It had been a decade since Victor Cale, first cousin to the Duke of Lyons, had seen his wife. After some royal jewelry went missing from the jeweler's shop where they worked, Isabel Mertens disappeared. When Victor gets word of a woman who fits his wife's description, he sets out to confront her. But he discovers that nothing is as it seems-and revenge is never as sweet as true love.
©2014 Deborah Gonzales (P)2014 Tantor
~~~"HOPEFUL ROMANTIC"~~~ *** Love Audio Books....Especially Historical Romances *** ~~ "Reviews Should Never Contain spoilers ~~
This is not the conventional romance story at all. This book doesn't follow the usual formula of "boy meets girl....then the story begins". In this addition to "The Dukes Men" series we find newlyweds Victor and Isa who are torn apart because of a crime scandal. Victor searches for Isa and an adventure with danger, heartache, mystery, crime, family tragedy and romance unfold.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It's a simple easy romance to listen to especially if you enjoy regency romances. (You might want to skip this one if regency romances aren't to your liking).
Also, Corrie James did a wonderful job with the narration. ;-)
I find that enjoy the author's storytelling, but I didn't enjoy the narrator as much as I did in book 1. I still plan on continuing this series on audio. I don't know what Corrie James did differently but I liked her better in book 1.
This HR wasn't too sappy but it was kind of predictable. Isabella and Victor Cale were newlyweds after a very quick courtship when Isa's sister tricks Isa into committing a crime.
Isa makes imitation jewelry and Victor works as a security guard. When the Duke & Duchess came to their town, Isa's sister tricked Isa into making an imitation and swapping the Duchess's real stones with the imitation. Since Victor was the guard on duty, suspicion feel upon him for the crime. Victor was sent to jail and Isa's family told Isa that Victor left her.
Isa's sister & brother in law convinced her to change identities and move.
When Victor gets released, he can't find any traces of his wife, thus he spends the next decade looking for her. When he finds his thieving wife, he finally gets his chance for answers and revenge. But is revenge what he really wants or does he want his wife back?
This one was full of mystery, suspense and love. Good writing, and a very interesting story. I found the both hero and heroine to be likable and interesting. It appears they were immature in the beginning of the relationship and the separation allowed their individual characters to evolve. Thus when they came back together, both characters had more confidence and inner fortitude. I found that each character stayed true to themselves too, so I really liked them.
A good story, but definitely not my favorite from this author. The two main characters took way too long to be honest with each other--their initial hesitation made sense, but after a while it got to be ridiculous, especially since they both got hugely upset when they found out the other one was hiding something from them. (Hello? Pot? Kettle? You're equal in your blackness, so get over it already!) Other than that, Victor and Isa/Sofie were likable characters overall.
Ultimately, the last third or so redeemed the book for me. At one point I was afraid they were reverting back to their old ways, but they proved me wrong so nothing got tossed across the room (I was listening on audio, so book tossing would have involved earbuds being ripped out of my ears. I was very glad to have my fears proven wrong, believe me!) The ending is immensely satisfying, and helped me to get over much of my frustration with the book.
Some of the secondary characters' immense likability helps matters as well--Amalie, their daughter, is charming; Rupert and Mary Grace's secondary romance is adorable; and Sofie's business partner Mr. Gordon is an all-around great guy. Tristan and Dominick, the brothers who run Manton Investigations, are as entertaining as ever, and I cannot wait until they have their own books.
The science too was interesting, both of Sofie's artificial gems and Rupert's studies. I didn't quite "get" it all, but it sounded impressive. ;) Ms. Jeffries's afterword showed that she had clearly done her research in that arena.
Part of my dissatisfaction with this novel stemmed from the audio performance--I couldn't stand the voice the narrator used for Isa/Sofie. It always sounded as if she had a mouthful of marbles when she spoke, and it was distracting. Perhaps if I'd have read it instead of listening, I would have rated it higher.
So far the first book in the series is still my favorite. I wouldn't go so far as to say this one was a disappointment, it just didn't quite live up to the standards of book one. Hopefully the next offering from The Duke's Men will be more consistent in its execution.
Rating: C+/ 3.5 stars
Genre: Historical Romance
Main characters:Victor Cale & Isabel Mertens
Isabel: She is meek during the first chapter in the book (when she and Victor first marry), however after years of fending for herself, she has grown a spine and has made a comfortable living with her talents as a jewelry maker.
Victor: In the first book, he finds that he is cousin to a Duke and is now considered a peer. However, his life spent as a working-class citizen makes him uneasy to the privileges and expectations of the upper-class.
Newly weds, Victor leaves his wife, sick in bed, with a promise to return once his shift as a security guard is over. When he comes to collect his wife, he finds she has deserted him. Years later, Victor has not forgotten his missing bride and her deception. When a case surfaces regarding a viscount(?) interested in an older lady who fits Isabel's description, Victor follows the lead and comes face to face with his wife.
What does this book have?
I loved the first book in the series because I enjoyed the banter between the main characters. This book didn't hold the same awe for me and I found it to be okay. What does set this book apart is that the main characters were already married and have spent the majority of their married life apart. They were married young and didn't fully understand each other. When they come together, they are matured and experienced in life and are able to appreciate the better qualities in each other. Although there is resolution to the romance (and a twist in the tale to add to the story), I felt it could have been done better. Overall, I anticipate the next installment as it revolves around Tristan and Lady Zoe and as brief an exchange as these two had in this book, it promises to be feisty and rude with lots of fun banter.
Narrator: Corrie James
Consistent narration with good character distinction and accents. Her pace was good and the tone and volume of the narrator's voice was steady and clear.
SJ has delivered yet another all consuming, action-packed, heartbreaking romance and this time it's about true love, betrayal, revenge and the gift of second chances. Victor and Isa (Isabel) were very young and happily in love but a couple of greedy family members had an evil scheme which tore them apart and deprived them of 10 years of being together and so much more..... that is until fate stepped in.
Within the many hours of this enjoyable, tense and frustrating listen you will be captivated by the drama, mystery and intrigue as all the secrets, lies and treachery eventually comes pouring out when an older Victor and Isa finally come face to face. They are suspicious of each other through no fault of their own, they're very likeable, there's once again instant attraction and great chemistry between the two as they both learn to trust each other as the true devastating events are painfully unearthed. Old passions ignite, there's sex (not too explicit) and they finally take a chance at love again because there's just too much for either of them to lose.
But they must stand together as old enemies return to threaten their new found love and try, once again, to tear them apart with yet another scheme and this time they resort to kidnapping too. Luckily Victor and Isa are helped by the love and support of willing friends and the loveable members of The Duke's Men ride to the rescue to help in a plan that will deliver justice and vengeance so the lovers can eventually get their hard won HEA.
Worth a credit? Predictable? sometimes, historically correct? doubtful, but for any HR lover (such as myself) SJ's books are an auto download because you know that she'll give you just what you want - an unusual plot that will chill you and a romance that will thrill you. Held in the Netherlands then Edinburgh there's no fancy Balls, no colorful gowns, no ton and no virginal Lady or scandalous Rake to save but despite this it is still an enjoyable and creditworthy listen. Finally, although this is book 2 of a series this could easily be a stand-alone listen.
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