Wednesday, June 21, 2017

[Review]: "The Day of the Duchess"

romance novel covers, historical romance, Royal Pick, The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean
The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean
Publisher: Avon (June 27, 2017)
Series: Scandal and Scoundrel, 3
Genre: Historical Romance


The one woman he will never forget…
Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only one problem—he already has one.

The one man she will never forgive…
After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow cannot resist.

A love that neither can deny…
The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their broken past, he can give her forever, making every day The Day of the Duchess.



Where to Buy*:
More Info:



Reviews of MacLean's Previous Novels;


One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (#2)




My Review:





Another "Not quite my usual review format" day. Because even with the books I absolutely adore, lately I'm having a rough time getting my reviews written -- in any format! *sigh* So this "review" is little more than my original notes, cleaned up a bit. However, since I didn't want to spoil everything, I think the vagueness works here anyway.



Don't worry, one thing always remains the same: ALL THE QUOTES. Because I'm an unashamed quote whore. :)




Spoiler/Trigger warning: Deals with loss of a baby (still birth).



Set Up:

He fell for her hard the first night they met; she didn’t know who he was, or care, and verbally pushed him like no one had ever dared.

They were seeing each other in secret, and while he had thoughts of marrying her, he never actually, you know, told her that. That miscommunication doesn’t help when things went downhill after that, thanks to her meddling mother

When they’re caught in the act (literally), accusations of lies and whatnot start flying and their marriage starts off in the shitter. All of this is not fully explained until later in the book so I won’t go into it too much to avoid spoiling the reading.

One thing leads to another and he pushes her away, tells her to leave . . . and she does, disappearing completely for nearly 3 years.

He tried to find her though, always looking, always wanting her back, to apologize, to grovel, to have his love back in his life.


"Past is prologue, Angel. I think of it every day."


Suddenly she’s finally back in London – to demand a divorce so she can carry on with the life she’s been building without him (she’s opening a tavern, but can’t own it while married).

 He’s upset about it all still, but also wants her back – he has no plans of divorcing her. He finally makes a deal wit her: 6 weeks with him at his country estate and he’ll give her the divorce after that.

His real plans in those 6 weeks is to woo her, but if he tells her that, she’ll never agree to it. Instead, he tells her the requirement of those 6 weeks is that she helps him to find his “new duchess”, a replacement for after the divorce.



Things I LOOOOOVED [Couple/romance]:


Watching them dance around each other, and their pain, is so delicious and also heartbreaking and I loved ever minute of it.


...turning his gaze to her, his beautiful eyes finding her, capturing her as one finger slid deep into her, finding her wet and willing. They both groaned at the sensation, and when Malcolm began to move, to wring pleasure from her most secret places, she was unable to keep her eyes open. 
He stopped. “No.”  
She opened her eyes. Fairly begged. “Mal.” 
“I’ll give you everything you want, love. But you give me what I want.”  
He moved again, and she lifted toward him. “Yes.”  
“You keep your eyes open,” he said. “I want to watch. I want a new memory.”


Their first time together – er, again – is so sensual and also full of heartache-y feels because – GASP! – sex doesn’t magically fix everything and while they still want each other, there’s still allllll this shit in their past standing between them. And I fucking loved that because while sex is great and can be really important for the health of a relationship, and the healing of it even, it is NOT a miracle cure on its own. And MacLean did not treat it as such here. These two always had the chemistry and attraction, that was never a problem. Everything else was, and they had to tackle those problems because sex was not going to make it all go away.


Also, only she gets off (oral, in case you’re curious) and when she pulls away after he’s 100000% okay with that and lets her know he’s not there to push for anything more, ever, he’ll wait.


God bless a hero set on winning his woman back but not being an alpha dick about it, okay? 


She tore her mouth from his, reaching for air, and he pulled back to watch her for a long moment, his gaze raking over her face, taking her in. “My God,” he whispered. “You’re more beautiful now than you’ve ever been.” And then he was tilting her chin up to expose her neck and setting his lips to her flesh, before she could blush or turn away. 
She gasped at the sensation, so delicious and familiar, and was rewarded with another deep, animal growl, as though he were unable to keep his desire at bay. Her fingers threaded into his hair, pressing into the curls at the nape of his neck, stroking in slow, encouraging circles—just as he liked. Another growl. 
Lord, how she loved those growls.



Same, Sera, saaaaame.



Their moments of intimacy are sensual and powerful and beautiful. And yes, sexy, but not in an “Here’s an explicit make-you-burn scene”. Instead, it’s focused on their emotions and their attempts at reconnection and trying not to remember everything while being unable to ever forget. It’s a punch to the feels AND also leaves you more than a bit hot-and-bothered. 



Other things I Loved:

Loved the relationship between all the sisters and desperately want them all to get their HEAs! They're all crazy fun and brazen and, most importantly, there for each other. Yes, please, give me more of that (both from family and friendships) in romancelandia!


“What?” Seleste laughed. “Are you surprised by the fact that I’m looking forward to a night with my husband?”  
“No,” Sesily pointed out, “But you could be a touch more discreet about it.”  
“Pah,” Seleste said. “Women are present during the act, Sesily. It’s only fair we enjoy it.”  
“Damn right,” Seline added. “We all know you enjoy it, Seline, I recall an opera we all had to leave because Mother discovered you and Mark in flagrante behind a curtain.”  
Seline grinned smugly. “At least we were behind it. And besides—you’re one to talk—everyone knows what happens inside that bookshop of yours when King arrives and you lock the door for hours and hours of midday luncheon.”


While playing lawn bowls, Lady Lilith (one of the fake suitors) tosses to deliberately hit a bitchy mother who was going after Sera:


“I am so sorry!” Lady Lilith cried from her place at the end of the field.  
“Nonsense! ’Twas an excellent shot! Look how close you got it!” “She hit a woman, Seline,” Sophie pointed out.  
“Oh, it’s not like she didn’t deserve it. I wish we could hit every woman who behaves so abominably. Lady Lilith, is it possible your services are for rent?”


Actually, that whole scene even before that smackdown was fun; the sisters are unapologetic about who they are and how they act and it’s so scandalous to the mothers and other women there.




BUT CALEB


"Caleb Calhoun of Boston. Known pub owner, gambler, and general scoundrel." 
Like an ass, the American bowed. "I like to think of myself as more a specific kind of scoundrel." 
Malcolm raised a brow. "And which kind would that be?"
"The one the ladies adore."


AND SESILY THOUGH!


And it didn’t matter, honestly, as it wasn’t the fire in the fabric of her dress that made the girl dangerous, so much as it was the fire in her eyes.  
No, dangerous didn’t seem the appropriate word for Sesily. Dangerous seemed too gentle. She was positively ruinous. Which was a problem, because Caleb had always liked the idea of being ruined. And being ruined by his dearest friend’s sister was not an option.


OMFG I NEED THEIR BOOK RIGHT THE FUCK NOW BECAUSE DAMN THEY ARE SPARKING LIKE CRAAAAAAZY IN THIS BOOK.



“If you did decide to seduce me . . .” He turned from her, unable to remain still as she spoke, as the words etched pictures upon him—images that he knew better than to think of and that he could not resist. When she finished the sentence, it was with knowing laughter in the words. “Well, you see it as well as I do.”  
He turned back like he was under a damn spell, only to discover that she had resumed her lazy place against his carriage. Ruining it, forever, it seemed. Because he’d never be able to look at that door without thinking of the moment that Sesily Talbot, cloaked in sunset, baited him so thoroughly, even as she remained perfectly relaxed against the side of his coach, as though she had no interest in the moment other than to toy with him. “See what?”  
And then she smiled, and it wasn’t the way she smiled while flirting. It wasn’t the way she smiled at dinner or when playing lawn bowls. It was private. Personal. As though she’d only ever smiled for him. As if she were his own damn sun. And when she spoke, it was with perfect simplicity. “You see how good it would be.”




Final thoughts:



“You are perfect.”  
She closed her eyes at the sting of the words. “I am deeply flawed.”  
He stayed still and silent until she opened them again. “Your flaws are perfect. A map of where we have been.” She caught her breath at that we. At how much she wanted it to be true. He went on, “I have dreamed of you here. Look up. Look at us. Look at how beautiful you are. Watch how I worship you.”


This book is angsty feels from start to finish. Seriously, have a pint of ice cream handy. Or five. And some tissues. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. Mal and Sera’s story is NOT easy, it’s nearly nonstop heartache – beautifully written, beautifully emotional heartache, but heartache all the same. Before you ask, yes, they do get their HEA, of course! But there’s a lot of emotional pain and baggage and misunderstanding and just stuff pressing in on them, pretty much up to the very end of the book.



Because he finally understood.  
The Sparrow was no sparrow. She was a phoenix. Risen from the ash of the past. Of their past. None of the things they’d broken were here. None of the things they’d lost. How often had she spoken of freedom? Here, in this room, she was free.  
He finally understood.



I so don’t want to sit and ruin it all for you guys, especially since there’s no way I COULD explain it all to you; it’s a story you just have to experience yourself, in order to get the full, powerhouse impact of it. MacLean did a fantastic job with this book and while I can’t properly voice my feels on this book, all I can say is this: I was choking up through 95% of this book (the other 5% would be the fun interactions with the sisters and the tantalizing peek at Sesily’s romance, which had me fully invested but not, you know, a mess of feels). And I’m not often that emotional of a reader. But MacLean knows how to reach in and yank on your heart while also making you fall for these two, totally and completely.




5 STARS! 


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I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss.

*Note: The quotes used belong to Sarah MacLean; TBQ's Book Palace does not claim them. Any mistakes or typos in the quotes are my own fault.

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If you want to read more quotes that I highlighted, check out my Twitter!

Remember, since this is a Royal Pick, come back on June 29th for a chance to WIN an ecopy of your own!



Enjoy!


Until Next Time,


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  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!

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