Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review: The Unclaimed Duchess by Jenna Petersen (3.5 stars, historical)

Full Description: Amazon
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Thoughts After Reading:
After reading the mixed reviews on Amazon, I wasn't quite sure what to expect from The Unclaimed Duchess. As a result, it sat in my "maybe" folder for quite some time before I decided to give it a try. The reviews make more sense, though, now that I've read the book. Although it is a fairly decent romance, it's not exactly my cup of tea. The story is somewhat similar to a marriage-of-convenience/arranged marriage storyline, as the hero and heroine knew each other as children and have been betrothed for most of their lives. The hero was a pretty good guy as a child, and was willing to protect others (ie. the heroine). Under his legal father's influence, however, he grew up to become arrogant, self-centered, and obsessed with bloodlines. Meanwhile, the heroine grew up loving her betrothed, especially since she knew from their childhood that there was more to his character than he expressed. The book starts right after the honeymoon, at which point some blackmail leads the hero to learning he is a bastard. The hero runs off by himself, not knowing what to do about his current position as a duke. The heroine chases him down, and with the help of the heroine's love/support the hero gradually changes to being a loving husband. There is a fair amount of angst before the blackmail conflict is resolved, although it seems reasonable given that the hero's personality has to change substantially.

There were a few issues I had with the novel. For one thing, the book was a bit shorter than most full-length historical romance novels. This, coupled with a fairly high number of love scenes (4-6?), meant that there wasn't time for a whole lot of action to occur throughout the plot. Additionally, I thought it was unreasonable for the heroine to fall in love with the hero's personality before he changed. So while I felt that the plot action that did occur was done well, I felt the book as a whole wasn't anything to write home about.

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