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on 6 September 2013
I requested this title to review from NetGalley because the title intrigued me, the blurb promised a well-written book with an air of mystery, and the cover is so lusciously romantic.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

The characters are well drawn and likeable. Isabella is strong and courageous, and although she is vulnerable due to the legacy of her first husband, who abused her, she is no cowed woman, and I really liked that in her. Trevor is a man of principle, very attractive for his decency as lord and magistrate in his area and in his role as guardian for his two younger sisters. He is chivalrous and has a delightfully masterful edge.

The story is compelling, with enough mystery and drama to keep you turning the pages until the very end. It feels realistic enough for the time, and the twist at the end is both surprising and strangely moving.

For me, though, what really stands out in the book is the quality of the writing. Manda Collins is an excellent writer who expertly writes in the historical fiction style, with plenty of old-fashioned terminology and phrasing included without becoming burdensome for the reader. I especially loved her flashes of wit among the more serious and poetic writing:

Tonight, she was wearing what he secretly referred to as a gut puncher, for the feeling it inspired in him. The gown was a bluish green, the shade of a robin's egg. it was cool and elegant and hugged her every delicious curve.
"I was unlucky enough to meet the fellow at the tavern on the night he arrived. A more perfect example of a `toadeater' I don't believe I'll ever meet."
Only Belinda was content to eat her luncheon without weighing in on the conversation. Though Trevor thought he noticed a judgmental tone in the way she consumed her peas.

Overall, a book I heartily recommend as a passionate, lively, well-crafted novel.
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on 28 September 2013
I asked for this one when I was in a reading roadblock; you know where no matter how interesting the book you just can't get in to it? That's what I'm talking about. I read book after book after book trying to find one that would keep my interest but nothing seemed to be working... Then I thought Which book genres have I not read in a while? And you can guess what the answer was ;)...

The book had some slow bits and some bits where I couldn't get enough but the uneventful parts weren't entirely uneventful... The author used the downtime in the plotline to show the reader the relationship between Trevor and his sisters (one of my absolute favourite relationships!) and the budding friendship/relationship between Isabella & Trevor.

I have read my fair share of historical romances but never one that deals with domestic violence... Or at least not any that I can remember and not in the way that Manda Collins writes about them. It was still large part of the storyline but it never felt heavy or as if it was over-powering the rest of the storyline, if you know what I mean and Isabella was the perfect character for such a storyline, she was strong, determined but still let down her guard at times.

How can I talk about Isabella and not mention Trevor? ;)... My first thought as I read `Why Dukes Say I Do', was `Finally, A gentlemanly Duke!' Trevor wasn't portrayed as being a ladies man or as someone who doesn't have respect for the ladies in his life like most male protagonists in historical romances are. I really liked that, it was a breath of fresh air... Something new, something different.

I'm glad I continued reading because I got to the point where I couldn't put the book down and if I hadn't continued reading I would have missed out on that... Something that I've been missing for a while.

This book was a first for me in many ways, it was first book I requested from Netgalley (and got approved for!) and it was the first book I read by Manda Collins. It definitely wouldn't be the last though, before this the only other authors whose historical romances I read without fail were Eloisa James & Julia Quinn and now I'm happy to say Manda Collins has been added to that list.
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on 31 December 2015
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