One of posts I'm planning to put up is my Monthly Reads post for March 2012. Almost all of the books have been reviewed! Still, to make it the post shorter, I figured it wouldn't hurt to feature one of the books I still haven't reviewed in this week's WEM :) So here you go, Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea by Sophia Nash. Enjoy!
Oh, I'm putting a poll up this week, so don't forget to vote for next week's mini-review! :) And I've also made a few changes to this week's mini-review format. Let me know what you think :)
published by Avon (Harpercollins Publisher) in February 2012
Six Regency heroes—One royal hangoverGenre: Historical romance
An infamous night has been lost to memory. The scandalous Dukes of the Royal Entourage must make amends. The first step is a heroic rescue.
One of England’s most disreputable peers, Alexander Barclay, Duke of Kress, has stumbled upon a perfect opportunity for redemption. Having been exiled to Cornwall by the Prince Regent himself, Barclay discovers lovely Roxanne Vanderhaven clinging to the edge of a cliff, stranded there by her murderous blackguard of a husband... just waiting to be rescued.
Back on solid ground, Roxanne is desperate for a new life— once she’s retaliated for her husband’s despicable actions. Surprisingly, she finds herself drawn to her unlikely champion, certainly the last man in England she could count on. Yet, the infamous Duke of Kress isn’t quite the scoundrel he seems...
Series: Royal Entourage series, Book #1
What do you need to know? Alexander Barclay, Duke of Kress, is half-English, half-French which is not a great thing when there was a war between the two countries. Indeed, when his familial home in France was besieged, he escaped with his younger brother and an elderly aunt to England... only to be turned down by his English family because nobody wanted to associate with Frenches... Therefore, to insure their survival, Alexander might have committed some treasonous acts... and now that he is a duke, but has lost the Prince Regent's favor, he cannot put a foot wrong. So after a night of extreme debauchery that has all of the dukes' reputations in tatters and the general public dissatisfied with them, when the Prince Regent tells Alexander to go to the country in Cornwall to take a look and put back together his family estate, organize a country party and choose a young and rich bride, Alexander really has no choice. The last thing he expected was to find a woman clinging to the edge of the cliff...
Roxanne Vanderhaven was left stranded, clinging to the edge of the cliff, by her husband, the Earl of Paxton. After an hour, when he did not return for her, Roxanne knew he left her to die.. and she is outraged as the past eight years, she has done everything to be an exemplary wife and made his life easy. The daughter of a businessman, Roxanne now understands that her husband married her for the dowry... but never would she imagine he'd want her dead! Now, she want to know why and she wants revenge. However, when her husband is found dead and Roxanne, very much alive, the situation becomes very complicated.
Why this book? I bought this book because Leslie enjoyed it so much and I was looking for something fun to read :)
What I liked? While the plot was a bit ridiculous, I thought the concept of the series and the idea of the book were fun and entertaining. I am very, very curious to see what is going to happen to the other Dukes LOL. And I wonder what really happened that night and if we'll ever have a complete pictures. Ultimately though, I would the strength of Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea was the characters and their interactions. I especially loved Meme - Alexander's elderly aunt - and Isabelle, the only Duchess in the Prince Regent's entourage. Their comments were sharp and witty and provided a lot of chuckles :) I also liked Roxanne's character quite a bit. First, it was admirable that she kept such a strong front after finding out that her husband wanted her dead. Second, I liked that she reflected on her marriage and the reality of it. That her husband didn't love her, that he married her for her dowry and everything he did to keep her from being herself. All in all, she was a very strong and confident heroine and I liked that. However, I have to say I was disappointed that she was made to believe she was frigid. Sigh, this is really becoming too common ^_^;
Any issues? The biggest issue I had and the reason for the grade is the lack of development. For example, I would have liked to know more about Alexander's background. For the first half of the book, I actually thought that Alexander's younger brother was dead!! But turns out he's happily married somewhere. That struck me as weird as well... Given their pasts, I would think the two brothers would be very close. I also would have liked for Roxanne's husband's motives to be explored in more details. Why did he really want her dead and why now? Was it simply because he was interested in another woman? That's what it seems to me, but what about the money? Seems dangerous to get rid of your wife is you don't know where the money is. All this made Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea a weaker read to me. Finally, I have to say the romance didn't totally work for me. I just found it tiresome that Alexander was looking at other "candidates" while developing feelings for Roxanne. I felt that with an different concept like this one, the romance should have more sparks.
Also, there was my pet peeve: the French. I actually was impressed that Ms Nash got most of it right :) However, when the sentences started getting longer, she ran into some trouble. There was especially a passage between Alexander and Meme. She asks him when did he get permission to address her so casually, "tutoyer," the problem is there was a mistake in the French in the text and therefore, he was still addressing her formally - "vouvoyer" ^_^; I keep saying it, but it's true: French is a hard language, so please, look for someone who can check it over. Still, this was a minor issue and with the amount of French there was in this book, it could have been worst, but it wasn't. So Ms Nash still gets some points for it :)
My Grade? C+. Overall, it was a fun book.. but unfortunately it didn't wow me like it did Leslie :( Like I said, I thought the concept of the series and the book itself was good and refreshing... I just wished the romance Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea had been as original and refreshing instead of falling into known tropes as it did.