The Duke's Wager (Bessacarr, #1)
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The Duke's Wager (Bessacarr #1)

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  245 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Regina Berryman was pursued by two men--the two most attractive and infamous bachelors in London. These notorious gentlemen had made Regina fair game in a competition where all was considered legitimate strategy in winning her affection and capturing her virtue. And Regina's only chance of preserving her honor and protecting her heart was to turn the tables on her titled t...more
Mass Market Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 1st 1983 by Signet
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In her enthusiasm to see the sights while she's in London, country mouse Regina Berryman accidentally attends the opera on the night where mistresses and the demimonde are on display. Dressed smartly in the fancy clothes her uncle bought her, she unwittingly draws the attention of two of London's most notorious libertines - the Marquess of Bessacarr and the Duke of Torquay. When the duke approaches her to whisper a proposition in her ear, she flees the opera house in a hurry. Torquay, however, i...more
I'm not quite sure how to review this. I gave it 4 stars, but it was difficult for me to read. I'm intentionally writing this without reading any other reviews because I feel the need to be honest about my feelings here. And I'm afraid I will be influenced by what others have previously written.

First of all, her writing style is more complex than I am used to. It required concentration. Often I read at work or in front of the TV. I could not do that with this book. Many times I had to reread pas...more
This is one of those books in which the hero(es) featured is a villain.

When the book opens up, it's from the viewpoint of the Marquis, who despises the Black Duke for being depraved and licentious. They both spy a beautiful young girl attending the opera on the night in which courtesans seek new protectors. The Duke makes an immediate move towards her, but the Marquis doesn't.

What happens then is that the Duke doesn't give up. He's sinister in his pursuit of Regina and sets a carriage outside he...more
May 07, 2010 Harper marked it as on-hold-or-unfinished
I'm not giving a star rating because I only made it about a third of the way into this book, but, based on what I did read, I thought it was awful. I didn't care for the writing style or any of the characters. I'd heard that this book was good because you don't find out who the heroine winds up with until literally the last few pages, but it didn't seem like much of a love triangle from what I did read. And, after skipping to the end to read the last few pages, I can say that there was just noth...more
Marian Halcombe
This review was originally posted on my book blog,

Warning: This review contains spoilers.

Edith Layton’s The Duke’s Wager is often cited as one of the best Regency romances ever written. I picked it up after a friend who shares my affection for Georgette Heyer recommended it enthusiastically. Alas, I can’t quite share his enthusiasm, for reasons I will explain below in exhaustive (and possibly profanity-laced) detail. The short version is that while the book...more
This book was simply great. I loved the twists and turns and surprises. I had a guess at the outcome, but it kept me guessing til almost the last page.
regina makes an error in judgement and goes out on the town to an event that she shouldn't have. as a result, she catches the eye of two rakes, jason and st. john. the duke, jason, propositions her, but she turns him down. when her uncle dies unexpectedly, she turns to st. john for help, as she doesn't want to succumb to the duke. st. john and jason have a rivalry going, because although jason disgusts st. john and he doesn't like being compared to him, he also doesn't like losing to hi...more
Katie Montgomery
A great rec from SB over at "Smart Bitches, Trashy Books". I think she said it best -- this book is a series of delightful surprises, and (without giving too much away, hopefully!) I think I can say that at the end of the novel, one is left with the impression that Layton is a much more subtle and masterful author than perhaps it first appears.
I've read this story a couple of times. What I like most about it is the writing and also the way that the author manages to make you root for someone who isn't an ideal. Both the male leads in this story are very flawed (be warned that there are some pretty coarse references to relations between the sexes); I can't say I really liked either of the wagering aristocrats. But you do always have that feeling that one or the other is capable of redemption.
The heroine is a little bit too strikingly...more
I could not finish it because there was no honor in the characters.

1st one man ruined the main female character and her family did not even ask her what happened, but believed a man that is well known for his dastardly behavior.

2nd a man who gave his word to the main character's uncle (who helped the 2nd point man out and kept his secerts) to help her makes no qualms in using her a playtoy in his need to one up the man listed in the 1st point. Which makes no sense, if he is to be believed to hav...more
Regina Berryman sounds like a lovely young lady. The Duke is a twisted mastermind who sounds a bit like a psychopath. The Marquis is equally unworthy and wants her to be his mistress. Too bad she can't end up with a better man.
the H/h was their own flawed ways..
i hated besscarr.. he was a hypocrite..
i liked the duke...for all his faults he was a very honest n yes a decent man
This was a really pleasant surprise. I mistook this book for something else when I picked it up at a used book store on my quest to find another Georgette. Alas, the quest continues, but still, this was a good mistake. I stayed up late to finish it because I actually wasn't sure how it was going to end. Happily, but happily how? The Duke only talks in a whisper which is strange and the story is this peculiar combination of racey and wholesome that I don't know what to make of. But it was differe...more
5 stars for The Duke's Wager. What an awesome story, and what beautiful writing! Totally different from anything else I've ever read in the romance genre. The 2 "heroes" are both quite disgusting each in their own way, but only one of them redeems himself enough to be worthy of the heroine, even though he is the one who initially, and literally, destroys her life.

This story is so superior to anything else I've read by Edith Layton (e.g. the "C" series) that it's hard to believe that they were wr...more
This is a story I have on my keeper shelf. The delima of the heroine has just the right amount of angst. This book explores the character of two titled gentlemen. The heroine slowly discovers the motives and vulnerably of each for her love. You slowly unravel through conversations the complexity of each person. I loved the ending. It is story of redemption and is among my favorites.

First time to read a book by this author and I am so glad I discovered her. This is a wonderful book that had me rooting for the anti hero :) Though I was a little sad when I learned Ms. Layton had passed on in 2009. Still, what a wonderful treasure trove of memories she has gifted her readers. I am looking forward to reading all her past works.
Apr 09, 2013 Eleniel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: h-r
Both heroes here are, frankly, despicable so it's a good thing this is very far from other regency romances. Is it even a romance novel? It's about salvation and redemption. Integrity. Learning how to be honest. But not really about throbbing hearts and tender moments under moonlight.
This book had a lot of potential, it's a real shame that it's rather short and that it couldn't be expanded. Otherwise the story was alright. I loved the villainous hero of course :)
I, honest-to-God, loved this book. It's hardly a love story, and definitely not a regency romance, but I thought it was fantastic! I do believe I'm in the minority, however.
HR readsNstuff
What an awful awful book...

Two men do everything they can to make sure the the h has no other option but to become the mistress to one of them...
Karina Westermann
Dated, cynical and unpredictable. I rather liked it despite not liking any of the characters.
Only gave it a two stars because we didn't know until the end who she'll end up with
I first read this years ago, and remember a great deal of the plot; not usual for me. But I do have a few issues with it, and while I liked it well enough again, I don't find myself compelled to read any of the other Edith Layton I have stashed away. So, memorable but recommended with reservations - must be feeling a tolerance for very selfish dudes and a good deal of woman-bashing (our heroine is so special because she thinks like a man, baby).
Nancy Laney
Sep 01, 2013 Nancy Laney added it
Shelves: romance
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Edith Layton wrote her first novel when she was ten. She bought a marbleized notebook and set out to write a story that would fit between its covers. Now, an award-winning author with more than thirty novels and numerous novellas to her credit, her criteria have changed. The story has to fit the reader as well as between the covers.

Graduating from Hunter College in New York City with a degree in c...more
More about Edith Layton...
To Wed a Stranger (C Series, #6) The Cad (C Series, #1) A Bride for His Convenience The Chance (C Series, #3) To Tempt a Bride (C Series, #7)

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