Thursday, December 8, 2016

ARC Review: The Scottish Duke by Karen Ranney

Series:     Duke Trilogy #1
Pub. Date:Nov. 29, 2016
Length:384 pages

I was totally excited to see that Karen Ranney was starting a new Victorian-Era historical romance series. This is a rag-to-riches love story for our heroine who transcends classes to find true love with a princely duke.

Lorna Gordon was forced into service by circumstances after the death of her beloved father. Having become fascinated with the Duke of Kinross, Lorna risks her position for one night at a costume ball to get closer the duke. That decision has unexpected and long-reaching consequences for Lorna, the duke, and everyone in the Kinross household. Lorna was a great heroine... she was a hard worker and determined to be independent and not take anyone's charity. She was dedicated to her father even after his death when many would have given up his work as a lost cause. I really liked that she was able to keep her head and demonstrate quick thinking in a crisis, and she wasn't an annoying heroine in any sense.

Alex Russell the ninth Duke of Kinross is jaded and untrusting after his late wife's infedility and a seeming betrayal from the scientific society who reviews his work. Uncharacteristicly, he is drawn to Lorna in her guise as Marie Antoinette and he quite loses his head. The effect that encounter has on Alex's life does nothing to allay his suspicious nature, and he makes a muddle of things with Lorna. I enjoyed watching the closed-off duke start living in the light and realizing that its okay to trust some people. He had a penchant for escaping when things got tough, so that was an interesting turn of the tables as its usually the heroine that's running off. The duke was a decent hero... he just had a few bad habits. In addition to being a runner, he also did nothing to curb the toxic people in his life. As a autocratic member of the nobility, I was surprised at what he tolerated in his household. But everyone deals with conflict differently I suppose.

I was happy with the plotting of this romantic entanglement. I liked that the marriage came about unconventionally, and that the dowager duchess played such a big part. She was a great secondary character. This one did make me teary eyed a few times, mostly that came from Lorna's situation and things she encountered, so I think I had a pretty good connection to her character. The antagonist was also developed really well... she was such a vile and annoying person! I am definitely looking forward to future books in this series.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Avon.

About the Author

Karen Ranney wanted to be a writer from the time she was five years old and filled her Big Chief tablet with stories. People in stories did amazing things and she was too shy to do anything amazing. Years spent in Japan, Paris, and Italy, however, not only fueled her imagination but proved she wasn't that shy after all.

Now a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, she prefers to keep her adventures between the covers of her books. Karen lives in San Antonio, Texas.



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