Last Night with the Duke by Amelia Grey
Publisher & Release: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, March 7, 2017
Time and setting: 1815, London
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency
Book Length: 304 pages
Heat Level: 1.5 Flames
Rating: 3.75 Gold Crowns
The Duke of Griffin has never lived down his reputation as one of the Rakes of St. James. Now rumors are swirling around London that his twin sisters may bear the brunt of his past follies. Hiring a competent chaperone is the only thing Griffin has on his mind--until he meets the lovely and intriguing Miss Esmeralda Swift. In ways he could never have expected, she arouses more than just his curiosity.
Esmeralda Swift considered herself too sensible to ever fall for a scoundrel, but that was before she met the irresistibly seductive Duke of Griffin. His employment offer proves too tempting for her to resist. She can’t afford to be distracted by his devilish charms because the stakes are so high for his sisters’ debut Season. . .unless one of London’s most notorious rakes has had a change of heart and is ready to make Esmeralda his bride in Last Night with the Duke, the first novel in the brand-new Regency Rakes of St. James series by New York Times bestselling author Amelia Grey.
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Last Night with the Duke is book 1 in Amelia Grey’s new series, The Rakes of St. James. I received an invitation from the publisher via Net-Galley to read and review. The book description sounded enticing, so I accepted.
This novel is a sweet story, one that put a smile on my face. The pacing is steady and so the story moved along well. The characters are very likable, especially Josephine and her little dog Napoleon. My heart ached for the child at times. She had a difficult time, and the little dog helps her heal from losing her beloved father.
Esmeralda Swift has a lot to contend with, between keeping her twelve-year-old sister safe, a roof over their heads and her business running smoothly while earning their livelihood. When the Duke of Griffin comes to her agency to hire a chaperone to square his twin sisters around society, she is excited until he tells her he wants her to personally do it. How can she keep her business running if she accepts his financially adventitious offer?
The Duke does not take no for an answer. When he sees something he wants, he pursues it relentlessly. Esmeralda is perfect for his sisters, so he gives her an offer she cannot refuse, even when she makes a few outrageous demands of her own, thinking to discourage him.
Now that he has her ensconced in his home, he needs to keep her at arm’s length. After all, he is a gentleman and must not dally with an employee, no matter how tempting. Can he keep his desires in check for the delightful Miss Swift, or will he crumble beneath the overwhelming attraction for her?
Esmeralda is an endearing heroine with many redeeming characteristics. She is loyal to her sister, determined to protect her charges from rakes and ner-do-wells while holding the charming duke at bay. Her attraction to him is fierce, but her integrity keeps her from giving into her desire. I loved the tender care she shows for her mischievous little sister. For me, that part of the story was the most enjoyable.
Griffin is a great hero, a reformed rake, trying to do right by his irascible twin sisters and his elderly great-aunt. I enjoyed his struggle to rein in the amazing attraction for Esmeralda when all he wanted to do was bind her to him. I enjoyed to camaraderie he has with his two friends as well.
Now, what did not work for me. The romance was not the true central focus of this novel. While there is chemistry between Griffin and Esmeralda, it takes too long to heat up. They don’t even kiss until around 67% of the story. For me, I would have liked more stolen kisses between the hero and heroine much sooner in the story.
If you enjoy traditional Regency romance with endearing characters and a sweet storyline with several enchanting moments, then you will enjoy Last Night with the Duke. If like heat with your romance, then this might not be the book for you. Nonetheless, I did enjoy many aspects of this story and will probably read the next book. Happy reading!