Lady Vivian Defies a Duke
The hero is a Duke! His name is Luke! He isn’t interested in his title. He wants adventure instead, and anyway he has that pesky personal problem! Duke Luke wants out of his betrothal until he meets his spunky spitfire of a fiancée. Her name is Vivian and she can ride and shoot and swim just like a man. But her reputation is in tatters and she has to marry or join a convent! And this book has a precious name!
If I hadn’t enjoyed this book my next sentence would be something snarky like, um, cliché much? Because, yes, Lady Vivian Defies a Duke is cliched. It’s made of cliché. Its the very definition of cliché, but if I hadn’t read the 50 or so previous historical romances with versions of the same plot, I’d probably give this one at least a B+ or even an A.
There were some things I didn’t love, like the silly attempt Vivian makes to disguise her identity after Luke finds her swimming in her underwear. And the bitchy woman who destroyed Vivian’s reputation for no other reason than that she was a bitch received nowhere near the comeuppance she should have.
But there were several things that made the plot quite palatable. Luke’s personal problem felt real and the reason behind it is one I haven’t seen before. It made his backstory interesting and entertaining, as well as providing a reason for the antagonist’s actions. Instead of wanting out of his betrothal so he could whore around, or because he was in love with another woman, Luke wants to set sail and discover Antarctica. That felt new and different too. Vivian was enjoyable also. Yes, she’s spunky, but it doesn’t automatically follow that she’s arrogant or stupid. When she runs into trouble she doesn’t become superwoman, nor does she faint and cry, but instead works through her problem with logic and guile. Both characters have secrets, but they’re kept for a reason and are revealed before the reader becomes impatient.
Furthermore, the writing is skillful, the dialog is well done, the secondary characters are well-fleshed but not overwhelming, and the love scenes are nice and warm. In short, this is a good book that I’d have no problem recommending – I’d just be more likely to recommend it to someone who doesn’t normally read historical romance.