I Married the Duke by Katharine Ashe

September 12, 2013
Exit stage left.

I Married the Duke, by Katherine Ashe, is the first book in a series, The Prince Catchers, about the three sisters trying to find a - Prince. This one is about the middle sister Arabella.
She's a red-headed heroine who hides her hair because she doesn't want people to think she's wanton. Just once I'd love a red-head to actually like their hair. For all you red-heads out there, I think red hair is stunning!

This is my first full-length novel by Ms. Ashe and sorry to say I was disappointed in it. I'm not sure when the last time was that I wanted to bang heads together as much as I did in the case of our hero and heroine. Arabella and Luc - truly head-cracking characters - aaarrgh!

Here's the premise of the book - there is a soothsaying gypsy who says that one of the sisters must marry a prince and then they will find out their past and the reason they are carrying around a ring that's worth a fortune. Fast forward and our heroine has hung the ruby ring around her neck and is off to find the prince. Does she know who the prince is? Don't be silly, of course not and she doesn't seem to have a plan. That is just one of the many convoluted story threads wandering through this tale. Arabella is also some kind of psychic, along the order of Counselor Troi from Star Trek - she feels things. Maybe she's a Betazoid, maybe that's the family secret, maybe this is a Science Fiction book instead of a historical romance. Nah, anyway, we don't know because her ability is never fully explored in the book, it's just mentioned a couple of times and then kind of dropped. Anyway, she's off to find a prince who will know about the ruby ring but first she has to save three children and misses her ship to France. She now needs a ship.

Enter our hero, Luc; he has a ship. He's a pirate, argh ye' matey's...well, maybe he's not a real pirate. You see he is really Lucien Westfall, Comte de Rallis, and any day he may be the Duke of Lycombe. That is if the current duchess doesn't deliver a boy baby. But he does wear a patch over a missing eye. That eye came up missing not in combat but some kind of a duel with his friend, the strikingly handsome Earl of Bedwyr. I'm not sure what the back story is on the missing eye, but it involves a twelve year old girl and jumping to a conclusion. And, as happens often in this book, it is something that is mentioned but not fully developed. Sometimes I thought I had lost my ability to comprehend the storyline (this is a romance for Pete's sake) but I did lose my way occasionally and had to backtrack to find it. There were a lot of things that were hinted at but never revealed and that was irritating. Did I happen to mention that the current duchess hadn’t lived with her husband for a long time, but she’s with child and she has an evil brother who is a bishop. There’s also Christos (Luc’s brother whose past is a secret), Prince Reiner, Reiner’s sister, Anthony (Luc’s other friend)…on and on. Characters were introduced but never fully developed, but nothing comes close to my major complaint...the walking out.

Almost every time our couple are at logger-heads (and they are there a lot) one of them leaves - just walks out that door, turn their backs and exit. Sometimes they stomp, sometimes they stroll, but I became very irritated with this juvenile exiting. And, I'm not even going to talk about Arabella's TSTL moment or Luc's falling in the water and losing his sight in his good eye. These were Puleese moments.

So, sorry to say, I was disappointed in this story and I'm not sure I will continue with the series.

Time/Place: Regency England, a boat, France
Sensuality: Warm/Hot

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