Review: Say Yes to the Duke

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Review: Say Yes to the DukeSay Yes to the Duke (The Wildes of Lindow Castle, #5) by Eloisa James
Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #5
Published by Avon on May 26, 2020
Genres: Historical
Pages: 400
Goodreads
five-stars

 

She had powdered her hair, of course, but just around her face he could see little wisps of golden-brown curls. “You have freckles,” he said.

“A few,” she said, shrugging. “I know you’re supposed to hate them, but I don’t.”

Devin discovered that he didn’t hate them either.

FINAL DECISION: Beautiful, lyrical, emotional and just so wonderful. I loved how Viola and Devin fell in love with one another without excessive drama. This book was a slow sinking into a loving relationship with humor and plenty of romance.

THE STORY: Miss Viola Astley feels like a fraud amongst the wild Wildes. Painfully shy and prone to vomit when forced to socialize, Viola’s life changes when she meets a young, handsome vicar. Unfortunately, the vicar is betrothed to a stern, controlling, humorless woman, but Viola is determined to rescue him for herself. Devin Elstan, Duke of Wynter has decided that it is time to marry and one of the Wilde daughters who are having their debut will do. Unseen, he’s decided on the “real” Wilde not the one whose mother married into the family. Upon meeting the “unsuitable” Viola, however, Devin knows that she is the woman for him and is determined to woo her for himself.

OPINION: This has become my favorite series by Eloisa James. There is a boldness and complete willingness to be open to love by the men in the series. Completely undone by Viola, Devin wants her for himself and yet he knows and respects her at every turn. These two truly make one another better and the focus of the book is the relationship they build together rather than outside drama or manufactured misunderstandings.

Viola is the beloved step-daughter of the Duke of Wilde. Despite her loving family, she has always felt inadequate compared to the beautiful, tall and passionate Wildes. When she meets the vicar, she begins to find reasons to believe in herself. When she meets the Duke of Wynter, she is so offended by him that she forgets to be her “mousy” self and instead completely captivates Devin. I loved seeing Viola overcome her shyness and find a place for herself and a purpose.

Devin is controlled and distant after a childhood with a hotheaded and irresponsible father. When he meets Viola, she inspires him to learn to reach out to others and express his feelings. His complete devotion to her was so romantic and incredibly sweet.

I am a big fan of books where the characters actually talk to one another, discuss their issues and feelings and generally act like responsible adults. Discussion and respect can be incredibly sexy as this book demonstrates. These characters always act with respect towards one another and I fell in love with them.

The Wildes as a whole play less of a role here than in prior books, but that lent a great intimacy between Devon and Viola as most of their courtship is comprised of discussions and conversations between the two. That was something that I very much enjoyed.

One of the best parts of this series is that each romance is completely different from the others in the series. Each character, their arc, the issues and tone of the books are different. Plus, I really enjoy the historical tidbits that James includes and which gives a real sense of the real Georgian period where these books are set.

WORTH MENTIONING: The book has a cute secondary romance as well.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SAY YES TO THE DUKE is the fifth book in the Wildes of Lindow Castle series. This book can be read as a standalone. It is not necessary to have read the other books in the series to enjoy this book.

RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

five-stars

Review: Say No to the Duke

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Review: Say No to the DukeSay No to the Duke (The Wildes of Lindow Castle, #4) by Eloisa James
Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #4
Published by Avon on June 25, 2019
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION: This book was just amazing. I loved Betsy’s strength and gumption. I adored the deep emotional center of Jeremy. These two were incredible together, and I especially enjoyed that their story was much deeper than the blurb would suggest.

THE STORY: Lady Betsy Wilde lived under the feared approbation of her mother’s infidelity and scandalous behavior. In exchange, she has become the “perfect” lady and has rejected a number of eligible gentlemen’s proposals. Feeling constrained by her “perfect” facade, Betsy wants some adventure and she makes a bet with a family friend to get her chance. Lord Jeremy Roden returned from war in the colonies a changed man and no longer the gentleman he was before. His interactions with Betsy are also changing him, but does he want her for himself or should he convince her to accept a duke who would her perfect match.

OPINION: I’ve really been enjoying the Wildes of Lindow Castle series. The characters are passionate but reasonable and intensely sweet. There is something loving and heartwarming about these characters. The books give me a warm heart and always leaves me with a smile. These Wildes love in a big and full way and I love them back.

Betsy is the oldest daughter in the family and she suffers from the actions of her mother. She knows that others are looking at her to find traces of her mother’s scandalous behavior and Betsy is determined to give others nothing to latch onto. But playing a part has been wearing on Betsy who hasn’t been able to indulge in her “wild” side. What I really loved about Betsy is that in a time of restrictions upon women, Betsy has found a way to be a powerful woman. She has made a place for herself where she won’t accept limitations but finds ways to subvert them.

Jeremy is her brother North’s friend. Returning after war in the colonies, Jeremy suffers from the effects of war. While he thinks himself not a gentleman any longer because of his experiences, his interactions with Betsy are truly the essence of being a gentleman — if a naughty one. I loved his journey in this book. Betsy grounds Jeremy in the world that he felt disconnected to after his war experiences.

Betsy and Jeremy are just perfect together from the beginning. Their banter and bickering was funny and sexy. These two are such a good match that only their fears can keep them apart.

I loved this book. I cared about the characters and they felt like real people with fears and foibles and mistakes. I really like that these are good people and the book allows them to work out their personal issues and find a way to one another.

WORTH MENTIONING: I love this family. I’m hoping for books for more of the siblings.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SAY NO TO THE DUKE is the fourth book in the Wildes of Lindow Castle. The romance here is self-contained and thus it can be read as a standalone, but I think this book is much better if a reader is familiar with the passionate Wilde family and the circumstances which confront Betsy.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to assist in preparation of this review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

five-stars

Review: Born to be Wilde

Review: Born to be WildeBorn to Be Wilde (The Wildes of Lindow Castle, #3) by Eloisa James
Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #3
Published by Avon on July 31, 2018
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: Slow burn story of two people who have known each other and yet don’t know one another at all. I loved the intense emotional aspects of the story and how these two discover one another.

THE STORY: Lavinia Gray is desperate after discovering that her mother is an addict, spent all their money and stolen from family and friends. She needs to marry immediately before the scandal is discovered so she approaches Parth Sterling to propose marry. But he turns her down. The fashion obsessed and shallow Lavinia is not the type of woman Parth intends to marry and, in fact, he has a much more suitable candidate in mind. Parth, however, promises Lavinia to help her find a groom. Parth’s efforts only seem to make Lavinia more attractive to him as he discovers the real woman that he dismissed so easily.

OPINION: I ended up loving this book. It took a while to grow on me because Lavinia and Parth seemed so mismatched in the beginning. But as the two really began to know one another and as the book concentrated on the emotional lives of these characters, I began to fall with them as they fell for one another.

For a book that feels light and funny, this book has a a deep undertone — like Lavinia herself. I enjoyed that the book begins with Lavinia at her most desperate and then becomes how Lavinia finds a way to save herself. As she does, she shows Parth who she really is and Parth begins to fall for her.

The romance between Parth and Lavinia takes the time it needs to develop. It allows for the emotional depth of the characters and the relationship to be emphasized. I loved that the book really rests on these two characters and their relationship rather than all the external story.

One of the characteristics of the series has been that the hero really has to take the leap into the fire for the heroine emotionally. The Wilde men are emotional and passionate when they recognize the woman for them. I love that about them and Parth shows that he is a true Wilde even if he wasn’t born with the name.

WORTH MENTIONING: I loved, loved, loved being able to see more of North and Diana and there are some beautiful moments with them. This is a must read book for fans of these two.

CONNECTED BOOKS: BORN TO BE WILDE is the third book in the Wildes of Lindow Castle series. The romance in this book is self-contained and can be read as a standalone. I think, however, that the characters in this book are better understood when the series is read in order.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Too Wilde to Wed

Review: Too Wilde to WedToo Wilde to Wed (The Wildes of Lindow Castle, #2) by Eloisa James
Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #2
Published by Avon on May 29, 2018
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION: Simply amazing. I loved that a book that could of been filled with drama and angst instead tempered all that with humor and lightness. North and Diana were complex and interesting characters and the humor felt sophisticated and lovely. Another great book by Eloisa James.

THE STORY: North Wilde, the future duke, was jilted by his fiancee two years ago. He went to America to fight for the British in the American Revolutionary War. He has returned to find that his reputation has been savaged. His former fiancee, Diana Belgrave, is living in his family’s home acting as governess to North’s youngest sister. Diana has a child that everyone assumes is North’s illegitimate son. Gossip is that North ravaged and deserted her, leaving Diana no choice but to be a servant in North’s home. Despite his best efforts, North finds that he still loves Diana and intends on convincing her to be his. And that is something that Diana will never allow to happen.

OPINION: I so desperately wanted to read this book from the moment I met North and Diana in WILDE IN LOVE. Their story seriously kicked off with the ending of that book. Anticipation can work against me when I want to read a book because I am disappointed often. Happily, I loved this book.

The Wilde men are something else. Passionate and willing to sacrifice everything for love. North seemed so different in the first book, but that is part of the story in this book — how two people get to know the “real” person under the social mask. But gosh, I fell for North. He is so willing to forgive Diana even as he hurts from her betrayal. He is protective and a good man all around. Yet, this book shows him with a bit of naivety about the machinations of women. The combination of intense practicality and romanticism makes North one of my favorite of James’ heroes.

Now Diana is a bit of a mess. But that makes her incredibly brave. She is willing to toss herself into things that she fails at. As someone who is careful and deliberate, Diana’s joyful living of life is something that I found greatly enjoyable. She feels shame and pain for what she did to North, but she knows herself. A woman who has no desire to be a duchess.

I found the story between North and Diana pulled me into a bunch of emotional directions. I laughed, I cried, the story made my heart heavy and lifted my spirits. This story could have been dark and angst filled. I’ve read similar situations with books like that and I loved them — but that is not this book.

This book is light and funny in parts but it is firmly grounded in emotion and relationship. While there are certainly farcical elements including overturned chamber pots, an elderly peacock, and more of the hysterical prints about the Wildes, this book never allows itself to stray from the emotional connection between North and Diana. And their story seems impossible at every turn to have a happy ending — until it does.

This book moved immediately into one of my favorite Eloisa James’s book and I really want to read more about this family and their friends.

WORTH MENTIONING: Who knew that peacocks were so territorial?

CONNECTED BOOKS: TOO WILDE TO WED is the second book in the Wildes of Lindow Castle series. The story can be read as a standalone although I think it works much better after being introduced to the family of characters in book one.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ebook ARC of this book from Edelweiss in order to prepare this review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

five-stars

Review: Wilde in Love

Review: Wilde in LoveWilde in Love (The Wildes of Lindow Castle, #1) by Eloisa James
Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle
Published by Avon on October 31st 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 416
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“Frankly, she might as well have waved a red cloth in front of a bull. The uncivilized male inside him, the one who hated wearing a wig, had got wind of a hunt.”

FINAL DECISION: This was a lovely story that was incredibly funny and romantic. The characters were amazing. I generally prefer my books with more personal angst, but readers looking for a fun romantic historical romp will love this one.

THE STORY: In Georgian England, Lord Alaric Wilde, the “spare”, has returned to London after traveling the world to discover that he has become a sensation in his absence. He has become a true celebrity to his distress as he is chased by women all over the country who want a glimpse or a souvenir from the rakish explorer. Escaping to his father, the duke’s, castle, Alaric finds himself enamored of Miss Willa Ffynche who doesn’t want anything to do with the notorious Lord Alaric. Willa is a private person who keeps herself well disguised among society and has made herself a social success and wants nothing more than a quiet man to spend her life with. Definitely not Alaric — but his pursuit of her tempts her in ways she never expected.

OPINION: I had to think a lot about this book after I read it. I was not certain where to rate it and how to explain my feelings about it. I wavered between giving it 4 stars or 4 and a half stars because while the book wasn’t as dramatic as I tend to like them and the romance builds very slowly, I came away from the book still thinking about it. As I reviewed parts of it to write this review, I loved the characters and the humor so much that I think this book will grow on me as the series develops further.

And that is where I want to start this review — with the series. As the first book in the series, this book serves as an introduction to the Wilde Family. And I loved them. The characters are so big and bright and romantic that I immediately wanted to know all their stories. These are likable people and have such a family spirit together that endeared them to me.

Alaric is such a sweet, sexy and romantic character.  He falls for Willa so quickly and spends much of the book trying to win her. (I have to admit that I enjoy the books where the hero falls for the heroine early). His willingness to open himself up wide to Willa is so sweet. And he truly wants to know Willa which is so sexy. He is interested in her — her thoughts, those parts of herself that she hides from others, and he wants her to be herself with him.

Willa is a heroine who is discovering how to be herself. Her background has led her to present a social face and to keep her true self hidden. So much so, that she doesn’t really expect to be herself in life. Alaric desperately wants the imperfect Willa. The real person hiding behind all the Georgian finery and social polish.

This book is not only romantic but also laugh out loud funny. A bawdy farce of a play about Alaric’s life (including cannibals!), a pet skunk and mangy cat, naughty etchings of Alaric’s life, a hero that won’t be deterred from the woman he wants and a heroine determined to avoid him at all costs.  But this book not only has humor but has a deep heart to it.

The story is a slow build and you have to commit to it. The story isn’t slow, but the drama is smaller than in many books (Willa’s determination not to fall for the big public notorious Alaric) and therefore the book is more personal to these characters. While I prefer more dramatic stories generally, I really loved the humor and big romantic gestures of this book.

My final word on this book is that the cliffhanger as a prelude for the next book was so shocking that I don’t know how I’m going to last until the next book comes out.

WORTH MENTIONING: While the main romance is complete at the end of this book, there is a cliffhanger which sets up the story for the next book about a different couple.

CONNECTED BOOKS: WILDE IN LOVE is the first book in the Wildes of Lindlow Castle series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Edelweiss in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-half-stars