The Scandalous Love of a Duke by Jane Lark


 Isolated by life and choice, John Harding, the Duke of Pembroke, sees an angel in a pale mauve dress across a room and is drawn closer as lust grips firm and hard in his stomach.The wheat-blonde hair escaping her dull dove-grey bonnet and caressing her neck lures his eyes to a spot he’d like to kiss.

She speaks with animation her hands moving. Then as if she senses his gaze the stranger turns and looks at him.

A rush of pain and longing spilled from Katherine’s heart into her limbs. It was so long since she’d seen John but her reaction was the same as it had been more than half-a-dozen years before. She loved him, secretly, without hope, but a chasm of years and status stood between them.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20968237-the-scandalous-love-of-a-duke
I made a promise to myself that I was going to give Historical Romances a serious try.  This is the third one I have read by this author and while I can’t say it isn’t worth a recommendation, I am really finding this isn’t my genre.  In the first
book of her series, The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, which I did enjoy a bit more, we met John.  He was the little boy whose Grandfather had taken him from his mother and spent the next few years beating him and molding him to become the future Duke who would be seen as ruthless and lacking emotions.  Even though his mother went and found him as a child, being raised with her and his new loving stepfather hadn’t eased the pain he carried in his heart.
Katherine didn’t have a wonderful childhood either, being seen as a slave to other females in her family, she held a strong bond with her brother who happen to be John’s best friend.  She carried a love for John in her heart from childhood and at the funeral of his Grandfather, they will finally have the chance to reconnect.
As you can imagine since John is now the Duke and Katherine holds no title, society is going to prohibit this love affair from advancing.  The two are going to have to figure out how they can hold on to the one love that makes them feel alive when every other aspect of their world leaves them feeling used, abused and empty.
So here is the main issue I had with this story.  Since I had read book one, I knew the story and background of his grandfather and mother.  I was lead to believe that once he was found by his mother he had a happier life full of love and acceptance by his mom and step dad.  Now as an adult, I had a difficult time getting over his pity party attitude.  I just didn’t feel like his life with his mother and the life he is declaring he had now was consistent between the books.  For me, both he and Katherine appeared to whine more about what they didn’t get than trying to take what they had and make a successful life.  Because of that fact alone, it took me a week of reading a bit and putting it down before I was able to finish it.  There were times I felt like their poor me attitude sucked the life out of me.
Now for a huge positive, one that I give major kudos to the author for being able to do, if you are curious as to how you would like historical romances, this is the author to read.  She has a fantastic balance between the culture of those times and blending it in with a modern day approach.  For a novice such as I am, she was able to use just enough of the traditional language and customs to help me understand their ways, while not making it seem so boring or overwhelming.  Her writing style is a great educational tool for those of us who are still on the fence as to this genre.  I would recommend her books overall as long as you go in understanding, you will not be reading a traditional romance of today and you need to keep in mind that times were different back then.
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