What I Did For a Duke by Julie Anne Long was a nice refresher from some of the less engaging historical romance novels I’ve been picking up lately. The characters were fascinating and the plot vastly amusing. This is the first book I’ve read by Julie Anne Long (despite the fact that it is the fifth in a series), but it certainly won’t be my last.
Genevieve Eversea has a giant target painted on her back – and she doesn’t even know it yet. The Duke of Falconbridge is determined to seduce her in order to get revenge from a transgression committed by her brother.
Further complicating matters is that Genevieve is in love with her long-time friend, who has just admitted to her that he wants to marry someone else. Things quickly change when he sees that the Duke is interested in her however – could he be jealous?
Admittedly, What I Did For a Duke doesn’t have the most original plot line…but these characters make it shine. And their chemistry makes it sizzle. There is a twenty year age difference between the characters and it didn’t bother me in the slightest! I expected it to, but the magic of the book swept me away and I really can’t summon a single fault anywhere.
The sexytimes were definitely smoking hot, have no fears there. An unexpected highlight was the humor. Seriously – these characters are extremely witty. Their conversations are all highly diverting and I couldn’t get enough of them in bed or out. Julie Anne Long definitely knows her characterization.
So, even though of course I knew how What I Did For a Duke would ultimately end, I literally could not put it down because I was aching to see my characters come together. The Duke is such a complicated man, constantly the subject of rumors about dueling and poisoning his first wife. I loved how confused and surprised he was by the intensity of emotions Genevieve brought out in him. Nothing like seeing a man brought to his knees, y’all.
Like the measles, love is most dangerous when it comes late in life.
George Gordon, Lord Byron, had said that, and it was a dire day indeed when he found wisdom in the words of that bloody fool. But he understood. Before he’d been too young to really understand; he’d loved and he’d married as a young man will. But now he understood why someone would write things like “she walked in beauty like the night” and so forth. Because poetry was a barrier against raw emotions. It distilled them into bearable music, allowed one to accommodate them a little at a time.
Because he’d known the sort of loss that sent a man spiraling into nothingness as surely as if he’d been dropped out of the sky. He’d felt the wind of the abyss whistling behind him.
And so of course he was afraid.
Because he was staring down yet another loss.
I’ll definitely be remembering Genevieve as one of my favorite heroines from this point forward. Since she is quiet and content to keep mostly to herself, she is considered shy and unoriginal. Nothing could be further from the truth. She is passionate about art, her friends, her family…just passionate in general really. Seeing her finally decide to let her personality shine was a highlight of What I Did For a Duke.
And the ending? Sa-woon. Oh my gosh, one of the best ever.
Seriously you guys, everything about this book is brilliant. I can’t believe I haven’t heard more about Julie Anne Long, and I’ll be picking up more of her books very soon.
What I Did For a Duke started out as a book I picked up on a whim and quickly turned into one of the best historical romances I’ve read in a very long time. Highly recommended.