I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Daring Duke (The 1797 Club 1) by Jess Michaels
Series: The 1797 Club #1
Published by The Passionate Pen on March 14th 2017
FINAL DECISION: A pretty straight forward historical romance, the story of these characters is complicated by miserable families which have hurt them and made them question the institution of marriage. A good beginning of a new series premised on the improbable coincidence of a number of eligible dukes available for marriage at the same time.
THE STORY: James, Duke of Abernathe, is a founding member of the 1797 Club — a group of young dukes who work together and help one another navigate their positions. A central part of being a duke is marrying to carry on the family, but James intends never to marry even though no one knows why. Miss Emma Liston is a bluestocking and wallflower and in four seasons has not found a spouse. She asks James to help her by pretending to be interested in her in order to increase her popularity among the other men of the ton.
OPINION: This is a book with immensely likeable main characters. Both Emma and James have been hurt by their dysfunctional families which has made both wary of marriage. Yet they quickly find in one another passion and friendship and eventually love.
Emma is a bluestocking and wallflower who wants love and marriage but has a father who threatens all her possible happiness. The book manages to keep the exact nature of her father’s threat secret and gently moves toward the crisis in the book.
James is a man who is determined never to marry in revenge on the father who abused him as a child. James is a kind man who wants the best for his family but cannot forget the neglect and active abuse of his father who never wanted James as his heir. James wants Emma and uses the excuse of “helping” her find another man as an excuse to get closer to her — even though James himself doesn’t recognize that fact.
The book is highly focused on the couple in this book and the plot is really designed to bring these two together and thus doesn’t have much impact other than that purpose.
My one complaint about the story is that Emma quickly agrees to engage in sexual acts with James without any intention of marriage. While the intense sexuality is expected in a Jess Michaels book, I thought that the innocent Emma too quickly agrees to allow James to debauch her as long as she remains technically a virgin.
This one complaint doesn’t impair my overall enjoyment of the story primarily because the characters are so likeable.
WORTH MENTIONING: I can’t wait to read James’s sister’s story.
CONNECTED BOOKS: THE DARING DUKE is the first book in the 1797 Club series which tells the story of ten dukes.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.
NOTE: I received and ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.