I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Loveswept on June 13th 2017
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A lovestruck lady charms the duke of her dreams during an expedition on the high seas in this sexy, swashbuckling novel from USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans.
Alexander Sylvester Bracken, Duke of Bedford, has a mission: sail to the Mediterranean and track down Lady Hestia Cary’s missing father. It is a straightforward task, but for two rather vexing complications. First, the sea holds painful memories; second, for her own safety, Hestia is to accompany him. As Alex battles the demons of his past, he must also resist Hestia’s surprisingly skillful attempts at seduction. After all, Alex has sworn to leave her untouched, and he intends to honor that vow—until he can properly ask the Earl’s blessing.
Ever since His Grace rescued Hestia from the arms of a Turkish pirate six long years ago, her heart has belonged to Alex. So when he agrees to help find her father, Hestia is thrilled. Although Alex tries to hide it, there’s passion in his eyes—and a frisson of desire in the air—whenever they meet. On board ship, miles from home, Alex won’t be able to deny her any longer. But with scoundrels lying in wait, she may not live to tell the tale of her conquest.
Addicted to the Duke was one of those romance novels that made me cry and simultaneously root for the main characters. Alex, completely destroyed from his time in captivity to Turkish pirate where he cultivated a raging opium addiction, is in love with Lady Hestia. However, haunted by his past, he pushes her away believing he is unworthy of her affections.
Lady Hestia is devoted to the man who rescued her from the same Turkish pirates a few years after Alex escaped captivity. Unfortunately, although Hestia is besotted with her savior for years after being rescued, Alex does not appear to feel the same way about her. Yet, Hestia is sure she can make Alex finally see her as a woman and not the child she was when he rescued her while on a sea voyage to save her father from being murdered for her family fortune. And so ensues an intense story of love, loss and acceptance..
Lady Hestia was slightly more naive than I would have liked for the heroine of Addicted to the Duke. She often swung between devotion to Alex and thinking he didn’t love her..only to be completely devoted to him moments later when Alex bats his “tortured” eyes in her direction once again. If Bronwen was not such a talented writer, I would have hated this book based solely on Hestia’s character, yet Hestia’s mood swings were palatable thanks to the strongly emotional plot surrounding Alex and Hestia’s star crossed lovers plot.
Dark, sensitive love interest, evil pirates and an emotional roller coaster opens up a new series by Brownen Evans. Addicted to the Duke another satisfying and beautiful read written by a master of the romance genre.
In relation to Bronwen’s other novels I found Alex particularly dark. The Disgraced Lords series featured haunted, broken and dark male romantic interests, but in Addicted to the Duke she has created one of my favorite male protagonist. Alex is easy to relate to regardless of his past. I found that I was saddened by Alex’s story and shed tears over the emotional anguish he felt from wanting the girl he loves but cannot allow himself to have. Slowly we learn why Alex is so tortured and we empathize with him. Alex’s eventual evolution into something more than a womanizer and drug addict is inspiring.
I still loved the ending regardless of how little heart-tug I received from it: the ending was satisfying and opened up the series to our next installment which looks to be exciting.
The most unfortunate thing about this novel was that it was over far too quickly with a rushed ending that could have used more of Bronwen’s emotionally manipulative magic (and I say that with affection because all of her “feels” moments sneak up on you and you’re always surprised to find yourself having a spectacular emotional reaction without warning). Of course, reading Bronwen Evans is never enough because she’s just that good at making strong characters and good plots in a market saturated with far too many mediocre novels.
This book will appeal to readers who enjoy dark romances, flawed heroes and emotional stories. I would suggest this to readers of the Disgraced Lord series and avid romance readers looking for another fantastic read. A warning to readers that Addicted to the Duke deals with dark subject matter.