Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Duke Diaries by Sophia Nash


Available February 26th.

The latest duke to be undone by drink in Sophia Nash’s Royal Entourage series is also the newest, titled for services rendered to the Crown. Caught in bed with his archenemy’s still-innocent sister the morning after the most outrageous bachelor party of the century, Rory Lennox, the Duke of Abshire, knows his goose is cooked. To make amends he enters into an engagement with her to hold society at bay, but tangles with his growing attraction for this fearless, plucky lady.

Verity Fitzroy is one of five plain sisters of the premier duke, Candover. And while she’s always been fascinated by Abshire, she has far too much pride to marry a gentleman against his will. She insists that she will break off the engagement at the end of the season, even if it renders her unmarriagable.

Meanwhile, a series of entries from a discovered diary begin appearing in a London paper. These entries detail the most scandalous, most shameful exploits of The Royal Entourage. With the French Revolution so fresh in the minds of the populace, these tales of excess could incite the country to a revolt. Speculation is that Abshire recorded his friends misdeeds, but Verity knows who the real culprit is, and the truth could destroy any hope of happiness she has with the duke. But when a series of mysterious accidents takes place, Abshire and Verity must each make peace with the past to discover a passionate love that will transform them forever.

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These past few months I’ve had the pleasure and the honor of being one of the current Avon Addicts, a group of women who spread the word and share our love of Avon Books and its incredibly talented authors. The thing I’ve most enjoyed about my time so far as an Addict – aside from having the chance to work with our lovely and fearless Avon Addict Leaders, Jessie Edwards, Caroline Perny, and Pamela Spengler-Jaffee – and also aside from having met some incredible women and fellow Addicts – has been being introduced to a world of amazing authors whose writing I’ve not yet had the opportunity to read, and such is the case with the very talented Sophia Nash.

The Duke Diaries is the third book in Ms. Nash’s Regency period Royal Entourage series. It’s at times light, and at other times moving. It's romantic, it’s sexy – an absolutely wonderful story!

For me to truly enjoy a book, certain things must happen... first and foremost I have to feel a connection to the characters, especially the hero and heroine, and I did. From the start I found Rory Lennox, the Duke of Abshire, and Verity Fitzroy, one of the sisters of Rory’s sworn enemy, to be such wonderful characters. They’re thoughtful, sensible, quirky, passionate, people who I couldn’t help but care for and, as the story progresses, fall in love with.

Another must is that the story has to be entertaining and keep in interested in a way that has me turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning because I can’t get enough. And yes, I got that, too. I understand this series is a historical twist on “The Hangover” which I had never heard of before, but whatever – for me, it’s a unique story that had me laughing, sighing, fanning myself, and hoping for an outcome that would work for everyone, most especially Rory and Verity.

Secondary characters who don’t feel secondary can be difficult to manage, but Ms. Nash pulled this off with flying colors, and this is yet another 'something' I hope to find in my reading. Let’s face it, the heroes and heroines aren’t often the only people on the pages. They need a strong supporting cast of friends and family, otherwise the story can feel a bit… thin. But toss in characters whose presence enhances the story – makes it richer – and I’m going to be happy, if not downright giddy!

And lastly, but most importantly, I need a love story I can believe in. Rory and Verity had to work for their happy ending, and I mean work hard. Through their trials and their triumphs, they earned it, they deserve it, and I know they treasure their future together.
I'm happy to tell you that The Duke Diaries gave me everything I crave, everything I hope for, and then some.

From a historical standpoint, the inclusion of “Prinny” and his demand that the men of his ‘royal entourage’ make restitution for their scandalous behavior – however hypocritical he might be – brought another entertaining layer to the story and had me Googling The Prince Regent to see just how excessive his excesses were. Other authors have used Prinny as a side character in their novels, but the way Ms. Nash brought him into the story… as I’m sitting here writing about it, I’m grinning yet again. I quite enjoyed his meddling and hope to see much of him in Ms. Nash's future stories.

Just a quick note for those who might be wondering; because the author did such a fantastic job of setting up this story, I had absolutely no problem reading it out of order. That said, the series premise is so fun, so entertaining, that I’ll most certainly be going back and reading the previous books, Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea and The Art of Duke Hunting, as well as all the books to come.

The bottom line: The Duke Diaries is a well told story of unwavering devotion. It's about faith and trust, honor and integrity, and falling in love despite the odds. It's about letting go of the past and looking forward to a future filled with happiness, adventure, and that once in a lifetime happily ever after.

Many, many thanks to Avon Books for providing me with a copy of The Duke Diaries in exchange for an honest review. I can’t tell you what a pleasure it’s been!

The Duke Diaries goes on sale February 26th. For more information on this story, please visit: Avon Books - The Duke Diaries by Sophia Nash

And while you’re there, take a look around. You’ll probably find that many of your favorite authors are Avon authors.

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