Monday, September 7, 2015

For Love of the Duke by Christi Caldwell
(The Heart of a Duke series, Book 1)

Publisher & Release Date: Self-published, October 9, 2014

Time and setting: 1814-1815, London

Genre: Historical Regency Romance

Length: 309 pages

Heat Level: 1 Scorching Hot Flame

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description:

After the tragic death of his wife, Jasper, the 8th Duke of Bainbridge buried himself away in the dark cold walls of his home, Castle Blackwood. When he’s coaxed out of his self-imposed exile to attend the amusements of the Frost Fair, his life is irrevocably changed by his fateful meeting with Lady Katherine Adamson. 

With her tight brown ringlets and silly white-ruffled gowns, Lady Katherine Adamson has found her dance card empty for two Seasons. After her father’s passing, Katherine learned the unreliability of men, and is determined to depend on no one, except herself. Until she meets Jasper… 

In a desperate bid to avoid a match arranged by her family, Katherine makes the Duke of Bainbridge a shocking proposition—one that he accepts. 

Only, as Katherine begins to love Jasper, she finds the arrangement agreed upon is not enough. And Jasper is left to decide if protecting his heart is more important than fighting for Katherine’s love. 

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Vikki’s Musings

I read this series of books backwards, but loved them nonetheless. For Love of the Duke is the first book in the Heart of a Duke series, and a truly enjoyable read from the first page to the last. I’m so glad I found Christi Caldwell’s books!

Lady Katherine Adamson greatly fears being near or on the water. She almost drowned as a young child. When her sister drags her to the Frost Fair and convinces her the ice is safe, she reluctantly agrees to wander through the booths on the Thames.

Jasper, the Duke of Bainbridge allows his good friend to convince him to attend the Frost Fair where he nearly runs a young miss down and later has to rescue when she falls through the ice. With a heart frozen solid, ever since his wife and child dies almost four years before, the last thing he wants is to find himself attracted to the brown-haired beauty he saves.

When Lady Katherine asks him to marry her to save her from a marriage with her dreadful cousin, he agrees, but insists that it will be a marriage of convenience. Can the feisty lady break through his barriers, or will Jasper remain in the past, afraid to drop his guard?

This book is fast-paced and very well-written. It swept me up in the glittering world of dukes and duchesses and lords and ladies in the regency period, a time that I love. The plot is easy to follow and the characters are unforgettable.

Katherine’s character is so endearing. I just wanted to reach into the book and hug her, especially as she learns to deal with her tortured duke. I loved her interactions with her sisters and her kindness to her servants. Katherine is a true lady inside and out. She is feminine, yet has a strong backbone and refuses to bow under defeat.

Jasper is my favorite kind of hero. He is tortured and believes he does not have any piece of his heart left to give. When he lost his first duchess and son to childbirth, he withdrew from the world. Thank goodness his good friend talked him into coming to London and attending the Frost Fair, so he had the chance to save Lady Katherine. She was just what he needed to bring him back from the depths of despair, showing him he could open his heart and let her in.

I highly recommend For Love of the Duke. If you love the regency period and adore a love story where the heroine has to fight to win her hero, then you will love this book as much as I did. While I read these books out of order, I do not suggest reading them that way, even though each book is standalone. Happy reading!

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