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Ten Things I Hate About the Duke

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USA Today bestselling author Loretta Chase continues her Difficult Dukes series with this delightful spin on Shakespeare's classic, The Taming of the Shrew. Cassandra Pomfret holds strong opinions she isn’t shy about voicing. But her extremely plain speaking has caused an uproar, and her exasperated father, hoping a husband will rein her in, has ruled that her beloved siste USA Today bestselling author Loretta Chase continues her Difficult Dukes series with this delightful spin on Shakespeare's classic, The Taming of the Shrew. Cassandra Pomfret holds strong opinions she isn’t shy about voicing. But her extremely plain speaking has caused an uproar, and her exasperated father, hoping a husband will rein her in, has ruled that her beloved sister can’t marry until Cassandra does. Now, thanks to a certain wild-living nobleman, the last shreds of Cassandra’s reputation are about to disintegrate, taking her sister’s future and her family’s good name along with them. The Duke of Ashmont’s looks make women swoon. His character flaws are beyond counting. He’s lost a perfectly good bride through his own carelessness. He nearly killed one of his two best friends. Still, troublemaker that he is, he knows that damaging a lady’s good name isn’t sporting. The only way to right the wrong is to marry her…and hope she doesn’t smother him in his sleep on their wedding night.


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USA Today bestselling author Loretta Chase continues her Difficult Dukes series with this delightful spin on Shakespeare's classic, The Taming of the Shrew. Cassandra Pomfret holds strong opinions she isn’t shy about voicing. But her extremely plain speaking has caused an uproar, and her exasperated father, hoping a husband will rein her in, has ruled that her beloved siste USA Today bestselling author Loretta Chase continues her Difficult Dukes series with this delightful spin on Shakespeare's classic, The Taming of the Shrew. Cassandra Pomfret holds strong opinions she isn’t shy about voicing. But her extremely plain speaking has caused an uproar, and her exasperated father, hoping a husband will rein her in, has ruled that her beloved sister can’t marry until Cassandra does. Now, thanks to a certain wild-living nobleman, the last shreds of Cassandra’s reputation are about to disintegrate, taking her sister’s future and her family’s good name along with them. The Duke of Ashmont’s looks make women swoon. His character flaws are beyond counting. He’s lost a perfectly good bride through his own carelessness. He nearly killed one of his two best friends. Still, troublemaker that he is, he knows that damaging a lady’s good name isn’t sporting. The only way to right the wrong is to marry her…and hope she doesn’t smother him in his sleep on their wedding night.

30 review for Ten Things I Hate About the Duke

  1. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    2.5 stars Be careful what you wish for in a book. Have you ever read a romance where the guy is kind of a jerk and the girl just forgives him way too easily without him doing any groveling, apologizing, or major changes on his part? Welcome to the book that is almost 100% about the guy doing all those things he really needs to do to win over the girl. It's boring as hell. I will say this is the second book in a series and I did not read the first book. So in just this book, we only see two example 2.5 stars Be careful what you wish for in a book. Have you ever read a romance where the guy is kind of a jerk and the girl just forgives him way too easily without him doing any groveling, apologizing, or major changes on his part? Welcome to the book that is almost 100% about the guy doing all those things he really needs to do to win over the girl. It's boring as hell. I will say this is the second book in a series and I did not read the first book. So in just this book, we only see two examples of Ashmont's bad behavior and then are told (not shown) a lot of his previous bad-boy exploits briefly. So his attempts to reform himself that goes on and on for the majority of the book didn't really feel like some major needed undertaking for me. Instead it just felt never ending. At the end there's a secondary plot thrown in that is resolved in laughably easy fashion but it was kind of a relief to just escape Ashmont's "I'm not worthy" inner monologue. I received this book for free as a Goodreads Giveaway, and this did not impact my review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    OLT

    (4.5 stars) I went into the reading of this with few expectations. There's something about immature, bad boy, entitled rich jerks that does not sit well with me. I did not enjoy Chase's first book in this series very much for that reason and thought I'd enjoy this one even less because it's about the most immature of this immature trio called the Dis-Graces. But Chase managed to make me like this guy and I enjoyed seeing him grow up and work to make himself worthy of our heroine. As you can tell (4.5 stars) I went into the reading of this with few expectations. There's something about immature, bad boy, entitled rich jerks that does not sit well with me. I did not enjoy Chase's first book in this series very much for that reason and thought I'd enjoy this one even less because it's about the most immature of this immature trio called the Dis-Graces. But Chase managed to make me like this guy and I enjoyed seeing him grow up and work to make himself worthy of our heroine. As you can tell from the title, this is inspired by that movie Ten Things I Hate About You, which in turn was inspired by Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. This story, however, is a bit of a 180 on Shakespeare's play, since the character who is actually "tamed" turns out to be Lucius, Duke of Ashmont, the second of the Dis-Graces to have his story told to us. At the beginning of this novel, we find our "hero" Ashmont drunk as a lord after dueling with fellow Dis-Grace Ripley, who had managed to run off with Ashmont's wife-to-be on the day of the wedding. (That can all be found out about in Book One of this series.) So, yeah, he's drunk and as irresponsible as always and he manages to cause an accident to the carriage of Miss Cassandra Pomfret, who is passing by on her way to visit her aunt. The accident causes an unfortunate injury to Cassandra's manservant Keefe. When Ashmont passes out in a drunken stupor soon after, she throws a bucket of water on him and says, "You must collect yourself and try, for once in your misbegotten life, to make yourself useful." Well, there you have it, actually. He takes her words to heart. He also takes her to heart, quite taken by her take-charge, strong, opinionated personality. Yes, Cassandra is our "shrew" of this story. But not really. She's just a woman who wants more from life than the subservient "I have no thoughts in my head that haven't been put there by a man" role that women are expected to play in 1800s England. She isn't demure enough to attract suitors, she involves herself in politics and social concerns through the Andromeda Society, and she tools around town, driving her own carriage. Well, her father, well-respected politician Lord deGriffith, has had enough of this and has set down an ultimatum that she must make herself agreeable to the opposite sex and marry before her lovely and sweet younger sister Hyacinth will be allowed out and about in society. This love story is actually quite delicious. There's a bit of the Lord of Scoundrels Dain/Jessica feel to the relationship of this H and h. You know, the maturity and smarts and thoughtfulness of the woman and the immaturity and bad behavior of the man. "'I'm very glad one of us has a large brain,' he said. 'Yours is perfectly functional,' she said. 'The trouble is lack of exercise.'" There's also a lovely slow-burn development to the romance and some really warm, romantic scenes that are actually quite innocent on the surface. Remember the swoon-worthy LoS moment with Dain unbuttoning Jessica's glove while murmuring to her in Italian? In this story we have some swoony moments involving just hand holding. "Though the theater was well lit, their joined hands lay in the shadows, invisible to the audience. A delicious secret..." And there's his sensual reaction to her dressed for the theater, in sight, sound, and smell, almost in taste. "Tonight she was deliciously undressed, or at least less covered than usual. Only a few strategically placed bows adorned the blue silk dress. One fluttered at each naked shoulder. The one of the center of her neckline moved in time with her bosom's rise and fall...When he leant over her, the scent of rosemary, lavender and Cassandra Pomfret rose to his nostrils...Even when he couldn't smell her, he could hear the faint rustle of silk when she moved. Breathed." I really thought that Chase got the romance almost perfect here. We didn't get immediate sex even though there was almost immediate attraction. That had to wait until Ashmont proved himself worthy of Cassandra. And he worked very hard to do this. He stopped drinking and acting like a juvenile. He started listening and thinking of others. He even read A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Wollstonecraft. "..he saw her now, truly saw her, as no other man did or probably ever would. He'd taken pains to see her truly." I loved the love in this. I enjoyed the hero's growth. I think this fictional couple has a chance for happiness in their fictional life.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Heather K (dentist in my spare time)

    I really enjoyed Ten Things I Hate About the Duke by Loretta Chase, which was my first book by this author, if you can believe it. The novel really delivered with an interesting plotline and unique, exciting characters. Give me a repentant rake and an opinionated, strong woman and I'm a happy camper! How can you go wrong with a Taming of the Shrew retelling? Ten Things I Hate About the Duke is a bit of a convoluted, long-feeling story, but I really got into it as I went along. I hadn't read the f I really enjoyed Ten Things I Hate About the Duke by Loretta Chase, which was my first book by this author, if you can believe it. The novel really delivered with an interesting plotline and unique, exciting characters. Give me a repentant rake and an opinionated, strong woman and I'm a happy camper! How can you go wrong with a Taming of the Shrew retelling? Ten Things I Hate About the Duke is a bit of a convoluted, long-feeling story, but I really got into it as I went along. I hadn't read the first in the series, A Duke in Shining Armor, but I didn't need it to follow the plot at all. Some of the best parts of the story were the side characters. I really liked how they felt like more than plot devices and got their own stories as well. It felt extremely well-conceived. Also, Ashmont got to be fully shown in his drunken, screw-up self, and I love it when a male MC has to crawl his way up from the bottom. It's the best when authors make them work for their redemption, and the female MC didn't cut him any slack. At all. Yaaaassssss. Super strong historical romance. I think it's beyond time for me to crack open my paperback of Lord of Scoundrels, don't you agree? *Copy provided in exchange for an honest review* goodreads|instagram|twitter|blog

  4. 4 out of 5

    Em

    AudioGals review to come! ***** Book review: 4.5 One of my favorite books this year. I'm taking away that half star only because I wish there was more romance (the kissy kissy cuddly kind) in this novel! I did enjoy it - but there's so much happening before the principal characters eventually confess their love for each other, we don't get enough of them as a romantic “stars in their eyes” couple. I know, I know, you're whispering "falling in love IS romantic, Em" - and you're right! I know it, too! AudioGals review to come! ***** Book review: 4.5 One of my favorite books this year. I'm taking away that half star only because I wish there was more romance (the kissy kissy cuddly kind) in this novel! I did enjoy it - but there's so much happening before the principal characters eventually confess their love for each other, we don't get enough of them as a romantic “stars in their eyes” couple. I know, I know, you're whispering "falling in love IS romantic, Em" - and you're right! I know it, too! I just want people (people = every couple in the romance novels I read) to acknowledge their love for each other and then to spend more than one chapter enjoying/showboating their "Happily Ever After." And NOT just in swoony epilogues (which I love, by the way. Definitely keep those, too!) (Side note for the sexy times worriers out there: There are quite a few sexy shenanigan moments in this story because the Duke of Ashmont is NAUGHTY AND HOT AND TOTALLY IN LUST WITH CASSANDRA. And they can't resist each other. So no need to worry.) Anyway, moving on. EVERYONE ON EARTH (read: me) has been waiting for the second book in the Difficult Dukes series. A Duke in Shining Armor was fabulous (the audio was maybe even better), and I couldn't wait for Ms. Chase to spend more time with our jilted, dissolute (gorgeous) Duke of Ashmont (one of Ripley's mischievous/scandalous besties). Friends, family, sort of aunts...well, they're exhausted by his antics and perfectly willing to tell him so. Fortunately, Ashton’s Come to Jesus moment happens hard on the heels/hours after a duel disaster with brother from another mother, Ripley (who "stole" his fiance Lady Olympia Hightower in the previous book). Ashmont, drunk and sad over nearly killing his best friend Ripley, is biding his time over cocktails with his second at one of his favorite pubs. The owners are used to his hijinks, fond of his coin, and tolerant of his behavior. But as usual, the day doesn't quite go to plan. When chaos erupts at the pub, Ashmont steps outside to shoot his pistol and put an end to the hijinks, and inadvertently sends a carriage and its riders careening through the street. Horrified, he runs to help and watches the carriage tip over. He’s relieved when the redhead who was holding the reins sits up, and then the woman next to her ( her maid) stirs and also appears unharmed. He’s considering what to do next when the vaguely familiar red headed woman stands up, begins insulting him and hits him with her hat, knocking him off his feet. Still drunk and now dazed and a little bit afraid, he gets up and follows her to a man lying motionless near a tree. Ashton immediately recognizes him. It's Tom Keeffe, a once successful jockey who survived a terrible accident that ended his career, and Ashton is a fan. They exchange greetings as Cassandra (the redhead who seems vaguely familiar to Ashmont) fumes, until she finally silences the pair. Ashton, confused about why the woman is with Keeffe and uncertain what to do next (he doesn't want to make her mad) staggers and then passes out. Oops. Friends, you read that right. It’s been a LONG and DRUNKEN day. He comes to after the redhead dumps a bucket of water on his face and tells him to get up and make himself and his money useful. #badass Cassandra Pomfret, sometimes referred to as Medusa or deGriffith’s Gorgon or Cassandra Prophet of Doom, is intelligent and has Opinions. Opinions she's also, much to her father’s chagrin, unafraid to share. WITH MEN! When Ten Things I Hate About the Duke (WOW THAT IS A LONG TITLE!) begins, her plain speaking has gotten her into bigger trouble than usual. Trouble with The Family. Exasperated by her behavior and unwilling to tolerate it any longer, her father issues an ultimatum he hopes will force her to change: Hyacinth, her beautiful, beloved younger sister - the belle of the season - cannot marry until Cassandra does. She also can't attend any of the events of the season. The ultimatum saddens and infuriates Cassandra who, with a gentle nudge from Hyacinth, decides to get away from London and reassess how to move forward - without hurting her darling sister (who is remarkably kind about the whole thing. From start to finish she's lovely! So refreshing!). Cassandra is enroute to the home of her former governess, accompanied by her maid and companion and friend Tom Keeffe, He’d taught her to ride and drive. He’d been with her from the time she was a troublesome girl of fourteen and he a crippled ex-jockey of six and twenty. For nearly twelve years she’d relied on his wisdom, and not only about horses. when disaster strikes. A group of men pour out of the Green Man onto the street, and then a buffoon shoots his pistol into the air, sending her horses into a frenzy. Cassandra is cataloging her injuries and trying to sit up when she recognizes the man crouched next to her asking if she's okay. It's the beautiful, angel faced Duke of Ashmont, the man she loved as a young girl until he proved unworthy of her affections. The same idiot who just fought a duel with his best friend after his fiancee jilted him. Well. Shit. Oh friends! This whole scene is a hot mess of Ashmont trying and failing to fix the GIGANTIC mess he’s made, and Cassandra awesomely putting him in his place. I loved her, I loved him, I loved sweet Tom Keeffe - who quickly does some romantic mental matchmaking, and I loved how the carriage disaster sets these two on a path together. Ashmont is no dummy (he just acts like one in public All the Time). He’s a sexy badass who keeps making bad decisions, but has finally realized that drinking and shenanigans are ruining his life. He’s also just met the one woman who gives as good as she gets. Fortunately he has an uncle (and his only living relative) to help him out of his various messes, but this time - instead of fixing everything - he gives Ashmont advice...and Ashmont follows it. Unfortunately for Cassandra, a single woman involved in a carriage accident (while minimally chaperoned), plus an infamous drunken duke, plus an injured former jockey, plus a missing maid, plus an overnight visit in a small village at a local inn famed for the exploits of the three dukes who love to visit, equals a disaster in the making. Fortunately, the drunken duke is super rich and keeps the rumors quiet, but then he just can’t stay away. And then the real nightmare begins. ASHMONT DECIDES HE WANTS HER. TO BE HIS WIFE. AND HE’S SEXY AND HOT AND NICE AND KIND AND TRYING TO BE BETTER. FOR HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And lucky for readers, the only person who thinks Ashton’s interest in Cassandra is a disaster, is CASSANDRA! (well, her dad, too). Ashton is IN LOVE. And Cassandra used to love Ashton. AND it is a battle of wits, and sexy smirks, and good smelling cologne and smart, clever repartee, and chemistry and...friends, this novel is so much fun. Look, the majority of this novel is a game of Cassandra trying to pretend she doesn’t want Ashton to prove his love to her, and Ashton slowly but surely figuring out the best way to do it. He quickly realizes Cassandra is good to everyone but herself, and he makes it his job to understand his prickly, brainy lady love. He reads Wollstonecraft, learns about issues that are important to her, and protects her from anyone and anything that aims to do her harm. Oh yeah, there are a couple of villains in this story, too! Ashmont and Cassandra are lovely together in every iteration - enemies, co-conspirators, friends, and eventually lovers, and it is a JOY to read yet another terrific Chase romance. Readers expect the carriage disaster to prove the biggest impediment to love between Cassandra and Ashmont, but it's a nice misdirection from this brilliant author. It's the villains of this story that actually nudge the romance in the right (sexy times) direction and keep readers on their toes with their fingers crossed. Great chemistry, sparkling dialogue, well developed principal characters, and a lovely opposites attract pairing made my heart go BOOM. These two are meant for each other, and this book is a TREMENDOUS follow-up to the equally good A Duke in Shining Armor. Fans of the series will be very happy. Terrific. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. Can’t wait for the audio. P.S. You want to know about Ripley and Olympia, and the Duke of Blackmoor and Alice, don't you? I wish we spent more time with them, but their cameos are all-to brief. We still don't know what's up with Alice!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Caz

    I've given this an A at AAR It’s been three years since we last had a new book from Loretta Chase, and I’m sure the burning question for historical romance fans is – was the long wait worth it?  I’m happy to say that yes, it was; Ten Things I Hate About the Duke may be one of those silly movie-reference titles that abound in historical romance these days, but the book itself is – thankfully – far from silly.  It’s classic Chase, featuring a pair of well-rounded, likeable protagonists, oodles of s I've given this an A at AAR It’s been three years since we last had a new book from Loretta Chase, and I’m sure the burning question for historical romance fans is – was the long wait worth it?  I’m happy to say that yes, it was; Ten Things I Hate About the Duke may be one of those silly movie-reference titles that abound in historical romance these days, but the book itself is – thankfully – far from silly.  It’s classic Chase, featuring a pair of well-rounded, likeable protagonists, oodles of sexual tension and prose filled with insight, a generous helping of snark and the author’s customary razor-sharp wit.  It’s the best historical romance of the year, hands down. Note: There are minor spoilers for the previous book, A Duke in Shining Armor, in this review. Miss Cassandra Pomfret, eldest daughter of Lord deGriffith, is young woman who not only dares to hold opinions of her own but (even worse) dares to actually express them.  Cruelly nicknamed by the ton – Medusa and de Griffith’s Gorgon are just two of the charming epithets she’s attracted – she is continually frustrated by the restrictions imposed on her by society, the expectation that she should care more about her frocks than about working to make the world a better place.  But after she speaks out at a political meeting – and almost causes a riot – her father, a respected and influential politician, has had enough of her unconventional and ill-advised behaviour.  He has no doubt of her good intentions or her belief in the causes she espouses, but she needs to recognise that her actions reflect badly on her family, and particularly on her younger sister Hyacinth, who is having her very first London Season.  Lord deGriffith sees no point in his younger daughter moving in society if Cassandra’s actions continually undermine her position and reputation, and declares it is at an end, and that he will not give permission for Hyacinth to marry until Cassandra has done so.  For her part, Hyacinth – who has become the toast of the Season and attracted a host of beaux – isn’t particularly bothered at having her Season curtailed, but even so, Cassandra feels dreadfully guilty about it.  A couple of days later, Hyacinth urges her sister to go to visit their ailing former governess in Roehampton, and Cassandra sets out, with her maid and her groom accompanying her. His Grace with the Angel Face the Duke of Ashmont has repaired to The Green Man on Putney Heath following the duel earlier in the morning with the Duke of Ripley.  Ashmont issued the challenge after his fiancée absconded on the morning of their wedding with Ripley in tow (perfectly innocently at first), and then, a few days later, jilted Ashmont in order to marry Ripley. Honour (and given this is Ashmont, a good deal of booze) demanded the challenge, and fortunately for all concerned, Ashmont didn’t put a bullet through Ripley.  A few hours later, Ashmont has drunk away the morning, despondent, and still shaken by the thought that he could conceivably have killed his best friend, He’s set to drink the rest of the day away when a commotion outside draws his attention.  Very much the worse for wear, he staggers outside, his one intention to stop the row that’s adding to the hammering in his head; he raises his pistol and fires into the air – causing the horses drawing an approaching carriage to bolt and the carriage to topple over. Horrified – and still very drunk – Ashmont staggers over to the scene to find two young women lying near the carriage and a third body – a man – a short distance away.  He’s made his way over to the women and is relieved when one of them – a redhead – sits up… and not so relieved when she yells at him and smacks him with her bonnet.  As he finally faceplants, she gets up and calmly steps over him saying “Yes, you, of course… It only wanted this.” Somehow, Cassandra thinks, she should have known Ashmont to have been the cause of all this mayhem – it’s what he does best after all. She’s known him, on and off, all her life, and was even – as a girl – in love with him… until she realised he was never going to become the man she hoped he would. But there’s no time to dwell on that; her groom has been badly injured and needs help; Ashmont’s clout and money are needed which means, unfortunately, that so is he. Still lying on the ground, Ashmont is contemplating the clouds and flashing grey eyes and dark red curls… when a bucket of cold water is dumped unceremoniously on his head and he’s exhorted to get up and make himself – and his money – useful. Ashmont does indeed make himself (and his money) useful and he tries hard to fix the humungous mess he’s made – especially after Cassandra’s maid decides to return home, leaving her mistress completely unchaperoned. Once word gets out about his involvement, Cassandra will be ruined – but luckily for all concerned, Ashmont’s uncle Frederick (Lord Frederick Beckingham, whom we met in the previous book) has a cooler, wiser head and advises Ashmont to leave as soon as possible after buying the silence of the staff at the inn, and thus protect Cassandra’s reputation. Ashmont is sensible enough to take good advice, and disaster is averted. But… clever, challenging, imperturbable, waspish Cassandra Pomfret has completely captivated him, and he decides to pursue her. The trouble is, she clearly isn’t impressed by his looks, his money or his rank – which are the things that usually get him what he wants – and he’s going to have to work harder than he’s ever worked at anything (which, let’s face it, he’s never done) if he wants to win her. What follows is a sprightly and absolutely delightful dance as Ashmont, who is far from the idiot he allows the world believe him to be, slowly but surely works out how to prove to Cassandra that he’s serious about her. He listens to her, he values her opinion, he finds out about things that are important to her and in the process, he starts to take stock of his own life, and to realise how little he’s made of it – which makes Ten Things as much a story of a man discovering the person he’s truly meant to be as it is a romance. Ashmont isn’t a man redeemed by love, or a rake reformed due to the love of a good woman; he’s a man redeeming himself, a man coming to realise that he’s wasting the many gifts he’s been given and that he wants to be a better man than he’s been hitherto. Yes, Cassandra provides the impetus by making him want to change, and by opening his eyes to the reality and frequent unpleasantness of the world around him – but no change of this sort is effective if the person concerned isn’t determined to do it, and Ashmont is prepared to work at turning his life around. Ashmont and Cassandra are superbly drawn characters who simply light up the pages when they’re together, and the author has done a splendid job of making Ashmont – who could have been hard to like – an endearing character, even when he’s making bad decisions. Cassandra is intelligent, independent, outspoken, and deeply compassionate, and I was impressed with the way she’s shown to be a woman pushing at the boundaries of the conventions that constrain her and trying to make a difference in the world, while still being very much a woman of her time. The author’s subtle but pertinent commentary on the position of women in society is beautifully observed and quite low-key but no less scathing for that. There’s an excellently-drawn secondary cast; I really liked the dynamic between Cassandra’s parents, and appreciated that Lord deGriffith isn’t an ogre, but a loving father driven to the extremes of exasperation. I can’t wait to find out what’s going on between Blackwood and Alice, and there’s definitely a story to be told about Lord Frederick and Lady Charles. But for now, Ten Things I Hate About the Duke is a terrific read and a fabulous example of historical romance done right. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait three years for the next instalment!

  6. 5 out of 5

    WhiskeyintheJar

    3.5 stars I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. A match made in Bedlam: the Gorgon and the prankster. Second in the Difficult Dukes series, this starts off about a week after the first in the series, A Duke in Shining Armor, ended. If you read the first, you'll remember Lucius, the Duke of Ashmont as the drunken jilted groom. Lucius did not recommend himself much and as this starts off, he contin 3.5 stars I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. A match made in Bedlam: the Gorgon and the prankster. Second in the Difficult Dukes series, this starts off about a week after the first in the series, A Duke in Shining Armor, ended. If you read the first, you'll remember Lucius, the Duke of Ashmont as the drunken jilted groom. Lucius did not recommend himself much and as this starts off, he continues with his drunken ways, causing a carriage accident that enmeshes our heroine. Lady Cassandra deGriffith has a reputation as a too opinionated woman and considered on the shelf. When a carriage accident caused by none other than the wastrel Duke of Ashmont and her childhood crush, has her groom and friend laid up with broken ribs, she is furious at him. “I like a lively girl,” Ashmont said. The first half of this felt a little slow and meandering but it comes together more in the second half as everything comes crashing together. The carriage accident causing Cassandra's friend to be laid up and her maid running away, sets up Lucius offering marriage to her to save her reputation and thus our marriage of convenience trope is born. Cassandra states and thinks the betrothal is fake and just for appearances sake but Lucius wants it to be real as by the second half, he's consciously enamored by Cassandra's backbone and wit and subconsciously in love with her. She was a force to be reckoned with, and he was ready to reckon. Cassandra for her part is extremely cautious about Lucius, she knew him in childhood as their circle of family and friends played together and had a childhood crush on him. Her childhood crush gets, well crushed, as they grow-up and Lucius becomes an obnoxious prankster and lush. Cassandra is scared to believe and trust in this “new” Lucius that is trying to act more mature and seems intrigued and attracted to her. Cassandra was mostly raised by her grandparents as her parents had eleven kids and seemed to want to focus on the boys more. This seemed an odd add-in as we never get scenes with Cassandra and her grandparents and there was some dancing around making her father a caring man for her but he didn't raise her? She has the added pressure to not cause drama because of her more feminist views and actions she takes in their favor have damaged her reputation and her father is trying to keep her in line by punishing Cassandra's younger sister, Hyacinth, by restricting what Hyacinth can do during her season. I'm team Cassandra, because how can you not be with this line: Coffee rooms, generally, were men’s domains. Cassandra usually observed such proprieties, because men became hysterical when women trespassed, and that was tedious. The word tedious is killer. So Cassandra is trying to protect her heart and not cross any lines, all while scandalous Lucius is saying he has mended his ways and truly wants her as a wife. This was the one who’d spun herself dizzy, gazing at the stars. This was the little rebel who wouldn’t be bullied. This was she, all grown up. Lucius grew up without a mother and his father definitely had a hand in creating the man who became one of the three 'Dis-Graces'. Again, for how much and important Lucius' uncle Frederick was, I was we could have gotten more scenes with the two together. I was not a fan, at all, of Lucius when the first book ended but I have to say, he did a pretty good job of redeeming himself in his own book. He pays attention to Casandra (her reads Wollstonecraft for her!) and begins to fall in love for who she is and he works to show her that. For people that are looking for more sex scenes, you only get one here, for others that want the depth of relationship to come from more tantalizing emotion bred from inner and mental connections, the second half delivers this with some sweet letter writing and other moments. The way she’d looked at him. He’d thought he’d died and come to life at the same time. Secondary characters from the first carry over and I find myself still strongly desiring Lucius' uncle Frederick and Julia's story and Lucius' friend Blackwood (another Dis-Grace) and his wife Alice clearly have some marriage angst that begs to be sorted out. I also really enjoyed the sense of time and place that the author managed to create, it helped make this feel like a solid historical instead of window dressed. This started off slow for me but with a hero that worked to bond with the heroine and managed to be dashing in Vauxhall and feel this while helping Cassandra stop a family from being evicted: They had nothing. He wanted to weep. She makes men cry, Morris had said. Maybe they ought to., well, how could you not soften towards him and cheer for him to sweep Cassandra off her feet. “Because you’re you,” he said softly.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Delirious Disquisitions

    4.5 stars. So so so good!! Never thought reading about a himbo love interest who gets into feminist literature and starts reading to be a smarter, better man so he can woo his strong, intelligent, fiercely independent heroine could be something so personal. And yet here we are. I'm so completely enamored with this book and these characters. RTC when I stop fangirling over this and get my thoughts straight. 4.5 stars. So so so good!! Never thought reading about a himbo love interest who gets into feminist literature and starts reading to be a smarter, better man so he can woo his strong, intelligent, fiercely independent heroine could be something so personal. And yet here we are. I'm so completely enamored with this book and these characters. RTC when I stop fangirling over this and get my thoughts straight.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alexandria Jane

    I loved this book. Completely unrealistic, completely ridiculous, but damn if it didn’t surprise me at every page. Despite my ever lasting love for Loretta Chase, I was HIGHLY skeptical I would like this book after first being introduced to Ashmont previously. And yet, somehow, I did. Kudos!!!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    ARC received for review I put this one down, and really thought it was going to end up in the DNF pile. I read another book, and then went back to this one. I really enjoyed it. I'm wondering if I would have like it more if I had read the first book. Cassandra and the Duke/Ashmont/Lucius had a past. Okay, not really. They knew each as children and she, of course, was in love with him. He and his friends were trouble makers, and she knew to she should stay away. It was a nice romance with a hint o ARC received for review I put this one down, and really thought it was going to end up in the DNF pile. I read another book, and then went back to this one. I really enjoyed it. I'm wondering if I would have like it more if I had read the first book. Cassandra and the Duke/Ashmont/Lucius had a past. Okay, not really. They knew each as children and she, of course, was in love with him. He and his friends were trouble makers, and she knew to she should stay away. It was a nice romance with a hint of intrigue/danger thrown in. I didn't even mind that (view spoiler)[ the first love scene was in the last chapter (hide spoiler)] .

  10. 5 out of 5

    Niki (mustreadalltheromance)

    3.5 stars Cassandra Pomfret’s blunt plain-speaking has gotten her into hot water before, but now she’s gone a bit far and her father is exasperated. Not wanting to risk damage to his political career, Lord deGriffith issues an edict: Cassandra’s beloved younger sister must end her season and may not marry until Cassandra herself does. Now an encounter with a notoriously wild and rakish duke is sure to destroy what’s left of Cassandra’s reputation and take her sister, along with the rest of her fa 3.5 stars Cassandra Pomfret’s blunt plain-speaking has gotten her into hot water before, but now she’s gone a bit far and her father is exasperated. Not wanting to risk damage to his political career, Lord deGriffith issues an edict: Cassandra’s beloved younger sister must end her season and may not marry until Cassandra herself does. Now an encounter with a notoriously wild and rakish duke is sure to destroy what’s left of Cassandra’s reputation and take her sister, along with the rest of her family, down along with her. Lucius Beckingham, the Duke of Ashmont, has the good looks of Adonis, but his bad behavior has made him persona non grata in many of the elite circles of London High Society. He’s at a bit of a low point now, having been jilted by his fiancé and the resulting duel nearly caused the death of his best friend. But even Lucius has a code and he won’t allow damage to a respectable lady’s reputation to stand. The best solution is to marry her, if only he can convince her she doesn’t hate him quite as much as she thinks. I found this book to be charming, on the whole, but I do have some mixed feelings about it. The duke certainly needed a wakeup call and Cassandra was perfect for him in that regard. However, much of what she says to him is extremely rude and goes a long way towards making her unlikable. The fact that she treats him this way to protect her heart and because of her strong feelings for him is the only thing that made her tolerable for me and had me cheering for them as a couple. Lucius certainly had a lot of growing up to do and it was like he finally woke up when he noticed Cassandra and remembered her from their childhoods. He grew as a character by leaps and bounds and Cassandra did as well, in her own way. I loved the fact that, though it took a while, by the latter chapters of the book Cassandra and Lucius were confiding in each other and she was relying on him to be her partner. When they faced challenges, these two surprised me with their honesty with each other and reliance on each other to get through to the other side of the issue. That aspect made this story work for me, though I did lose some patience at times with the extremely slow pace. I would’ve liked to see a bit more comeuppance for our villain here, rather than this merely being an opportunity to show how Lucius had grown, but nonetheless the scene did still work here. This was my first read from this author and it did take a bit for me to get used to the writing style, especially the way the dialogue is written, but it made the banter a bit snappier and that worked here. My biggest issue is that for all of Cassandra’s self-described pining she did for the duke, I never really felt the depth of her feelings for him, even by the end really. Lucius’ falling for her made more sense and I just wish she hadn’t been so fickle and had given him more of a fair shake sooner. It took a long time for me to actually feel the connection between them and even by the end they still didn’t quite feel like they were on equal ground for me. By the end, Cassandra was a tolerable character I could root for and Lucius wound up being likable as well; I think he just needed someone to believe in him and expect more from him. The thing that most annoyed me in this reading was the near-constant reference to Greek mythology and the only issue I really had there was the use of, for instance, ‘Oh, Juno,” as an exclamatory. This just struck me as super awkward and annoying and pulled me out of the story a bit, but that’s probably just a personal idiosyncrasy of mine. I definitely think I would’ve enjoyed this more if I’d read the first book, which I plan to go back to, but I do look forward to Alice and Blackwood’s story. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Stacee

    3.5 stars Well, I can definitely say I will never overlook a Taming of the Shrew retelling because this one was fun. I really liked Cassandra and Ashmont. They're both stubborn and tend to act first, think later. I loved their childhood history and how the relationship evolved: from strong irritation to love for her and from utter cluelessness to obsessively smitten for him. There aren't a lot of characters; however, there are a lot a lot a lot of time/location shifts (all with headings) and more 3.5 stars Well, I can definitely say I will never overlook a Taming of the Shrew retelling because this one was fun. I really liked Cassandra and Ashmont. They're both stubborn and tend to act first, think later. I loved their childhood history and how the relationship evolved: from strong irritation to love for her and from utter cluelessness to obsessively smitten for him. There aren't a lot of characters; however, there are a lot a lot a lot of time/location shifts (all with headings) and more POVs than I was expecting. Plot wise, it was amusing. I really enjoyed the constant trying on Ashmont's part and how Cassandra just wasn't having it...until she was. I will say that I would have liked more of their HEA. It seemed that the entire book was them getting to their love and then the book ended. Cassandra and Ashmont are most delightful (and trouble) when they're together and I could have easily read 100 more pages of them plotting and being adorable. Overall, it was a fun and quick read with characters I really liked. I'm definitely going to go back to read the first book and I can't wait to see if there will be another story in the series. **Huge thanks to Avon for providing the arc free of charge**

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie (Jump)

    I hope this will be as much fun as the first book in the series! 2019 though... That's one heck of a wait! And now pushed back to 2020. 😰 I hope this will be as much fun as the first book in the series! 2019 though... That's one heck of a wait! And now pushed back to 2020. 😰

  13. 5 out of 5

    Blackjack

    4.5 An unexpected favorite book from 2020 and arriving in the final month, this second book in the Difficult Dukes series isn't perfect, but it did fill me with lots of happiness as I read it. Of particular note for me is Lucius, Duke of Ashmont, respecting Cassandra and treating her the way she wishes to be treated by a man. The book has a number of memorable scenes to show Lucius's willingness to become the man who can make the object of his love happy in life, and among them is a faux self-defe 4.5 An unexpected favorite book from 2020 and arriving in the final month, this second book in the Difficult Dukes series isn't perfect, but it did fill me with lots of happiness as I read it. Of particular note for me is Lucius, Duke of Ashmont, respecting Cassandra and treating her the way she wishes to be treated by a man. The book has a number of memorable scenes to show Lucius's willingness to become the man who can make the object of his love happy in life, and among them is a faux self-defense skit Cassandra asks Lucius to perform with her in front of her women's club. She needs a man to accost her so that she can show women how to fend off an attack using an umbrella and the annoying Lucius is her best available option. Lucius sizes up Cassandra perfectly and knows she wants respect from a man, and so he throws himself into the task fully. It's a perfectly wonderful scene that Loretta Chase can best execute. Cassandra is at first shocked that Lucius is outright attacking her, and then she's exhilarated that he would deem her worthy, and then she fights as hard as possible to win. Not surprising that their first embrace follows hot on the heels of their physical altercation, but the two scenes back-to-back make the rest of the book a must-read. Lucius is initially set up in the first book and the early chapters of the second as a ne'er do well drunkard, entitlement and arrogance personified, though always light-hearted and sunny in disposition. At first glance, he seems a lot like a number of former Chase heroes in need of reform. He also seems on the surface like a terribly unlikely romantic choice for the earnest Cassandra, but we learn slowly that he was her first love, albeit unrequited, and his disastrous life as a "party boy" has been one of her deepest disappointments. Is there anything worse in life than being deemed a disappointment to a loved one? Lucius starts off the book disgusted with himself and his reckless behaviors but pretty much content to wallow in self-pity, that is until Cassandra accidentally reenters his life. Cassandra doesn't reform him (and thank goodness for Chase not resurrecting that tired romance trope). Instead, Lucius sees an opportunity in Cassandra's reappearance in his life to become the better person he always had within reach and to find love with a woman who will always require him to be deserving of her. The book is filled with so many wonderful scenes: the faux fight, the curtain scene, the constant jokes about earning points, the defense of his betrothed to her parents, the cross dressing as an unexpected stimulant, and reading as foreplay. I found myself smiling for most of the book as a result. If I have drawbacks, I think it might be because Cassandra isn't as vibrant a character as Lucius. I had trouble initially trying to determine her motivations in life as well as why she is such a thorn in the sides of so many others. She seemed early to be an idealistic bluestocking with strong opinions, and readers know that smart women with strong opinions trigger resentment in others. However, Cassandra becomes more once it becomes clearer that she has a deep reckless spirit herself. It puts her in harm's way more than once. It also pulls at Lucius because he shares this delicate imbalance. Together as a couple they are forced to set aside their own propensity for recklessness to protect each other. I enjoyed this aspect of Cassandra, though I would have to say as a heroine-centric reader, I still feel that Lucius is the more complex and interesting of the pair. I have some misgivings too about the rapid unfolding of events early in the book that left me feeling off kilter about where the story was heading. It's all fine though because once Lucius has a plan, the hijinks and battle of wills is superb. Perhaps not Chase's best book in a long history of fabulous books but definitely a must-read for her fans and most definitely one of the highlights of the 2020 reading year. I greatly anticipate the third book in this series.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    4.25. I adore Loretta Chase and read Lord of Scoundrels annually, and I fear no book will ever carry me to those ebullient heights again. And while this one didn’t overtake my obsession with LoS, it was, as most of Chase’s books are, a lovely read. The research is clearly diligent and the book’s historical elements accurate, which I always appreciate. She uses historical data (coach styles, sartorial elements) to highlight her characters... character, if you will, and it’s so easy to feel like w 4.25. I adore Loretta Chase and read Lord of Scoundrels annually, and I fear no book will ever carry me to those ebullient heights again. And while this one didn’t overtake my obsession with LoS, it was, as most of Chase’s books are, a lovely read. The research is clearly diligent and the book’s historical elements accurate, which I always appreciate. She uses historical data (coach styles, sartorial elements) to highlight her characters... character, if you will, and it’s so easy to feel like we’re walking among the people in the story. I love that. This was a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew, although in this case, Cassandra, our heroine, was doing most of the taming (yesssssssss!). I vaguely remembered the Duke of Ashmont aka Luscious Lucius, from the first book in the series but Chase does such a good job writing emotionally unevolved alpha lummoxes, I usually fall a little in love with her heroes in spite of themselves. I can’t think of a modern romance novelist who writes men better, which is no small feat. And the books serve up the fantasy of men who aren’t just the total package, but also want to genuinely UNDERSTAND their partner. Hot. Is that actually a thing in the 3D world? Very inspiring if so.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    Quite a disappointing read. I have really liked some books by this author in the past, but this one was very average for me. There are some good reviews of it, though, so don't let my grumpy thoughts stop you from trying this yourself. These are just my personal reflections after reading. I think part of the problem for me is the trope itself. The three difficult dukes (shades of Madeline Hunter's Decadent Dukes???) were established in the previous book, (which I didn't much enjoy either.) I thi Quite a disappointing read. I have really liked some books by this author in the past, but this one was very average for me. There are some good reviews of it, though, so don't let my grumpy thoughts stop you from trying this yourself. These are just my personal reflections after reading. I think part of the problem for me is the trope itself. The three difficult dukes (shades of Madeline Hunter's Decadent Dukes???) were established in the previous book, (which I didn't much enjoy either.) I think Ms Chase worked too hard to make her dukes seem roguish and rakish, and they simply come across as immature, drunken idiots. In this book the writer seemed to be working very hard to redeem her naughty duke, but it just dragged on and on. Yes the duke did change his ways and become a more mature person, but it all happened in the space of a mere eight weeks, and one wonders how the already-established drunken habits of a lifetime of immorality will change so readily. Hmmmm. Will it last? Maybe? The actual getting together of the two leads took way too long, as well. There was too much of the 'I'm not worthy of you' 'No you're not but I have secretly always loved you anyway' stuff. Unfortunately, I wasn't invested enough in either character to care very much as it all dragged on. I didn't like the duke in particular. Yes he was changing for the better, but he was a grown man who till now had for many years simply lived a thoughtless, pointless, idiotic, uncaring, drunken life. Not my kinda guy........ I found the moment when (view spoiler)[ Cassandra dressed as a man to sneak in and tell the duke she was in love with him (hide spoiler)] just too far-fetched and unnecessary. There must have been a better plot device to do this. Then I rolled my eyes and started skimming (view spoiler)[ when the ridiculous blackmail plot was revealed. Thank heavens Cassandra told her parents, and I started to read more fully again. (hide spoiler)] There wasn't a lot about why the duke wanted to marry Olympia in the first place, which is fair enough because it related to the previous book, but I still wasn't convinced. He lurched from this strange engagement to someone he hardly seemed to know or care about, to a quick reform into a caring, enlightened man who fell deeply in love with another woman. Hmmmm. I found the section near the end that focused on The Vindication of The Rights of Women to be too much like proselytising, I'm afraid, and the writer desperately trying to convince readers that yes, the leopard had miraculously changed his spots. Again, it didn't convince. Not sure whether I'll bother with the third book when it's released.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Topastro

    Kate Reading's voice is a weighted blanket for my soul. The first book of this series was ok but Ten Things I hate About the Duke hit it out of the park. I loved the self assured Cassandra. Bold and outspoken her relatable insecurities and desires made it easy to love and connect to her. Ashmont with this dissolute ways was loveable but as Cassandra knew, needed some polish. The character development was done well and I was rooting for the MC from the beginning. Cassandra's family was also a deli Kate Reading's voice is a weighted blanket for my soul. The first book of this series was ok but Ten Things I hate About the Duke hit it out of the park. I loved the self assured Cassandra. Bold and outspoken her relatable insecurities and desires made it easy to love and connect to her. Ashmont with this dissolute ways was loveable but as Cassandra knew, needed some polish. The character development was done well and I was rooting for the MC from the beginning. Cassandra's family was also a delight, all the secondary characters were well written. I'm definitely keeping tune to see what is going on between Blackwood and Alice

  17. 4 out of 5

    M. Nguyen

    The second book in the Difficult Dukes series gives me so much joy and keeps me engaged during this stressful time. I’ve enjoyed it even better than the first book. It picks up immediately right after book 1, but it can be read as a standalone. The Duke of Ashmont was jilted by his bride-to-be on his wedding day (book 1). He’s one of the trio Dis-Graces who are notorious rakes, pulling pranks at every occasions and pretty much barred from respectable social events. Ashmont is constantly in his dr The second book in the Difficult Dukes series gives me so much joy and keeps me engaged during this stressful time. I’ve enjoyed it even better than the first book. It picks up immediately right after book 1, but it can be read as a standalone. The Duke of Ashmont was jilted by his bride-to-be on his wedding day (book 1). He’s one of the trio Dis-Graces who are notorious rakes, pulling pranks at every occasions and pretty much barred from respectable social events. Ashmont is constantly in his drunken state and a hot mess, and I was just excited to see how he would transform himself 😆. Cassandra Pomfret is known in society as Medusa, or deGriffith’s Gorgon, or Cassandra Prophet of Doom 😂. She speaks her mind since young, her sharp tongue and directness have given her father much headache. She’s grown up in the family where women are well respected, as her grandmother founded the Andromeda Society, a ladies’ charitable club that discusses current events and bills affecting women’s livelihood, and includes hands-on demonstrations of self-defense... Cassandra has made a life for herself and lived with a purpose, until one day Ashmont, His Grace with the Angel Face and her childhood crush, literally stumbles into her path again 😆. She loved him as a little girl, but she’s been disappointed again and again at how he’s turned out to be. It is an tough mountain that Ashmont has to climb to gain back her trust, and boy if she makes him work HARD 👏🏼!!! I love how she treats him like any other drunkard 😂: hit him with a hat, throw water or teapot at him, or shove him over the railing 😂... Overall BADASS 😆! She also makes him realize his privileged life and how he could use his rank and power to help. I love how hard he tries to learn and read more to understand her, to put himself in her shoes, and to appreciate her intelligence, how sweetly he takes care of her (smoothing and fussing over ribbons and sleeve puffs like a true lady’s maid) *swoon* 😂... Even though their lovemaking scene doesn’t take place until the end 🙈, their irresistible chemistry, amazing character arcs, and intelligent conversations more than make up for it 😆. (But don’t worry, you’ll still get some hot kisses and naughty play times 😂!) I’ve also learned more about the attires, the culture, the society scenes during this period. The side characters from both families are wonderful, loving, and supportive. Overall, it’s such a fun, light-hearted, low-angst book that kept me on reading until the end. ❤️ 5⭐️ read for me! *Special thanks to Avon Books for gifting me the ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

  18. 4 out of 5

    niteskycs

    3.5 stars ten things i hate about the duke was a super solid addition to the series, and one of the better historical romances i've read this year! ashmont is a very sweet character and the lengths he goes to so cassandra understands that he loves her was adorable. i really love the childhood friends/acquaintances angle in historical romance and we got that trope along with a little bit of unrequited love to make things angsty. i really really really can't wait to read about the final book in t 3.5 stars ten things i hate about the duke was a super solid addition to the series, and one of the better historical romances i've read this year! ashmont is a very sweet character and the lengths he goes to so cassandra understands that he loves her was adorable. i really love the childhood friends/acquaintances angle in historical romance and we got that trope along with a little bit of unrequited love to make things angsty. i really really really can't wait to read about the final book in this series with the duke of blackmore and his wife, alice who are presumably estranged. what's even more interesting is that alice is the sister of one of his best friends so the i expect the family dynamic in their book will be fun to read about.

  19. 5 out of 5

    HR-ML

    Victorian. Enemies to lovers. Luc, a Duke, was bosky and caused Cassandra's conveyance to crash. Her beloved head coachman (and a former jockey) was injured and her maid took off in a mail coach. The MCs knew each other from childhood. Luc and his 2 mates, also Dukes, pulled pranks, chased women etc. The MCs were alone at the inn w/ the injured coachman. How did others perceive this incident? Luc needed to grew up. He just fought a duel w/ his (Duke) friend Ripley over a woman. Over time, Luc le Victorian. Enemies to lovers. Luc, a Duke, was bosky and caused Cassandra's conveyance to crash. Her beloved head coachman (and a former jockey) was injured and her maid took off in a mail coach. The MCs knew each other from childhood. Luc and his 2 mates, also Dukes, pulled pranks, chased women etc. The MCs were alone at the inn w/ the injured coachman. How did others perceive this incident? Luc needed to grew up. He just fought a duel w/ his (Duke) friend Ripley over a woman. Over time, Luc learned to show restraint, think things through with his head (not his other head), and to cherish Cassie's uniqueness. The H slowly gained her trust. My favorite scene: the H + h demonstrated self-defense to her club, by means of umbrellas. I want to see Cassie's BFF, Alice, reconcile with her spouse (Luc's other Duke friend) Blackwell.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cassandra

    Thank you to Avon and Edelweiss for an eARC of Chase's second book in the Difficult Dukes series. Ashmont's story was a long time coming (3 years?) and when you consider what a mess he was in the first book, where he is decidedly NOT heroic, you get a sense of just why it might have taken Chase some time to work out just what to do with him. The title gives a nod to Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew and there are lovely little Shakespearean touches throughout, but the problem in the story is not Thank you to Avon and Edelweiss for an eARC of Chase's second book in the Difficult Dukes series. Ashmont's story was a long time coming (3 years?) and when you consider what a mess he was in the first book, where he is decidedly NOT heroic, you get a sense of just why it might have taken Chase some time to work out just what to do with him. The title gives a nod to Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew and there are lovely little Shakespearean touches throughout, but the problem in the story is not the heroine, Cassandra Pomfret, it is the Duke of Ashmont. He's a drunken, thoughtless, irresponsible mess who has blundered about hurting people and pulling pranks and generally behaving like he's 12. His interactions with Cassandra are a catalyst for him to realize it's time to get his act together and behave like a gentleman. Cassandra is the real star of this book and although she's a problem in the sense that she's outspoken, energetic, and interested in expanding the constrained nature of women's lives; she is an utter delight in this book. Her lack of interest in polite society does not make her a social hit and her father, Lord DeGriffith, attempts to get her married off by not allowing her more traditional (but still observant and intelligent) sister to have her Season until Cassandra is married. I appreciated that Cassandra's father is not a monster, but genuinely loves his daughters and his marriage is very much a partnership. In fact, Lady DeGriffith has a delightful scene where she pushes her husband aside to exercises female soft power VERY effectively. I was laughing out loud because you can definitely see where Cassandra gets it from. Cassandra's family loves her although they don't always understand her and she loves them and this was a highlight of the book. In fact, I loved Cassandra Pomfret too through this entire book. Her weapon of choice-the umbrella-, her creative use of pantaloons, her concern for her driver and partner in crime, her energy, and her wits all make her a remarkable person. And the exasperation with 19th century 'mansplaining' was a chef's kiss. "She tried to remember the last time a man had sought her opinion about anything remotely important. She tried to remember the last time a man had hesitated to offer his, whether he was asked or not. Never. The answer was, never." Ashmont is utterly fascinated by her, values her opinion, and falls so fast that it's delightful to see. She shakes him up and while she doesn't reform him, he starts to realize he needs to do better with the gifts and privileges he has because so many are without them. Cassandra agrees to a fake engagement for her sister's sake and because despite his mess, he listens to her and she finds him beautiful. The expression of female desire is really flipped here which was fascinating to see. Usually, in a romance novel, it's the woman who is the object of desire. Chase gives you Ashmont as the object of desire for Cassandra and what fun that is to read about in a historical in 2020. She doesn't need him, but she surely wants him. So who exactly is the Shrew being tamed here? It's about time. There were so many little lines and scenes that I wanted to highlight, but couldn't since it's an eARC, but the whole book is just so skillfully crafted and beautifully written that I was just in awe. Take your time, Loretta Chase. Because I still want to know about Lady Charles (Aunt Julia) and Lord Frederick and what on earth is up with the Blackwoods? 5 enthusiastic stars!

  21. 4 out of 5

    ChasingLeslie

    Fresh from a jilting and a duel with one of his best friends, an inebriated Lucian, Duke of Ashmont, causes a carriage accident that injures Miss Cassandra Pomfret’s groom/friend. Being alone at an inn seeking medical attention could be interpreted as a compromising situation, so Ashmont asks Cassandra to be his replacement duchess. She is less than impressed, but he is unrelenting. This is the second book in the Difficult Dukes series. It can be read alone, but it takes place right after the ev Fresh from a jilting and a duel with one of his best friends, an inebriated Lucian, Duke of Ashmont, causes a carriage accident that injures Miss Cassandra Pomfret’s groom/friend. Being alone at an inn seeking medical attention could be interpreted as a compromising situation, so Ashmont asks Cassandra to be his replacement duchess. She is less than impressed, but he is unrelenting. This is the second book in the Difficult Dukes series. It can be read alone, but it takes place right after the events of the first book. I really tried, but I simply could not connect with this book. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters and, at the beginning, I felt like Ashmont was creating more of bond with Cassandra’s groom than with her! I didn’t find him engaging or humorous, and Cassandra felt equally flat and fickle. I didn’t see the love…the romance was lacking for me, both emotionally and physically. * I received an ARC and this is my honest review. #TenThingsIHateAboutTheDuke #NetGalley

  22. 4 out of 5

    Aly

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Cassandra Pomfret came out in society years ago but she's still unmarried. Could it be because she have pretty strong opinions and never hesitate to speaks her mind? Cassandra is not easily impressed so how can a reckless rakehell she knows from childhood could win her heart? The reason I picked this book, is because one of my favorite movie is 10 Things I Hate About You. So when I saw that it had a similar plot, I didn't hesitate to buy it. I wish I could tell I loved it as much, but for me, bot Cassandra Pomfret came out in society years ago but she's still unmarried. Could it be because she have pretty strong opinions and never hesitate to speaks her mind? Cassandra is not easily impressed so how can a reckless rakehell she knows from childhood could win her heart? The reason I picked this book, is because one of my favorite movie is 10 Things I Hate About You. So when I saw that it had a similar plot, I didn't hesitate to buy it. I wish I could tell I loved it as much, but for me, both MC failed to charmed me and I think they lacked Pat and Kat's presence, charisma and chemistry. And except for her father's rule that her sister can't marry until she does and the poem, there wasn't other elements from the movie. But there's a scene that I really enjoyed. The one where the heroine refuse to be con by blackmail and ask her family and the hero for help. Such a great moment to show that together, you're stronger!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Janine Ballard

    3.5 stars In Ten Things to I Hate About the Duke, Loretta Chase's new historical romance, Lucius, the Duke of Ashmont meets Cassandra Pomfret when he fires a gun into the air to disperse a crowd. Cassandra’s horses to startle and her carriage crashes. Injured in the accident is her groom, Keefe, a former jockey as well as her friend and mentor. Cassandra is angry and upset. Since they are in the countryside, she, her maid, Ashmont, his friend Morris and Keefe all repair to a nearby inn. But then C 3.5 stars In Ten Things to I Hate About the Duke, Loretta Chase's new historical romance, Lucius, the Duke of Ashmont meets Cassandra Pomfret when he fires a gun into the air to disperse a crowd. Cassandra’s horses to startle and her carriage crashes. Injured in the accident is her groom, Keefe, a former jockey as well as her friend and mentor. Cassandra is angry and upset. Since they are in the countryside, she, her maid, Ashmont, his friend Morris and Keefe all repair to a nearby inn. But then Cassandra’s maid takes off (it’s not entirely clear why) and Cassandra’s reputation is almost ruined. Ashmont proposes and, after she refuses him, pays off all the witnesses and goes back to London on his uncle’s advice. (It seemed far-fetched to me that Ashmont successfully ensured every witness’s silence; there was a small crowd at the scene of the accident and more people at the inn.) Ashmont, a feckless, devil-may-care rogue until then, is smitten by Cassandra and sets out to win her heart. In the process he learns to grow up and become a steadier and sweeter man. He has never had to work hard for anything in his life before, and now he has to learn the ways of the smart, opinionated and feminist Cassandra. And she keeps him on his toes, causing him to think more than he ever has in the past. Cassandra is afraid to trust Ashmont. Not only has he injured Keefe, he also broke her heart though he has no idea that he ever did. They first met as child and a youth, on a magical night of looking at the stars, Ashmont pointing out the constellations. But Ashmont doesn’t remember it, much less the night of Cassandra’s debut in society, when he paid far more attention to a prank he executed than to the girl who’d loved him from afar. Ashmont’s friend Morris is infatuated with Hyacinth, Cassandra’s gorgeous and sweet-natured sister. Morris’s mother, Lady Bartham, hates Lady deGriffith, Cassandra and Hyacinth’s mother, due to something from the distant past. Lady Bartham seethes with rivalry and bad intentions, and neither the duke’s interest in Cassandra nor her son’s devotion to Hyacinth is something she intends to let stand. We also learn about the Andromeda Society, a ladies’ charitable club Cassandra founded and leads. It is a feminist endeavor—members learn self-defense and other useful skills, and Cassandra tries to help any who are in distress. Ashmont offers to help. Still, Cassandra circles Lucius warily whenever he appears in her vicinity as happens more and more often. It gets harder for both to stifle their attraction. Can Ashmont win Cassandra over without implicating her in a scandal after all? The biggest issue I had with this book was that it was sedate, especially so in the first 40%. I waited for something significant to happen and not much did. The near-scandal of the carriage accident went nowhere. Based on the blurb I expected the accident would cause Cassandra and Ashmont to marry in haste and that the book would hinge on a marriage of convenience. But even after it became evident that the book centered on a courtship the pacing was uneven. The book made for ideal bedtime reading because for roughly 80% it was easy to put down. I did like some things. Cassandra was a different kind of heroine, sharp in mind and in demeanor both. I liked her resolve. I liked that she cared about working-class women and that rather than mere lip service on the author’s part, this was a strong and genuine commitment. But I wanted her to thaw a little sooner; she was a little chilly and somewhat humorless. I felt held at arm’s length from her. This is a partial review. You can find the review in its entirety here: https://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/o...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    I missed Loretta Chase! I enjoy her prose so much and I thought this was a good adaptation of The Taming of Shrew, and I LOVED how much work the hero had to do for the heroine. I remembered nothing about the previous book which was a bit of an issue at the beginning but it becomes less important as the book goes on. Would quite love a novella about the older matchmakers in this book, there's a story there. **Read for #SnowInLoveBingo square Retelling/Mythology** I missed Loretta Chase! I enjoy her prose so much and I thought this was a good adaptation of The Taming of Shrew, and I LOVED how much work the hero had to do for the heroine. I remembered nothing about the previous book which was a bit of an issue at the beginning but it becomes less important as the book goes on. Would quite love a novella about the older matchmakers in this book, there's a story there. **Read for #SnowInLoveBingo square Retelling/Mythology**

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jaclyn

    Ten Things I Hate About the Duke was an absolute delight. It's rare that I will actually laugh out loud when reading and I did more than once while reading this. This wasn't a mad cap adventure, but the biting wit between Cassandra and Ashmont was absolutely perfect. Cassandra was sharp tongued and it was highly entertaining when she directed her wits against Ashmont. As for Ashmont, who doesn't love a hero who's kind of stupefied by his heroine? After he causes a carriage crash, Ashmont finds h Ten Things I Hate About the Duke was an absolute delight. It's rare that I will actually laugh out loud when reading and I did more than once while reading this. This wasn't a mad cap adventure, but the biting wit between Cassandra and Ashmont was absolutely perfect. Cassandra was sharp tongued and it was highly entertaining when she directed her wits against Ashmont. As for Ashmont, who doesn't love a hero who's kind of stupefied by his heroine? After he causes a carriage crash, Ashmont finds himself enamored by Cassandra. Naturally, as she is aware of his disreputable reputation, she wants nothing to do with him. But, with Cassandra's reputation in danger an fake courtship is in order, only it's not so fake to Ashmont. It's been far too long since I've read a Loretta Chase historical romance. I love how character-driven her romances are - there's so much care given to the development of the relationship between the two characters, and that was very evident here. In particular, I adored the character development of Ashmont. He really has to decide to change and then do the work in order to win his heroine. Chase does a superb job at showing the readers that change, which made his relationship with Cassandra all the more powerful. If you're in the mood for a witty romance, you can't go wrong with this one! *Review copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    This is a beautify written story, classic in prose, with Loretta Chase's unique style, that's enchanting and heartwarming. I loved it all - the vibrant characters, the lovely prose, the heartwarming plot. It's nice to come to this world and escape the dreadful reality - there's conflict and adversity, but also humor and wit and passion. I can't wait for the next one. Recommend! This is a beautify written story, classic in prose, with Loretta Chase's unique style, that's enchanting and heartwarming. I loved it all - the vibrant characters, the lovely prose, the heartwarming plot. It's nice to come to this world and escape the dreadful reality - there's conflict and adversity, but also humor and wit and passion. I can't wait for the next one. Recommend!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarandah Princess

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A fun send-up of 10 Things I Hate About You, which is of course a send-up of The Taming of the Shrew. Although in this story, the heroine is called a Gorgon, which tickled my fancy. In the previous book, i worried about Ashmont- for his devil-may-care outlook and his unchecked drinking. I was interested to see how that would be approached and dealt with here. Ms. Chase did not disappoint, for here, we have (gasp) character development. We have a man who grew up lonely and has never been told no, A fun send-up of 10 Things I Hate About You, which is of course a send-up of The Taming of the Shrew. Although in this story, the heroine is called a Gorgon, which tickled my fancy. In the previous book, i worried about Ashmont- for his devil-may-care outlook and his unchecked drinking. I was interested to see how that would be approached and dealt with here. Ms. Chase did not disappoint, for here, we have (gasp) character development. We have a man who grew up lonely and has never been told no, a man who has lived in privilege and generosity, but lives in a sort of aristocratic bubble, unfamiliar with the true plight of others around him. We have a man who is beautiful in form, knows it but isn’t arrogant, simply exists for himself because he’s never known another way. As the jilted groom in the previous novel, he’s been handed a reality check and is struggling with it through the first half of the book. We also have ourselves a bit of a himbo - and it was adorable. He loves pranks, jokes, self effacement and mischief. He happily sleeps around but does not debauch virgins. He even had the self restraint and respect to wait until marriage for the final act, which is something I haven’t been finding in a lot of historicals. NOT that I don’t mind a good premarital sex scene or three, i just love that he grew up enough to draw the line. It wasn’t because he considered her of less value that way, it was because he knew her eventual position as duchess would afford her the sort of influence that could further her work, and he wanted to ensure that she had as much respect as possible. And our heroine... what fun! While no Jessica (my favorite Chase heroine so far) Cassandra is still a force of nature. She devotes her time to several worthy causes without being smug about it. She is as much of a feminist as the time and her position in society could allow. She’s a hoyden- and the story laments the very term as something thrown at women for wanting the same activity and movement that men have. It was refreshing to see that term called out rather than simply bandied about. She accepts absolutely zero shit from Lucius and sets an example for him, inspiring him to do better and be better. And when the final moment of “would i be better off not trusting my heart to a rake and a libertine?” well... she chooses her own strength and independence of spirit to rely on for any future troubles, therefore choosing THEM rather than discarding him. She didn’t settle and she didn’t push him away, she sallied forth in courage and devotion. Love that. The plot stays fairly true to the famous movie- the odious rival for Cassandra’s affection, her actions causing her father to unfairly crack down on her sister, the scrapes that the MCs get themselves into. I laughed aloud at several parts, particularly the charity fair when Ashmont showed up with a malodorous street urchin as a prank, only to be bested by Cassandra. I am an absolute sucker for characters who fall in love with strength, wit, and humor. This book wasn’t terribly steamy and i barely noticed the lack of it. Their sparring and tenderness kept me up past my bedtime two nights in a row

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lesa

    I picked up Ten Things I Hate about the Duke by Loretta Chase because a review referred to The Taming of the Shrew. I didn’t really care that it was book two in A Difficult Dukes series. It really doesn’t matter. Although my understanding is that a couple characters overlap, I read it for the two main characters. Just back from staying with her grandparents in Paris, Cassandra Pomfret once again causes a sensation in London. She speaks up about a bill in Parliament that will limit the ability for I picked up Ten Things I Hate about the Duke by Loretta Chase because a review referred to The Taming of the Shrew. I didn’t really care that it was book two in A Difficult Dukes series. It really doesn’t matter. Although my understanding is that a couple characters overlap, I read it for the two main characters. Just back from staying with her grandparents in Paris, Cassandra Pomfret once again causes a sensation in London. She speaks up about a bill in Parliament that will limit the ability for the ordinary person to live their lives on Sundays. However, she addresses the Sabbath bill to the man who introduced it, Mr. Titus Owsley. Cassandra’s father is not happy with her, and tells her that her beloved sister’s Season is over. Cassandra has ruined Hyacinth’s debut season by making a spectacle of herself and the family. Hyacinth isn’t upset. In fact, she’s the one who urges Cassandra to drive to visit her ailing former governess. Taking her bodyguard and mentor, a former jockey named Keeffe, along with her maid, Cassandra sets out, only to meet with disaster when a drunken Lucius Wilmot Beckingham, the sixth Duke of Ashmont, shoots off a gun, scares her horses, and causes Keeffe to be severely injured. Ashmont does his best to make amends, but Cassandra is unforgiving when it comes to Keeffe’s injuries. Somehow, though, even in his drunken state, Cassandra’s strength and spirit gets through to him. He finds her fascinating, and orders her to marry him to quell all rumors and scandal about their time together at the inn where Keeffe’s life is in danger. I love some of today’s historical romances for the spirited, independent women and the strong men who back them up. Because of the time period, 1833, women are often only allowed that independence because of the support of men. Both of these characters change in the course of the book. Cassandra realizes she can have her own life while also loving a man, and the Duke learns how important Cassandra’s life and spirit is to her happiness, and, eventually his own. Fortunately, this isn’t a typical The Taming of the Shrew trope. While Cassandra calls herself a shrew, Ashmont never sees her that way, and has no intention of taming her. Instead, their relationship becomes a partnership between two spirited people. Ten Things I Hate about the Duke is a fun, funny historical romance featuring a likable, honest couple.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Loretta Chase's writing is so stylistically gorgeous that I'll happily read her books almost no matter what they're about - which is the only reason I got through the first third of this book, because the hero starts out the book as such an obnoxious guy. He's massively over-privileged, irresponsible, and voluntarily unaware of (and uninterested in) what life is at like for anyone with less privilege. And honestly, living in Brexit-era Britain, I found it very hard to root for a hero who starts Loretta Chase's writing is so stylistically gorgeous that I'll happily read her books almost no matter what they're about - which is the only reason I got through the first third of this book, because the hero starts out the book as such an obnoxious guy. He's massively over-privileged, irresponsible, and voluntarily unaware of (and uninterested in) what life is at like for anyone with less privilege. And honestly, living in Brexit-era Britain, I found it very hard to root for a hero who starts out happily taking part in an Oxford-formed drinking club just like the one Boris Johnson and David Cameron used to be in (rich, drunk guys smashing things up for fun and then throwing around money to make it all right afterwards). BUT. The heroine was fabulous from page 1, the writing was witty and clever and fun - and almost unbelievably, Chase completely pulled off the hero's moral development across the book, truly convincing me by the end that he had become a good person and would be both a fabulous husband to the heroine and a good driver of positive change in the world from then on (making GOOD use of his privilege, under his new wife's influence). And I genuinely loved the couple that they ended up forming themselves into. Also, I was only partway through this book (which was a Christmas gift) when I ordered a copy of the other book in this series, which I hadn't read yet! So that's a pretty strong indication of how much I was enjoying it after all. :)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Emro

    After a confrontation with Mr. Titus Owsley, a member of the House of Commons, Miss Cassandra Pomfret’s father lays down the law – he forbids Cassandra’s younger sister Hyacinth to marry or even participate in a season until the outspoken, opinionated Cassandra is wed. Needing to get away, Cassandra sets out with her groom and maid to visit her former governess, but she never anticipated that the recently jilted Lucius Beckingham, the Duke of Ashmont would be at the coaching inn getting drunk af After a confrontation with Mr. Titus Owsley, a member of the House of Commons, Miss Cassandra Pomfret’s father lays down the law – he forbids Cassandra’s younger sister Hyacinth to marry or even participate in a season until the outspoken, opinionated Cassandra is wed. Needing to get away, Cassandra sets out with her groom and maid to visit her former governess, but she never anticipated that the recently jilted Lucius Beckingham, the Duke of Ashmont would be at the coaching inn getting drunk after dueling with the Duke of Ripley, his former best friend turned bride thief! Nor did she think he would try to quiet a restless crowd by shooting into the air and spooking her horse, causing an accident that injured her groom and threatened to ruin her reputation. Nor did she ever expect or want him to insist that she marry him! Cassandrea will never admit it – but Lucius was her first love and her hero, but over the years she realized that he never noticed her and she closed off her heart. She is content to be a spinster and refuses to wed Lucius, but when they are caught alone together a second time, she hatches a plan, she still won’t marry him but does agree to pretend to agree to marry him – especially since it seems her father is willing to let Hyacinth attend events with them. But she is clear – she can’t trust him and will not marry him. No one is more surprised than Ashmont when he realizes that he really wants to marry Cassandra and sets out to win her over. It will be a long, uphill battle to win her hand with more than one person set on keeping them apart. But this is a battle Ashmont intends to win and soon winning her hand is not enough, he wants more – he wants to win her heart! This was a well written, fast paced, fun twist on The Taming of the Shrew. Cassandra and Ashmont are perfect for each other and provide the reader with lots of witty banter and amusing moments without dragging the story into the realm of silly or fluffy. The book has humor, betrayals, great secondary characters, more than one “villain”, warm love scenes, blackmail and a very, very sweet ending. This is the second book in the series, but it can certainly be read as a standalone title. I really loved this book and happily recommend this title! *I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. *

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