November 26, 2012
The mail must go through!!!
Oh, that trickster, Suzanne Enoch, one of my favorite authors. Sometimes she's at the top of her game and sometimes she's not so close. With Rules to Catch a Devilish Duke, Ms. Enoch is at the top once again. I'm a happy camper because so far I had been less than enchanted with her Scandalous Bride series, but this one is a charmer.
This romance is for Adam, the Duke of Greaves, and Sophia White, the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Hennessy. This is their time to shine and shine they do. These two characters were in the previous books in the series, but, honestly, I don't remember them. I'll remember them now because I loved this story and I found Adam and Sophia truly magical.
Rules to Catch a Devilish Duke is a tale that can be divided into two parts - before the bridge is fixed, and after. Even though there was a most definite difference in the emotional punch each part delivers, I loved both. In the end they joined to make an enchanting story.
Here is a short plot: Adams has to get married before his thirtieth birthday or lose his inheritance. Sophia has to marry to save her friends. Adams has a party, invites eligible women and, on a whim invites Sophia (not eligible.) Sophia accepts. Bridge collapses. Sophia almost drowns. Adam saves Sophia. Adam, Sophia, his maniac sister and a plethora of servants are trapped at his estate. The only thing that gets through is the mail, which puzzled me and made me go back and do some rereading. Apparently, there is time to create an elaborate pulley system that can be used to deliver the mail, but there's no time to fix the bridge.
The story in the beginning has a slow, gentle, almost dreamlike feel about it. Our couple is almost alone except for the aforementioned sociopath sister and the peripheral servants. This is the time we fall in love with the effervescent Sophia. What a wonderful character. She's funny, strong, honest and she is able to break through the cold shell that surrounds Adam. In this part we get to watch a slow build up of friendship, and then eventually they become lovers. Both Adam and Sophia know their relationship can't last, but they hold on to their dream as long as they can.
And, then their world comes crashing back in and the bridge is fixed. All those nubile girls and so called friends invade the estate. Their brief interlude is over and they are forced to return to their old ways. Adam returns to his ways with a vengeance, not really able to understand what has happened to him. Sophia, as it turns out, was always delightful.
The one problem I had with this story was the abrupt ending. I wish we would have had a nice long epilogue to enjoy and get a feel for how this couple was adjusting to their new life, because we all know Sophia and Adam are going to be socially unacceptable. But, then I have to ask, just how many "friends" must a duke have to be happy?
Both parts of this novel connect into a brilliant love story. What a wonderful couple. I highly recommend Rules to Catch a Devilish Duke.
Time/Place: Regency England