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The Decadent Duke Mass Market Paperback – 4 Nov 2008
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"A book that will keep readers unable to stop turning the pages."
"Few writers incorporate such rich historical detail into their romances."
"Virginia Henley writes the kind of book you simply can't stop reading." -- Bertrice Small
"Henley's at the top of her form, balancing history and passion to perfection... This is what historical romance is all about."
About the Author
Virginia Henley is a New York Times bestselling author and the recipient of numerous awards, including the Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award. Her novels have been translated into fourteen languages. A grandmother of three, she lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, with her husband.
Top customer reviews
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**** To quote a sentence from within the book, "There is nothing more hypocritical than the British aristocracy." I have no idea about today, but the author clearly showed how true that was in the past.
During this story, King George is on the throne and slowly slipping into madness. I found myself having to read slowly at first because many named their children after the king. George, Georgina, Georgianna, Georgy, and more variations are found in the story. There are minor characters with the same names as the key characters. Georgina has a niece named after her and Georgianna has a daughter with the same name, but (thankfully) that daughter goes by her middle name instead. Having to keep them all straight took a lot of enjoyment out of the first section for me. As soon as the minor characters faded into the shadows a bit, I had no troubles. The games, scandals, and plots kept me intrigued and John's children were so delightful to read about. Many of the problems faced were due to simple miscommunications or pride though.
For those history buffs out there, the author made sure to include historical people and events. Prime Minister William Pitt entered the spot light a few times as he worked for the Act of Union. This is but one example of why I enjoy books by Virginia Henley.
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Not only is this the fictionalized account of the romance of Georgina Gordon and John Russell, Duke of Bedford but a gritty honest look at the mores and political side of marriage of this period, which is Georgian not Regency. Ms Henley sugarcoats nothing. Georgina is a youthful, saucy heroine who understands the desires of a mother who wants her daughter to be well-settled like her sisters as she balances it with her need to find a love match all her own. The reader is taken on a romp that is both fun and heartbreaking at times but always sensual if at times is understated. Georgina is her mother's daughter knowing how to play the marriage game even when it becomes more than she can handle thanks to her mother and a sister.
John Russell, our hero, has demons of his own: a wife who has addictions and a young son who has his own troubles. Yet when he meets Georgina the sparks fly and causes our hero, the most honorable of men, to question his own desires for the bawdy lass who is child romping with his sons one minute to a saucy tease in the next. His brother, Francis, Duke of Bedford is the target of Georgina's mothers plan for Georgina and though his intentions are not as honorable he quickly succumbs to the heroine's charms. Never fear, Georgina is wise the ways of men, except maybe not to men as honorable as John. John is bothered by his brother's intentions toward Georgina Gordon, and his own desires for the "little girl" who calls him "old man".
The story has many historical characters of the period and their subplots add to and at times can distract from our hero and heroine. For the history purest, Ms Henley has taken a few departures from actual history: John Russell's wife's first name has been changed probably because her real name would have been confusing for the reader with Georgina and when Duchess Jane provides a number of people with shipments of Scotch Whisky it would never be whiskey. This story is not for the reader who expects a traditional "regency period" romance because the actions of the heroine and her family are bawdy and probably reflect a truer picture of the Georgian period. Virginia Henley has the unique ability to merge the history and personas of the period with need for the reader to experience a satisfying romance. THE DECADENT DUKE is another winner, can we say a RITA is on MS Henley's horizon.