Reviewed by Heather C
Title: The Duke in Denial
Author: Alexandria Ainsworth
Series: Scandal in Sussex #1
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Length: 340 Pages
Publisher: Sanguinity Press
Release Date: May 22, 2014
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Captain William Carlisle, newly returned from India, is elated when he meets Sebastian. Nobody knows of his inclinations, but his harrowing experiences in battle have prompted him to reach for the type of companionship he longs for. He thinks Sebastian might feel an attraction as well, but to his dismay, he discovers that Sebastian is courting his sister Dorothea.
After a semi-arranged engagement and a disconcerting romantic tangle with William, Sebastian escapes London to look after his manor, only to face mysterious thefts, a headless ghost, and the arrival of his fiancée, her brother, and his family. Sebastian’s new estate sits on the south coast, England’s most vulnerable location, and Napoleon has set his sights on conquering the area. Amid this growing turmoil, Sebastian must sort out his feelings for his fiancée’s brother and keep his home safe . . . and determine if he has the courage to reach for his own happiness in the process.
Widower Sebastian Lewis has suddenly become a duke. His uncle and cousin have died and Sebastian must now do the responsible thing and find a wife. Who better to choose than his dead cousin’s fiancé Dorothea Carlisle. But when Sebastian has a chance meeting with Dorothea’s brother, Captain William Carlisle, for the first time ever Sebastian is tempted to give in to his desires.
I think I have a love/hate thing going on with this book. There were things that I loved about it, and things that were extremely frustrating.
The Love Triangle: Well, first of all, Sebastian didn’t love Dorothea. He wasn’t even attracted to her. M/M Regency stories with this type of dilemma where one MC is attached to or betrothed or sometimes even married to a woman: it usually doesn’t bother me so much. But Dorothea was not a likable character at all. I didn’t feel sorry for her that she had lost her fiancé and was considered tainted; she was only using Sebastian to get where she wanted. And then Sebastian was okay with that, but not wanting to betray her. I did feel bad for Sebastian because he was doing what he felt he needed to do, but I felt the worst for William. William was the scarred war hero who just wanted to find someone to love him for who he was and Sebastian kept sending him all these mixed signals…making him feel wanted but not good enough to choose over having the cover of a wife. I loved Sebastian and William together and really felt their connection, I just wanted to see more of them together than they were.
The Mystery: It starts off a bit subtle in the begging. There were some hints here and there that something suspicious is going on, but its not until the second half of the book until it really comes to the forefront of the story. The first half was all about Sebastian courting Dorothea and William trying to avoid him. At first I was annoyed thinking “how is this important”?? But it really was essential and tied in nicely to the romance in the end.
The Ending: It felt a bit too easy and sudden to me. It has a HEA, but I wanted to see more of Sebastian and William happy together. I think they were only happy for one night and about 5 minutes at the end. The epilogue helped, but I wanted to SEE some of that, not be TOLD about it.
The Next Book: Looks like this is going to be a series and the next one will be about Geoffrey and Etienne. I’m intrigued and looking forward to it!
Overall Impression: I Liked It
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*