WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker's Reviews > Not the Duke’s Darling

Not the Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt
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it was ok
bookshelves: 1700s, historical, mystery-suspense, series

2.5 stars

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.

First in the new Greycourt series, Hoyt starts us off with a spot of danger as our heroine, Freya, is on the run from some men and finds herself face to face with her childhood crush, Christopher, but who she also blames for her brother's downfall. There's some background foundation to the hows and whys of where our characters are at in life. The main thread is Freya's brother, Ran, tried to elope with Julian Greycourt's sister, she ended up dying (we aren't given specifics), and Christopher just stood by while Ran was beaten bad enough he ended up losing his right hand. Ran, Julian, and Christopher were bestfriends but this fractured their bond and they all separated, the other members of the family cut ties all with each other also.

The Wise Women had long been hunted by Dunkelders— nasty, superstitious fanatics who knew about the Wise Women and believed they were witches who should be burned.

While the ill fated elopement gave us the underlining emotional tones, the Wise Women that Freya is the Macha (spy) for, gives us the suspense as she is trying to stop a law in the House of Lords that gives free reign to declaring women witches along with her trying to hide from members of the Dunkelders, men who hunt “witches”. These are the two main plot threads but there are numerous other ones, some slight and others weighty, that at times only clog an already full story. Christopher has PTSD induced anxiety from his time in India, we get povs from an old friend of Freya's, Messalina Greycourt, who's storyline looks to be set-up for the next in the series, an imprisoned wife, and a whole slew of secondary characters that get little mini-plots of their own. I like full stories but none of these threads or plots were fully fleshed out and it left a lot feeling shallow and dull.

This, this was what he’d been missing without even realizing it: genuine conversation. Genuine feeling.

The romance and chemistry between Christopher and Freya was severely lacking for me; I had more fond feelings for the relationship between him and his dog. Hoyt has been a favorite with word play, sexual and taunting, but these two never sparked; it felt like he just found her attractive out of nowhere, while she relied on childhood feelings and the color of his pretty blue eyes. While their bedroom scenes didn't start ridiculously early, besides kissing once or twice, when they do start to get hot and heavy, Freya's first move is to give him a blowjob, because of course. The latter second half brought more sexual scenes but I almost found myself skimming them as their emotional connection wasn't there.

He might be a duke now, but she was a de Moray woman , small, swift, and above all ruthless.

My biggest disappoint and what frustrated me the most was that Hoyt introduced these interesting ideas, plots, or instances but they all happen off script. The intense ill fated elopement? Happens before this story takes place, no prologue to introduce, show, and explain the basis for the whole the series. Christopher's time in India? No flash back scenes to help immerse the reader into the emotional turmoil of his PTSD or his relationship with is first wife. Freya spending time with the Wise Women? It takes an absurd amount of time for the reader to even get a full explanation of who and what the Wise Women are, let alone the author writing and showing scenes of Freya interacting with the women. This could have been a great emotional fulfillment moment of showing women taking care of one another, bucking the system in a way they could, and female bonding while providing a solid and understandable reason for why this group was so important to Freya and why she might shy away from marrying Christopher.

I missed Hoyt's normally atmospheric writing, I did not feel the time period at all, and the sexual heat between the leads that she has a knack for expressing. This honestly felt kind of generic and with dukes popping up everywhere, I'm not sure I could pick this book out of a lineup. The second book is set-up here and with two leads that at least seem like they have some spark, I will give it a try but am hoping for more showing than telling and emotion.


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Reading Progress

March 3, 2018 – Shelved
March 3, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
December 7, 2018 – Started Reading
December 9, 2018 –
40.0% "He was a man, both good and bad and everything in between.
A man who made her very aware that she was a woman of blood and bone and wants.
December 10, 2018 – Shelved as: 1700s
December 10, 2018 – Shelved as: historical
December 10, 2018 – Shelved as: mystery-suspense
December 10, 2018 – Shelved as: series
December 10, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-48 of 48 (48 new)

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Bubu Same!

Joanna Loves Reading I am a little disappointed that it's another Duke ...

WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker Im almost immune to it now,lol. The synopsis has me going crazy, so much NEED

Joanna Loves Reading I do like the title, and the synopsis!

message 5: by Caz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Caz RDJ's puppy-dog eyes are the best ;)

WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker Sweet and mischievous!

message 7: by Gilgamesha (new) - added it

Gilgamesha Ohhh boy here we go :) ***Happy Dancing***

message 8: by Aoi (new) - added it

Aoi december....!! -_-

WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker Tinsoni and Aoi - I'm dancing and weeping because of the wait!

message 10: by ♥ℳelody (new) - added it

♥ℳelody Oh no. You're like the 3rd person who didn't love this. I'm going to wait to read your review after the book comes out but your rating alone says enough. Not Hoyt too. I feel like all my fave HR authors are losing their touch. 😩

WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker It was so generic and I feel bad saying it but, dull at that :( None of her usual sexual heat and atmosphere.

message 12: by Mei (new) - added it

Mei Great review, Kyra! I'm sorry to hear it was this bad... I had high hopes for this one... :((((

message 13: by Amy (new) - rated it 1 star

Amy Uggghhh. This review makes me so sad, because it’s like the fifth review about this book to basically say the same thing: the romance is lacking and the plot is contrived. I’m sad. I was really looking forward to this book. 😣

message 14: by Zuzu (new)

Zuzu Lu Great review, stinks it wasn't great. I've read a bunch of her books and have enjoyed them in the past.

message 15: by ♥ℳelody (last edited Dec 11, 2018 10:24AM) (new) - added it

♥ℳelody WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker wrote: "It was so generic and I feel bad saying it but, dull at that :( None of her usual sexual heat and atmosphere."

To be quite honest the blurb never excited me to begin with. I was just happy to get a new HR series from her. The fact that you didn't feel her world building (which is a big draw in for me) makes me super nervous. Oy. And no sexual heat? Hell nah! She's so good at that.

This was on my auto-buy list but I think I'm going to wait for a library borrow on this one. Sorry it didn't work for you, my friend. :( *sigh*

Sher❤ The Fabulous BookLover Oh no! I do love her Maiden Lane series. Now I’m scared to start this one. Nice review:)

WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker @Mei - I had such high hopes too! It was definitely missing the wonderful atmosphere the Maiden Lane books usually pulled off.

@Amy - It does seem that the lower rated reviews are calling out the same things but there are some high ones out there. I don't know, for me, this story was dull, none of the Hoyt sexual hotness, in the bedroom or verbally sparing.

@Zuzu - Thanks! I've been kind of saving her first two series for a rainy day because I've heard good things but I read Maiden Lane and was a fan. She read differently/unique, which is why I'm so disappointed in the generic feel of this one.

@Melody - I think I barely read the blurb because all I saw was new Hoyt and was biting. The lack of sexual heat, which is usually a trade mark of hers was sooooo disappointing. It has worked for others but I think, for you, the library is a good idea. P.S. I still haven't read Day of the Duchess yet because of all the disappointing reviews. I'm scared!

@Sher - Yep, I was a fan of Maiden Lane, too! I didn't completely compare this with it but with how well Hoyt seemed to draw the atmosphere and place me in the setting, I couldn't help but notice the lack of that here. Add in what I would call a complete lack of chemistry and there wasn't much here for me. I, of course, hope people enjoy it more than me but I would suggest lowering any expectations. I'm very curious to read other reviews as it gets closer to publication and after. Thanks!

Joanna Loves Reading Darn, not surprised though. Good review, and nail in coffin for me. I will just reread the old goodies.

Sam (AMNReader) ***wags eyebrows at Joanna***

WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker @Joanna - I’m. Crossing my fingers for the second to be better because, who I think is going to star in it, had some spark here.

Joanna Loves Reading WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker wrote: "@Joanna - I’m. Crossing my fingers for the second to be better because, who I think is going to star in it, had some spark here."

I hope this and the last couple are just a slump and not a lasting change. It is killing me to not be anxiously awaiting this release. Her release dates have been something to look forward to for so long that it makes me feel a bit lost in HR reading. Hence the rereads, which I do think is working. Glad to hear you think there may be some hope.

message 22: by Jan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jan I've got this pre-ordered so I don't want to read any reviews yet. *averts eyes from Kyra's review*

message 23: by Esther (new)

Esther I was on the fence on whether to read the book after Caz review,, but your review was the deciding factor. It's a no. Thank you for your wonderful review.

WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker @Joanna - I would think someone as established as Hoyt would be left alone and not "encouraged" to include trends but the amount of dukes and even the PTSD hero felt trendy forced. I haven't read a ton new historical releases this year but I've begun to feel lost in the sub-genre with many authors.

@Jan130 - Eek, I really hope you end up liking it more than me since you pre-ordered. I'm very curious to see what everyone thinks once this gets published and more opinions are out there.

@Esther - You're welcome! Yeah, Caz's rating tempered my expectations. I can't see how Hoyt fans wouldn't be at least a little disappointed in this, it just didn't "feel" like her. Long time historical readers will be disappointed in the generic feel, I think so anyway. There are glowing reviews for this but I would definitely suggest the library for you over paying.

Princess under cover Ok u have just saved me some $$

WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker @Princess - Well, there are glowing reviews for it, I think the true test of how it is being received will be after publication. I can't remember if you read a lot of historical romance, people that do will more than likely have more problems with this than people who don't. There is a generic feel to it that wouldn't hit fresh readers to the sub-genre as much. Either way, library is always there for the truly curious :)

Desiree M ~*~*~ LiveReadCollect Damn, another not-so-glowing review for this one. After not loving the last couple in the Maiden Lane series, I'm not feeling very hopeful of this new series, so I think I'll cancel my preorder and get this from the library. Hopefully I'll love it and add it to my collection later but for now...library.

WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker @Desiree - Maiden Lane really tapered off for me, too. I'm really hoping this was just a weaker start. Like I said in my review, who I think the next book is about had some spark to them. The, maybe, hero had some whisperings of Val :)

B. C. Booklover I'm also going to borrow this from the library, if it isn't that good, I can return it! I do love this author so, I'll give it a shot.

WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker I'm hoping this was just a slow start to the series, there was a couple featured in this one that I think will star in the next and they had spark. Library is a good idea in case you're not a big fan of it but at least you'll have some important info if the series improve as it goes on. Hope you end up enjoying it more than I did!

B. C. Booklover I'm going to borrow and see! Thanks for the response. Sometimes one person's trash is another's treasure, as they say!😉

WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker @Lorraine - I think the author giving us more of connection or scenes of heroine with the Wise Women community would have helped here, shown us why she was so torn to leave their community. But, getting the orgasm and immediately leaving isn't all that romantic, no matter what gender is doing it, so maybe not, lol.

message 33: by Bubu (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu I'm in super-sulky mood!

WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker @Bubu - I think what really disappointed me was that it didn't even feel like a Hoyt. I had ups and downs with books in Maiden Lane but I do think I could have picked them out of a line-up as Hoyt, not so here. I'm kind of happy I still have the Raven Prince to read. The day Random Number Generator or by some other stroke of randomness it gets picked off the tbr, I'm going to be super excited.

message 35: by Jan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jan Yeah I've read it now and it was just 2 stars for me. One of Ms Hoyt's weakest books. Where was the romance????? Bummer. I was so looking forward to it too.

WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker Hope is the cruelest emotion of all. Lol. Usually I'm complaining about lack of romance in historicals because the bedroom scenes are rushed and the relationship isn't developed enough for me but I barely got to that complaint; no spark or chemistry. Why were these two adults attracted to each other?? Pretty eyes should only carry you so far.

message 37: by Bubu (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bubu @ Kyra: About not feeling like a Hoyt. Exactly what I said in my review. It felt as if it had been written by someone else.

@ Jan: Granted I'm only the 4th person to read this. But all of us being disappointed? Well, that's a new one for sure.

And the sex....Don't get me started on the sex. Enter confusing plot line 1, enter character 3834, enter confusing plot line 48, sex scene, continue confusing plot line 34, enter character 725, sex scene...

message 38: by Jan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jan Ha ha ha.

message 39: by Bubbles99 (new) - added it

Bubbles99 I was sooo looking forward to this book :( I usually love the books you give positive reviews on so pretty upset that this was no good :(

WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker I’m still feeling a little disappointed myself, I think a lot of us was really rooting for this one. The couple, who I think will star in the next one, sparked and had me sitting up and paying attention. Fingers crossed that delivers!

Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth I was really torn about this one and had similar thoughts. I, too, hope that the next one will be better.

WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker Let our hope combine to make it true! lol.

Lisa - (Aussie Girl) I agree, it didn't quite work for me also especially the wise woman aspect. I think the Greycourt plotline and what happened fifteen years ago has much more potential.

WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker Ugh, the Wise Women totally didn’t work. Not fully explaining until the end, making it seem super vague and not hold importance to me when the author wanted heroine’s angst to not commit to hero to rest on it, didn’t work at all.
I think having a prologue showing the Greycourt incident would have been great, agree completely that was the potential

Lisa - (Aussie Girl) I may be way off base here but it nearly felt that the whole wise woman thread was EH's response to the "Me Too" movement. Me too in 1761.

message 46: by Jan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jan I didn't enjoy the wise woman bit either.

message 47: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne Z. I'm 100 pages in and feeling that way already

WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker Yeah, this was definitely not Hoyt's best. I'm really hoping the second in the series is cleaned up more and Hoyt's talent with sexual tension and chemistry gets to shine through.

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