Author: Sabrina Jeffries
Original Title: What The Duke Desires
Release Year: 2013
Literary Genre: Romance
Setting: England and France, regency
Series: 1° of Duke's Men series
I adore Sabrina Jeffries, she's really good, her style is distinguishable and lively; her stories are not that predictable or ordinary (and considering the genre is definitely a good thing). The pirate lord, The forbidden lord and A lady never surrenders are splendid and this romance, the first of the Duke's Men series (which by the way looks rather promising), is as good as them.
Tristan and Lisette Bonnaud are the Viscount Rathmoor's illegitimate sons, born from the union with his mistress, the french actress Claudine; the Viscount has always loved his bastard children as much as the legitimate ones and is her mistress his true love.
After the Viscount's wife death (with whom he has two other sons: the heir and sly George and the good and kind Dominick), he tells Claudine that they will marry so that Tristan, Lisette and herself can be seen as respectable people. Unfortunately Rathmoor won't honour his promise, always finding excuses for his lack; when he finally dies because of a tragic accident, George, who deeply hates his step-brothers, has now the chance to ruin their lives: he banishes the three Bonnauds and accuses Tristan of horse theft; Dominick, who instead always loved his step-brothers, defends them and because of that the new Viscount banishes and disinherit him too, forcing him to leave his studies.
TWELVE YEARS LATER:Claudine and her two children, soon after Rathmoor's death, came back to France; Tristan was forced to run away from England, where the charge still stands, and now he works for the french national police, the Sureté, where also Lisette has been employed, becoming the agency chief's (Mr. Vidcoq, really existed) favourite and that permits her to cultivate her passion for investigation.
After their mother's death, Tristan decides to send Lisette back to England, where she is happily welcomed by her step-brother Dominick, who in the meantime has founded a private investigation agency; Lisette takes the opportunity and starts working with him but both her overprotective brothers only permit her little sister to work in the office, considering the rest too dangerous and her still too inexperienced.
One early morning, while Dominick is traveling to Scotland, Lisette receives a sudden visit from the Duke of Lyons, who with a threatening behaviour asks to see her brother Tristan, accusing him to be a liar; he soon realises that the girl won't be frighten by his threats and on the contrary she seems stubborn in her attempts to wittily deflect his urgent questions about where her brothers are; the unespected result is that her behaviour affects and fascinates him immensely.
Lisette is herself worried about Tristan, she hasn't received any letter from him for some time and so she decides to offer her help to find him. Maximilian, who is initially reticent to accept her offer, finally agrees to collaborate: only Lisette has the indispensable informations to find Tristan in France.
Their journey from the beginning proves to be quite “difficult”: among the other things Max, a kind and thoughtful man but sometimes a bit quick-tempered, doesn't want to compromise the girl's honour, but then, his deep attraction to Lisette, who fascinates him not only with her beauty but also with her attitude which never stops to amaze him, makes his attempts to stay away from her really arduous.
When the attraction turns out to be mutual and the feelings they share strongly increase, the secrets they both hide threaten to subvert their lives and their story together. Maximilian is going to face unexpected accidents and painful discoveries, which could change completely his life, he might also lose his title...
Really beautiful, I truly loved the story, it gained my attention since the first page and there isn't a boring moment in the whole book. Lisette e Max are wonderful, I appreciated that she isn't perfect, she understands that maybe she overestimates her investigative knowledges and despite the disappointment she accepts it and allows Max to help her; this doesn't mean that she isn't smart, on the contrary, more then ones she proves an admirable judgment ability.
Maximilian is also a beautiful character, I found definitely good that it isn't the common (and normal) social status the reason why he thinks he can't live his love with Lisette. Their moments together and their interactions are funny and touching.
Also the other characters are really good and I suppose they will have their own books, I'm speaking of Tristan, Dominick and Victor.
Well, this is surely another amazing Jeffries' series, I can't wait to read the next romance of the Duke's Men (When the rogue returns).
The Duke's Men series: 1. What the duke desires (Maximilian, Lisette)
2. When the rogue returns (Victor, Isabelle)
2/5. Dorinda and the doctor (Percy, Dorinda)
3. How the scoundrel seduces (Tristan, Zoe)
4. If the viscount falls (Dominick, Jane)
prequel: 'Twas the night after Christmas (Pierce, Camilla)