Sunday, July 19, 2015

Review | The Duke Can Go To The Devil by Erin Knightley

Erin Knightley's new novel The Duke Can Go To The Devil is fabulous!! I have been patiently waiting to read May's story --- and I loved, loved it!!

Mei-Li "May " Bradford visited many countries including China, India , Thailand and Java when she sailed with her sea captain father and mother. May's mother died and her father arranged for May to live with his sister Lady Victoria Stanwix in Bath, England until he is able to return home. May refers to her very proper aunt as 'The Warden" and feels smothered by all of her aunt's rules and edicts. May meets Charity Effington and Sophie Wembley at a music audition for the Bath Summer Serenade. They join forces and enter the musicale as a trio. Charity, Sophie and May become friends and lend support to each other as the summer festival progresses. Although their music is very different; it is well received.

Thirty- year old William Spencer, the Duke of Radcliffe is England's most eligible bachelor. He is also the patron of the Bath Summer Serenade musical festival. Radcliffe notices May as she steps on stage to perform with Sophie and Charity. He is intrigued by her until he hears the sound of her musical instrument. The twanging sounds from May's guzheng annoy Radcliffe. He believes that May is purposely ruining a traditional piece by playing with the ensemble.

'What is it about you, William Spencer?" her voice was low and the slightest bit breathy.

 No one called him that. He was always Duke, or Radcliffe, or even William to a very select few. But no one ever said his whole name, without the title that had defined him for so long. 

 'What do you mean?"

But he heard a hint of longing in her voice. It was the same way he felt about her. Equal parts exasperation and desire. Knowing they were all wrong for each other, but having such a powerful attraction, it was hard to be rational about it. She was strong and independent, two things he'd never looked for in a woman, but even as those were the things that drove him mad at times, they also impressed him. She could hold her own, and he had to admire that.

Erin Knightley has crafted an excellent enemies to lovers story. The book's cover hints at the story as it depicts our well- dressed, not a hair out of place, dignified hero and our free -spirited, slightly daring, smiling heroine. The scenes which feature the back and forth banter between William and May are superbly written and contain the correct amount of passion and desire. The couple truly can not reach common ground, they annoy each other but, they can't stay away from each other either. Is it passion? Lust? Desire??

The romance builds as May visits William at his country estate. William sees how caring May is as he watches her playing with his younger brother and sister. He observes  May as she listens to his sister and brother and is surprised and charmed by her actions. Even though May annoys him, teases him and verbally spars with him--he is captivated by her. The build up to the couple's first kiss is perfect. The author made the reader want to see these two give in to their feelings and experience their first kiss.

Kudos to author Erin Knightley for creating an original series.  The Prelude to A Kiss series is set in Bath and features a series of  musical  programs. Each story within the series has characters which are multi-faceted and well  defined.  As a reader, it's refreshing to read a novel filled with interesting characters with different interests. I enjoyed reading The Duke Can Go To The Devil because  the characters were original and you know...opposites attract! William feels May is a scandal waiting to happen.  May helped William see there was more to life than duty and that his duties do not have to define him. Her actions showed him the importance of family.

The ending of this novel was superb and had a few twists and turns. William and May have many obstacles to overcome.  Loved the epilogue which Charity, Sophie and May as it was heartwarming, perfectly written and made me cry.

Looking forward to the next book in the series The Viscount Risks It All which will be available in 2016.

Reviewed by Susan Gorman
Thank you Erin Knightley for the paperback copy of the book.

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