Monday, June 29, 2015

Dancing in the Duke's Arms~~Grace Burrowes, Shana Galen, Miranda Neville, Carolyn Jewel

Dancing in the Duke's Arms

Gerard Hammersley, the Duke of Hardcastle the hero of May I Have This Duke? is one of my favorite Grace Burrowes characters. At first glance, Hardcastle is a typical Duke; challenging, arrogant and managing. What makes him special? He has a soft place in his heart for his nephew and he is more than a little bit in like with Ellen MacHugh, his nephew's governess. The Duke is feeling pressure from his friends and relatives. His Grandmother is insisting that he find a suitable wife. Ellen has given her notice which has upset his routine and made him uneasy. And to make things worse, Hardcastle’s best friend , the Duke of Sedgemere, has invited him, his nephew and Ellen MacHugh to a two -week house party. Ellen is asked to attend the house party as a guest and Hardcastle’s reaction is fabulous--he requests or rather demands that Ellen and he pretend that they are interested in each other. Loved, loved these two main characters their passionate romance. And the ending of the story was fabulous--it brought tears to my eyes! Just perfect!

I read author Shana Galen's Waiting For A Duke Like You in one sitting. The unlikely romance between the handsome Nathan Cauley, the Duke of Wyndover and the indifferent Princess Vivienne held my attention. I loved that the two main characters are a different from most regency novels. Nathan is the beautiful, handsome Duke who longs for a duchess who will love him; not just his handsome face. Princess Vivienne is a fascinating character. She is a survivor and very politically astute and trusts no one. This fast paced opposites attracts story is extraordinary! Fans of Shana Galen will love the elements of suspense and humor she has infused into this passionate and adventure filled story! Loved, loved the ending and the epilogue is marvelous!

A scheduling error has created a problem for Bentinck Travers, the Duke Linton and Althea, his  wife in Miranda Neville's Duchess of Scandal. The couple who have been separated for five years are forced to spend time together at the Duke’s country estate. Second chance at romance novels are my favorite genre and Althea and Bentinck's story appealed to me and drew me into the story immediately.  I wondered if the couple could get past their past mistakes and misconceptions of each other and make their marriage whole. Loved the piano duet scene where Linton notices that his wife has matured and Althea silently reveals her true feelings for her reserved Duke. Another stand out scene was the cleverly written card game scene where Nigel, Nick, Linton and Althea play whist. Several of the characters true feelings and motivations were revealed in this scene. Loved the novel's noble and  reserved hero and his appealing Duchess, the minor characters of Althea's brother Nick and Nigel Speck and all of the events leading up to the Dukeries Cup race. Enjoyed reading every word in this novella and the ending was awesome!

Carolyn Jewel's An Unsuitable Duchess is a wonderful story which blends the opposites attract and second chance at romance themes. Stoke Teversault, the Duke of Teversault has a reputation for being shrewd and calculating. Stoke was attracted to vivacious Georgina "George' Lark several years ago. He hesitated and missed his chance as George married a friend. George , now widowed, and  her sister are staying at Stoke's home for two weeks to attend the Dukeries Cup race and ball. 

It took me three evenings to read  this passionate story. Teversault is very attracted to George and needed to come to terms with his feelings for her before deciding to pursue her. Loved the scavenger hunt scene when Stoke finds a copy of the scavenger hunt map,  outwits the rest of the group and finds and hides the fact that he has found the golden apple that George has offered as a prize. George explains why she offered the golden apple as the gift and Stoke's reaction is priceless. I wondered if these two very different people could find happiness with each other. Enjoyed the many scenes with Stoke, George, William and Kitty--great dialogue and insight to the characters and their motivations. There were several surprises along the way as the story reached it's conclusion --- and the ending was wonderful!
In my opinion, each  author was true to their own writing style within the anthology format. What stands out the most to me is that each author contributed an original story written for this anthology and that there was continuity within each of the four novellas. Dancing in the Duke's Arms is a true collaboration. Characters appeared throughout each of the stories and there was a common setting and theme which added to the feel of the stories. 

I enjoyed each story in this anthology and am looking forward to their next collaboration Christmas in Duke Street due out in October, 2015!

Reviewed By Susan Gorman
Anthology purchased at Amazon by Susan Gorman.


  1. This sounds like a delight collection of stories. I need to get reading faster than I am piling them on my to read list...sigh! Thank You for the great review Sue!


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