Monday, September 16, 2013

Title:     Why Dukes Say I Do [Wicked Widows, book 1]
Author:  Manda Collins
Rating:  ★★★★ 1/2

It's been quite a while since I last read a historical romance book, but Manda Collins has rekindled my fire for the genre! Her latest offering, Why Dukes Say I Do, made me swoon and ignore my sisters who repeatedly tried to talk to me.

Even in London society—where everyone knows what you did last season—you never know who’s next in line to walk down the aisle, in Why Dukes Say I Do


With her whirlwind social life in London, Lady Isabella Wharton has little interest in the customs of the country. But when her godmother asks her to pay a visit to her bachelor grandson in Yorkshire, Isabella can’t refuse. It behooves her to please the old dowager, since she harbors one of Isabella’s most scandalous secrets. So off she goes to see the newly-titled—and notoriously rustic—Duke of Ormond…


Trevor Carey doesn’t care about what goes on behind ballroom doors. He is content with the simple life—and isn’t ashamed to admit it to a society flirt like Lady Isabella. But the country air brings out a different side of Isabella—one full of longing and passion. Can her sophistication be hiding a desire for love? When a blackmailer from the city arrives to threaten Isabella, Trevor will shield her from harm—even travel to London. Can the duke tackle the ton on Isabella’s behalf …and manage to keep her all to himself?

The chilling prologue of Why Dukes Say I Do portends already that there will be accidents along the way for the three main characters of the Wicked Widows trilogy: sisters Isabelle and Perdita, and their good friend Georgina. I thought it would be just some big secret, a case of blackmail, but things take a turn for the sinister throughout the book. There were some really sick scenes. However, the main culprit behind all these threats are still being teased out to us by Manda - and I for one am looking forward to...well, confirming my suspicions.

You know how when you read a book and then you read abut the hero/main male character, you go "damn it, why aren't you real?!" Well, that's exactly how I felt about Trevor Carey (never mind my fantasy of being a real-live duchess). He's very honest, a gentleman, he's good with kids, passionate, and loyal, not to mention quite hot. He's also very protective of his sisters, and of course of Isabella. Gosh, I want him. Do these guys still even exist? He grew up in the country and has quite unfavorable views of the city (London).

The female protagonist, Isabella Wharton, is very admirable. I like how strong she is, and how compassionate she is towards others. She, on the other hand, loves her city and has skewed views of the countryside. But that's to be expected, especially since she doesn't really venture that far out. She has been severely maltreated by her late husband, and so she values her independence and freedom.

I'm glad that Manda Collins provided some basis for their falling in love with each other. This wasn't a case of insta-love. It was quite apparent that they were falling in love with each other for their personalities (not to mention their rocking bods) all throughout the books. And thank you, Manda, for giving a great, curvy female protagonist! I also liked that from the first page of the book, I felt like I was whisked to the scene immediately. This is not something that is so easy to do, especially with the TV blaring Disney Junior cartoons while my loveable 2-yr-old niece plays around the living room, knocking things over. I just kept getting immersed into the story, and I enjoyed getting myself lost in those pages. Don't you just love it when that happens?

I was thrilled to my toes while reading their story. I'm glad the plot stayed away from the usual "s/he doesn't love me" conflict, which is getting quite tiring. Also, having an honest and transparent male protagonist is such a relief in this genre! One thing that I noticed about Why Dukes Say I Do is that it was so apparent who the culprit behind the threats against Isabelle are. It wasn't so mysterious for me. However, given that this is a historical romance book and not a mystery book, I'm not particularly piqued about that.

I am so excited to read the rest of the Wicked Widows series, and sincerely recommend this to all historical romance lovers. ;)