Friday, July 10, 2015

Dancing in the Duke’s Arms Anthology
by Grace Burrowes Carolyn Jewel
Shana Galen Miranda Neville

Publisher & Release Date: Night Shift Publishing, January 9, 2012  

Time and setting: Early 19th Century, London, England

Genre: Historical Regency Romance

Length: 236 pages

Heat Level: 1 Scorching Hot Flame

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Book Description:

Why Do Dukes Fall in Love? 
Every summer the cream of society gathers at the Dukeries, named for the ducal estates concentrated in one small corner of Nottinghamshire. While the entertainments include parties, balls, and a famous boat race, the ducal hosts and their guests find heartbreak, love and happy endings. 
Four heartwarming stories from four bestselling historical romance authors. 

MAY I HAVE THIS DUKE? by Grace Burrowes 
The trouble with Houseparties. . . 
Gerard Hammersley, Duke of Hardcastle, is dragooned by an old friend into attending a house party, though Hardcastle refuses to fall prey to the matchmakers who relish such gatherings. He recruits his nephew’s prim, prickly governess, Miss Ellen MacHugh, to preserve him from being compromised by the conniving debutantes, and offers in exchange to deflect the drunken viscounts who plague Ellen. 

. . . Is that they must end. 
Ellen agrees to Hardcastle’s scheme for two reasons. First, she’s been attracted to His Grace since the day she laid eyes on him, and knows that behind Hardcastle’s lack of charm lies a ferociously loyal and faithful heart. Second, she’s departing from Hardcastle’s household at the conclusion of the house party, and two weeks safeguarding His Grace’s bachelorhood is as much pleasure—and as much torment—as she can endure before she leaves him. 

DUCHESS OF SCANDAL by Miranda Neville 
Too Many Scandals 
After months of marriage, the Duke of Linton agreed to live apart from his wife. Thrown together due to a scheduling error, Linton finds Althea still has the power to make his heart race. Linton seems different from the critical, indifferent man Althea married. But though she burns for him as a lover, can she trust him to be the husband she needs? 

There’s no such thing as the perfect hero… 
Nathan Cauley, tenth Duke of Wyndover, is so handsome ladies swoon—literally swoon. His blond hair and blue eyes certainly draw attention at the Duke of Sedgemere’s house party, but Nathan doesn’t want a fawning young miss for his duchess. He stumbles upon a bedraggled woman sleeping under Sedgemere’s bridge, and his protective instincts stir. When he recognizes her as the princess he fell in love with eight years before, he’s determined to win not only her affections but her heart. 

Or is there? 
After revolutionaries massacre Princess Vivienne’s family, she and the head of her guard flee to England. Before they can reach London to beg asylum, assassins kill the last of her defenders. Vivienne is alone and on the run when the Duke of Wyndover comes to her rescue. She barely remembers meeting him years before, and isn’t comfortable with gentlemen who are more attractive than she is. Nathan is more than a pretty face, though, and when the assassins return, he might just prove to be the duke Vivienne has been waiting for. 

The Duke of Stoke Teversault has well earned his reputation for bloodless calculation. Indeed, recently widowed Georgina Lark has no idea he’s loved her since before her late husband swept her off her feet. Stoke Teversault means to keep it that way. The cold and forbidding duke and the blithe and open Georgina could not be less suited in any capacity. And yet, when Georgina and her sister arrive at his home, his ice-bound heart may melt away. 

Georgina Lark has never thought of thought of the Duke of Stoke Teversault as a man capable of inducing passion in anyone. He’s long disapproved of her, but she will be forever grateful to him for his assistance after her husband died. It’s been a year since she’s realized he’s not the man she thought. Can she find a way to convince him to open his heart to her?
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Vikki’s Musings

Having read books by three of the authors, I anxiously looked forward to reading this anthology. When one of the authors approached me and asked if I would like to read it for an honest review, I agreed immediately. Each novella is a delightful look at my favorite period of history. Regency romance is my first choice of a read, and I was not disappointed in this charming book.

I loved how each story is connected by the Dukeries house party. While I loved all four stories, my favorite was Duchess of Scandal by Miranda Neville. I always enjoy a romance where the couple is estranged and has a second chance to fall in love again. For a novella, the characters are very well-developed, and I loved both of them, even though they both have flaws. Of course, flaws are good because they make the story more believable.

Shana Galen’s story, of course, has plenty of action and suspense. That is something I love about Ms. Galen’s books. I can always count on a tale rich in intrigue and a great love story expertly woven to bring me a great deal of reading enjoyment.

Grace Burrowes is known for intricate relationships intertwined with the mundane tasks of life told in such a way that it pulls me in and has me totally wrapped up in the characters.  I always enjoy character-driven tales, and Ms. Burrowes excels at them, and May I Have this Duke fits this pattern perfectly.

Carolyn Jewel is new to me, and I thoroughly enjoyed her sweet romance between the Duke of Stove Taversault and the entrancing Georgina, fondly called George by her close friends. Georgina’s character touched my heart, and her antics had me laughing out loud. I love her complete joy of life. She is just what the austere duke, who never had a chance to play. I will definitely be looking for other books by Ms. Jewel.

Each story is long enough to have a developed plotline and fully fleshed characters, yet short enough to read in a single sitting. If you enjoy slightly sensual Regency romances, then you will love Dancing in the Duke’s Arms. Happy reading!      

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