The Duke by Denise Patrick

Gypsy Legacy, Book 2

Samhain Publishing

Historical Romance

ISBN 1-60504-182-3

Reviewed by Cassie

   

 

Lady Felicia Collings is a young woman with an unusual family history and a strong sense of personal responsibility.  Several years ago her gypsy great-grandmother gave her a ring, promising the man who could identify the jewelry would be her destiny.  After having been out for two years and not finding the man, Felicia is beginning to doubt he will ever show up.  That seems fortunate in her eyes, as she doesnít want to marry anyway.  Instead, she wishes to keep her dowry in order to give a piece of property included in it to a young boy only she knows is her nephew.  To that end, she plans to take the boy to the estate, with or without her brotherís help.

Brandís life is unsettled and complicated, but heís finally about to get a few things in order.  He has discovered the truth behind his parentage and plans to see his father soon after twenty years apart.  He also plans to solve the mystery of his kidnapping.  Despite the urgency of his own plans, he feels compelled to escort Felicia out of London rather than allowing her to go alone.  He finds Felicia very attractive, so when their trip is noticed, he isnít terribly upset.  Now he just has to convince a very reluctant FeliciaÖ

The Duke is an action-packed, sometimes dark historical tale of betrayal, kidnapping, family, and destiny.  At first, I had a very hard time keeping all the characters straight in my head.  Everyone seemed to be somehow related to everyone else, whether through marriage or blood.  It didnít help that there were a lot of characters to keep track of.  By the end of the book, I was mostly successful keeping the characters straight, but I still feel I would have been better off to have read the first Gypsy Legacy story before jumping into this one.  Thereís a lot of complicated back story going on, and I felt I was missing a lot of subtle nuances.

That said The Duke was an interesting readóespecially toward the end when the action really ratcheted up.  Brand was a very cool character.  He was damaged by the horrific events of his childhood, yet he was still a strong and passionate man.  Felicia I was a bit more ambivalent about.  I liked her toughness, independence, and loyalty.  I could sympathize with the childhood experience that warped her view of sex.  Sometimes, however, her stubbornness and wishy-washiness grated on my nerves.  The story begins as a seemingly typical tale of a man and a woman being forced to wed to avoid scandal, but The Duke soon becomes something much more.  Thereís a suspense angle involving Brandís past that, while at times melodramatic, was engaging.  Feliciaís past and her current fears are explored, as well as a bit of a paranormal angle with the gypsy great-grandmotherís predictions.  There is also a lot of interaction involving the secondary characters, who all seem to have interesting stories of their own.  While I recommend reading the first book in the series first, for patient readers, The Duke will provide a suspenseful and nonstop final act. 

     

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