I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I Married the Duke by Katharine Ashe
Series: Prince Catchers #1
Published by Avon Genres: Historical
As children, the Caulfield sisters were told that the mysterious ring they possess will help them find out the truth of their parentage. But for the secret to be revealed, one of the sisters must first marry a prince. Arabella, the middle sister, carried her determination to marry a prince into adulthood. Her latest employment – to prepare a prince’s sister for her London season – could be Arabella’s key to succeeding. She just needs to get to her employer’s home. And to do that, she must negotiate passage on the ship of a handsome pirate who tempts her to forget her lifelong goal.
Luc Westfall is no pirate, though he certainly looks the part. In fact, Luc is the possible heir to a dukedom. But he sees no need to let the pretty governess who catches his eye know that. Luc has never met anyone like Arabella, and perhaps with a little seduction, he might be able to convince her that a potential duke could be a far more appealing prospect than a price. But Luc may not get the chance to win the spirited Arabella’s heart if an old enemy of his has his way…
Katharine Ashe’s Prince Catchers series is off to a rollicking start with I Married the Duke. I adored the first half of this book, thanks in no small part to the fabulous chemistry Arabella and Luc have. When Arabella has a bad stroke of luck on her way to her new position, she manages to secure passage on the ship of a dashing pirate who is not all that he appears to be. What follows is a journey fraught with sexual tension and the sparks that fly between Arabella and Luc make the story completely addictive. When you have a sassy heroine and a seductive hero trapped together, you can’t go wrong.
So why isn’t this a perfect read for me? Because everything fell apart in the second half of the book. I don’t want to spoil the story by revealing what happens, so suffice it to say I Married the Duke becomes crowded, often disjointed, and unnecessarily complicated about halfway into the story. Arabella and Luc – who are so charming for the first half of the story – argue, refuse to listen, and/or keep secrets for no discernable reason. This is an incredible disappointment because the first half of the book is so much fun to read and I’m used to Ms. Ashe’s writing being a lot smoother.
While I Married the Duke left me feeling divided, the characters themselves are all wonderfully drawn. Ms. Ashe has a talent for penning lively characters, which is why (even with the ups and downs of Arabella and Luc’s story) I won’t hesitate to dive right into the next Prince Catchers book, I Adored a Lord.