Friday, April 24, 2015

What a Devilish Duke Desires by Vicky Dreiling

Published & Release Date: Hachette Book Group, February 24, 2015

Time and setting: 1822 London, England  

Genre: Historical Regency Romance

Length: 417 pages

Heat Level: 1.5 Scorching Hot Flames

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns


Harry Norcliffe never wanted to inherit his beloved uncle's title. The rigidity of the ton, the incessant reminders from his marriage-minded mama that he must settle down with a highborn lady and produce an heir and a spare: it's all such a dreadful bore. So when his mother asks him to take part in a dancing competition, he patently refuses. The last thing he needs is another chore . . . until a beautiful, brilliant, delightfully tempting maid makes him rethink his position.


Most women would be over the moon to be pursued by a wickedly handsome-not to mention wealthy-duke like Norcliffe. But Lucy will not be any man's trophy. She could use a friend, though, and what begins innocently soon ignites into desire. As Lucy tries to resist Harry's scorching kisses, he makes an utterly irresistible offer. Enter the dance contest with him, and win a prize that could change her life forever . . . if falling in love doesn't change it first.

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Vikki’s Musings

I have been a fan of Vicky Dreiling since I read her debut novel. Her books always have a unique twist to the plot. This one is a takeoff on Dancing with the Stars, a TV show that has become hugely popular in recent years. One thing I can count on with Ms. Dreiling’s books is that they are always witty and emotionally-charged. What a Devilish Duke Desires is definitely both.

Harry Norcliffe, the Duke of Grandfield is mourning the loss of his beloved uncle and lamenting the title he has inherited. His mother insists on introducing him to all the young misses on the marriage mart, pointing out to him that it is now his duty to marry well and produce an heir or two. When his mother concocts a scheme to hold a dancing competition at Almack’s, Harry flatly refuses.

Lucy Longmore works two jobs to keep a roof over her grandmother’s head. She is a seamstress most of the day and an assistant dance instructor to Mr. Buckley each afternoon for two hours. When the owner of the dress shop dismisses Lucy because she is no longer willing to allow her the time off to teach her dance classes, Lucy is heartsick, but at least Madame gives her a letter of character, something she lacked when she arrived in London six months before.

On his way home from dinner at his club, Harry hears a woman’s scream and sees a thief trying to steal her basket. He rushes forward while yelling for the thief to stop. The thief takes one look at Harry and dashes away. The woman is Lucy and this starts the wonderful love story between her and the charming Harry.

Lucy’s sweet character stole my heart from the first. Her willingness to take care of her blind grandmother, pulled at my heartstrings. I loved her determination to achieve her goal of owning a dance studio someday. While she is an innocent, she is a sensible young lady with a no nonsense personality. At times she is so sensible that it stands in her way, especially with Harry.

What I loved most about Harry’s character is, while he is very self-possessed with the dignity that befits a duke, he is still a kind-hearted man. His honor shines forth from the first page. I particularly liked the way he did not give in to his mother’s machinations. She tries repeatedly to catch Harry in her net, but he evades her every time, and lets her know that he sees past her ploys.

I found the romance between the couple very moving. The love they have for each other leaps off the page. Ms. Dreiling is a master at building sexual tension. Harry and Lucy do not make love until well into the story, but their kisses are so erotic, I did not even miss it. In fact, I think her timing of the love scene is impeccable.

I want to mention the narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed Elizabeth Jasicki’s narration. She has a very proper English voice that suits the characters in this story perfectly. She also does an excellent job with the dialect of several of the characters who lack refinement. She is a gifted storyteller, and I will look forward to listening to other books she narrates.

While at times, the plot became a bit unbelievable, what carries this story for me is the emotion that Ms. Dreiling is able to give her characters. There were times where tears filled my eyes. I became totally enmeshed with the characters, and I always love it when that happens.

If you enjoy a story that will have you rooting for the hero to win his fair lady, then What a Devilish Duke Desires will delight your fancy. The pacing is excellent and even though it is over four hundred pages, it is a very fast read. This is a story that will have you sighing for the hero and put a smile on your face when you read the last line. The ending is perfect. Happy reading!

Author Bio:

Vicky Dreiling is a confirmed historical romance junkie and Anglophile. Frequent business trips to the UK allowed her to indulge her passion for all things Regency England. Bath, Stonehenge, and Spencer House are among her favorite places. She is, however, truly sorry for accidentally setting off a security alarm in Windsor Castle. That unfortunate incident led her British colleagues to nickname her "Trouble."

When she's not writing, Vicky enjoys reading, films, concerts, and most of all, long lunches with friends. She holds degrees in English literature and marketing. A native Texan, she shares her home with her daughter and a spoiled mini-lop rabbit that lives in a slightly gnawed cardboard cottage.

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  1. I enjoyed your review, Vikki. I haven't read any of Vicky Dreiling's work -- always meaning to, but just haven't gotten there. I think listening to this one in audio is definitely a plus and good to hear that the narrated added to the story.

  2. Thanks! I believe this may very well be her best one.