(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.