Could finding love be his greatest scandal of all?
The Duke of Griffin has never lived down his reputation as one of the Rakes of St. James. Now rumors are swirling that his twin sisters may bear the brunt of his past follies. Hiring a competent chaperone is the only thing Griffin has on his mind--until he meets the lovely and intriguing Miss Esmeralda Swift. In ways he could never have expected, she arouses more than just his curiosity.
Esmeralda Swift considered herself too sensible to ever fall for a scoundrel, but that was before she met the irresistibly seductive Duke of Griffin. His employment offer proves too tempting for her to resist. She can’t afford to be distracted by his devilish charms because the stakes are so high for his sisters’ debut Season. . .unless one of London’s most notorious rakes has had a change of heart and is ready to make Esmeralda his bride?
Amelia Grey (aka Gloria Dale Skinner) grew up in a small town in the Florida Panhandle. She has been happily married to her high school sweetheart for over twenty-five years. She has lived in Alabama, Connecticut, New Hampshire and now lives in Florida.
Amelia has won the coveted Romantic Times award for Love and Laughter, the prestigious Maggie award for best historical and Affaire de Coeur's best American historical award. She has been a finalist for the Golden Heart and the Holt Medallion awards which are given by Romance Writers of America and numerous other awards. Her books have been sold to many countries in Europe, Russia and China.
Amelia likes flowers, candlelight, sweet smiles, gentle laughter and sunshine.
A message to publishers and big wigs in the industry…
Geez, I’m probably shooting myself in the foot here, but I think it’s about time we set the higher-uppers straight. Recently, I have been involved in discussions with fellow readers and a few historical romance authors about “Dukes”. Supposedly, we, the readers, like our heroes to be of the Duke variety. It’s said to "catch our eye" in a title, appeals to us because of their nobility, more realistic than a Prince...
REALLY????? Every bloody historical romance???? How about we spread it around??? Who's up for an Earl?? When was the last Baron? What happened to the poor Marquess'?
I’ll be honest, I do like to see my hero have a good place in social standings but to be honest, I think Duke’s are a bunch of stuffy dudes who think way too highly of themselves. Their love stories are normally told after they’re sick of mistress’s, drinking to excess and gambling.
I’m convinced that Dukes are ONLY attracted to women with a lower social standing than themselves. This is why we have Duke’s falling in love with mere Miss’s, Lady’s with questionable reputations, governess’s and chaperones. Now, to make us believe that this could remotely be “correct”, the love interest was once part of a reputable family but unfortunately were ostracised because of some sort of scandal. We can’t have a Duke marry a commoner after all.
In relation to Last Night with the Duke, the above was racing through my head as I read. I can’t say for certain, but I feel that I may have “believed” the story if the hero wasn’t a Duke. I struggled to see what the big hullabaloo was about and why it was such a big drama. Yeah, yeah…I get that big bro wants his twin sisters to have the best first season EVER. I understand he doesn't want them tainted by his past transgressions. BUT, it seems to me, that is what all sister’s to a Duke must face...or so I'm lead to believe.
In regards to the Duke’s eventual love for Esmerelda and his desperate need to have only her do the job of chaperoning his sisters…what a crock!! It was plain old lust and completely unbelievable considering they hardly spent any time together. Good old Dukey, was a jerk, a snob and a demanding bossy boots...and not in a sexy way.
Talking about sexy ways...well, we get one intimate scene right at the end after a few fondling sessions. It was rushed and seemed to be added in to fit the required "need to see their connection".
This review probably seems excessively harsh but I really needed more. At the 50% mark the hero is still talking about finding a woman of good standing that he’s attracted to as much as the chaperone. Yuck! By the end of the story, I was left with unanswered questions. What about Esmerelda’s family? Did the pretty boy get shamed because of his bad behaviour? Will the Fortescue douchewaffle get what’s coming to him? Will they find a cure for Lady Evelyn’s skin condition? I have a feeling, I may never know the answers….
Stacey is Sassy, received a complimentary copy of this story. The copy provided is not the final copy and may be subject to edits and changes.
I was a definite fan of Griffin, the sexy, dirty talking duke. Esmeralda had good qualities too with a great voice for independent, sassy heroines everywhere. I enjoyed both the primary and secondary characters quite well. They were afforded some decent growth and exhibited complexity.
It was the plot that didn't convince me. I get that selecting a young unmarried and virginal lady in her twenties as a chaperone represents how unconventional the duke is but -.- come on. Let's be real. We then get a little element thrown in about Esme's background that goes nowhere. Why bring it up several times if it has no bearing on the story? The pacing seems fast when it comes to the relationship but ok for most other aspects.
In general, I tend to stay away from HRs that are centered around chaperones, widows, governesses, and dressmakers. They seem to come with elements I'm not too fond of with few exceptions thrown in, of course. This is included among them.
Safety: No others for either despite admirers for both. No rape or abuse.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Esmeralda is a viscount's granddaughter but after her mother was disowned by the family for marrying an Irish poet, she finds herself overseeing a chaperone and governess business. Griffin might have been a wild youth, but as the Duke and head of the family now, he wants nothing to go wrong when his twin sisters make their debut. With the possibility of someone out to hurt Griffin's sisters he hires Esmeralda as their chaperone, thinking she has the fortitude to keep them out of mischief. Sisters, dogs, young bucks, and finding love in a surprising place will make this a season Griffin and Esmeralda won't forget.
"Surrender, Miss Swift. I have won this battle."
Last Night With the Duke is the first in a series and introduces us to Griffin and Esmeralda. I found the beginning to be a very slow start with their first conversation taking 20-30% of the story. There was also a feeling of insta-lust/love as they were both very physically attracted to one another immediately. The slow start feed into a very slow half, the story doesn't really get going until the second part. The whole point of Griffin hiring Esmeralda is to keep his sisters in line and safe during their season debut. When Griffin younger, he and his two other Duke friends (the author acknowledges the stretch it would be to have three young and unmarried dukes at one time) committed a prank where they set up a situation where debutantes were tested to see if they would show up to meet a secret admirer. There's a rumor going around that someone is still upset over how that might have affected a debutante and is going to ruin Griffin's sisters to get back at him.
This was a good plot to create some mystery, it's brought up and worried about by Griffin, but then that was it. The danger, villain, or storyline never came to fruition and fizzled at the end. With the mystery plot not going anywhere I turned to the romance. I'm personally not a fan of insta-lust/love, so I started off on the wrong foot with this one. I also never thought Griffin and Esmeralda spent enough time together to develop any sort of relationship. Griffin was instantly an invader of Esmeralda's space and by their third conversation he was rubbing his nose against hers but since they didn't have any emotional connection, the tension felt off and misplaced. This also could have been a personal issue too, but since Esmeralda worked for Griffin, the unequal power dynamic gave his looming an uncomfortable feel.
The secondary characters of Griffin's sisters seemed nice if a little airy and spoiled while Esmeralda's younger sister seemed kind of bratty to me. Her attitude at times was obviously allowed to create angst and emotion but for me, I would have sent her to her room more than once. Griffin's friends are obviously introduced and set-up for books of their own, they didn't make a strong appearance but they were genial enough.
The biggest problem I had with this book was that I felt it was slow and nothing seemed to be happening until the very end when the last 10% rushed to wrap up the plots. Except for a very, very at the end bedroom scene, this was an extremely clean read with just a few kisses, which bedroom closed readers may appreciate.
ARC provided by NetGalley and Publisher for an honest review.
What a sweet, cute and funny read. Very enjoyable.
The Duke of Griffin notices the sign for Mamie's Chaperone and Governesses on his walk and on impulse decides this might be his answer to his problem. You see Griffin will be overseeing his twin sisters during their season (his aunt became ill and is unable too). A season full of parties, shopping and teas that Griffin is dreading. So when the sign for a Chaperone came into view he decided that what was needed was a chaperone, a strong and commanding one.
Griffin enters the office and overhears two ladies in a discussion about how to hand a rambunctious child. He's impressed with one voice in particular, this one woman seemed in command of the conversation as well as giving smart advise. That voice happens to be Esmeralda, our heroine. Griffin then proceeds to inquire about hiring her for his sisters. Esmeralda lets him know with her commitments to family (her sister) and pets it not really possible/doable. She also let's it be know she is aware of his past discretion that occured with his friends who are known as the Rakes of St. James. He's impressed by Esmeralda's demeanor and her wit. But most important Griffin finds himself very attracted and drawn towards her. He offers her a large salary and includes her sister and dog as part of the package.
Griffin and Esmeralda relationship grows and blossoms into a sweet romance. The dialogue between the two are sweet and witty. The sisters and dog all add a sweet and humorous element as they all come to care for each other. There is a threat to the twins and the protectiveness from Griffin and Esmeralda is heartwarming and endearing, it also brings them closer. The dog is a cute addition that adds some fun and humor to the story.
I enjoyed all the characters and romance. The storyline is well written with good pacing. You have a little mystery, humor, family and romance. My only issue was that there needed to be more spark, chemistry and steam between the hero and heroine. But a sweet and cute romance is good to sometimes. Enjoyable read and well written.
A sexy duke needs to hire a chaperone to escort his two younger sisters and keep them safe from the vipers out to ruin them as they make their debut amongst the ton. He fears someone will harm their reputations to pay him back for a prank he played out years earlier. While visiting the local governess/chaperone business, he witnesses a sassy young woman instruct one of her underlings on the proper way to keep a boy in line and decides then and there that Miss Esmeralda Swift is the only woman able to do the job. It doesn’t matter that she’s probably too young, doesn’t particularly want the job and has a few unconventional demands, such as bringing her little sister and their dog along for the duration. He meets all of her demands and offers her a deal so good she cannot refuse. All of this happens after only one conversation simply because she is the most beautiful woman he has ever set his eyes upon . . .
Esmeralda, her bratty little sister and her rascally dog move into the duke’s home and chaos and kisses ensue. But do you know what doesn’t ensue? The darn revenge plot line that was set up in the first very long scene! That whole “someone is out to get my innocent sisters, whoever must it be?” part of the story never happens. It was just thrown out there to have a reason for these two to meet and that bugged me and a second or two of conflict. Now I’m not a huge fan of mysteries but I’m thinking a little mystery would not have hurt this story because it was a little bit boring. There wasn’t much going on and there was very little actual conflict between the two characters.
Esmeralda was born to the snootier class but she’s been forced to become a manager of the governess/chaperone agency because her mother was disowned when she decided to marry a penniless poet. Esmeralda spends a lot of time longing for the life the she should’ve had by birthright and, I’m not going to lie, that got a little tiresome, boo-hooey, poor me after a bit but she also does right by her little sister and that balanced things out for me. Because she is an employee the duke doesn’t want to mess with her, so instead he flirts and teases and leads her on which I found a little mean. They long for each other but don’t take much action until he learns of her fancy family ties. Meh. As I said, there’s not much of a conflict here. There is a lot of time spent talking about wardrobes, chasing after dogs, going to balls and such but there isn’t any deep relationship development happening. Mostly they like each other’s faces and other body parts and it feels like surface attraction and little else and that isn’t why I read these kinds of books. I want angst, drama, true love. But mostly I want to feel something besides vague boredom. That didn’t happen here.
Narration Notes: Alison Larkin narrates this lackluster story beautifully. She has a very engaging voice and was the only reason I was able to keep going. If you plan to read this series and you enjoy audios, this one is the way to go!
2 ½ stars for the story but I am bumping up this unabridged audio version to a 3 because the narration is lovely and made me tune in to the very end.
*I received a copy of this book from Tantor Audio. Thanks Tantor!
Last Night with the Duke 'Last Night with the Duke' by Amelia Grey is book One in the "The Rakes of St. James"series. This is the story of Griffin and Esmerelda. Griffin is getting ready to present his twin sisters to the town. But fears that without proper supervision for his sisters and that his wild past might hurt their them he thinks to get a competent chaperone. When he overhears Esmerelda talking to one of her employees he knows that she would be strong enough to handle his sisters and his past behavior. But what they don't count on is their attraction to each other which is pretty instant. Esmerelda does try to talk him out of her being the one for his sister but he is not having any of that. Esmerelda is the granddaughter of a Viscount but her grandfather disowned her mother when she up and married what he thought was beneath her. So Esmerelda has settled into her life as a worker, servant, and businesswomen. Their story did play out somewhat slow but for me I loved watching it happen. Ms. Grey is one of the authors I go to when I want a good Historical Romance and this did not disappoint. "My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1...https://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/A2H...https://romancebookreviewforyou.wordp...https://www.tumblr.com/blog/romancebo...
There is a fad at the moment for historical romances involving governesses (or a chaperone from a governess agency, as is the case here). They seem to have overtaken duke-who-is-also-a-spy as the theme du jour.
I have read one other book by author Amelia Grey, and found it was your standard Regency romance. Inoffensive, familiar to those of us who read this genre often, delivering all the things you expect from the subgenre.
This one is no different.
The book is a little slow to get going – all except for the insta-lust! The first three chapters cover just ONE conversation between hero and heroine. He walks into her office, gets a nice feeling in his loins when he sees her, and decides he absolute MUST employ her as the chaperone for his sisters.
The act of convincing her to go along with this plan takes all of those three chapters.
Chapter four is the heroine considering the offer she has accepted, while chapter five sees the hero leaving the office and meeting up with his friends. All three of these men are dukes – that’s more dukes than I’ve ever seen in one series before! – and the others are obviously future heroes of future books in the series.
Chapter five is entirely the three dukes talking.
Chapter six is entirely the heroine talking to her little sister.
I was beginning to wonder if the plot would ever begin!
There is nothing especially wrong with this book (though people’s ages seem to keep changing!); I simply wasn’t enthralled by it.
If you’re looking for a standard Regency read, Last Night with the Duke is just that. However, I’m not sure it will stay with me for long.
LAST NIGHT WITH THE DUKE by Amelia Grey kicks off THE RAKES OF ST. JAMES regency historical series with an intriguing look at how misdeeds can affect more than yourself. Three friends believe their prank was harmless, but they’ll soon find out how hard it is to overcome seeds sown. It will be entertaining to discover who pulls each rake from their beloved bachelorhood.
The Duke of Griffin must oversee his two sisters’ coming out for the Season. His own reputation has set the stage for trouble, so he seeks a well-bred woman from an employment agency to chaperone the girls. Can they avoid adding more fuel to the fire of the anonymous scandal sheet that broadcasts their secrets?
This novel has some fun attributes that add to each chapter. There are snippets from the scandal sheet, as well as tidbits from “Miss Mamie Fortescue’s Do’s and Don’ts for Chaperones, Governesses, Tutors, and Nurses.” The characters try to do what is proper, but there is always some underlying mischief to tempt them or appall them.
This is a very sweet story. Everything isn’t behind the bedroom door or after the wedding day, but the details are brief, so I think it will appeal to those who prefer sweet romance. It has that kind of vibe – slow and building to a forever love. The plot isn’t overly complicated, they’re just getting ready for the duke’s sisters’ first season of balls and parties. It’s such an enjoyable, easy read that I zipped right through the first half before I realized it.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I did become irritated with what seemed like selfish, self-serving actions by the duke, but he won my heart by the end. He’s characteristically accurate of the well-to-do in being accustomed to getting his own way, but the duke proves that he makes exceptions for those he loves. He is a typical man of his era and wants what he wants, so I was disappointed he wasn’t more thoughtful of Esmeralda’s future. But he made up for that, so it I was only miffed with him temporarily.
Esmeralda is strong but often a very sad character, because she has suffered much at the hands of others. She expects the worst without hope, so her happy-ever-after is the most poignant. I couldn’t help but respect her ingenuity and wherewithal to overcome the odds pitted against her. The duke’s sisters are entertaining, but I was especially smitten with Esmeralda’s younger sister. She was so cute with the duke and showed his softer side.
This is the kind of historical regency I love. There are balls and parties, gossip and mischief. And let’s not forget the sweet animals who add to the chaos and emotion, as well as move along the characterizations. I laughed out loud several times and then teared up. The lead couple are sassy and amusing together. Their sisters and friends add to the mix without being overwhelming. LAST NIGHT WITH THE DUKE is lovely entertainment that heightens anticipation for the next rake’s story in December 2017.
Review by Dorine, courtesy of Romance Junkies. Digital ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley for an honest review.
What a cute story! The heroine, Esmeralda, runs an employment agency for chaperones, governesses, etc. She doesn't accept jobs herself as she has a younger sister, Josephine, to care for.
Griffin is a duke who needs a chaperone for his twin sisters ASAP as his aunt is ill. This will be Sara and Vera's first season. When he visit's Esmeralda's agency he decides he wants her to be their chaperone and will let her bring Josephine and her dog if she'll agree. He also offers a very nice wage, including some new dresses for her.
Griffin is hoping Sara and Vera will find husbands quickly. He's worried about an old scandal that involves him and his friends, Hawk and Rath, also Dukes, hurting his sisters' chances of a good match. The season progresses as life does - some ups and some downs, which I will not share and ruin the story for you.
Griffin and Esmeralda eventually get their HEA. Sara also finds love. I wonder if one of the future books in this trilogy will have Hawk or Rath falling for Vera. That would definitely cause some issues with Griffin.
I don't believe there were ever 3 young, handsome, rich Dukes in one season. But this is fiction and as readers we love when the impoverished heroine gets her Duke. I enjoyed this story and can easily recommend it. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me this ARC.
-I needed a historical in my life and this series is just starting so I dove in. Last Night with the Duke is a mixed bag of goodies, so let’s dive in.
-The setup. The Duke of Griffin is a couple of centuries away from being considered a sexual harrasser, but as a Duke (one among many, it seems) he is used to getting what he wants. He is trying to live down his rakish reputation (aren’t they all?) and he is unexpectedly in charge of his twin sisters’ Season, since his aunt is ill and unable to accompany them. He decides, on the spur of the moment, to enter Miss Mamie Fortescue’s Employment Agency. To hire a companion for his sisters. Let’s take a moment. A duke, the highest titled gentleman in the land, decides to hire a companion. *blinks* It stretches credibility like taffy, but hey, it’s a romance and yes it happens.
-Esmeralda is a sympathetic heroine. Her concerns for her sister and the agency that she’s trying desperately to keep afloat are all compelling reasons to like her and while they fed into my feelings that this wasn’t quite historical (more on that later), it kept me engaged with her.
-Griffin’s pushy but likeable. Griffin is taken with Esmeralda within moments of hearing her voice and seeing her counsel one of her governesses. The beginning of the book focuses almost too much on his insta-attraction to her and to be fair, her attraction to him. He is intrigued and attracted and I did end up liking him, especially his attraction to Esmeralda. About the only thing I didn’t love were the scenes when he was thinking about the need to settle down with a “proper” lady. It wasn’t the biggest of turn-ons for me, to be honest, even if it makes sense within the time period. It’s about the only thing that does make sense.
-Might have worked better as contemporary than historical. If you switch the setting to this century and make Griffin a billionaire rather than a duke, I think it would actually make more sense ( and I ended up doing that in my head more often than not). The attitude of Esmeralda, her employment situation, the insta-love,the multitude of dukes, and his single minded pursuit of Esmeralda would be a better fit for a contemporary billionaire romance. Perhaps the lens I viewed the story through was the reason I found myself enjoying it, even though I thought, as a historical, it didn’t quite hit the mark.
-Slow start, fast finish. Pacing was another issue with the story. The quality of the writing aside, it felt like it a bit too long to get to the heart of the matter, and then the wrap up came at the reader at warp speed.
I liked it, even if I thought it was a bit unbelievable as a historical and the pacing was off. Since it is the first book in the series, I do have hopes for the series to improve with the next one. If you like a historical setting with a bit more of a contemporary vibe, you may enjoy this.
**ARC provided by publisher via netgalley for review**
I almost DNF@ page 82. The entire conversations in those pages bothered on redundancy. Griffin has just met Esmeralda and he's trying to convince her to chaperone his sisters for the season, she refuses, he insist, she refuses again, he insists again, she refuses, he insists and on and on it goes. When she finally agrees they spend time reflecting on the conversation they have had. It got annoying.
When they were not reflecting on their past conversations, Esmeralda was reflecting on her life, her mother's family, her mother's disgrace, her mother's disgraceful husband, it just went on in almost every page. I felt like it was unnecessary and used to bulk up the book. I don't understand why she couldn't just say/think about something once and move on, we have to be subjected to it put in different ways a million times. I have not read about someone go on about her status so much as i did this book. Any small snafu and she worries about being fired, this from someone who was admonishing her employee for not having the backbone to stand up to a seven year old boy.
I did not get the attraction between the Griffin and Esmeralda, when they were not recycling conversation they were quite bland.
I should have gone with my instinct and quit at page 82. Nothing noteworthy happened, just Esmeralda going on about her circumstance about whether or not she would be fired for the drop of a hat or if she would be ousted by her cousin or whether or not anything more can happen between the duke and someone of her lowly station. It was ridiculous. When that's not happening the duke is trying to find who might have it in for his sisters as a means of revenge against a prank the duke and his friends carried out years ago. Repeat repeat repeat.
I usually enjoy this trope but this was not for me.
A pretty good romance with a hardworking and endearing heroine who has to support her kid sister since they've both been left as orphans. There's also a delightful stray dog named Napoleon that her kid sister Josephine has adopted. There was no great amount of sex in this novel but I still enjoyed it. Sometimes novels don't require a ton load of sex in order to be interesting - especially when there's a lot of simmering chemistry and a forbidden relationship between the H and h. I admired the heroine's dedication to her job and felt so sorry for her because she has had to put aside her hopes for a happy married life since she's penniless, has been abandoned by her relatives in the Ton and has to provide for a little sister and a dog too. The little sister and the dog were wonderful additions to the story line.
The H hires Esmeralda ( I wasn't too fond of that name for the heroine ) to be a companion/chaperone for his twin precocious sisters' first London Season. He wants to have a sexual relationship with her from the very start but he also knows that as an employee she is a bit forbidden to him. Yet he takes great interest in everything she does and even wants to upgrade her wardrobe too; she thinks that a woman in her occupation should only wear grey colours and matronly styles of dresses. The H sees all the beauty she is hiding and years to uncover it and garb her in elegant gowns. He also finds himself getting fond of her kid sister and even the funny dog too.
The twin sisters are a bit dramatic at times but they're essentially good characters who don't act snobbish or condescending to the heroine. The also provide a lot of amusement because they're both trying to attract the attention of one guy. The romance between the MC's was one long slow burn type of relationship, that brought a lot of sadness to the heroine because she thinks that he will never want to marry a woman from her socio-economic class. It was captivating to see the way these two gradually fell in love with each other and I admired how the H was trying so hard to make amends to his family for his rakish past and the dissolute things he had done in his younger days. The H also does a great job of grovelling after he had been mean to the heroine.
I would have rated this novel higher if the author had not gone and let the cute stray dog Napoleon be given back to his original owners. That was so F up. My heart broke for poor little Josephine when her dog had been taken from her by the old man whose granddaughter had been his first owner. Apparently Napoleon had been lost from his owners and they had been looking for him for a long time. I know it should have been nice that the other little girl who was missing him got to have him back but I wanted him to stay with Josephine. Napoleon and Josephine were the cutest together and they should not have been separated by the author. This novel was just as cute and enjoyable as the second in the series, To The Duke With Love. I can't wait until the last novel, that deals with the remaining duke, comes out next year.
A delightful and enjoyable story with strong leads and supporting characters. There were some laugh out loud moments as well as heart-tugging, emotional scenes. I liked how the twins had distinctive personalities.
Unfortunately, I felt the prank was pretty lame and didn't justify "revenge" so many years later. Also, when we get to find out who the villain is, it's kind of glossed over. Overall, though, a pretty good read and I'm looking forward to the other rakes' stories.
**Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley in exchange of an honest review.**
Amelia Grey doesn’t really get her new Rakes of St. James series off to a good start. Last Night with the Duke has all of the romantic elements of a fairly average story but what brings its rating down is the listless way everything unfolds. It’s romance without the romanticism and a love affair without a spark.
The Duke of Griffin knows that this season may be the most challenging he’s ever faced. His twin sisters are ready to make their débuts, but a rumor is in the air that someone wants to ruin the girls as payback for Griffin’s past transgressions. Years before he and two friends had scandalized the ton with what they thought would be a harmless prank with no real victims. Instead it almost destroyed the reputations of several innocent ladies and forever labeled the three lords as the Rakes of St. James. Since that time Griffin’s behavior has been above reproach while the ton quietly forgot about his role in the whole affair; however someone’s memories are strong enough to threaten his sisters’ futures. Keeping them out of trouble requires a chaperone who can manage the girls’ excitement while protecting their virtue against a possible wolf in sheep’s clothing. Griffin arrives at the offices of Fortescue’s Employment Agency to find the perfect woman for the job but instead finds the woman perfect for him.
Miss Esmeralda Swift is a little unnerved when the Duke of Griffin walks through her front door and hires her on the spot to watch over his sisters. The employment agency was supposed to be a way for her to quietly exist apart from the society that had rejected her mother, yet the duke makes it almost impossible for her to say no to the work. Running a business has not been quite as lucrative as Esmeralda expected and it’s been a struggle to earn enough through her employees to keep the doors open.
*I am voluntarily leaving my honest review of an UNCORRECTED eARC I received from NetGalley and the publisher*
Writing a review for an uncorrected ARC is tricky - I have no idea if the issues I had with the book will be corrected or not before it is published. I am going to write this review with the assumption that the problems I encountered with incorrect formal address and dangling plotlines were corrected.
I really liked Griffin and Esmerelda, they are both stubborn people, but both extremely loyal and steadfast to the ones they love.
Griffin's twin sisters are ready to begin their first London season, however, some nasty rumors are going around that someone is going to ruin the girls season to payback Griffin for a stunt he and his cronies pulled years ago. To make matters worse, his aunt who is suppose to chaperone the girls is ill and will not be able to attend them. Griffin deeply regrets his childish prank and will do anything to keep his sisters debut from being ruined. Impulsively, he stops at an employment agency to hire a chaperone for the twins and this is were he meets Esmerelda.
Esmerelda is running the employment agency and caring for her younger half-sister. Esmerelda's mother was the disgraced daughter of a viscount, who was disowned when she married a poet after Esmerelda's father passed away. When her mother died, Esmerelda took a position as a governess to help support her step-family. When her stepfather passed, she made a deal with the owner of the agency to run the company in exchange for room and board for herself and Josephine (her sister). When Griffin approaches her about becoming a chaperone for the twins, she is tempted, but refuses. Griffin will not take no for an answer and the two haggle back and forth until Esmerelda finally agrees.
The story that follows is cute, it has some laugh out loud moments, a couple of heated kisses and a sweet HEA. I thought the book was well written, especially the authors representation of the relationship between the twins, in my opinion, it was probably the most accurately described depiction of siblings I have ever read! The book flowed well and was entertaining, but I never really bought the whole rumor of ruin plot - it just didn't pan out and the initial "prank" was not really that awful or revenge worthy in my opinion. I also had a bit of problem with Griffin's intentions towards Esmerelda and his complete change of intentions once he learned about her family.
All in all this was an enjoyable read and I will definitely be looking forward to reading the rest of this series.
Last Night with the Duke was an enjoyable start to a new regency romance series with a delightful romance, excellent supporting characters and an adorable dog named Napoleon.
The Duke of Griffin’s past has finally come back to haunt him when rumors begin to swirl that his twin sisters will be pulled into a scandal during their debut season in order to punish him. As one of the Rakes of St. James, Griffin expected his reputation to follow him, but he never thought it could hurt his sisters. To help keep an eye on things, Griffin hires a chaperone to accompany his sisters to events. Esmeralda Swift was initially reluctant to take on the job as chaperone to the twins, but now that she’s accepted she’s determined to do a good job. Griffin and Esmeralda didn’t expect the attraction that sparked between them and will have to decide just how much they’re willing to risk for love.
Esmeralda is the granddaughter of a viscount, but after her mother was disowned by her family for marrying an Irish poet, she’s had to readjust to a different station in life. She now spends her time running a governess business and taking care of her younger sister Josephine. Esmeralda is very dedicated to her sister and wants to make sure she has a good life. She’s adapted very well to her new position in life and does a great job running the governess agency.
Griffin has been spoiled his entire life and is used to getting his way. He’s not used to people saying no and as a result, can be a bit pushy when it comes to getting what he wants. He recognizes that he was a bit reckless in his youth and has tried to be a better man since. Griffin cares deeply about his family and tries to ensure they get the best in life. When he wants to be, he can be very sweet and incredibly charming.
Esmeralda and Griffin were attracted to each other right away, but due to their employer/employee status, things didn’t progress too quickly. The two have some great conversations and there’s some excellent banter which I loved. On the physical side, there were some great kissing scenes as they tried to resist their attraction, but it was otherwise light on the sexy scenes. The one and only sex scene happens within the last 15 or so pages of the book. As someone who prefers their romances to be more explicit, that was a bit of a downside for me.
Overall, Last Night with the Duke was a great start to this series and I’m excited to see the remaining Rakes of St. James find love starting with the Duke of Hawksthorn in To the Duke, with Love.
This one was ok. Some aspects of the story and the way the charters behaved were just wrong for a historical novel. It kind of threw me off some times. The pacing of the story was odd too. The first 40% of the book takes place within the first day of H and h meeting each other. I felt the secondary plot was weak and uninteresting. Obviously the whole point was for the H and h to get the two characters together and I enjoyed their relationship and their interactions, I just felt the story itself was weird.
** A copy of this book was provided through NetGalley for an honest review **
I thoroughly enjoyed the story, but have a difficult time writing a review for a totally uncorrected copy of the book. I have no idea if the problems will be corrected before publication or not, but can only suppose that most, if not all, will be found and corrected. It is really too bad that there isn't a way those of us making these reviews could point out some of the things we see - like using the pronoun 'her' when it should plainly be 'him'. Sentences and paragraphs all ran together, so I couldn't always be sure who was speaking which lines, etc.
Anyway -- the story was really enjoyable. I really liked both of the main characters right away and all of the supporting characters as well.
While this was sort of a story of 'insta-lust', you didn't get any real happenings until the end of the book. Both characters were strongly drawn to the other, but they did their best to try to keep from acting on that attraction because of the impropriety of it. They spent a lot of time together and got to know and admire each other in addition to the physical attraction. It was good to see that she was a strong woman who could make her own way and he was strong enough to admire her for that.
I loved how loving and caring Griffin (Duke of Griffin) is with his sisters. He's definitely NOT one of those 'can't wait to wash his hands' of his sisters. He's very attentive and caring and devotes his time and efforts to assure that they have a wonderful first Season. I also like how sweet and attentive he becomes to Josephine, the sister of our heroine.
Esmeralda Swift runs an employment agency for governesses, chaperones, tutors, etc. When the duke stops by the agency unannounced, he hears Esmeralda counseling one of the governesses that has been employed through her agency. He is immediately impressed with both her composure and her beauty and is determined that she will be the one he hires to chaperone his sisters through the sisters.
It is a delightful tale of two people coming to find love while managing the demands of shepherding two lovely young women through their first season. I can't wait to see which of Rakes of St. James will be the next to fall!
"I requested and received this book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher."
The past has really come back to bite Griffin in the backside when he becomes guardian to his twin sisters during their debut into society. Fearing retaliation for his past transgressions (as a prankster) he seeks out a capable chaperone that will serve as his extra eyes and ears while he tries to weed out those determined to pay him back by targeting his sisters.
He didn't expect that his search would lead him to strong willed, competent Esmeralda Swift. She's smart, determined, stern when she needs to be but also kind and compassionate. The perfect choice for his high spirited sisters. But Esmeralda is also young, beautiful and having her so near has Griffin reaching for her at every opportunity.
Esmeralda desperately needs the post Griffin offers to keep her employment agency open but she knows it will test her will to keep her heart guarded against Griffin. Every look and every smile sets her pulse racing. The attraction between these two is combustible. It's definitely a tension filled somewhat angsty journey to a HEA for Griffin and Esmeralda. I enjoyed the secondary characters - Vera and Sara (the twins), Josephine, Rath and even Hawk (although they don't appear too much) - but I felt that there wasn't enough one on one interaction between the MCs. Their bantering and butting heads during their first meeting was great and I wish we could have seen more of that between them. Instead we get a lot of stolen kisses and breathless flirting but no real conversation.
I think the story would have rated higher for me if the mystery of who was out for revenge was developed a little more. It felt to rushed and didn't have any real suspense to it. It gets dragged on and on only to end up being solved quickly and with hardly any climax. This story had potential but it fell flat for me.
Safety: Griffin is 28 and has a reputation as a rake but nothing really supports that. His rep is based largely on things he did a decade ago when he was eighteen. Esmeralda is 26 and a virgin. This does have some OW drama that causes Esmeralda some jealousy but nothing really comes of it. There is no cheating and very little angst/drama. Ends with a HEA and no epilogue.
Enjoyable characters and story. Benedict Mercer, The Duke of Griffin will go to great lengths to protect his twin sisters from the consequences of a stupid and damaging wager he and his dukely friends (The Rakes of St. James) had participated in years ago. Part of those lengths is to hire a chaperone, Miss Esmeralda Swift. That was his first battle with Esmeralda and those battles would continue. (Both Griffin and Esmerelda are stubborn). Esmeralda has her own secrets and burdens including her beloved half sister Josephine. There's a dog of great consequence included--Napoleon of course! The thing is that the Duke has strong feelings about the right behaviour due to those in his service, even if he has a great deal of difficulty mastering that as far as the delectable Miss Swift is concerned. Esmeralda definitely is not indifferent to the wretched man, but he is a Duke and she is only a lowly employee. In between chasing down rumours, keeping his sisters safe, his attraction for Esmerelda and running the gauntlet of a London season, the Duke has much to occupy him. And of course there's his friends and fellow dukely rakes, Rust Rathburne, the Duke of Rathburne (Rath), and Sloane Knox, the Duke of Hawksthorn (Hawk). Esmeralda's background story seems to fizzle somewhat, although it does give her the right entree. Still maybe more will come of it in future developments of the other St James Rakes' progresses. Griffin's twin sisters Vera and Sara could be more fully developed. They certainly have heaps of potential. Josephine however, is a treasure! I loved her! The antics she and her dog get up to are both heart warming and heart breaking. Then there's the broad sheet publication, 'Miss Honora Truth's Weekly Scandal Sheet'. I am sure that will continue to play a part. A lot of unanswered questions that may never be resolved in this delightful Regency romance.
So I really liked this one for a couple of reasons. I love a slow burn and this one did it perfectly. I think the ideal length for these before I lose interest is right around 225 pages and this one was right about there. It didn't have a ton of subplots or other romances you are constantly getting dragged into and pulled out of the main story. That makes me nuts. There's a cute little mystery, kind of, sort of, but not really, that they're trying to get to the bottom of but, thankfully, not too much time is devoted to it. The sisters (on both sides) are endearing and not too annoying. The only negative was the love scene. It was very "general." It was odd. I think romances have gotten very good at being extremely explicit and this felt very generic to me. Otherwise, a fun quick read without overly angst-ridden characters.
Not the best historical romance, but certainly not the worst. Another well-brought up young lady fallen on hard times who has to support her orphaned family by employing herself as a companion/governess for a duke's sister/orphaned daughters (twin sisters in this case).
Ah... happens all the time.
That's not to say a book like that can't be enjoyable. It's just the chemistry didn't seem to be that strong in this one.
This was a really fun book. Esmeralda and Griffin were so entertaining and throw in an incorrigible young girl and her dog, and a pair of identical twin girls who are making their debut and it just made this book so fun to read. Esmeralda and Griffin's chemistry was straight off right from the start, sexual tension is always fun especially when it's so distracting for the main characters.
Griffin and two of his friends did something stupid in their youth and now they will never live it down. So much to the point that now that his two younger sister are making their debut there is a rumor going round that someone thinks it would be poetic justice if someone were to do something to his sisters. Griffin is now worried and trying to narrow down the possibilities of who maybe behind the possible misdeed. It doesn't help that the girls' aunt has fallen ill and now Griffin must find a suitable chaperone. Esmeralda run an agency that matches suitable chaperones, governesses, nurses, and such to the right family she took over the job when the previous owner dies and it suited her needs perfectly because that means she could look after her sister. Esmeralda is the Granddaughter of a Viscount but when her mother fell in love with an Irish poet her brother disowned her. Now with both parents dead and a little sister to take care of she has to work and the tempting and expensive offer Lord Griffin has offered her is far too much money for her to turn away. He even meet all her demands to work as his sisters chaperone.
It was lust at first sight, but the more time they spend with each other and Griffin's amazing patience with her sister has her fall in love when she know she shouldn't. Griffin should be focused on finding the rake who plans to seduce and ruin at least one of his sisters but he keeps getting distracted by Esmeralda and even before he realizes who she is related to he knows that she should be cared for and loved and shouldn't have to work, he knows almost immediately that he is going to marry her.
Overall, I love how this story played out. The main focus is Griffin and Esmeralda even with the little side notes about the sisters it never really goes into great detail about what is happening with them. I enjoyed reading this so much that I stayed up late reading it until I finished, I couldn't put it down.
Benedict Mercer, Duke of Griffith, has always lived his life as he pleased. Now his exuberant sisters may suffer for it. Determined to give them the season they deserve and husbands worthy of them he sets out to hire a chaperone who will reign in their impulsiveness and protect them from determined scoundrels who are set on ruining them as revenge against due to his past.
Some days Esmeralda Swift wonders how she’s going to manage. Running an employment agency that barely covers its own expenses, much less anything for personal survival, is not what she expected her life to be. When a devilish handsome Duke arrives looking for a chaperone for his twin sisters and requests (ie: demands in his ducal tone) that she take the position Esmeralda is caught between her duty to her agency, the fear of failure, the secret she holds dear, and the need for the money he promises.
Esmeralda makes outrageous demands of her own and Benedict readily agrees. Now all Esmeralda needs to do is survive the season. Mishaps, danger, and a chance of a broken heart all spell a wonderful story.
I loved this story by Amelia Grey. A Duke, with all the haughtiness that goes with the title and a geninue heart of gold. A lady who has to work in a respectable position, struggling to make ends meet and provide a stable atmosphere for her little family while hiding a family secret who is terrified of making a mistake that will cost her her position, expose her secret, or worse – a broken heart.
Ms. Grey’s writing brings out the depth of each of the characters – secondary characters included – making the reader feel as if she is the one in the story.
The Duke of Griffin is looking for a chaperone for his twin sisters Sara and Vera. Their first season is about to start and the twins are popular and will have many suitors. He hopes they will both be engaged to a good man at the end of it. When he meets Esmeralda he instantly knows he wants to hire her for the position, whatever it takes. Esmeralda is responsible for her sister Josephine and she runs the employment agency, so theoretically isn't available herself. When Griffin makes her an offer she can't refuse Esmeralda decides to find a replacement for the season and she and her sister will move into Griffin's house.
Esmeralda isn't immune to Griffin's charms, but he is her employer and he has no idea about her background, which is exactly what she wants. If he'd find out he would look at her differently and she isn't willing to risk her own future and that of her sister because of a scandal that happened years ago. Griffin is dealing with a scandal of his own and it's Esmeralda's task to keep an extra close eye on his sisters, as there is a chance they'd be the victims of retribution. The attraction between the duke and his employee grows, but they are aware they shouldn't act upon it. Will they be able to stay away from each other?
Amelia Grey writes the most wonderful romantic books and Last Night with the Duke is another great dreamy story. I immediately loved the two main characters. Esmeralda has a good head on her shoulders, she's capable and she knows how to handle any kind of situation. I admired her strength and spirit. She's fiery, she isn't afraid to speak her mind and she's determined, which are all terrific qualities. Griffin is a passionate man. When he wants something he doesn't let go before he has it. He's a charming man and likes pranks, but he has a conscience as well. He cares about his family and wants his sisters to find husbands they will be happy with. He might be a rake, but he also has a good heart. He instantly likes Esmeralda and wants to protect her. I loved their instant connection and their chemistry. It's obvious they're crazy about each other. Their conversations are fun and they kept making me smile. I really liked this temperamental couple and really enjoyed reading their story.
Amelia Grey's writing flows easily. She writes about beautiful dresses, fascinating members of the ton, scandals and gorgeous main characters. Her stories immediately transport me to another world and that's what makes them so amazing to read for me. Her main characters always find themselves in complicated situations and I love Amelia Grey's witty descriptions of everything that happens to them. She has a fantastic sense of humor. Last Night with the Duke is sparkling and energetic and it has a delightful fitting ending. I absolutely loved this heartwarming story.
Last Night with the Duke is the first book in the Rakes of St. James series by Amelia Grey.
In his youth the Duke of Griffin was one of three friends who set about making a wager that scandalised society when it was discovered. It was something they have never lived down, and since that day they have been known as Rakes.
Griffin thinks that after all the years that have passed his sins are behind him, except a gossip rag decided to remind everybody of the fact in a current issue, also begging the question that as Griffin's sisters were to make their debut in the current season, would his enemies set out to hurt them. It would be retaliation for those women, somebody else's sisters or daughters that were caught up in that earlier wager.
In order to ensure his sisters' safety he decides that they need a chaperone, as well as himself to attend all the functions the girls would be attending. Two sets of eyes would be better than one in watching that they weren't going to be broken hearted or worse. It's the need for a chaperone that has him visiting Miss Fortescue's Employment Agency for nannies, governesses, chaperones, tutors etc. He hears a woman berating, albeit gently, one of the women who was upset about not being able to control the children she was sent to look after. She handles the situation so well that he decides then and there that she must be the person to chaperone his sister.
Esmeralda Swift has taken over Miss Fortescue's and is the boss. As soon as she sets eyes on Griffin she can't get over how gorgeous he is. Even so, when he tells her that he wants her to be a live in chaperone for his sisters she declines. In the end she tells him that if her sister, and their dog are allowed to move into his home with her that she would take the position. She never expects him to agree, so when he does, she does indeed find herself having to take the job.
From then we watch how a relationship develops between Griffin and Esmeralda. They have a unquenchable lust for each other that they try to fight because of their different stations in life, and because Griffin would never become involved with a member of staff. Alongside their feelings for each other we also of course have to wonder if any of the men showing an interest in Lady Vera, and Lady Sara, Griffin's twin sisters, are indeed genuine, or if they intend to try to ruin the women, or at least leave them heart broken.
I love how much Griffin cares for his sisters, and Esmeralda’s sister too. He won't see any harm come to them, and there is a lovely scene were Josephine (Es's sister) ends up distraught over something and Griffin wants to head out and fix the problem no matter what it takes. He is such a hero, it's no wonder Esmeralda falls for him.
This was a very pleasant story, I did enjoy it, but I think a couple of things weren't resolved enough for my liking. I don't know if they will get a proper ending in the future books, but I certainly hope they do because I am left with questions at the moment. I will definitely be reading the other books in the series though, so fingers crossed.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Readers' Copy of this book.
I like Grey's books, they are always nice. In this story we have a handsome Duke (like they are ever ugly) and a chaperone. Which did cause some tension, especially when he called her servant, which she is, but still, it does show in the beginning where his mind is.
Right, so we have Essie who has a past. Not a bad past, more her family has a past. She does not work as a governess anymore, instead she runs an employment agency. But what a Duke wants a duke gets. And she is not stupid, she sees the money in it.
Griffin also has a past cos of a stupid bet with his bffs. I mean so stupid and not nice either. But he was really young and stupid. And now he has sisters to protect since someone wants to make them pay for it. But he was a nice man, a gentleman who had learned his lesson. And I did enjoy see him falling for Essie. He went from servant to damn to I need her.
She tries to chaperone. He grows more interested in her. She tries to stay away. There is the mystery of does someone want to do harm to his sisters? And Essie having troubles with her sister. And then they all lived happily ever after.
Enthralling? Enticing? Enchanting? Exquisite . . . I loved this book from start to finished. I loved that a duke, Duke of Griffin, would take a fall so great that he could not fathom the results. He just wanted to make sure that his past deeds did not impact the debut season of his sisters. She was way more important than his reputation. He takes matters into his own hands by obtaining her a chaperone for the season. Never knowing that she, Esmeralda, would be the key to changing his world forever.
I found these characters to be enticing, enthralling, and enchanting in various ways and at various times. The exquisiteness of it all coming together and making this historical romance just a bit more enchanting. The banter. The scenery. The characters. The whole of it all bright me to a different level of romantic endeavor.
Last Night with the Duke seems like a typical historical romance, and in some ways it is. We have a lofty Duke who wants his way and no other. We have a heroine who barely has two pennies to pinch together, a spinster in her mid-twenties who has never been kissed, trying to do the best she can in her situation to keep her 12 year old half-sister safe. Even though the heroine is way below the Duke's station (but she is the granddaughter of a viscount, but alas her mother was disowned for marrying a poor poet as her second husband), the Duke wants her as his lover, regardless of her reputation or the fact she could get pregnant and he'll leave her destitute.
Griffin has the power, money and prestige but because of a somewhat cruel joke he and his two friends did when they were younger to the single debutantes years ago has him concerned. His two younger twin sisters are having their coming out and he's afraid they'll be victims of some of the former victims' relatives. Griffin decides he'll find a chaperone, not only to watch over his sisters, but for any suspicious behavior from the men who may court his sisters. He seeks out Esmeralda Swift who runs an employment agency that places nannies, governesses, and the like. But Esmeralda is almost in the poor house because of lack of funds. When Griffin enters her life, he turns it upside down. But the price he offers her is too good to pass up. Not only will he give her a very generous salary, he'll not only let her sister live at his house where his sisters live, but a well behaved (most of the time) dog. Esmeralda accepts.
The second half of Last Night with the Duke is Esmeralda getting to know Griffin's sisters who are spitfires and very original in their actions and personalities. For some reason once Esmeralda is installed in Griffin's house, he turns on the seduction of Esmeralda to the point he becomes far too pushy. It's a big uncomfortable because he is her employer, not counting his social status as a duke to push Esmeralda into accepting his suit. She tries her best to deny Griffin, but he won't give up, making her swoon with his luscious kisses. Since Esmeralda believes she'll never marry or know physical passion, she accepts Griffin as her lover. You can assume what happens between these two when they fall into bed.
Last Night with the Duke is a solid historical romance but there aren't many bells and whistles here. The characters for the most part are engaging. Esmeralda rises above the rest because she has a bit of a feminist slant to her character because of working as an independent woman who is the caretaker to her younger sister. The stereotype or trope occurs once she and Griffin have an affair. Their HEA is too pat and not surprising because of the type of book this is.
Hardcore fans of historical romance, and of Amelia Grey will no doubt enjoy Last Night with the Duke.