REVIEW: The Duke in Denial by Alexandra Ainsworth


Title: The Duke in Denial
Author: Alexandra Ainsworth
Year of Publication: 2014
Genre: LGBT
Format: Ebook
Length: 340 pages
First Line: “Sebastian Lewis prayed his top hat wouldn’t be swept away.”

Summary: Sebastian Lewis never expected to become a duke. But with the sudden deaths of his cousin and uncle, Sebastian’s position changes. He is determined to fulfill his new responsibilities with grace, even if it means remarrying, and even if the attractions of women, so often lauded by poets, fail to interest him.

Captain William Carlisle, newly returned from India, is elated when he meets Sebastian. Nobody knows of his inclinations, but his harrowing experiences in battle have prompted him to reach for the type of companionship he longs for. He thinks Sebastian might feel an attraction as well, but to his dismay, he discovers that Sebastian is courting his sister Dorothea.

After a semi-arranged engagement and a disconcerting romantic tangle with William, Sebastian escapes London to look after his manor, only to face mysterious thefts, a headless ghost, and the arrival of his fiancée, her brother, and his family. Sebastian’s new estate sits on the south coast, England’s most vulnerable location, and Napoleon has set his sights on conquering the area. Amid this growing turmoil, Sebastian must sort out his feelings for his fiancée’s brother and keep his home safe . . . and determine if he has the courage to reach for his own happiness in the process.

Review: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.

THE DUKE IN DENIAL is the first novel by author Alexandra Ainsworth. It’s gay historical romance, so how could I resist?

This one only took me about a day and half or so to read. Not too bad. It’s set in England in the early 1800s with Bonaparte ruling France. England was scared of an invasion. Sebastian’s uncle and cousin die, making him a duke. On his way to a ball, he meets William, and they connect instantly. Course, like in suppressed fashion, Sebastian isn’t quite sure why he likes William so much. Things get a little more complicated when he becomes engaged to William’s sister, Dorothea, who used to be engaged to Sebastian’s cousin. Awkward.

There’s a mystery going on in the story too. I totally had a a theory about what was going on and then was proved wrong in the reveal so I was pretty happy by that.

The characters were in-character for the 1800s, including their speech and mannerisms, which could be so annoying for reading in the 21st century. But I think this speaks a lot for the work the author put into for accuracy.

Also, major kudos to the author on the switching point of views. William and Sebastian’s parts were distinctive. Usually when I read a book with the author switching back and forth between povs I groan because the two characters are not written differently enough, so much that I think the book could have easily been just in one character’s pov and been the same novel. But with THE DUKE IN DENIAL, Ainsworth successfully, wrote two characters’ point of views that were unique.

William was the book boyfriend for this novel. A hot captain? Check. A hot captain who knows his way around the bedroom? Double check. Plus, I could not deal with Sebastian as a book boyfriend and his doe-eyed expression at ‘men can be with other men’?

This one seemed to lack something however. I’m not sure what. I enjoyed it of course. But there was something missing. Maybe I didn’t completely fall in love with the characters. Or maybe the pace was too slow. Or the writing slightly too dry. Maybe the love between William and Sebastian lacked that 21st century spark? I’m not sure. It was missing something.

Honestly, I would have rated this one on the stars system 3.5 stars. I really try not to bother with halves so I bumped the rating up and gave it 4 stars, or a B on my rating system.

Worst part: It was missing something.

Best part: Can I say William? I related to his pacing.

Grade: B

Recommend For: Historical romance fans who want to dive into glbt.

Other Books by This Author: None. Author’s debut.


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