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.
The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo (Victorian Rebels, #6) by Kerrigan Byrne
Series: Victorian Rebels #6
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on August 28, 2018
“There are only two indisputable facts in the world: The sun will rise in the west, and I’ll come for you. Always.”
FINAL DECISION: My favorite book since the first two in the series, this book took my breath away and I fell in love with the main characters. Passionate and dramatic with humor and underlying sweetness, the story fulfilled all the promises that began in the first book of the series.
THE STORY: The notorious pirate is known only as the Rook. A man without a past, without a name. Twenty years ago, he awoke in a mass grave and was pulled from death by Lorelei Weatherstoke. The Rook was once given the name of Ash by Lorelei who nursed the young man back to health and began to dream of a future with him. Until the moment that they were betrayed in an act which separated them for two decades. Now the Rook has returned for his revenge and to claim the woman who he has never forgotten. Lorelei, however, finds that the young man she once loved has now become someone that she should fear and flea at all costs.
OPINION: The first romance book I ever read was A Pirate’s Love by Johanna Lindsey in the 1980s. Since that first taste, I’ve always had a soft spot for pirate heroes and I have read a lot in the intervening years. But many of those pirate hero books are problematic bodice rippers. The book (whether intentional or not) is a re-imagining of the old trope.
Here, the Rook is a notorious, dangerous and murderous villain on the high seas. He has done horrible things, but we also get to see the events which sent him on the path he is on. Significantly, however, this is not excuse but understanding. Like the other heroes in this series, the Rook has been damaged by his past. Poverty, desperation, physical and mental torture, rape and constant violence has created a man with only one weakness — the sweet and innocent woman who cared for him and brought him back from the dead.
And this is why the power dynamic is so different in this story. The Rook can abduct Lorelei and keep her captive on a ship where his word alone rules, but he cannot impose his will upon her. Both because Lorelei is stronger than one might expect (after having survived her own trials) and the Rook cannot possess the woman he wants if he crushes everything about her that he desires. Lorelei, however, will also not be placed on a pedestal for the Rook to admire from afar. She is a woman who wants to make her own stand by the man she loves.
There were so many good moments in this book that had humor, drama, mystery, murder, betrayal and a deep and abiding romantic love between the main characters. There are significant appearances by characters from prior books. Although I had figured out some of the Rook’s secrets, the reveal was so well done that I had a great sense of relief in that something from the beginning of the series was finally fulfilled. (I have to add that I love that long time readers of the series get closure on some issues without impeding new readers enjoyment).
This book reminds me of how amazing the first two books in this series was. Indeed, although the last three books were good, this book feels like the completion of a trilogy that began with the first two books.
This book goes immediately on my keeper shelf.
WORTH MENTIONING:Sometimes I read these books with great despair because almost every book introduces characters for whom I would love to read their story, but as the author turns to a new series, I fear that some of these stories might go untold. .
CONNECTED BOOKS: THE DUKE WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is the sixth book in the Victorian Rebels series. This book can be read as a standalone, but is much more satisfying after reading the entire series. This book pays off stories that began in the first book in the series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to help in preparing this review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.