What the Duke Desires by Sabrina Jeffries

DUKE
What the Duke Desires by Sabrina Jeffries
Publisher: Pocket Books/ Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (384 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

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 . . .

If a book can be chosen to be read on only the strength of the prologue, then I’d vote for What the Duke Desires. The premise of the external conflict that taunts and flavors most of the book is found right there. The familial ties and the reasons they are so strong are present in bold clarity. The actions that occur in that short chapter drive the main protagonists into the lives they eventually live. And despite the horror of the beginning, triumph, happiness and justice eventually prevail. The question was, ‘how?’. The story that followed was nothing short of spectacular and all my questions were answered.

Ms. Jeffries knows how to create a villain. I didn’t like him one whit. The author also knows how to create a mystery whose solving ends up introducing surprises, twists and an unexpected boon. Sometimes I knew things the characters didn’t and sometimes they knew things that the author only revealed to me when she wanted to. I never guessed who was who and who he ended up being was still pretty darned cool. Am I being ambiguous? If I had to read through the whole thing to find out the truth, so will a reader have to. It’s worth it.

Plots that go awry make me smile. Lisette’s great idea ended up not so wonderful in actual practice, but it sure started in motion a unique and fascinating romance. It took me on a grand journey filled with adventures and revelations. Each step of the way showcased the strengths and weaknesses of both Max, the hero, and Lisette, the irrepressible heroine.

The internal dialogue of both Lisette and Max was oftentimes enlightening but many times humorous. I had fun watching the heroine fall under the charms of the hero. Neither one set out to seduce or be seduced but that’s what happens. It was great entertainment.

A secondary character played an integral part of moving the conflict and the romance along. It was amazing to see the spurt of jealousy that tore through Max. Equally amusing was when he actually met the guy. I really liked the fact that this character is based on an actual historical figure. It leant a certain firmness and believability to the tale.

Emotions were very much present in this novel. The lead characters had theirs trampled, lifted, dashed and healed. Every time something momentous happened, I felt right along with them. That is high praise and due to the effective writing skills of Ms. Jeffries. The dialogue was great and the romance was perfect. Well, perfect that it ended with a happy ever after. The journey was far from perfect while the hero and heroine learned about each other. The ramifications of the truths they discovered had them saying hurtful things. That’s only human and the best part is the making up. I liked that. But there is more to a happy ever after then just the romance portion. Something else happened to Max, and it made it a bittersweet kind of happy. It was healing and hopeful. I was very pleased.

What the Duke Desires is a passion-filled adventure that has humor, action, and devious storytelling. This is a busy book with a lot of intrigue and surprises to keep the pages flipping. I enjoyed the moments of wit and fun intermixed with the more serious aspects of solving the mystery. I’m most especially happy for Max because he’s finally finding peace with his role as duke. And it’s all thanks to a crazy plot from an unusual heroine, Lisette. I wonder if Tristan’s story is going to be next. If so, it’s going to be another auto-buy because in this story, he seemed synonymous with the word, trouble. How can I resist a potential hero like that?

Comments

  1. Barbara Rasmussen says:

    This is the first of a series of 4 books. It was intriguing and introduced the main characters that will be featured in the next 3 books. A good story on it’s own, it also makes you anxious to read the next books. Hopefully, the villian will get his comeuppance by book 4. A definite 5 star book that was difficult to put down.

Speak Your Mind

*