Publication Date: 12/03/2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Sensation
Genre: Historical Romance
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Sensation)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Victoria Morgan on the WEB: Website, Blog, Facebook, Goodreads
Excerpt from The Heart of a Duke, courtesy of the author's website (close to the bottom)
From the author of For the Love of a Solder comes a rapturous new novel of unspoken secrets, and true love…
Lady Julia Chandler fears she will be walking down the aisle with a silver-tipped cane if she waits for the Duke of Bedford to seal their engagement. Seeking to quicken his pace, she decides to find her duke, kiss him senseless, and post the wedding banns. It is a good plan, until she mistakes her fiance’s long-absent twin for her duke.
Ten years ago, Lord Daniel Bryant sailed to America to find his fortune and flee his cruel brother who inherited the family title. A cryptic note draws him back to England: Come home and claim your destiny.Before seeking anything, Daniel must first determine who set the fire that nearly took his life and precipitated his flight abroad. Now with the taste of Lady Julia warm on his lips, the stakes are raised higher than before as he seeks to claim both his destiny and the lady of his heart.
Victoria Morgan's second historical romance, The Heart of a Duke is a typical regency novel, with a hint of mystery and a lot of passion. Morgan's ability to incorporate mystery into her history is exceptional. The Regency period comes to life under her pen. With plenty of witty banter and some amazing secondary characters, Morgan has created a timeless romance that will endear fans and entertain even the most staid readers. The Heart of a Duke may be Morgan's sophomore offering but it shows all the qualities of a seasoned novelist. A very good read for Regency fans!
What I liked:
The main couple in The Heart of the Duke, Daniel and Julia were so much fun to read about. She was determined to marry another man and he is seeking answers to ten year old mystery that might have resulted in his death had he not escaped.
I liked Julia a lot. She was strong willed and had a deep love for her family. She knew what she wanted and she certainly went for it. She just didn't know what she was getting herself into. Daniel wants to protect her and save her from his wicked brother, while also trying to figure out just what really happened before he left for America. They make a lovely couple who appears to really care about each other and respect each other.
I thought Morgan did an excellent job with the romantic aspects of this book. It was realistic and engaging. She lets the romance build between Daniel and Julia at a perfect pace. They have known each other for years and are starting out as friends, who eventually discover that there is more than friendship in their hearts. Julia has a period where she won't let Daniel come to her rescue that seems a bit out of character for her, but she eventually comes around.
Edmund was a very good villain type character. He was abusive to Daniel even when they were children. For whatever reason he has decided to put Julia off again and again on a wedding date and he certainly knows more than what he is willing to tell about what happened the night of the fire. He is a schemer for sure and readers will take a instant dislike to his attitude and demeanor. When he takes out his vengeance and ruins Julia, it was time for him to get his just rewards. I liked him a lot, in spite of the fact that he was a bad guy. He was very well written.
I loved the secondary characters from Daniels friends Robbie and Brett to Julia's sister and little brother, Emily and Jonathon. These characters add a lot to the plot and help move the story forward. I liked the fact that Morgan leaves the opportunity open for a second book about these characters by making Brett very intrigued with Emily. When an author can make the secondary characters almost as important as the main couple, I think that shows the mark of a good writer.
What I didn't like:
I had a bit of a problem with the mystery of this one. It was far too predictable. It was obvious to the reader early on what had happened ten years ago and why, though Daniel was a bit oblivious. I thought that Morgan could have thought more out of the box and made mystery aspects of the book more believable and hard to figure out. I felt a little cheated because it was too easy to figure out. But to be fair this novel is a romance not a mainstream mystery.
I loved the romantic parts of this book. They were well written and came across as heartfelt and believable, while the mystery was a little flat and one dimensional. The secondary characters shined almost as well as the main couple and there is potential for more books about these characters. I thought the author excelled in some areas, while lacking in others. I still really enjoyed the book and look forward to reading more from this author. It was good, but could have been better.
The Heart of a Duke is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
A lifelong New England resident, Victoria Morgan lives in a suburb of Boston. She is the author of For the Love of a Soldier, and juggles (with differing degrees of priority) a part-time job, writing, watercolor classes, her husband, two teen-agers, and a mini-golden doodle with a Napoleon complex. A 2011 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist and an insatiable reader, she loves to see the magic of a world taking shape through the words of a book or the beauty of a painted picture.
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