Today I’m giving away the print copy of To the Duke, With Love, the second book in Amelia Grey’s The Rakes of St. James series to one lucky commenter. Entering is as easy as leaving a comment. Winner will be listed here this week. Good luck!
UPDATE (12/14): The winner is SADIE E.
Congrats, Sadie! Please email me at contact at smittenbybooks dot com with your snail mail address to collect your book. Also, don’t forget to include the title in your email. You have 3 weeks claim your prize.
**US residents only
Release Date: Dec 5, 2017
Series: The Rakes of St. James
Heat Level: Warm/Sensual
Imprint: St. Martin’s Press
This is the second book in the Rakes of St. James series by Amelia Grey, it revolves around Sloane Knox, Duke Hawksthorn (Hawk) and Miss Loretta Quick. Hawk and his two friends had played a joke on some debutants in the past which backfired on them and has resulted in them being dubbed “the Rakes of St. James”. Due to this joke they have many people in the Ton, namely the brothers of the affected debutants, who would love to take revenge on them through their sisters who are all entering the Season one by one. Hawk’s sister is the latest to enter the season and Hawk is attempting to secure a match for her before it begins in order to keep her relatively safe from other gentlemen. He has identified the perfect gentleman for her and during his attempt to discuss his offer with the gentleman he finds an unexpected obstacle – the gentleman’s sister Ms. Quick.
Loretta Quick has been banished to live in the middle of nowhere after humiliating her uncle and guardian by walking out on an arranged marriage at the altar. She was made to take a vow never to marry and live away from society as a result of this. She is also determined to make sure that her brother is not himself trapped into a loveless arranged marriage.
I am generally a fan of Amelia Grey’s writing, however this novel did not do it for me. I found that I was struggling to finish and skimming through a lot of the text. While it is very well written, it was just – to be frank – boring. I did not believe in many aspects of the book. To start, the instant love that is felt by both Hawk and Loretta seemed very unbelievable, I can understand an immediate physical attraction but she turns around and right away Hawk seems to be instantly in love. I would have liked to see their attraction develop more realistically over time rather than through one meeting. After this one meeting and a night spent in the same house, they seem to think about each other constantly. They only really have two or three meetings before they are claiming to love each other. For a girl who comes across as pretty naïve, I can understand this on the part of Loretta. But for a notorious rake it is much harder to believe that two meetings with a girl is enough for love.
Another aspect of the book that bugged me was the willingness of Mr. Quick (Loretta’s brother) and Adele (Hawk’s sister) to just give in to the wishes of someone else. It was really strange that a young girl would be so willing to not just let, but actually want, her brother to choose a groom for her without even having the enjoyable experiences of flirting and being fawned over by other gentlemen. She seemed to have no interest in that with the only reason being that she couldn’t be bothered to put forth any effort. This really painted Adele as a very one-dimensional girl who only cares to live a simple life and be looked after. This was the same for Mr. Quick, he enters the novel admiring some girl he met at a party and wishing to see said girl again, and then ends the novel seemingly at ease with marrying another girl he just met. The reader never really gets to observe any sort of interaction between Adele and Mr. Quick other than the brief introductions, so it is difficult to understand why they even like each other. Mr. Quick was also painted very one-dimensionally, as a brother who just wants to be independent from his uncle and who is happy to settle for any nice girl.
In addition to this narrative, there is also the side story of a street child who comes into the Ms. Quick’s house in need of health care. Ms. Quick looks after the child and gets very emotionally attached – this can only be attributed to the fact that she lives in relative isolation in the middle of nowhere with no company. The whole story line with this boy also just seemed off, there was something very unrealistic about many aspects of it.
Lastly, the big moral dilemma of the story was that Ms. Quick took a vow in a church to new marry. She seems very set on this and won’t budge throughout the book. Yet towards the end, this problem is quickly resolved in a very abrupt way. Again, it all just was unrealistic to me as a reader.
Overall, I would not recommend this book. The writing was great and the conversations between the Duke and Loretta were fun to read. However, the plot was a bit unrealistic and it was not entertaining enough to keep me wanting to read.