Wednesday, June 1, 2016

3.5 stars--The Wicked Duke (Wicked Trilogy #3) by Madeline Hunter

Oh I loved the so called 'Wicked Duke'. Lance is so very wicked (well naughty at least) and more oft than not...finds himself in spots of trouble but currently? Well he's playing the "good" duke. The well behaved one. The dull as rocks and bored out of his mind one. *flails* See, his brother was murdered some months back and all eyes have been on him as the culprit. So he's got to behave himself and avoid all of his usual trappings. Including women. Alas, one captivating trespasser has caught his eye. Just so happens her uncle is one of the men who holds Lance's fate in his hands. And so...things get a touch messy as Lance tries to save his hide, find out who really did kill his brother and deals with a romance he never saw coming.

So the things I liked. 

I loved Lance and enjoyed Marianne quite a bit. They're both in somewhat difficult situations that would honestly make me want to say a lot of salty things. There are some manipulative family memebers on her side and in order to get what they want they pretty much force a marriage between Lance and Marianne--he's to marry or they'll make him look guilty, she's to marry or be tossed on the street. Holy heck, people. I was ready to rampage. lol

Okay, but back to these two. Lance does have some naughty in him and is quite sexy. I loved seeing him with his brothers and his patience with Marianne. Seeing a little of his naughty side peek out now and again and his past with this dead brother unravel. He's a good guy. Solid and yummy. Marianne was an interesting one. She's caring and strong, opinionated and crafty when need be. I liked the two of them together. They had a nice little zing between them. He's also very much a duke... lol
"You might have asked me if I wanted some air," she said.

"And risk having you decide you did not? That is not the way I do things."
I really liked the set up of Lance trying to find the culprit behind his brother's death and getting his life back. It's been a thread through the trilogy so nice to see that come to a head. And seeing them trying to make their marriage work. With her holding a little secret activity in her pocket. Yeah there were some interesting side elements to the storyline.
Okay so I had a couple quibbles.

A thing of mine is that I like for the assholes to get a bit of a smack down in the end. And I really didn't like her family. They're manipulative, deceitful and self centered. I hated how they treated Marianne and forced her marriage so they could benefit from it--societal gain and such. I so wanted them to have a come to Jesus moment and get what was coming to them like you wouldn't believe! It kind of irked me that instead they made out like bandits and got just what they wanted from the start.

And then the big issue for me--which is something I'm struggling with in the romance genre as a whole at the moment and have talked about in the past-- the heroine hit the hero. In a totally uncalled for way. And nothing was done or really said about it in regards to it being unacceptable behavior. She did thank him for not hitting her back and that it would have been deserved but it almost became a joke like 'hey remember when you punched me in the face?!' and that pissed me off even more. See he'd made an advance and she was actually into until she felt his erection and 'came to her senses' and pulled away. He was confused but not a jerk over it and then she hauled back and punched him. Leaving a bruise for over a week. Unacceptable.  Had the hero punched the heroine all hell would break loose. I'm really bothered by the double standard and portrayal that a woman hitting a man out of anger or in this case I would say embarrassment is okay. Something like 40% of men are abused by their significant other in real life so acting like it's nothing in books and normal is a big thing to me and obviously still has me rather worked up.

So I had an issue or two. But thankfully overall I did enjoy The Wicked Duke and seeing these two try to figure out their lives and rise above things outside of their control forcing their hands. There were some funny make-you-snort moments and some very touching ones. Some hot sexy bits coupled with incredibly tender ones. Hunter pulls you along and will have you smitten.

Suspected of his brother’s murder, Lancelot Hemingford, Duke of Aylesbury, was forced to give up his hell-raising habits in London for the anonymity of quiet country living. So, when an opportunity arises to clear his name in exchange for proposing to the niece of a neighbor, he sees no choice but to accept. Plus, seducing the reluctant maiden will be a most intriguing challenge…

As Marianne Radley is dependent on her uncle, she must accept the Duke’s marriage proposal at her family’s request, despite her belief he is irredeemably wicked. But along with marrying him, she intends to sniff out the duke’s unsavory secrets and expose them to the world: a plan that would be flawless were it not for one minor detail—even she, with all her determination, is not immune to the charms of a rakish duke…

*covers link to Amazon

Challenges: Pick Your Genre (historical) | Goodreads

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