Thursday, 23 February 2017

Review: The Duke (Victorian Rebels) - ARC

Author:  Kerrigan Byrne
Original Title: The Duke
Release Year: February 2017

Literary Genre: Historical Romance
Setting: England, Victorian Era
Series: 4th of Victorian Rebels

Vote: 8 1/5
Author:  Kerrigan Byrne
Original Title: The Highwayman
Release Year: September 2015

Literary Genre: Historical Romance
Setting: England, Victorian Era
Series: 1st of Victorian Rebels

Vote: 10 + (++++++) - See more at:

I must admit it's difficult for me to accept that The Duke lacks the undoubtedly magnificence of the previous three.

I've stated numerously time that this is by far the best HR series written in the recent years (yes, there are others I love as much, but the Victorian Rebels has a depth that I've hardly found in others).
So let's be very clear here. THIS IS A GREAT ROMANCE. This cannot be contested as far as I'm concerned. But at this point I'm accustumed to, pretty much, perfection when it comes to Kerrigan Byrne...which means that everything even just a tad below that is very noticeable. However still very beautiful.

Coll and Imogen's first encounter was marvellous. I loved everything about it. First, it was surprising, I had shaped an idea of the hero that ended up being completely and unexpectedly wrong. What we see of him in the first pages is the sweetest and most caring side.
Secondly, the reality of the situation; the author, as for the other novels, shows the darkness of the conditions many were experiencing in Victorian times. A prostitute is a prostitute and she is paid for sex, also if she's the heroine of the story. Of course there's romance in it, otherwise we would read something else, however what I know, is that in pretty much all the other HRs, the protagonists first approach, although with the same premises, would have proceeded in a well different way. And I won't say more, spoilers are not my mission.
Thirdly, oh my Lord, the passion. It was explosive. Like for the other love scenes to be honest. Those are certainly not lacking.

But the hero is not only what we see in the beginning. After he has come back from several struggles, years later, we see that he is also a snob, arrogant and rude duke. I loved the dichotomy. I love that Byrne's heroes are very flawed. 
Imogen on the other hand is spectacular. I could see her becoming a mature, independent and self-confident woman, page after page.

My enthusiasm, however, relented a bit, in the bulk of the novel, where I found from time to time, some static...probably given by too many inner monologues on aspects which were yes, pertinent obviously, but not so strictly related to the development of the plot itself. There were moments where I thought that a quicker pace could have just been the thing.
The protagonists reactions and actions are somewhat weaker than what I've seen in the previous three novels. I mean, you know they love each other, that's pretty obvious, and the yearning that Collin feels towards Ginny, the girl who has showed him peace in the most unconventional of places, is everything and more, like I'm melting right now. And then there is this hate-love relationship with Imogen, a lady he doesn't entirely respect, not at the beginning at least, but who he is VERY attracted to. And then there are the contrasting feelings for the two women, the idea he's betraying Ginny when he feels attraction for Imogen. I love all this. Love struggles are my secret crave. But this does not mean that, although the beginning and the last chapters are beautiful, there are some parts that I have found a bit subdued. I don't like to say this but I must.

You read this novel though. It's certainly something you cannot miss.

Gavin? Are you the next? Please say yes. Or maybe the pirate.

Buona lettura!


Victorian Rebels:

The Highwayman
The Hunter
The Highlander
The Duke
The Scots Beds His Wife

 ** I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book on courtesy of NetGalley and St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review, thank you for the opportunity.

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