Bronwyn Evans: To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield

Lady Caitlin Southall can not believe that her home, her mothers home which is being held in a trust for her, was lost in a card game. She becomes even more frustrated when she learns the most notorious rake and her neighbor, Harlow Telford, Duke of Dangerfield is the one that won her home and will not return it like a gentleman when he learns of her situation. Oh no. Caitlin’s temper gets the best of her and she challenges Harlow to the best of three events to see who wins the home–but her loss will come with her losing herself in his bed.

Although not a full length Regency, but more substantial than a novella, To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield is a wonderfully crafted story of two neighbors at odds. I found myself easily engrossed in the story, even shedding tears at one point (which I hardly ever do), and really liking both hero and heroine scales and all.

Caitlin is outrageous, flaunting convention and desperate to use her skills to win back her birthright—one her degenerate scrapegrace of a father lost in card game.  She is by no means perfect, but her motives are sincere and really speak to the frustrations that must have existed when women were largely helpless to the whims of the men in their life.

The Duke has devoted his life to taking down Lord Southall, and winning Mansfield Manor is the crowning glory.

Evans is a beautiful storyteller, with entertaining scenes rich with emotion that hist-ro lovers will find surprisingly genuine.  I like that she really gets the female perspective, embuing Caitlin with real “movable” parts that will resonate with readers.  I also think Harlow is likeable, even despite his droll and sometimes mean spirited seeming character.

By the end of the novel, the love is like a juicy fruit, tasting sweet and sometimes sour, with real meat that allows the reader to sink their teeth into.

The ending is a little neat, which some may take umbrage over, but I rather liked the escapism it provided–who doesn’t want a happy ending? I think if Evans had opted to make the novel a little longer, the ending could have been a little better developed so it didn’t seem so far-fetched…I was waiting for more engagement with the events that happen in the last few pages or at least an author’s note.  I like a little historical flavor, and  would’ve liked to see the ending contextualized a bit more…but then again, I can see where other readers would find that type of exposition cumbersome.

 (4.5 out of 5–Ending was a little happy groan worthy, but the rest of the short novel was both a joy and emotionally engaging).

 Not recommended for teens under 15.  Sex scenes, adult subject matter including adultery and mistresses. May be suitable for older teens, with parental review.

 

 

A copy was provided by the author for review. No other consideration was made.

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