Release Date: Feb 20, 2018
Series: The Devils of Dover
Heat Level: Hot
Imprint: Avon Books
A Duke in the Night is the first of the Devils of Dover series by Kelly Bowen, and my first read of a Kelly Bowen historical. I use the term historical a bit loosely with this book, as the characters seemed to me to be more modern and contemporary, the only thing that seemed historical about the book is the time period it is set in.
This story follows the romance between August Faulkner and Clara Hayward. August is a very handsome man who has a difficult past and a scandalous reputation. His father was in debtors prison and August spent a few years living on the streets, this experience shaped him and made him determined to never be in reduced circumstances again – especially for the sake of his younger sister. He learned how to make money buying and selling businesses and property with little sympathy or time for any affected individuals. Clara comes from a previously filthy rich family who are now keeping secret their reduced circumstances. Clara’s mother left her the Haverhall School for Young Ladies and she loves being it’s headmistress, however she soon needs to sell the school in order to keep her family shipping business afloat.
August purchases the school and in his background checks on the Haywards, he learns about their financial difficulties. He offers to buy a share of their shipping business but is turned down. This leaves him curious and when August’s sister sneaks away in the middle of the night, he hunts her down at the school and realizes that he has a perfect opportunity to dig deeper into the Haywards.
August and Clara have a pretty hot and heavy attraction to each other that was very fun to read. They first met ten years prior to the present date and shared a dance together and have been attracted to each other since. I found this to be a bit of a stretch – one dance ten years ago and you’ve been thinking about it since then? Seems a bit unlikely to me, I would have believed it more if there was a bit more to their initial interaction. Due to this, and some other factors of the book, I did not really find much substance to their romance apart from their physical attraction. In fact it always seemed like Clara was trying to change him, and yet scolding him for trying to make his sister into a proper young lady.
With that said, I did enjoy reading this book and do recommend it. Some readers may not like how modern the characters are, as I mentioned before the story does not read as a true regency historical, but more a modern contemporary novel. I enjoyed this though, it was a nice change for me. The characters are all very well thought out and as a reader you can clearly understand how the person’s past has shaped them. I recommend this book for those looking for a more modern take on a historical romance.