How to Seduce a Duke

Love is in the Heir

The Most Wicked of Sins

Rules of Engagement

 
The Duke’s Night of Sin
by Kathryn Caskie
(Avon Books, $7.99, G) ISBN 978-0-06-149103-0
***
Lady Siusan Sinclair is one of the Seven Deadly Sins, a set of 7 siblings, offspring of the Duke of Sinclair who have been disowned by their judgmental father until they are able to show that they have redeemed themselves through good behavior.

When we meet Lady Suisan, it's the one year anniversary of the death of her fiance Simon. She's attending a gala with her siblings to watch for the introduction of the new Duke of Exeter, and this new, young, unmarried Duke is said to be quite a catch. Suisan couldn't care less to meet the Duke, or even spare a glance of him in the crush of the gala, so she heads off to a quiet corner of the house to catch some fresh air and hopefully compose herself before she starts crying for thinking of Simon.

She ends up in a darkened library where a man comes out of the dark after her, clearly mistaking her for his mistress. Suisan decides not to object as this man somewhat resembles Simon and she's been lonely. Well, Suisan and the mystery man tryst in the library with hundreds of people just outside the door.

Shortly thereafter, Suisan learns that the man she had sex with was none other than the Duke of Exeter, and that he's come looking for her to her family home to return her garter. Suisan's brilliant siblings manage to put the Duke off her scent with a clever ruse, but they know she will surely be discovered and bring even more dishonor to their disgraced family name if she's found in society by the Duke.

Suisan heads off to a school for young ladies to teach for a few weeks until the possible scandal has subsided, and the Duke forgets about her. Suisan's never worked before, never taught before, and doesn't know very much about young girls but she soon discovers joy and redemption in her new profession until a concerned guardian of one of her wards shows up to question her new teaching methods, and it turns out that he is Sebastian, the Duke of Exeter.

Cue some interesting field trips with the girls, a disastrous snowstorm, and a run back to London. Will Suisan ever come clean to the Duke about who she really is, especially when she finds out that a spoiled society miss is trying to pin her pregnancy on her night in the library with the Duke?

The Duke's Night of Sin is a well written tale with several surprises that are well placed.

I liked it from the Author's Note, where Caskie mentions that 1816 was a unique year in London due to unseasonable weather, food shortages and rioting. When an author obviously does their research to enrich the reader's experience, that is always much appreciated.

The good points are as follows: Lady Suisan is as flawed a heroine as they come. As an imperfect woman myself, I appreciated her truthfulness about who she was and what she had done in her past. Often, when I read virginal 18 year old heroines, I have a hard time taking them seriously as they have no life perspective. Lady Suisan has baggage, guilt, past love and experience, which makes her a delight to relate to and read.

Suisan's colorful troop of brothers and sisters are a wonderful addition to the tale, they are fiercely protective, loving, and they harass each other in the manner of real siblings. We get to know Suisan fairly well through her interactions with her sister and brothers. I really liked the fellow teachers and girls at the school, Caskie managed to infuse secondary characters with real intelligence and personality.

Now, here is the bad news: I felt like the Duke was a bit of a cardboard cutout of a man. He dropped in here and there in the story but we never really learn anything beyond superficial facts about him, so it was hard to like him. Also, I didn’t like the supposed relationship between Suisan and the Duke. She seemed too worldly to be so neatly trapped into a disastrous situation by her own choices. Also, I had a very difficult time believing that the Duke was willing to chase her all over town since they only had one nameless, faceless tryst. And then Suisan declares that she fell in love with Sebastian the first time she met him - blech, I don't think so - a romantic connection is so much deeper than just a physical expression that happened briefly.

You may judge for yourself, but for me, The Duke's Night of Sin was lacking in some areas which made it a three heart read.

--Amy Wroblewsky


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