Co-Review: A Duke in Shining Armor (Difficult Dukes #1) by Loretta Chase


A Duke in Shining Armor

Author: Loretta Chase
Series: Difficult Dukes, Book 1
Publisher: Avon
Published: November 28, 2017
Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Rating:
Ariel: 4 stars ★★★★☆
Elley: 5 stars ★★★★★

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Summary: Not all dukes are created equal. Most are upstanding members of Society. And then there’s the trio known as Their Dis-Graces.
Hugh Philemon Ancaster, seventh Duke of Ripley, will never win prizes for virtue. But even he draws the line at running off with his best friend’s bride. All he’s trying to do is recapture the slightly inebriated Lady Olympia Hightower and return her to her intended bridegroom.

For reasons that elude her, bookish, bespectacled Olympia is supposed to marry a gorgeous rake of a duke. The ton is flabbergasted. Her family’s ecstatic. And Olympia? She’s climbing out of a window, bent on a getaway. But tall, dark, and exasperating Ripley is hot on her trail, determined to bring her back to his friend. For once, the world-famous hellion is trying to do the honorable thing.

So why does Olympia have to make it so deliciously difficult for him...?

Review

Ariel here, of Peekabo’s corner fame, bringing you the what’s what on the new Loretta Chase novel A Duke in Shining Armor. This is book one in her “disgraceful dukes” series, and if this book is any indication, this series is going to be AMAZING.
But let’s start at the beginning.

The Plot
A: I dug it. I liked the fleeing bride concept, the stalwart best friend who tries to save the day, but sort of makes a hash of things, and ends up falling for his best friend’s bride. I wasn’t totally into all the bro guilt that was a fairly constant thread throughout, but I thought it worked out well.
E: The bro guilt is because Ripley is extremely fond of Ashmont, and they’re like brothers by choice if not by blood. And he thinks Olympia is super awesome, and knows she’d be a great influence on Ashmont, plus he wants Ashmont to have the best possible wife (which is CLEARLY Olympia, duh). But then he starts to see it from other angles, like while Olympia would be great for Ashmont, would HE be great for HER? And then you factor in his own feelings into the mix… As for the rest of the plot: I love a runaway bride, and I love that Ripley is so adamant that Olympia is perfect for Ashmont. (Yes, sure Ripley… She’s perfect for “Ashmont.” Mmmhmm.) I like that this is basically a road trip romance, and Ripley and Olympia are thrown together and forced to be in close proximity for the duration.
A: I respect their bro love. And I am 100% here for when Ashmont finds a love of his own, and Ripley is like “yasssss”.
The Characters
A: Let me tell you how here I was for Olympia and her sassy self. HERE FOR IT. Every time I thought she was going to cave and whine or complain or do something stupid, she turned around and showed some attitude, stood up for herself and her own wants and desires, and was generally a badass. Even when she decided to throw caution to the wind, she did it in a way that I respected.
E: OK, I will admit - drunk Olympia is so me. Well, drunk me. Like “Get this damn uncomfortable stuff off me! I’m out of here!” Though I’m usually trying to escape a crowded bar or club, not my own wedding. To each her own, I guess? But I definitely agree that every time I thought for sure Olympia was about to go all damsel in distress or get weepy, she turned that crap around and lady-balled up like a boss.
A: I liked Ripley! For the most part. I appreciated his restraint, and the fact that even though he had a serious boner for our heroine, he was trying to be noble and honorable. Their banter was top notch too. I appreciate that they were snarky and bantering without being mean at all.
E: I love how PLAYFUL they randomly burst out into being! That scene with the racing around the library? Adorbs. A thousand times adorbs. I must have smiled my stupidly goofy grin so many times reading this book. They’re both so upright and serious and then all of a sudden - shenanigans! I also love how persnickety he is about his clothing (especially his headwear).
A: Also: Can we just talk about Lady Charles for a second? Someone give that woman an awesome woman of the year award because I loved her SO much. And I want her love story with Other Old Dude to progress in the rest of the books, and for them to have lots of hot old people sex because clearly they’re in love and need to be together.
E: Hooray for hot old people romance! Um, I don’t think I need to read those sex scenes though?
A: I could take or leave Ashmont. Ashmoor? I don’t even remember his name. Once he gets his own book, I’ll probably be into it, but for right now he seemed kind of eh.
E: I assume Ashmont will do some serious cleaning up and have some sort of reality check, because I certainly wouldn’t want to read a story about him as portrayed in this book. He reminded me of a big, naughty, not terribly bright puppy… I’ll be interested to see where things go with Blackwood and his wife (Ripley’s sister). There’s CLEARLY a story there.
A: Right? They’re married, right? But are on the outs? That’s sort of the vibe I got from them. I am hoping the next book is about them.

The ending
A: Uhhh what? I feel like everything was chugging along nicely and then SOMETHING happens, and then SOMETHING ELSE is revealed that made me simultaneously go “wtf?” and “uggh, men!” But once all that was done, I thought the ending was very satisfying.
E: That’s not unheard of, for them to do that… UGH, it’s hard to have a conversation about this with no spoilers! But that’s sort of the done thing, because you can’t go around murdering people or you’d be hanged or, at best, banished. (And now aren’t you DYING to know what we’re talking about, Dear Reader? Guess you’ll have to read the book and find out!)

Heat level
A: The tension is really good, because they are both clearly warm for each other’s form, but there wasn’t a TON of gettin’ up on each other. (Maybe there was a little bit.) It didn’t make me all tingly in my lady parts though. Honestly, I tended to skip the sex scenes. Were they hot?
E: LMAO, “warm for each others’ form.” I am dying. :D I don’t normally skip sex scenes, but I found myself skimming over them in this one too. /shrug They were very “meh” for me.

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