Sunday, December 21, 2014

ARC Review: The Duke in My Bed (The Heirs' Club Trilogy, Book One) by Amelia Grey


Book Details:

The Duke in My Bed
Amelia Grey

Genre: Historical Romance

Tour Organizer: N K Author Services


About The Duke in My Bed:

From bestselling author Amelia Grey comes The Duke in My Bed, a wickedly romantic tale of one reckless bachelor, five unwed sisters, and a wildly unconventional game of love…

HERE COMES THE GROOM

As a notorious member of the Heirs’ Club, Bray Drakestone can’t resist a challenge from one of his well-heeled colleagues—especially when it involves money and horses. But the friendly wager takes an unexpected and deadly turn. Bray is forced to agree to marry one of his challenger’s five sisters—sight unseen. Now gamblers all over London are placing bets on whether Bray will actually go through with it…

THERE GOES THE BRIDE

Miss Louisa Prim, the eldest sister, doesn’t care a whit what the reckless rogue at the Heirs’ Club promised her brother—she has no intention of marrying the future Duke of Drakestone. Bray, however, sees her rejection as another challenge. He bets that the fiery Miss Prim will not only agree to marry him, she will propose to him! With four sisters behind her, Louisa knows she can’t lose. But why does her opponent have to be a divinely handsome scoundrel? And so sweetly, irresistibly seductive…

Sapphyria's Review:

After a foolish wager that leads to the death of a friend, Bray Drakestone finds himself betrothed to his friend's oldest sister.  His deathbed vow to his mortally wounded friend, Nathan, is heard by several witnesses and now his love life is the subject of several wagers all over London.  Bray has no intention of fulfilling his promise, but when Nathan's 5 sisters are turned over to him for complete guardianship some time later, and he has to confront them, he may have to change his tune.

Louisa hasn't been able to properly mourn the loss of her brother Nathan.  As oldest sister, Louisa has to stay strong for her four younger sisters.  Now that Gwen is of age, and the small family has returned to London to give Gwen a proper Season.  Louisa's interest in His Grace, Bray Drakestone is nil and her future plans do not include him in any aspect -- until he comes to her door as newly appointed guardian of the Sisters Prim.

  Louisa is strong willed, hard headed, and very much the protector of her 4 sisters.  She's endured a lifetime's amount of loss in her young age and has had to assume the responsibility of both mother and father to her sisters, even more so after her brother dies.  She hasn't the time for rakish dukes and the agreements they make to ease their consciences.  Louisa hasn't been given a proper Season so her experience around men is limited but there is just something about the duke that had her heart racing and her breathing hitched.  Bray can, and has, had any woman he wants in his bed.

Bray isn't looking for an instant family, in fact, he doesn't even want to make good on his word to marry Louisa....that is, until he actually meets her.  He's broken so many hearts that he has lost count.  He doesn't want a wife; he is content with trysts and wanton women and being in the presence of Miss Prim causes him to have Improper thoughts but only about her.

What ensues is a challenge of wits and games of the mind.  Both Louisa and Bray begin to feel things that neither has experienced before.  Both adamant that they aren't going to marry because of a vow made during a tragedy, their lives continue to intersect in ways that infuriate Louisa and amuse Bray.
The Duke in My Bed doesn't just focus on the bantering and sexual tension between Louisa and Bray, giving the book even more depth than it already has.  This historical novel also adds in the requirements of Gwen's Season and the hustle and bustle involved in preparing a young woman of proper age to be presented to the Ton as marriage material.  The wagers made on whether Bray will or won't marry Louisa don't just extend to the titled men in London; the Prince also gets involved.  His involvement, however, may destroy England and many guilt trips are laid at the feet of both Bray and Louisa.

What ever are Louisa and Bray to do?

The Duke in My Bed is a really great historical novel that is mostly clean.  There are references to things sexual in nature but it's not over the top.  I enjoyed the inflexibility of Louisa as she attempts to stand firm in her convictions in a time period where women are nothing more than possessions that provide heirs.  Propriety is expected only of the young ladies and women, yet the men can "do" whatever and whomever.  Louisa's hesitancy to become involved with Bray is understandable; his reputation isn't exactly stellar nor is it a secret.

As the story progresses, though, you see the only child in Bray evolve and embrace the idea of siblings.  His demeanor changes and his rakish actions lessen.  Bray begins to think like a guardian and protector of his new little brood.  There are, of course, the misunderstandings that change the course of the characters and it's entertaining to watch the outcomes and realizations unfold.

The absolute best part of this novel is that way the author is able to draw out the emotions of the characters in such a way that the reader feels them, as well.  This, in my opinion, it was separates the excellence from the so-so.  I want to be able to feel the anguish as if I'm the person upset; I want to cry if that's what the scene calls for; I want to laugh at the silliness of the antics that are written on the page.  The Duke in My Bed has several scenes that just take over and control my emotions and that, my friends, is what it's all about.  A book could have the perfect plot, excellent characters, and a great story but if it doesn't pull me in, keep me engaged, and run me through a gauntlet of emotions then all that greatness is wasted.  Fortunately, this novel has a fantastic plot, excellent characters, a great story, and is full of superbly written scenes with emotional content and believability.

Amelia Grey's first book in The Heirs' Club Trilogy does everything it's supposed to do and more.  What an excellent introduction to her new series!!  I can't wait for Book 2.

ARC paperback review copy courtesy of the author/publisher, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review.

Sapphyria's Rating:


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About the Author:


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Amelia Grey read her first romance book when she was thirteen. She’s been a devoted reader of love stories ever since. 

Amelia has been happily married to her high school sweetheart for over thirty-five years and she lives on the beautiful gulf coast of Northwest Florida.

With more than twenty-five books published, she is a two-time winner of the prestigious Booksellers Best Award. She’s also won the Aspen Gold, and the Golden Quill Awards. Writing as Gloria Dale Skinner, she won the coveted Romantic Times Award for Love and Laughter and the Maggie Award. Amelia’s books have been published in Europe, Indonesia, Turkey, Russia, and Japan.

Several of her books have been featured in Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Clubs.

You can follow Amelia on Facebook at or email her at AmeliaGrey@comcast.net to be added to her newsletter and contest list.

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