Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Book CoverC2’s review of Beauty and the Duke by Melody Thomas
Historical romance released by Avon 28 Jul 09

We’ve all been there, haven’t we, faithful reader, when we’re in the mood for a certain type of book? A certain type of character or a certain type of plot is what we want. Well, Beauty and the Duke might fit the bill. It is filled with familiar characters and story elements…a brooding duke, a blue-stocking, a curse, a plotting mother, an eccentric aunt, a jilt, an emotional teenager, a magical ring, a fey-like child, a marriage of convenience, mysterious disappearances, dinosaurs… *screeching brakes sound* Wait…dinosaurs?! Yes, you read that correctly.

Christine Sommers (our blue-stocking) is a paleontologist. She is trying to prove the existence of dragons (or some similar creature). However, her colleagues in the scientific community only mock her efforts. She and her father worked together until his recent death. Now she continues with her research while overseeing a girls’ school for her (eccentric) aunt Sophie. On the evening she is to perhaps win an award for a paper she has written, she discovers that her friend and co-worker is marrying another paleontologist that Christine was interested in. That same evening, Christine encounters Erik Boughton, Duke of Sedgwick. She and Erik have a history – they had a fling several years before but he ended up marrying her cousin (who died soon after…there is a curse, remember).

Erik Boughton has come to London to ask an associate of Christine’s for her help in figuring out some bones that have recently been discovered on his estate. Some are unlike anything anyone has ever seen…and some are disturbingly human. There is a mystery afoot that involves Erik’s second wife. She disappeared several years before under unusual circumstances. Most people believe she is dead but there are those who claim to have seen her…Erik is determined to get the bottom of things so he can move on.

Christine sees a chance to prove some of her dragon theories and asks Erik to hire her for the job instead. To get Christine back into his life and keep her there, Erik offers Christine the chance to come to Scotland to his estate and see what she can uncover about the bones that have been found – but only if she comes as his wife. She will get her beast and he will get an heir. Christine tells her aunt they will be “business partners” and nothing more.

Soon after Christine arrives in Scotland, accidents start occurring. She learns that the dukes of Sedgwick have been cursed by a neighboring family – none have survived past the age of 35. Erik’s 35th birthday is only a few months away. Is it coincidence or proof of the curse? And what about the bones – human and beast – will Christine be able to uncover the truth in time? Ah, faithful reader, if you want the answers you know where to find them.

I have to say, there was a little too much going on in this book and the heroine was not the most likeable. It was a case of almosts – Christine was almost likeable; the plot was almost interesting, I was almost engaged in the story. Beauty and the Duke isn’t a bad book but it isn’t wonderful, either. Apparently, it is the first in a new series. Will I check out the next installment? I doubt it.

CSquareds C2 IconGrade: C


The face he shows to the world is not the face she sees …

Once, ten years ago, they were young lovers sharing sinful touches and desperate ecstasy. But he was bound to another. Since that fateful time, Christine Sommers has grown into a headstrong beauty, the kind of woman who thinks nothing of daring travels to the ends of the world. But for all her achievements, Christine has never found anyone who makes her heart race the way Erik Boughton did.

Since that fateful time, Erik Boughton, the Duke of Sedgwick, has become something of a beast, at least according to the gossips of the ton. They say he is cursed, that any woman who shares his bed will meet an untimely end. But when he comes to Christine, desperate for her help to preserve his family and his title, she does not fear the devil duke. Enthralled by his ravenous desire, she would give him anything he wished even her body … and her heart.

Read an EXCERPT.