Desert Isle Keeper
What I Did for a Duke
Genevieve Eversea, of Pennyroyal Green, has been in love with Lord Harry Osborne for three years. Harry is all that Genevieve wants in a man — he’s funny, handsome, shares her knowledge and love of Italian art, and makes her smile every time she sees him. She is certain they make the perfect couple and that he’s just waiting for the right moment to ask her to be his bride. So it comes as a horrible, heartbreaking shock when he tells her he intends to propose to her best friend Millicent at an upcoming Everseas’ house party.
Alexander Moncrieffe, the sixth Duke of Falconbridge, is, at forty, a chilly, ruthless, formidable man. He’s rumored to have poisoned his first wife and is known for never ever losing. Alex is a man most fear and avoid, although his title and wealth allow him to go wherever he chooses. He has chosen to come to the aforementioned house party where he intends to debauch Genevieve whom he’s never met. Earlier in the month, he caught her scapegrace brother Ian naked in bed with Alex’s now ex-fiancée. Alex has never let anyone cheat or wrong him without exacting revenge and, to him, the seduction of Ian’s innocent sister is fair retribution for Ian’s transgression.
Neither Genevieve nor Alex is what they first seem. The ton believes Genevieve is a shy, quiet girl who is fond of art and calmer than her wild siblings – her suitors (and Harry) always present her with bouquets of pale and delicate flowers. In truth, Genevieve is complicated, passionate and extraordinarily clever. She chafes at the perception society — and her family — have of her. Her control over herself is thoughtful rather than guarded. She’s very witty and her insights into others — especially Alex — are dead on. She’s the sort of heroine one longs to actually know. Alex is a cold and often cruel man —it’s clear he deserves his terrifying reputation. He is also fiercely intelligent and very lonely. Even as he works to “compromise, ruin and abandon” Genevieve, he begins to care for her. His callous demeanor softens and, surprising even himself, he comes to value Genevieve’s wellbeing more than his own. Together they are lovely — full of intelligence, passion, and humor.
Ms. Long is a first-rate writer and her use of language is superb. Her descriptive powers are formidable; she has a knack for imagery and dialogue. She’s also very funny. I loved this scene where Alex and Genevieve first chat on a walk to see the Eversea folly:
“What are your pleasures and pursuits, Lord Moncrieffe?” Miss Eversea asked too brightly, when the silence had gone on for more than was strictly comfortable or polite…. “Well, I’m partial to whores….” “Whor… whores…?”
She choked out the word as if she’d just inhaled it like bad cigar smoke. He widened his own eyes with alarm, recoiling slightly. “I…I beg your pardon — Horses. Honestly, Miss Eversea,” he stammered. “I do wonder what you think of me if that’s what you heard.” He shook his head ruefully. “Horses. Those hooved beasts a man can race, wager upon, plow a field with, harness to a phaeton and drive at deliciously reckless speeds.”
She stared at him now as he walked…. “And one cannot do any of that with whores?” she asked softly….
His heart picked up a beat or two. “It’s a frustrating truism,” he allowed resignedly, “but it’s a rare whore who’ll consent to be harnessed to a plow.”
As Alex and Genevieve move from witty wordplay to passionate foreplay, the relationship between them shifts and what began as a story about a young maiden and an older rake becomes something much more nuanced. At the end of the novel, when Alex takes a risk that would have been unthinkable for him prior to falling in love with Genevieve, her reaction and the story’s denouement are beautifully and satisfyingly done.
I’ve enjoyed all the Pennyroyal Green books, and What I Did for a Duke is my favorite thus far. Ms. Long’s novel, the fifth in the series, deftly continues the tale of two captivating families – the Everseas and the Redmonds -and intriguingly deepens the mysteries wending through the books. Now, I am really wondering what happened between Lyon Redmond and Olivia Eversea and why the relationship between the Eversea parents — Jacob and Isolde — is so strained. I want to know what the slave trade means to the finances of both families and who Colin Eversea’s father actually is. This book provides clues to these (and other) questions and gives just enough information to make one long for the next book.
I can’t wait to read next Pennyroyal Green book — and I really hope it is Olivia’s and Lyon’s tale!
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|Review Date:||February 20, 2018|
|Book Type:||European Historical Romance|
|Review Tags:||age gap | enemies to lovers | Pennyroyal Green series | Top 100 Romance|
Oh dear. I started this one, having not read the previous books in the series but looking forward to it as I know that the Penny Royal Green series is very popular. However, I was so utterly disappointed that it was a DNF for me. In the first few chapters there were so many errors in addressing the Duke of Falconbridge that I was whipped straight out the story. I counted 4 versions of how he was addressed (nearly all of them wrong) in the first 3-4 chapters and poor “Lord” Harry, heir to a viscountancy, is not a “Lord”. He is “The Hon” Harry. Sorry to be picky but this really is an irritant for me and I started to lose interest. I realise the story is supposed to be semi-comical but it was, for me, it was just OTT and I could not get in gear with it. Am I the only one to think that it was really a rather thin story with somewhat silly characters (particularly Genevieve’s brothers who seem from the references in this book, rather idiotic) and that the writing style was pretty mediocre?
I’m sure there are readers who agree with you. That said, many readers adore it. Genevieve’s brothers have their own books–in Ian’s, Between the Devil and Ian Eversea, he has matured vastly from the callow youth he is in this book.
I am a reader who doesn’t care about getting the titles correctly but many people do so you are not alone there either!
This is the only hopelessly anachronistic and wallpapery historical romance for which I have written a 5 star review….. The romance and the writing are lovely.
This is one of those books I bought that exists on my kindle app and that I am waiting until I am in “the mood” to read but the “The mood” hasn’t hit yet and it’s probably been years now. I really need to do a backlist glom. I’m hoping all these positive reviews will spur me to get going on it.
@Dabney: I Kissed An Earl is a favorite, too. I also enjoyed The Notorious Countess Confesses.
I Kissed an Earl edges this one out for me.
There’s so many good books in this series, but this is my favorite.
I’m not usually a fan of May/December romances but I love this one. Part of it is that Genevieve has such a supportive and large family. I can trust that even in Alexander dies and she’s still alive, she’ll never be lonely.
In my top 10 and repeat read list. Own both the print and e-copy.
One of my all time favorite romances! I adore Alex Montcrieffe and he is one of my very favorite heroes in romance writing. He’s world weary and cynical and his life is entirely upended by Genevieve’s openness, generosity and kindness. Genevieve too though deserves someone who appreciates her passionate and naive approach to life. It’s rare to find a romance with a hero and heroine who are equally fabulous as well as fabulous together. It’s also laugh out loud funny throughout. This is a special book and still Long’s best in my opinion.
I agree 100% Blackjack! I never loved a pairing more than Alex & Genevieve. Definitely Long’s best book to date, my second fave of the series is Lord Lavay’s story, “It Started With a Scandal.”