by Loretta Chase
Series: Difficult Dukes #1
Published on November 28, 2017 by Avon
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Romance
Not all dukes are created equal. Most are upstanding members of Society. And then there’s the trio known as Their Dis-Graces.
Hugh Philemon Ancaster, seventh Duke of Ripley, will never win prizes for virtue. But even he draws the line at running off with his best friend’s bride. All he’s trying to do is recapture the slightly inebriated Lady Olympia Hightower and return her to her intended bridegroom.
For reasons that elude her, bookish, bespectacled Olympia is supposed to marry a gorgeous rake of a duke. The ton is flabbergasted. Her family’s ecstatic. And Olympia? She’s climbing out of a window, bent on a getaway. But tall, dark, and exasperating Ripley is hot on her trail, determined to bring her back to his friend. For once, the world-famous hellion is trying to do the honorable thing.
So why does Olympia have to make it so deliciously difficult for him . . . ?
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The first thought that comes to mind after finishing this book is. . . well, frankly it was a bit weird.
You know how sometimes series will read as standalones but certain characters appear throughout the series (well, this happens in romance a lot, at least)? That’s kind of how this book felt. Despite being the first in the series, this felt like a continuation of another story and it very well could be. This is the first I’ve read of Chase’s work so she might have had some of the characters featured in a previous series. But for this to be book 1, something was just missing.
It doesn’t help that it drew attention to the lead characters who were really getting on my nerves after the first 50 pages or so. Olympia was a walking contradiction, constantly going back and forth with the whole marriage thing. It grew tiresome when it became the main source of internal conflict for her. In general, she came off as flighty and highly indecisive and who knows what would have happened to her if Ripley hadn’t been there to keep her out of trouble.
Ripley wasn’t much better, lusting after his best friend’s bride (which became the main source of internal conflict for him). Which left the book as a back-and-forth between each character’s issues and did nothing for the plot. The whole wild goose chase they ended up going on felt forced just to give the other lords something to do and to ensure that Ripley and Olympia were alone together in various potentially compromising situations.
And that’s the plot in a nutshell. Repetitive internal conflicts and one giant hunt across the countryside. I’d be willing to pick up another book by this author but I don’t think I’ll be reading more of this series in particular.