Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sins of a Wicked Duke, by Sophie Jordan

h_soawd Sophie Jordan's latest novel plots servant versus scandalous Duke.  Who will win?

Fallon's life was turned upside down when her father died and she was cast off from the estate in which he worked.  She is sent to the Penwich School for Virtuous Women, where she is educated and ridiculed at the same time.  Making her way as a governess and servant, she encounters many a master that would like to take advantage of her beauty, only to find a strong-willed woman underneath, not willing to become someones playmate.  Her virtuousness gets her in trouble, and she is dismissed from her employer for not bending to his will.  A chance rescue in her time of need brings her to the attention of Dominic, the Duke of Damon.  The Duke is taken with her beauty, but she declines his offer vehemently and vows to never bend to any man's will, no matter how stirred she is by him.

Dominic has a reputation as a notorious rake, and he does everything he can to keep this particular opinion of himself.  Having no time for society, he is found with a different woman, or women- every night.  His staff, used to his ways, turns a blind eye, until Francis comes along.  Francis is a pretty footman with lovely eyes and short blond hair, curiously resembling  a certain woman that needed his help one evening.  In her cleverness, Fallon realizes the one way she can earn a living without having a man begging for her favors is to pose as a man.  Dangerous to be sure, but it works!  One evening footman "Francis" comes to the rescue of the Duke from a jealous husband, and is promoted to valet suddenly.  This is the worst thing that can happen, as the Duke is not only a rake, but a handsome one and Fallon is attracted to him despite her guise as a footman.  Her ruse is discovered and both the Duke and Fallon give in, starting them on a path that cannot possibly end happily.  Then when an unexpected offer from the estate where her father worked is presented to her, Fallon sees her chance to live independently.  If she cannot have the Duke, then she wants no one.

The two main characters in this book are beautifully written; flawed, intense and engaging.  Both are damaged and desperate to have a "normal life" and forget the horrors of the past.  Sophie Jordan is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors!  Her storytelling is very refreshing and lively, bringing a wide range of emotions to each story.  This is definitely one to pick up!

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