Sara’s Review of I Married the Duke by Katharine Ashe
This was my first foray into Ashe’s writing, and I must say that I rather liked reading this novel, even if I did want to claw at the characters a few times in frustration.
Arabella is a wonderful, strong character whom I liked instantly. As the middle child of the three siblings, I loved the fact that she was driven to try and discover the truth about her parents, and that she didn’t completely conform to the demands of society. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind, and that is a trait that I have to admire. And her fear of being on the ocean is something that I understand all too well. The fact that she willingly missed her boat in order to take escort a group of children to their father won my heart right off. Likewise, I grew to like Luc a lot as the story progressed. He’s a man whose earned the respect of his crew, fought hard to establish himself as a ship’s captain turned pirate, and doesn’t deserve half of the stuff that happens to him in the story in my opinion. He isn’t exactly a bad boy, but he does carry an air of mystery about himself, and the scar really goes a long way towards making me like him. I wouldn’t say he’s a dashing rogue, but have a bit of the ruffian in him which I find appealing.
Yeah, okay, the truth is that while I liked both of these characters, I seriously wanted to claw them a new one throughout most of the story. She keeps pushing Luc away, and he keeps lying to Arabella. Their relationship is entirely built on lies, half-truths, and down right deception, which really made my fur crawl, and while there is no denying that the attraction they have for each other is hot, I don’t think I would have willingly put up with all the stuff Arabella puts up with from Luc if I were in her shoes. But having said that, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Luc a lot of the time and kept rooting for them to be honest with each other so that their relationship would actually succeed. I don’t want to give spoilers away by explaining parts of the plot that I had issues with in order to back up my impressions of the novel and its characters, but I will say that the rushed marriage left me reeling to the point where I had to question the sanity of everyone involved. Honestly, this is a book that you will have to read for yourself to understand my thoughts. Sigh.
I would like to make it clear that my struggling with this book has nothing to do with the author’s writing itself. Ashe is a fantastic author who has created a great start to what promises to be a fun series. Her attention to detail, skillful plot twists, and general strength towards story telling, made this book an interesting read. I didn’t want to put it down, even when I wanted to scream at the characters. I had to know what would happen next to everyone. The fault lies entirely on my frustration with the characters and not the book itself. I guess it is safe to say that Ashe is capable of writing characters who are real. I doubt she intended for them to get under her reader’s skin and driving them batty, but I think that it is a testament to her skill as an author that I had the reaction as I did. If Arabella and Luc were real, there’s no doubt in my mind I’d find them both exasperating, yet fun to be around at the same time.
There’s no question that I intend to read the rest of this series, and I do recommend that fans of Historical Romance give this book a try. It’s a wild, mysterious, and exciting read which will leave you guessing with each chapter. Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself grinding your teeth a few times in frustration, murr!