A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta Chase

A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta Chase
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (396 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Not all dukes are created equal. Most are upstanding members of Society. And then there’s the trio known as Their Dis-Graces.

Hugh Philemon Ancaster, seventh Duke of Ripley, will never win prizes for virtue. But even he draws the line at running off with his best friend’s bride. All he’s trying to do is recapture the slightly inebriated Lady Olympia Hightower and return her to her intended bridegroom.

For reasons that elude her, bookish, bespectacled Olympia is supposed to marry a gorgeous rake of a duke. The ton is flabbergasted. Her family’s ecstatic. And Olympia? She’s climbing out of a window, bent on a getaway. But tall, dark, and exasperating Ripley is hot on her trail, determined to bring her back to his friend. For once, the world-famous hellion is trying to do the honorable thing.

So why does Olympia have to make it so deliciously difficult for him . . . ?

Get ready for a novel that ends as adorable as the beginning is rascally. I know this book is a romance but the tone, pace, dialogue and descriptions all inspired joy, smiles, happy anticipation and delighted laughter. This has to be one of the most upbeat romances I’ve read in a long time. It’s fun with a capital F.

Usually the groom is the no show at a wedding but in A Duke in Shining Armor it’s the heroine who does the fleeing and her madcap dash for freedom is witnessed and then abetted by the hero, the Duke of Ripley. Of course, he’s just there to make sure she’s safe until she changes her mind and goes back to his best friend to get married. He’s sure she’s going to change her mind, isn’t she? Okay, not this time but she will, right? What follows is a charming and hilarious adventure as Lady Olympia runs from what she knows she should do, what she always does because she’s so proper, and ends up learning more about herself in a few days than she’s ever learned in all the years before. It’s shocking! It’s eye-opening and I never knew what pickle she’d get into next. Olympia is a riot.

Ripley, though his aunt calls him Hugh, was a thoroughly wonderful hero. Seeing him slowly discovering the wonder that is Olympia has high entertainment value and I was charmed. At first he was noble, then tempted; he fights the temptation and then comes the ‘kiss’. It’s at that point he opened the Pandora’s Box called Lady Olympia Hightower and the book turned sensual, seductive and very romantic. A Duke in Shining Armor shifted into high gear and became a novel I could not put down. I can’t even begin to tell you all the things the poor hero had to deal with in trying to keep up with the heroine.

The only thing that made me roll my eyes is Ashmont. He really needs a wakeup call and a boot in his derrière because he was so weak! He and Blackwood were secondary characters and Ripley’s best buds, but Ashmont is the one who created the impetus for the entire conflict. Of course, he is the perfect character to get his story next because Ashmont’s uncle thinks a lady like Olympia is perfect for him. I almost (pinches fingers) feel sorry for the guy when Ms. Chase pairs him with a lady who’s more than a match for him. That is one book I DON’T want to miss!! In any event, he and Blackwood set off on the adventure of ‘retrieving his bride’. Here’s the thing, he came across as … still a boy. By the time this novel wraps up, I got the sense that Ashmont is finally getting a clue.

I adored how the author had Ripley and Olympia play. The hero is imaginative and full of fun and he helps the heroine see she’s capable of being spontaneous and silly and the sky wouldn’t fall. I enjoyed his yearning for her but beating himself up because he shouldn’t. I mean, he IS the best friend of the intended groom. That was a great conflict and I liked how Ms. Chase handled it.

There is so much I want to say, I’m having a hard time trying to rein myself in. A Duke in Shining Armor is refreshing, amusing, well written and a lot more labels I could tack on. I think the happy ever after ending is perfect. It’s just a great read and I loudly say, Don’t Miss This Book!

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