Polite Society doesn't take Lady Anne Adamson seriously. However, Anne isn't just another pretty young miss. When she discovers her father betrayed her mother's love and her family descended into poverty, Anne comes up with a plan to marry a respectable, powerful, and honorable gentleman - a man nothing like her philandering father.
Armed with the Heart of a Duke pendant, fabled to land the wearer a duke's heart, she decides to enlist the aid of the notorious Harry, Sixth Earl of Stanhope. A scoundrel with a scandalous past, he is the last gentleman she'd ever wed... however, his reputation marks him the perfect man to school her in the art of seduction so she might ensnare the illustrious Duke of Crawford.
Harry, the Earl of Stanhope, is a jaded, cynical rogue who lives for his own pleasures. Having been thrown over by the only woman he ever loved so she could wed a duke, he's not at all surprised when Lady Anne approaches him with her scheme to capture another duke's affection. He's come to appreciate that all women are in fact greedy, title-grasping, self-indulgent creatures. And with Anne's history of grating on his every last nerve, she is the last woman he'd ever agree to school in the art of seduction. Only his friendship with the lady's sister compels him to help.
What begins as a pretend courtship, born of lessons on seduction, becomes something more, leaving Anne to decide if she can give her heart to a reckless rogue, and Harry must decide if he's willing to again trust in a lady's love.
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A Good Story
I enjoyed this book & am a huge fan of Tim Campbell...he could read the phone book & I would listen! This was a really good book to listen to & I enjoyed the story....the ending dragged on a little more than I like, Harry is smarter than that! Basically a good book I would recommend
A good followup for the most part...
I was eagerly awaiting the sequel to For the Love of the Duke and within 5 minutes, I immediately knew that Christi Caldwell had done it again--later realized I was somewhat correct. I absolutely loved Anne and Harry from the very beginning. These two had so many pre-conceived notions about each other, quiet frankly, they didn't like each other... or so they thought. This is still a very good book but I felt that the conflict/angst factor went on too long.
Quick background. Harry was in the first book of the series. He tried to seduce Anne's sister Katherine but instead they became friends. Anne and Harry disliked each other with a passion. Harry thought that Anne was an airhead (simply put in modern day terms) with a sharp tongue. Someone who made impulsive bad decisions and never learned from her mistakes. Anne assumed he was a rogue who didn't have the ability to care, a man who lived to seduce wantons, widows and most infuriatingly, her twin sister. Then they spend more time together and begin to see each other in a different light. There were a lot of tender moments between these two as we see them slowly realize that they had been wrong about each other.
I smiled for a good chunk of the book. I loved the chemistry between these two. There were a lot sexually charged scenes but the sex scenes were pretty scarce but it wasn't a problem for me. Then 6 1/2 - 7 hours in and things went down hill. I hoped it wouldn't be drawn out. Anne confesses her love pretty early and I liked that. She accepted that Harry wasn't there yet but had hope that he would grow to love her. Truly, he showed signs of caring if not loving her. I thought that things were on the up and up.
Then the heroine finds herself in a compromising position and Harry offers to marry her but suddenly, she can no longer accept that he's not in love with her and flat out refuses him. She assumes that he only wants to marry her to save her reputation. Her greatest fear is that he will be resentful and regret his sacrifice. I will allow that her mother put a lot of garbage in her head and I will also allow Harry totally bungled things up when he attempted to explain himself but I expected Anne to "SEE" Harry's feelings as she did with the spectacles.
She doesn't see. She assumed that she knew his feelings and acted, like the rash Anne everyone knew her to be. She concocted a ridiculous idea to 'save' Harry from the marriage by doing something so despicable and heartless, I couldn't forgive it. She took his past hurt and fears and used it as a weapon. I felt devastated for Harry. Anne was miserable too but she'd made the sacrifice so that Harry could pursue what she THOUGHT he wanted so I had little sympathy for her. Then in a turn of even more ridiculousness, Harry blames himself for the way that ANNE treated him, say what? My sigh shook the rafters at this point.
Of course it always works out in the end so I won't get into the HEA. I was disappointed in Ms. Caldwell as she is a great writer and unique IMO. I felt that she could have created a better ending, not the usual historical romance cliche(s) of self-sacrifice, assumptions, longing and angst. You know, woman goes into relationship or partnership in this case with NO expectation of love > falls in love > hero wants to marry her for one reason or another > heroine flat out refuses because he doesn't love her. Another one of those sighs.
Even still I'm rating this book a 4. The first 6/12 - 7 hours were that good. If the angst fest hadn't gone on so long, this would easily be a 5 star read. The writing and characters were great, the buildup to the climax was too drawn out so 4 stars it is. 4 stars for Tim Campbell's narration. He wasn't bad, better than I've remembered him in the past. He does male voices better of course but held his own with female voices too.
Despite my criticisms, I know that the angst is part of the HR genre but sometimes you can't help but want something different. Bottom line, you will like this book, perhaps the drawn out self-sacrificing portions won't get under your skin as it did mine. I still highly recommend it--especially if you read the first book of the series. Chrisi Caldwell is easily becoming a go to author for me.
- The Duchess