Book Critique – Never Deny A Duke (Decadent Dukes Society #3)

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, although I feel that the crescendo of the trilogy ended in a slightly low tone. 

Never Deny A Duke is the third and final book in the trilogy Decadent Dukes Society by Madeline Hunter published in April of 2019. 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 Eric Marshall - Duke of Brentworth - and Davina MacCallum - another contributor to the Women's Journal Parnassus.

We followed Adam Penrose, Duke of Stratton, meet his match in Clara Cheswick while settling his scores in The Most Dangerous Duke in London and Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford, meet his match in Amanda Waverly in A Devil Of A Duke , all the while trying to keep the decadent dukes reputation alive. Now it's time to see how the third duke of the Decadent Dukes Society, Eric Marshall, Duke of Brentworth, fares and matches wit with the One.

Davina MacCallum comes to London to fight for her inheritance that had been taken decades ago in a war. Now the current king had confirmed that those lands and her inheritance had been bequeathed to the Brentworth's estate, which are now under Eric Marshall, the current Duke of Brentworth. 

Eric who prided on discretion of his affairs, be it political or personal, is now flummoxed with the fact that people and even King think that he should come to a compromise with Davina. However, Davina is not at all impressed by Eric, which has Eric's interest zone in on her. Caught between desire and duty, Eric and Davina travel a road that perhaps leads them to the past and also paves a future.

All through the series Duke of Brentworth was slowly and steadily becoming larger than life and also mysterious due to his discreet methods whether dealing with politics, his personal affairs, or his mistresses. He wears power like a second skin and even the King fears his wrath. So it was fitting that Madeline created Davina MacCallum for him, who would stand toe to toe with the Duke and not in the least intimidated or impressed by him.

Davina MacCallum had been a spirit-filled woman in the beginning. But somewhere towards the middle of the plot I felt irritated by her. Not sure why though, but she was getting under my skin. And just before I was putting her under my least favorite heroine, she suddenly turns around and becomes a strong complement to Eric. Madeline certainly surprised the reader in the way she evolved Davina.

Madeline also reveals some of the political issues that Eric works with other dukes and tries to bring reforms - like abolishing slavery. The plot is set in early 1800s, so the issues Madeline brings also relate to that era. Some are moot for this century we are in, but amazes me how we had treated a fellow human back then. Not that we are treating any better now but some really amazed me. 

Madeline dedicated this book to her husband. And by the dates mentioned looks like she lost him in 2018. Very sad to hear about his demise. I hope he is resting in peace. And that is perhaps another reason for her to give only one book in 2018 to us readers. I wish peace for Madeline as well.

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. In this particular book, she shows us how the world of medicine was back then. Boy! Am I glad I was born in this century. **Shudders**

There is usually considerable amount of romance with eroticism in her books. Again she toned down the eroticism part in this series on the whole. 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.

Despite the brief irritation with our heroine, this is a fitting closure in this series. Another historical romance, that has all shades of love and adventure, by the author, keeping the readers interested in it. 

Spoiler Alerts:

1. 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 the plot of the second book A Devil Of A Duke. At the end of this book, they have twins.

ii. Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford - Story told in A Devil Of A Duke. Married to Amanda Waverly. At the end of this plot, it is shown that they have a boy, 

iii. Eric Marshall, Duke of Brentworth. Marries Davina MacCallum at the end of this plot. It is also shown that they have a boy named Benjamin and a girl named Godania in the epilogue.

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. 

c. 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:

i. Whist - a 16th century game of trump or ruff.

ii. Attainder - the forfeiture of land and civil rights suffered as a consequence of a sentence of death for treason or felony.

iii. Clyster syringe - old method to inject via anus to empty the bowels.

iv. Phaeton - a light open four-wheeled horse drawn carriage.


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