I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this story because I just knew it was going to be great. I’m pretty sure this could be read as a standalone read but it’s even better for fans of the series. Why? Because of Alf, of course. After a while we all figured out who, or better yet, what Alf was but to have that character get a happy ever after is a real treat. The fact that the hero is Hugh, who I met in a previous story, is another hook that I’m all too happy not to resist. He is a man with depths.
I can happily say that I’m thrilled with this novel. I liked how Alf was such a strong heroine; she was spunky, mischievous, and skilled with a sword. I enjoyed watching her slowly change from a survivor to a woman in love. There was so much to admire about her character that I think she’s become one of my favorite leading ladies. Her soft heart was in evidence whenever she dealt with the young children in the story. Alf truly touched my heart.
Hugh is a complicated man. His lineage is intriguing, his job is fascinating and for all the power he holds, he is powerless to help his own kids. He doesn’t stop trying, he doesn’t stop loving and the author’s choice of words to describe some of the scenes between them were all heartbreaking and tender.
Duke of Pleasure is an emotionally rich story and is a credit to Ms. Hoyt’s skill as a storyteller. I was wowed.
A word to the wise, this book can also steam your glasses, if you wear them. I chose spicy as the heat level but it was a toss-up. There were a couple of scenes that were quite possibly hotter than a habanero pepper, but it might have seemed that way because I really liked the dynamics between Alf and Hugh; she was innocent, he was not, but, she wasn’t demure and shy, oh no, Alf was pragmatic and a quick learner to the point of enthusiasm. Hugh didn’t stand a chance.
The overall story arc had an exciting and tightly written conclusion and I was so happy that the worst was over … until I read the sneak peek for the next book in the series. Oh my! That one should be very interesting indeed. Guess what I can’t wait for!!
Duke of Pleasure has a perfect happy ever after for two wonderful people and I’m a very satisfied reader. It’s no hardship to recommend this novel to any and all historical romance readers because it’s such an entertaining and engaging read. Once started, I couldn’t it put it down so please leave enough time to enjoy to get the full effect. It’s worth it.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.