Fiction: “To Ruin the Duke” by Debra Mullins

I really don’t have much to say about this book. It was a quick read, it didn’t offer up any surprises… in fact, let’s play the game Mad Lib the Back Cover!

(Italics are the ‘headings’ on the cover. Bolded text is the actual text. Bracketed text are my thoughts.)

A Disreputable Duke
All of London is abuzz with the shocking
[shocking!] exploits of Thornton Matherton [that name! Why are dukes in Regency novels always named stuff like that? “Thornton Matherton.” He should be Thornton Matherton of Etherton, and his mother was a Fornton, and … oh, I can’t be botherton’d.], Duke of Wyldehaven [but not the Duke of Wildhaven, oh no; all Dukes must be Dukes of something with a ‘Y’ replacing an ‘I.’ It’s requyred.], a man as sinful and wild as his name. [Thornton Matherton, Duke of Wyldehaven is sinful? Wild I get, and maybe even thorny — oh wait, I get it.] He plays fast and loose with money, drink, and women. Or does he? [I SWEAR THAT IS TRULY IN ITALICS. I did not add extra emphasis there.] An imposter has tarnished Thornton’s good name, and the real duke will not rest until he has proven his virtue.

A Righteous Lady
Abandoned by her aristocratic father when she was a child
[but she doesn’t learn her father was aristocratic until the last 40 pages], Miranda Fontaine despises the nobility [again, she despises the nobility for entire different reasons – her father has nothing to do with her hatred of rich people!]. Despite her distrust, she visits the Duke of Wyldehaven on an urgent mission. [HINT: her friend had a baby and then died, but the baby lived, and the friend thought Wyldehaven was the baby daddy.] Miranda will do whatever it takes to pin down the notorious duke [really? ANYTHING?] … even if it means seducing him herself. [Oh. You do really mean anything.] 

Passion’s Ruin [I thought we were ruining the duke?…]
Desperate to escape the web of deceit and clear his name, Thornton cannot bear the distraction of Miranda’s supple skin and alluring eyes.
[Nor can he resist her fiery temper, her tenacity, her musical voice, and oh yes, her constantly-heaving bosom]. Her beauty will be his undoing … and her bed will be the site of his most wicked ruin …

Wow. Just … wow. And really, it wasn’t horrible – I’m just in a wicked sarcastic mood. I’ve read a couple of other Regencies that I’ll read again; this ain’t one of them. But I was in the mood for a cheesy romance novel, and what can I say? This wasn’t Cheez Wiz, but it came too close for comfort. This is … this is string cheese: has some substance, but you eat one and you don’t feel satisfied at all.

(that’s what she said)

Grade for To Ruin the Duke: 1 star.


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