BETWEEN THE DUKE AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA (Royal Entourage #1) by Sophia Nash
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by Avon
Genre: historical romance novel
Rating: 3 stars
A “love affair with a book” for me starts with a click, just like between people: it clicks right away or it doesn’t. In the case of Between the Duke and the Blue Sea, it simply didn’t. And it’s so unfortunate, because I believe this novel had a great potential. To give you an idea of the way I felt about this book, imagine to be sitting in front of a beautiful fireplace blazing with fire, but no warmth whatsoever coming out of it. Such a pity…the author introduced such great elements of suspense (the attempted murder plot, the rescue, the mystery of the disappearance of a miner’s hidden fortune, an unexpected new love), without really exploiting all their potentials.
After a night of outrageous debauchery under the influence of strong spirits, the Prince Regent forces a group of dissolute dukes to a temporary exile in order to reform their scandalous conduct: no more mistresses and other self-indulgent behaviors. The Prince demands sobriety, marriage and heirs from all of them. The first one to comply to the new orders is the very duke who provided the spirits for that reckless night. Alex Barclay, Duke of Kress will retire to his estate in Cornwall (Saint Michael’s Mount), restore it to its original shape of military outpost, find an impeccable young lady to wed and produce an heir, all within a month.
Roxanne Vanderhaven, Countess of Paxton, is the daughter of a wealthy miner, married to an earl who, after eight years of marriage, decides to kill her. Orchestrating the disappearance of her beloved dog and sure that she would search for her pet, he leads her on a very weak spot on the cliffs by the sea. When the ground gives away under her feet, she falls, but she luckily finds the strength to hold on hanging by the rocks and waiting for her husband to come back with help. The Earl of Paxton doesn’t come back to rescue her. It will be the Duke, Alex, to find her and save her. He also provides her with an accommodation at his castle and protection in the meanwhile she figures out how to react to her husband’s actions.
BtDatBS mainly lacks intensity. The emotional connection between the characters is intermittent. Even the sexual tension is somehow awkward ( I am thinking about their first “encounter” at night after the ball by a pool). Despite the interesting plot, several scenes seem to be written without a real thread holding them together.
It was so below my expectations that I am really curious to read the next (The Art of the Duke Hunting) in the series. I am giving myself a second chance.
One last thought…who killed Roxanne’s husband, the Earl of Paxton? Did I miss it or the author actually never makes it clear?