I liked this book. The hero, a 28 year old duke whose evil cousin Richard was trying to eliminate him, rather obviously I thought, needs to get married and procreate rather quickly. Enter the heroine, an American whose father having died, requested that she return to his homeland England and ask his brother to further look after her. From one romp to the next, the story is often incongruent but James and Sarah feel real. I love the fact they come across as very honest with each other as well. Sarah has her moments of doubt, but usually being the good American girl that she is, she voices them and resolves them. The murder attempts on James' life could be cut back, I think I counted 6. The reason given was that the Duke wasn't taken seriously when he tried to convince everyone that Richard was trying to kill him. I found it hard to believe that no one would believe a Duke if he told them anything. Especially in the regency period. The writing was solid and correct for the time period, something that I have found is increasingly not the case lately in many so- called regency romances, which made the book also more believable for me. The only downfall is that the Duke at 28, was supposedly still a virgin. I can't imagine it. In any way, shape or form. But still, it didn't detract too much from the story and I managed to finish it in a day anyway.
Ms. Mackenzie has penned a strong debut effort with her story "The Naked Duke." Although a light hearted read is hinted at in the back blurb the fact is this story truly covers some dark subjects and comes complete with a really nasty bad guy. Sarah Hamilton of Philadelphia finds herself in a very compromising situation after falling asleep in bed alone at an inn on her way to her Uncle's. She is shocked when morning arrives and it finds her in bed with a very naked, handsome man and a crowd in the doorway. Who is this man and why is he in her bed? This question is soon answered by James himself. Problem is...Sarah doesn't see the need for marriage, a job will work just fine. After all they didn't do anything wrong and James is a Duke for crying out loud. James is off to London to find himself a bride. After a stop at an inn, and one druken prank later, James feels that his search has come to an end when he finds Sarah in his bed. She's beautiful and kind, and James feels an attraction for her. Now he just needs to court this little lady until she realizes that they are meant for each other. But this is not the only thing that he needs to worry about. His wretched cousin Richard is doing all he can to bring about the untimely end of James. Will Richard and his malice win out in the end? And will James find the happy ending he knows he can find with Sarah? This was a finely crafted read for a debut effort. Ms. MacKenzie has brought a fresh look to the Regency time period. Readers may find Sarah a bit over done at times but for the most part she along with James are finelly drawn charactes. There is truly no doubt that Richard is evil and Ms. MacKenzie manages to do a more than credible job bringing his evil to life. This is not a overly light hearted read, but the interaction between James and Sarah does bring a lightness to a read that may seem a bit dark for the genre. In any event Ms. MacKenzie is an author that you may want to keep your eye on.