Hey everyone, Slick, here back to tell you all about the book I read this week. Let me start off by saying that I am not a fan of romance books. I am not a fan of historical romances unless they are written by Diana Gabaldon. And while I won’t say I am a fan of Romancing the Duke, I will say, I did not hate this book in the way I expected to. I thought it was going to be utter and complete garbage. But, if you like romances and you know what to expect from romances, this book is pretty decent.
There are a few things this book gets right and I want to call those out right off. So, if you want to read this, consider this the valet/footman/butler calling down the hall: SPOILERS AHEAD.
This story centers on a Duke (obviously) and the woman who romances him (obviously). In the story he is blind and I thought the whole time that there was going to be some kind of miracle where he got his sight back. That never happened. What’s more, the blindness is accurately described as the Duke can see sometimes enough to make out shapes but he’s still most definitely blind. So kudos to the author for not falling into the all or nothing blindness trope along with the miracle cure trope.
Also, this book has a clear understanding of what it is. It’s a fun little romance between two people and doesn’t really expect more out of itself. The uh… shall we say steamy… parts are just that and it doesn’t bash you over the head with it too much. So again kudos.
The last good thing to call out is that this does have a realistic understanding of how women were disadvantaged by societal rules in the past. (Still are in many instances but let’s stick to the book). It’s clear that men control the property and inheritance and that it would be considered extremely unseemly and unlikely for a woman to be an author, despite the fact of, you know, all the female authors out there at the time.
But as I was reading this, I realized that this book actually is an instruction manual on dating. To give you the highlights, I am going to list the steps to getting your own Duke, or romance, depending on if you are the Duke or the romancer. Also, this book is clearly for hetero relationships so I can’t say this is a foolproof guide to dating for everyone.
Without further ado, I present to you, Slick Dungeon’s foolproof guide to dating for everyone.
Step 1: Live in the time and area when Dukes who have a massive estate but are unclaimed bachelors seem to be as easy to find as dropping a pebble into a pond. Alternatively, be one of these Dukes.
Step 2: Get involved in a tangled property dispute over a castle that the Duke owns but that you think you own, show up at his door and faint. Alternatively be the Duke, open the door, catch a feinting woman and immediately think to yourself that her hair is “predatory”.
Step 3: Have a father who writes literary fantasy stories and has named you something romantic, like, say, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight. Alternatively, have a manly man’s name like, say, Ransom, Duke of Rothbury, and be scarred in battle after having your intended elope with another, then fight her suitor in a duel with swords causing you to go blind, then go back to live alone in your castle for so many months that everyone thinks you might just be dead.
Step 4: After you faint let the Duke undress you, make you more comfortable, put you in bed but don’t quite sleep through the night, wake up, and nearly immediately mention that you make excellent pancakes. Alternatively, awkwardly undress the woman who fainted at your door and place her in a bed, figuring she is just some stranger who will most likely leave in the morning and assume she fainted because your scarred face is monstrous.
Step 5: Think to yourself that you own this castle but even if this Duke is who he says he is, he doesn’t own this castle because it is yours now but also marvel at how devilishly handsome the man is and that even though you are determined to keep the castle, keeping the Duke might be a bonus. Alternatively, be outraged internally that a woman who showed up trying to take your home that you are definitely not giving up, offered to make you, of all things in the world…. pancakes.
Step 6: Scare the heck out of the Duke who seems to be a bit of a jerk by not informing him of the ermine that is hanging out in your bag. Alternatively, be the Duke and get bit by an ermine and exclaim several profanities while asking what that was and ultimately admit that you are visually impaired, but internally, refer to this woman’s hair as an octopus.
Step 7: Offer to go through the Duke’s correspondence to sort this whole property dispute out but also go about as if you own this whole dang castle already cause, like, you do right? Alternatively, try and get this freaking woman with her predatory, octopus hair having, pancake making, butt out of here by scaring her with bats and/or also offer her a job to go through your correspondence and also kiss the woman that you wish would just leave already.
Step 8: Step up steaminess. Alternatively, step up steaminess.
Step 9: Have this whole host of people show up who are like a fan club of your father’s writing and be super embarrassed about it, but also enjoy the fact that the Duke has stepped up the steaminess. Alternatively, be annoyed that this whole host of people has shown up to disrupt your life, but like totally, keep the steaminess going for sure.
Step 10: Have the inevitable blow up where you are just trying to help the Duke and prove he is sane so he can keep this dang castle that is supposed to be yours but is his but doesn’t really matter because maybe you’ll get married anyway. Alternatively have the inevitable blow up because this woman won’t leave you alone and you are clearly trying to help her but are more interested in the steamy parts but then again, she seems like the perfect woman so maybe you’ll just marry her.
Step 11: Admit that you are actually the writer of the books, not your father and that also, you think you are not beautiful, despite the fact that this Duke clearly has the serious hots for you. Alternatively, admit that your father was a total jerk and that you only became blind because you more or less let the guy you were fighting win because you didn’t want to actually kill the dude, nor did you love the girl you were engaged to, and also finally be nice to this woman’s friends.
Step 12: Get the whole property/sanity thing sorted out, marry the Duke, make pancakes, get pregnant, write more and get slammed by literary critics who are too stupid to realize this is the same author they just praised, all while still keeping it steamy. Alternatively, get the whole property/sanity thing sorted out, marry the woman, eat pancakes, build a nursery, listen to bad reviews of your new wife’s work and get irritated all while keeping it steamy.
There you have it. I guarantee if you follow all those steps, you will have either romanced or been romanced by a Duke.
Next week we’re going to go back to being a little more contemporary as I read The Beach House Reunion by Mary Alice Monroe. It’s about time someone put that dang thing back together!