(Jewels of the Ton, #1)
Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)
He had a perfectly orderly life…
William, the sixth Duke of Pelham, enjoys his punctual, securely structured life. Orderly and predictable—that’s the way he likes it. But he’s in the public eye, and the scandal sheets will make up anything to sell papers. When the gossip papers link him to Juliette, one of the most beautiful and celebrated courtesans in London, chaos doesn’t begin to describe what happens next…
Until she came along…
Juliette is nicknamed the Duchess of Dalliance and has the cream of the nobility at her beck and call. It’s disruptive to have the duke who is the biggest catch on the Marriage Mart scaring her other suitors away. Then she discovers William’s darkest secret and decides what he needs in his life is the kind of excitement only she can provide…
This is my first book by Shana Galen and I can understand why she is one of the foremost authors of Historical Romance. I loved this opposites attract story with its entertaining blend of romance and mystery.
To paraphrase the opening lines of ‘Hart to Hart’, one of my favourite TV shows:
This is William, the sixth Duke of Pelham. He is rich, powerful and influential. His world is one of order, decorum and punctuality.
This is Juliette, the Duchess of Dalliance. She is a much sought after courtesan. Classically beautiful with pale blonde hair, she can break hearts with just a smile.
and when they meet….sparks are bound to fly!
“I would never be rude to a lady. You, madam, are not a lady. You are nothing more than a well-paid whore.”
Oh yes, William’s hero status is definitely a bit rocky at first, but as details of his early life are gradually revealed, I understood how his cold, heartless father had shaped him into the man he has become. Since birth, his father had drummed into William the principles he must adhere to…’a duke was never uncertain, never faltered, never showed emotion. And a duke was most certainly never late’…any failure resulted in a harsh retribution from his father. One of the delights of this book is watching William slowly emerge from his orderly existence to discover that he doesn’t have to be a prisoner of the past, that he can choose his own destiny.
Juliette is not everything she is perceived to be by the ton, who never know the real woman behind the façade. Divorced from an abusive husband, she still dreams of finding someone ‘who loves the farmer’s daughter and the Duchess of Dalliance and everyone I’ve been in between.’
It is fun seeing how she completely disrupts Will’s (as she insists on calling him) orderly life and makes him realise that he can be both a man and a duke…that it is okay to laugh and have fun. Her refusal to conform to his rigid rules had some hilarious consequences such as when Will physically drags her out of bed because she’s late for breakfast! But Juliette is more than a match for him…
Do you ever cease looking at that watch of yours? I think it must be permanently affixed to your hand.”
“Some of us must live our lives on a schedule,” he answered.
She lifted a plate. “Eat on a schedule, sleep on a schedule, walk on a schedule. Tell me, do you visit the privy on a schedule, as well?”
I felt that Will not knowing the truth about Juliette’s real situation made his willingness to declare his love for her in such a public way so romantic.
“But I’m a courtesan. I can’t be your duchess.”
“Juliette, you are my love. No other woman could ever be my duchess.”
I enjoyed the scene in Will’s club where he is joined by his friends, Lord Andrew Darlington and Warwick Fitzhugh. The banter between them is so amusing.
The plot had enough action and danger to hold my interest and the unresolved story thread involving the ruthless Lucifer neatly sets the scene for If You Give a Rake a Ruby, the next book in the series.
This was a wonderful introduction to Shana Galen’s books and I’m looking forward to reading the other two books in the series.
REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS
SENSUALITY RATING: HOT
Read October 2014