Sins of a Duke by Stacy Reid
Overview by Amazon:
She would be his perfect revenge…
All of the young ladies whispered about the Duke of Mondvale in hushed tones, their eyes following his tall, dark figure with barely disguised lust. For the newly-ostracized Lady Constance Thornton, he is magnetic and altogether desirable. Irresistibly so. Since her reputation is already ruined in London society, why shouldn’t she be impudent and dance with the scandalous “Lord of Sin”?
Little does she know of his plans.
The beautiful and innocent Lady Constance is no mere plaything for Lucan Wynwood. She will be his revenge. By ruining her, he will have his vengeance against her brother. Except that the Lady Constance is full of surprises… and now she could well be the ruin of him.
This book could have been the traditional revenge story line, however it sparkles with great characters and depth. While Lucan was intent on extracting revenge on the Duke of Calydon for the mistreatment of his sister, he falls victim to his own plans.
Watching a devilish Duke change is a concept well covered in historical romance novels. I had to think about what exactly made this book work so well. It’s not the typical trope trotted out. I think it was so good because Lucan had a conscious. From the start Constance was a revelation. She captured him and didn’t let go. Lucan battled with reason and emotions to continue his plans to ruin Constance (which he had already put in motion before he met her), but once he saw the damage to her it changed him.
This story is so much more than a rogue and an ingénue falling in love. With elements of Romeo and Juliet and revenge, the story draws heavily on the emotions of the characters. Lucan was so well developed. He wields his power to cause harm and once his heart has been touched, he moves heaven and earth to help. I think what I liked so much about the story was the revelation of Lucan. While he was definitely still a bad boy, with his naughty dialogue and plans, he became tamed by his love for Constance.
Constance is the illegitimate daughter of a Duke and the status of her birth has been leaked to the ton. She is isolated and scorned by those that she once called friends. To watch her mourn her previous life and then to be set free by the injustice done to her was amazing. Sure, she was lonely and the sudden courtship of Lucan captivated her, but it went so much deeper than that. The best way to describe the attraction and courtship between the two is that moment of meeting the right one. Constance no longer worried about the sly comments or hurtful cuts of the members of the ton, as she had found the man she loved and she was willing to fight for it.
Entangled families create great tension points when telling a story. Pitting two Dukes against each other and using their sisters as targets makes for a tension that draws the reader in. I found this book to be very compelling and captivating. The way the characters thought about each other, the lust they shared and the high standards they demanded made them real and likeable. I found myself sympathizing with Lucan and Constance. I understood their needs and desires. I really, really wanted them to be together because when they were the sparks flew. The love scenes are not numerous, but so well-crafted that you feel the intensity and longing leap off the page. The suspense of what Lucan would be like as a lover was palpable during the book, as the author describes his intentions with vivid images. I also kind of liked that Lucan wore glasses – a feature not usual in stories with an alpha male intent on revenge.
Entangled Publishing has published some great books in the past year that I have been fortunate to read. This book is another success for them. What could have been a tried and true formulaic story was anything but that. Stacy Reid has taken a traditional story line and breathed new life into this trope. She has created very complex characters that you relate to with your emotions and heart.