help but open to the very duke who could destroy it for good.

Heather's rating:

Lovely, feminist historical romance.

I adored A Duke in the Night, my first by the very talented Kelly Bowen. I thought it was a powerful story with a female MC who carried the book, something we don't see as often as I'd like in romance.

Okay, I'll admit, the book was probably (most certainly) not historical accurate. Clara is a woman who is almost fully independent and gasp sexually confident, something rare in historical romance and even sometimes in contemporary romance. Now, the extent of Clara's autonomy might not actually fit the era, but if you can look past that (and some modern-sounding speech), you'll find a really special, touching story.

I actually don't love romances where the MCs have a history together as I like to get to know the couple from first meeting to love, all within the story, but Kelly Bowen pulled it off (and we get a flashback to take us there). Clara and August are a strong couple (I keep saying that, but these two are just so strong), and their chemistry just grew and grew. I loved seeing them adapt to each other and figuring out how they worked as a couple.

The story was also a very interesting one, one that focused on how females felt and were treated in the time period of the story (some of which, of course, has echos even today). The story really resonated with me, and I think it will resonate with most romance readers, especially ones that are drawn to female-centric plot-lines in romance. I loved the confidence of ALL the female characters, even the secondary ones (those aunts... amazing), and I was ready to stand up and applaud all of them.

My one issue with the story was that it lacked something intangible that usually keeps me glued to the pages all night long. The book took me a week to read, which is a very long time for me, even though I actually really loved the story. Curious.

However, the ending was 100% swoon-worthy, and I left the story feeling really excited and wanting more. This won't be my last Kelly Bowen, not by a long shot.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

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