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The Duke

The Duke (The Victorian Rebels Series) by Kerrigan Byrne

the-duke

Overview by Publisher:

He’s noble. notorious. And takes no prisoners…

Strong as a Viking. Handsome as Adonis. Rich as Midas. Collin “Cole” Talmage, Duke of Trewyth, is the stuff that legends are made of. He’s the English Empire’s golden son–until fate has its way with him. Cole’s family is killed and his closest comrade betrays him on the battlefield, leaving him gravely injured. But Cole is not one to dwell on misfortune. He is a man of duty, honor–and desire. And now he’s ready for the fight of his lifetime…
Imogen Pritchard is a beautiful lass who works in a hospital by day and as a serving maid at night. Years ago, when she was young and penniless, she ended up spending a scandalous night with Cole, whose tormented soul was matched only by his earth-shattering passion. Imogen entered a marriage of convenience—one that left her a wealthy widow—but she never forgot Cole. Now that her long-lost lover has turned up in her hospital, injured and with no memory of her, Imogen is torn: Is it a blessing or a curse that their past remains a secret to Cole, even as his new passion for her leaves him wanting to protect and possess her…at all costs, in The Duke, the next Victorian Rebels novel by Kerrigan Byrne.

I have found it so hard to read lately.  The news is just captivating and horrifying.  It makes me grateful for authors like Kerrigan Byrne.  This series and book have been a welcome distraction to the horrors of what is happening around the world.

What I liked about this book was the evolution of the main characters.  Cole becomes a duke and must adapt to his new life.  Instead he continues to work for the foreign service and is imprisoned in the Ottoman empire and comes home a changed man.  The life he has lived is brutal and yet privileged.  He has one magical night with a prostitute and she becomes his talisman and his reason for living.

Imogen has had a very challenging life.  She had to work off her father’s debt at a whore house as a servant.  She supports her mother and sister working at a hospital.  The weight of responsibility on her shoulders is overwhelming.  Things come to a head and her life changes.  Throughout her evolution, she never forgot the man she spent one night with and never gave up hope for his safety and life.

Cole and Imogen meet throughout the story.  At times,  it was frustrating because Cole didn’t know who Imogen was, but it was also delicious anticipation for when her identity would be revealed to him.  Cole has been searching for ‘Ginny’ for years, believing that she is the only one who will make him happy.  Never did he imagine that he was already acquainted with her.

The relationship between the two is full of sparks.  Cole is abrasive and mean, as he is hurting and damaged.  He battles with Imogen and struggles with his attraction when he is still searching for his Ginny.  The new Imogen is so strong and I loved her strength and values.  She takes on Cole and doesn’t back down from what she believes.  I wish all books I read feature strong women like Imogen.

The romance between the two can be so hot and feral at times it scorched the pages.  Cole and Imogen share a passion that is rewarding to watch unfold.  I found this book to have a level of reality that made it so enjoyable and believable.