Book Critique – A Devil Of A Duke (Decadent Dukes Society #2)

For review of all books in the series, go here.

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: If you are into period setting novels with romance and mystery along-side, this book is one to try for sure.

A Devil Of A Duke is the second book in the trilogy Decadent Dukes Society by Madeline Hunter published in April of 2018. Decadent Dukes Society involves three sinfully handsome dukes who have three different scores to settle but they meet their match along the way. This time the plot is set between Gabriel St. James - Duke of Langford - and Amanda Waverly - a temptation disguised as an angel. And it is set in early 1800s England.

We followed Adam Penrose, Duke of Stratton, meet his match in Clara Cheswick while settling his scores in The Most Dangerous Duke in London. Now Madeline takes the reader on to the second duke in the Decadent Dukes Society, Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford, exploiting his debauchery all the while finding his right match.

Amanda Waverly is employed as a secretary to Lady Farnsworth, an unusual choice for both of them. But she has hidden secret that she guards by being the secretary. Little does she know that she would come up against a decadent duke in her efforts to keep her secret a secret.

Now Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford's eye has caught her, albeit a brief glimpse. With all the debauchery reputations he has gathered along his growing up years, Amanda had put her shackles up. Despite that the Duke of Langford is set on seducing her into his bed. The cat and mouse chase begins although dangers lurk at every turn for Amanda. 

As always, Madeline Hunter set her plot in early 1800s England taking us through the roads that we would have never traveled for real. It takes an imagination for the reader to put themselves into that period, understand the clothing, language and even the surroundings. I usually take help of google when I don’t understand or can't imagine. However it is always interesting to figure out what Madeline has in her mind, it makes me feel as though I am walking through that time period.

It amazes me how easily men had mistresses back then, some men took care of them very well and some didn’t though, and how it is an accepted norm. Wonder if it has to do with the factor that there were more women and less men? Well, if we look at Indian mythology, pretty much every great god has two wives. I guess it is acceptable norm even in Indian mythology perspective. 

As the books progress, more and more of mystery is spun around the Duke of Brentworth, Eric Marshall. He is becoming larger than life to the readers and ever so interesting. Cant wait to read his story soon, a book am yet to go get. :P

There is usually considerable amount of romance with eroticism in her books. Again she toned down the eroticism part just like the first book, but all the markers have been left everywhere for readers to interpret. The punch in romance did feel a bit lesser although the historical part and adventure have been a notch up.

I would have liked the ending to be a little more complicated, yet it is still a thrilling sequel for the trilogy. Another historical romance, that has all shades of love and adventure, by the author, keeping the readers interested in it. 

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. Lady Dorothy Farnsworth was seen in the first book. I didn’t think she would materialize again, but seems like she would become a common thread between the heroines of the trilogy at least.

b. Gabriel St. James has a brother, Lord Harold "Harry" St. James, 10 years his junior. He has his heart set on Lady Emilia - sister of Lady Clara, Duchess of Stratton. 

c. Katherine, is Amanda's neighbor in the little rental unit of rooms that she lived in. At the end of the plot, she has her heart set on Vincent, Gabriel's primary footman, who reciprocates 

d. Amanda Waverly's parents are - Charles and Mrs. Waverly.

2. Sub-Plots:

a. The trio of Decadent Dukes Society includes:

i. Adam Penrose, Duke of Stratton - Story told in The Most Dangerous Duke in London. Married to Lady Clara Cheswick. She gives birth to a son during this plot.

ii. Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford - He marries Amanda Waverly at the end of this plot. 

iii. Eric Marshall, Duke of Brentworth - He seemed to have gone into more discreet methods of debauchery and mistresses. He had been without female companionship for a brief period of time when his father was alive. Wonder what he had been doing then. He also seems to be working on some papers although he isnt working for the government. 

b. The Women's Journal, Parnassus, has taken up quite a wind in this plot. The key members include:

i. Mrs. Althea Galbreath (a widow) and Lady Grace Bidwell – friends of Lady Clara. They formed the original behind the journal.

ii. Mrs. Galbreath is their editor.

iii. Lady Dorothy Farnsworth, Mrs. Dalton and Mrs. Clark also become key committee members of the journal in this plot. 

3. Being that these are historical romances by Madeline, I was always charmed by the language she used and how different the words are used now or in some cases not used at all:

a. Modiste - a fashionable milliner or dressmaker

b. Stays and Tapes - as in devices or strip of cloths used as brace or support for dresses in 18th century world.

c. Banyan - similar to a  morning gown or bath robe for men. More about it here.

d. Ducal - relating to a duke or dukedom.

4. Grammatical / Character / Plot / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:

a. On Pg. 228, Line 10, it should be "…Not one of them…"

b. On Pg. 318, Line 2 from bottom, it should be "…According to Mama…"


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