A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta Chase (Difficult Dukes #1)
Released: November 28, 2017
Reviewed by Mandi
A new series by Loretta Chase that features naughty, naughty dukes. They are so naughty, the three dukes, who are also besties, are nicknamed, Their Dis-Graces.
Not all dukes are created equal. Most are upstanding members of Society. And then there’s the trio known as Their Dis-Graces.
They drink too much, go after women, and are all shocked when they start to settle down and get serious about getting married. The Duke of Ashmont is a member of this trio, and found himself smitten with Lady Olympia Hightower. Olympia is very bookish, almost a spinster and a wallflower at every ball.
For seven years, she’d been voted Most Boring Girl of the Season. In seven years, she’d received not a single offer. That was to say, she’d received no offer any young lady in her right mind, no matter how desperate, would accept or, as had happened in the case of an elderly suitor, would be allowed to accept.
Before I continue I should note that, the whole, “she’d been voted Most Boring Girl of the Season,” which is mentioned at least twice in the book, tends to feel more…modern. I discussed this with Janine, who review for Dear Author on twitter, who mentioned that it’s jarring and I have to agree. I remember a few other times as I was reading thinking something similar. If you are very strict with historical accuracy, this one might be a thorn in your side.
Why on earth Ashmont courted her, is still a mystery to her. Olympia isn’t in love with Ashmont, but she has six brothers, and thinks this is best for her and her family. But minutes before she is supposed to walk down the aisle, she is chugging brandy from a flask and then fleeing out a window. I guess Ashmont has to wait a book or two to truly find true love. It’s not that Ashmont is a horrible person – but he is like a present day frat boy. He drinks way too much. He gets into fights on the street.
True, Lucius Wilmot Beckingham, the sixth Duke of Ashmont, was a bit of an ass, and so immature he made nine-year-old Clarence look like King Solomon. And yet, it went without saying that His Grace would be unfaithful.
Great catch. Run, Olympia!
Without much in common between them, and not wanting to have to care for a drunk husband day in and day out, Olympia decides being ruined is for the better. But much to her dismay, Ashmont’s best friend, and another one of those, ‘Dis-Graces’ sees her flee and follows her.
Hugh Philemon Ancaster, seventh Duke of Ripley, we will just call him Ripley, sees tipsy Olympia run off, and decides to go collect her back for the wedding. But then he realizes how serious she is about leaving, and how drunk she is, and finds it all very amusing and decides to help her on her adventure. And it is an adventure – at first. They go by carriage and boat, eventually landing at Ripley’s sister’s house. All the while, Olympia realizes Ripley and her have so much in common, and she falls for him – but too cowardly to get word to Ashmont that she is ending the engagement. Tsk tsk, Olympia.
The first half of this book was so cute and fun, but it stalls out by the second half. After Olympia makes her escape, not much else happens. Ashmont and her brothers start to look for her, but it’s slow going. Olympia and Ripley, being in such close quarters, start a romance, but it lacked passion. Or maybe it was all too predictable. While Ripley has a bit of a sharp tongue and finds Olympia’s great escape to be amusing, I’m not sure I would classify him as too disgraceful. It seems his naughty antics happened more in the past and he turned respectable before this books starts.
Fun first half, flat second half. But I am interested to see who gets the next book.