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The Summer Duke*

Hero Too Unlikeable After the Compromise

I usually like the books by this author, but I found both the pacing and characters to be off in this book. The inciting compromising incident which sparked their forced marriage took up nearly 40% of the book, not leaving much room for the conflicts and tension in their marriage to fully be explored, played out, and resolved. In that pivotal first scene, the characters actually seem to have a fair amount of chemistry, but the duke pulled back sharply, despite his undeniable attraction to the heroine, once he decided to go through with a marriage rather than ruin the heroine. Maybe it would have been better to have seen some of it from his perspective right after the wedding instead of starting with the heroine’s viewpoint. Instead, he just seems like a petulant child; “I’m not going to be a good husband because I didn’t want a wife.” The heroine was amusing at times, but she definitely lacked a spine. How could proclaim to love him after the way he treated her. And the way she attempted to “woo” him back… ack, rankled my every sensibility as a reasonably intelligent woman. Ick. I also thought that the author did some strange head-hopping in the initial scene. In the ballroom, we were in the heroine’s head in the first chapter when suddenly perspective shifts to a group of young women; the heroine couldn’t possibly have overheard them. I enjoyed the references to Jane Austen and her works, but this book, as a whole, just didn’t work for me.

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