Monday, July 26, 2010

'At The Duke's Pleasure' by Tracy Anne Warren -Review-

   What an engaging novel! The beginning had me hooked and the ending solidified this author in my ever-growing list of 'author's to look-out for'. I enjoyed the zany plots by the heroine to get out of a marriage she thinks will break her, and the hero slowly letting go of his 'ducal mask' so that he can embrace his love before it's too late.
   Claire Marsden was scarcely out of the womb before her father and the previous Duke of Clybourne came to an 'understanding' concerning their eldest children. They were to be married, and all Claire's life, she had been brought up and prepared for her future life as a duchess. It isn't until she realizes her fiancee' has no intention of trying to make a love match from the union that she decides if she can't have his heart, she doesn't want his last name.
   Claire has to pull out all the stops if she wants to end this damnable marriage, but Edward Byron won't let her out of it that easy. He tries to be lenient with her as she acts out, but can't understand her maddening resistances to the marriage; or how she suddenly became the most important thing in his life.

[Read an excerpt: here]

   The duke's son was a pragmatic and mature youngster for all his age of 10 years old. The Byron family make the trip to Nottinghamshire to visit with their good friends, the Marsdens, and little Edward Byron is about to meet the newest addition to the Marsden family. A squirming, red-faced, screaming baby is laid in Edward's arms and a few seconds later, he is informed that he is holding his future wife. Shocked and dismayed, Edward already sees Claire Marsden as an 'obligation' and is set in his ways to do what is expected of him and leave it at that.
   Claire on the other hand, had different ideas when it came to what kind of marriage she wanted. She didn't just want to be wedded one day and carted off to the country to be forgotten the next. At the age of 16, during one of her rare visits with her betrothed, Claire overhears him talking about her (speaking of her as if she were a child 'barley out of leading strings' and his having no intention of falling in love with her) and her fairy tale romance is quickly spun into a horrid nightmare.
   At 33, Edward finally decides he is ready to follow up on his duty to marry Claire. He visits her at her home, is pleasantly surprised by her transformation into a full-grown and attractive woman, and equally stunned by her adamant desire not to be wed. He believes Clarie is upset about having to miss out on all the society functions because she was already promised to a duke and her father saw no reason to 'waste' money on a come-out. He speaks to Claire's father and volunteers to finance her trip to London. She will soon find herself in the whirlwind of the season and in a boat load of scandalous ploys aimed at extricating herself from an inevitably loveless marriage.
   Through Claire's numerous and notorious escapades during the season, Edward indulges her and is patient and lenient when most men would have buckled under the embarrassment and freed her from the marriage contract. Somewhere down the road, he finds himself falling in love with the woman he is to wed and isn't pleased about it. Like most men in historicals, Edward has some unconvincing 'reason' for wanting to keep love separate from marriage, but fate had other things in mind. His secret work for the crown as a spy soon puts his curious Claire in mortal danger, and he will have to find a way to face his feelings and allow happiness back into his life before it's too late.

Rating: 3 1/2 Red Roses
My Favorite Part of the Book: Is the beginning, where Edward and his family are visiting the Marsdens and he is given the newborn Claire to hold. You can sense the tension in the scene like something major is about to happen. Baby Claire was wailing and squirming and acting like any baby would, and Edward had some pretty funny commentary about that. Once the baby is settled in his arms, however, she quiets up and Edward beings to see the more charming qualities babies possess. It is all ruin though, when Edward is inform that the infant he is holding is his fiancee'. I couldn't stop laughing and marveling in the brilliance of this particular scene. And it happened right at the start, so the book had me hooked from page 1!
   Overall, this was an excellent read. I couldn't get over how marvelous it was in the beginning, and how fast I became a Tracy Anne Warren fan. Her writing style is superb and easy to follow. It had a flow to it that made each page turn itself. Some con's to this novel would have to be the annoying traits of some of the characters. Flaws are an important part to any novel's characters, but I found myself rolling my eyes at Claire's back and forth between whiny young miss and level-headed maverick. Her character was great at some points, a bit trying at others, and Edward's reason for staving off love wasn't overwhelmingly compelling, but at the end of the book, I was in love. I also enjoyed the ending as well. So many authors would have gone the other direction just to avoid cliche' and predictability, but the story was all the better for Warren's biting the bullet (kind of literally) and it was one of the high points in the story for me (a reason I may just have to re-read).

*And also check out the next book in the series, 'Wicked Delights In A Bridal Bed', Mallory's story! My Review can be found: here
-And check out my Interview with Tracy Anne Warren where she talks all about WDOABB and more!: here

 *Or give one of the other novels from  The Byrons of Braebourne Series a read!:
'Four Dukes And A Devil' (Novella)
'Tempted by His Kiss'
'Seduced By His Touch'


  1. I have read all of Tracy Anne Warren's books and love each any everyone of them. One of my favorite parts of this books is after Edward was told about the arrangement:
    "Without any conscious sense of choices, he moved toward the forest, wanting to lose himself inside those sheltering branches and leafy boughs.
    He went faster, then faster still, until he was running.
    Running as if he might never stop."
    I could feel the pain Edward was in as though I was there with him.
    Tracy is a wonderful author!!!

  2. his was my first TAW book and most assuredly not my last. I agree with your sentiments exactly!

    I love that quote too. It was one of the reasons why I instantly fell in love with TAW's writing! She is a wonderful author, indeed!

  3. I've never read this author. The book sounds great. I'll definitely add it to my must-read list.

  4. It's a great one Jena. I think you'll enjoy it a lot! Perfect book to get hooked on an author with!

  5. TAW is also on my "authors-to-look-out-for list". I love the covers she has on her books.



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