Format Read:e-arc provided from Edelweiss for review
Number of Pages:416 pages
Release Date:June 18th 2013
Series: The Duke’s Men, #1
Formats Available: Mass Market Paperback, Hardcover, e-book, Kindle Edition
Purchasing Info: Author’s web site | GoodReads | Amazon | Book Depository (US) | Book Depository (UK) | B&N
Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons, long ago buried his grief for his missing elder brother, Peter, who was presumed dead after being kidnapped. When a mysterious note arrives from Tristan Bonnaud asserting that the Duke’s brother is alive, it leads Max straight to the winsome Lisette Bonnaud, illegitimate daughter of a viscount and Tristan’s sister. Soon he and Lisette are traveling to Paris posing as husband and wife, in search of Tristan, who has disappeared. And the longer he spends with Lisette, the easier it is for Max to see that the line between dukedom and desire is easier to cross than heimagined . . .
The premise of What the Duke Desires sounds more than intriguing and upon reading it I kind of believed that this book was right up my alley. Add to that the fact that I’ve heard nothing but praise about Sabrina Jeffries’s work and I was more than excited about reading it. Now that I finally read it, although I did enjoy this book in overall, I can’t say that I was very impressed with it either. There were some parts in this book that really worked for me and some others that just fell flat I’m afraid…
Let’s start with the good things about What the Duke Desires. And one among them is Sabrina Jeffries’s writing style. Having finally read one of her books I totally understand why people praise her work. The pace of the story was great, I literally devoured it and finished it in no time, while her descriptions of Lisette’s and Max’s travels were beyond fascinating and probably my favorite part of the book.
But, even with the decent writing style and the vivid descriptions, What the Duke Desires was just an ok read. And that happened mainly for two reasons. The first one was the fact that the romance between the leading couple felt completely flat for me. There was no connection between them, no chemistry, no spark. I read about their feelings, I wanted them to get their HEA but I wasn’t dying to see them reaching it. Even if the characters were well presented and had a background (I’ve noticed that underdeveloped characters usually make me not care about what happens to them) still, I couldn’t feel their emotions. There were moments I felt that those two were together only because the author wanted them to.
The other reason I didn’t enjoy What the Duke Desires as much as I expected was the fact that the mystery part of the story was not that mysterious after all…. I mean the reason Lisette and Max started this incredible journey was to get some answers and to solve a mystery but the real focus of this story was how their romance would evolve and not how they would solve the mystery at hand. And maybe that was the author’s intention all along but I found myself wanting something more in that department, especially if you think how the romantic part didn’t really convince me either…
Other than that, there were some very interesting secondary characters introduced and even if they were completely underdeveloped I still want to learn more about them and that’s a good thing because What the Duke Desires is the first book in a new HR series and all those interesting secondary characters will soon get their chance to tell us their story!
All in all What the Duke Desires was not exactly what I expected it to be but it was still a fun read and Sabrina Jeffries is definitely an author whose work I want to read again. I just hope that the romance in any future books in this series will be better presented or closer to what I usually enjoy.