I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Last Night with the Duke by Amelia Grey
Series: Rakes of St. James #1
Published by St. Martin's Press on March 7th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Historical, Regency
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ADD TO GOODREADS:
Could finding love be his greatest scandal of all?
The Duke of Griffin has never lived down his reputation as one of the Rakes of St. James. Now rumors are swirling that his twin sisters may bear the brunt of his past follies. Hiring a competent chaperone is the only thing Griffin has on his mind—until he meets the lovely and intriguing Miss Esmeralda Swift. In ways he could have never expected, she arouses more than just his curiosity.
Esmeralda Swift considered herself too sensible to ever fall for a scoundrel, but that was before she met the irresistibly seductive Griffin. His employment offer proves too tempting for her to turn down. She can’t afford to be distracted by his devilish charms because the stakes are so high for his sisters’ debut Season. . .unless one of London’s most notorious rakes has had a change of heart and is ready to make Esmerelda his bride?
In her new release, Last Night with the Duke, author Amelia Grey treats readers to a sweet, slow-burn romance between a reformed rake and his sisters’ reluctant chaperone.
After a reckless youth (and one too many thoughtless pranks), The Duke of Griffin’s past threatens to impact his twin sisters’ future. [Side note: Frustratingly, we never learn his full name, he’s only ever referred to by his title.] As rumors swirl around Polite Society, Griffin finds himself in need of a chaperone to assist shepherding his sisters through their first season. Fate puts him at the door of Esmerelda Swift, manager of an employment agency. Impressed with Esmerelda’s fortitude and intelligence, Griffin refuses to consider any other women than Esmerelda to help the twins enter Society and escape scandal.
Esmerelda reluctantly accepts entering Griffin’s employ, bringing her half-sister, dog, and several secrets in tow as she moves into the Duke’s household. Wary of the mercurial nature of the aristocracy, Esmerelda is consistently surprised by Griffin’s generosity and good humor. Acknowledging the simmering attraction between them, both admit they cannot act on it, especially while Esmerelda is Griffin’s employee.
When secrets are revealed and scandals threaten, Griffin and Esmerelda’s connection is strained. Despite his kind nature and ready smile, Griffin does come across as occasionally petulant and, well, mercurial. He wants Esmeralda, says he can’t pursue her, kisses her passionately, doesn’t talk to her for a week… This push/pull without real insight into his feelings or internal conflict is a missed opportunity by author Amelia Grey for deeper character development.
Griffin’s twin sisters’ are essential to the plot, yet their personalities could have been better explored. We are told how their demeanors are different but it wasn’t fleshed out enough to give their characters true dimension. I expect we will learn more about who was behind the gossip and threat of scandal when the sister of Griffin’s fellow Rake of St. James, the Duke of Hawksthorn, makes her debut into Society in the next book in the series – that’s the only reason I can think of that it wasn’t resolved by the end of Last Night with the Duke.
With only one brief love scene, the heat is not very high in Last Night with the Duke, with the developing friendship/relationship between taking priority. That doesn’t mean there isn’t and ‘tingly’ feelings or heated kisses, just that they aren’t acted upon and repressed.
In Last Night with the Duke, Amelia Grey provides a pleasant look at what happens when a reckless rake must face his past while struggling to deal with his current desires and his plans for the future.