I usually begin a review with some short and, I hope, vaguely entertaining insight regarding the book in question. Not this time. This time I'm simply going to say What I Did for a Duke, by Julie Anne Long is one of the most well written historical romances I've ever had the pleasure to pick up. And that's saying a lot considering how many really, really good historical romances I've read.
Alexander Moncrieffe, the Duke of Falconbridge, is a man with a reputation - not as a rake, but as a mystery. Rumors swirl around his involvement in the death of his first wife. He is wealthy. He has won more than one duel. He has gambled with cards and with his investments and has, as the gossips like to say, never lost. That is perhaps until now. His Grace is engaged to Lady Abigail Beasley and their plans to marry come to an abrupt end when he confronts her, along with a very naked Ian Eversea, in her bed.
Alexander is well-acquainted with the ways of the devilish Eversea brothers. And while His Grace "allows" Ian to leave the bedroom alive (albeit naked and through a two story window), he does not intend to let this Eversea escapade go unpunished. After all, he has a reputation to uphold for, as they also say, he is not kind. So Lady Abigail is quickly dismissed from his life and a fitting plan of revenge is formed.
Genevieve Eversea, Ian's younger sister, is in love with Harry Osbourne and has been for as long as she can remember. And when Harry invites her out for a walk, alone, she's convinced it's to ask for her hand in marriage. The love of her life is thinking of matrimony, but unfortunately not with her. Just as Genevieve believes her future is sealed, Harry lets her know that he's planning on asking their mutual friend Millicent to honor him by becoming his wife.
Genevieve may be devastated, heartbroken and angry, but she's not dimwitted. Far from it, in fact. And when the Duke arrives as a houseguest and begins to pay extra special attention to her, she realizes something is not quite right. Especially when she looks at her brother Ian who, while in the Duke's company, is much paler than usual. After correctly surmising Moncrieffe's intentions, Genevieve discovers an unusual ally in her quest to win Harry back. And His Grace? Let's just say he also gets more than he bargained for.
Ms. Long's writing makes this novel a pure pleasure to read. Her voice is unique and masterful. The story is sprinkled liberally with exquisite verbal gems that literally dance off the page. There is humor, emotion, depth of character and eroticism all fully developed and bundled neatly inside a truly ingenious plot.
What I Did for a Duke is one classy, A+ romantic read and, very simply, I highly recommended it.