Ivy H's Reviews > The Devilish Duke

The Devilish Duke by Maddison Michaels
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** spoiler alert ** 3.5 stars.

I can't believe I'd forgotten that this book was on my reading list ! I had a marvellous time reading this story, that's set in 1855 Britain. This was a lovely debut novel by the author, with my favourite type of historical H: the rakish, rogue H who also happens to be a filthy rich duke. And trust me, this guy is sinfully rich because he's one of the few noblemen who go against conventional Ton policy by actively participating in industry and commerce. The heroine's a bluestocking with a purpose that doesn't include annoying the F out of me, the way bluestockings sometimes tend to do in some historical romances, with their overbearing "know it all" attitude and superior self righteousness. Sophie was a heroine with a good heart who always looked at the bright side of a bad situation. The novel explores the engagement of convenience trope and mingles in some intrigue, a murder mystery and a healthy sprinkling of witty repartee as well. Devlin, the Duke of Huntington, has a somewhat unsavoury reputation as a ladies man. Women, married and single, chase after him while he just smiles smugly and laps up all the attention:



The heroine, Sophie, hadn't ever been introduced to Devlin until one fateful night when she attended a ball at his townhouse. Sophie had had a great infatuation with another guy, the Earl of Abelard and when she'd seen him enter the upstairs library with a young debutante, she wanted to see what was happening. The heroine ended up removing her crinoline skirt frame and climbing a tree to spy on the couple. But, she got more than she bargained for because another couple turned up: the H and a skanky married woman ! Sophie's curiosity got the better of her and she couldn't help herself. She just had to crane her neck and watch:



The naive heroine had heard about married women cavorting with rakes but she'd never actually seen evidence of it:



In her enthusiasm to see more she ended up falling out of the tree and this prevented the H from continuing with his illicit rendezvous. The only reason I'm making light of it is that the H never actually did more than kiss the skanky married OW. I really appreciated the fact that the author was able to put the brakes at that point and not give the reader a full fledged make out or sex scene between a H and an OW. That's the only way I'm able to appreciate a rakish H: if his rakishness is a thing of the past after he meets the heroine. Devlin definitely gave up his citizenship status in the kingdom of Manwhoria, after he got involved with Sophie.

The engagement of convenience came about after the prudish and family oriented Queen Victoria demanded that Devlin mend his ways:


“The obvious lack of respect you hold for your title is easily witnessed by all. If we did not know of your shrewd business acumen, we would think you nothing but a halfwit who was led around by his nether regions!”

The Queen was never one to mince words.


Michaels, Maddison. The Devilish Duke (Kindle Locations 292-294). Entangled Publishing, LLC. Kindle Edition.

The H is basically blackmailed by the cunning queen; she refused to agree to one of his important business proposals unless he settled down with a suitable, respectable bride. At first, Devlin was shocked and horrified ! He totally refused to adhere to the queen's "request" and made his objections even clearer than this rottweiler does:



But the funniest thing, to me, is that Devlin loved making money more than he wanted to hang onto his bachelorhood. Therefore, he decided to marry a suitable young lady and there was only woman that came into his mind: the heroine.

This is the heroine, Sophie:




This is the H, Devlin:



The romantic storyline was buoyed by the MC's sexy chemistry and their humorous attempts to outwit each other. Sophie has no interest in getting married and she's totally devoted to raising funds for an orphanage. The H's sudden courtship of the heroine meanders into rough waters with the return of her old crush, Lord Abelard. For the first time in his life, the H actually gets into a fight over a woman when he and Lord Abelard both try to outdo each other to impress the dazed heroine. It was awesome ! I couldn't stop laughing during that scene where both men are taunting each other and gearing up to fight in the middle of Sophie's receiving room. The advent of the heroine's colourful, eccentric aunt Mabel just spiced things up even more.

One thing I enjoyed about the novel was the author's ability to balance the light hearted and funny romantic scenes with the creepy, suspense filled murder storyline. The secondary murder storyline revolves around this unknown villain who's got a vendetta against Devlin. This villain murders 2 maids and a footman in his attempt to conceal his identity from the MC's. The MC's are drawn into further intrigue because one of the murdered maids had been an orphan who had lived at Sophie's orphanage. The heroine keeps rushing to try and solve the crime all by herself ( as heroines always do ) and the H ends up arriving just in time to prevent her creating even further disaster. Devlin's character arc was handled quite well, in my opinion. He's one of the tortured H's; he hates his late grandfather, since the latter had engineered the murder of his ( the H's ) parents. And, he's cynical about love because no one has truly loved him since the demise of his parents. His hagwitch aunt is also embroiled in the secondary murder storyline, since she's in cahoots with the unknown villain.

One of the best things about these MC's is that they're loyal to each other even before they fall in love. This was proven twice over when Sophie refused to believe lies/rumours about the H. The heroine even stood up for Devlin, during a scene at the opera and had a great big verbal cat fight with his nasty old aunt, when that hagwitch was belittling him publicly:


“You go too far, Madam!” Sophie exclaimed before he could respond, stepping forward. “You have no right to speak to him like that.”

Devlin glanced in surprise at his fiancée, who looked like a lioness as she all but bared her teeth, facing off against his aunt. He’d never actually had anyone leap to his defense before. It sent a warm feeling through him, one he hadn’t really felt since before his parents had died. His throat unexpectedly tightened.

“I am the dowager Marchioness of Brampton. I can speak to him any way I choose.”

“Your rank gives you no right to be so rude,” Sophie replied.

The older woman glared forbiddingly at Sophie. “You have the audacity to speak to your betters in such a manner?”

“Lady Brampton,” Sophie began, “you may outrank me in social standing, but let us be clear: you are certainly not my better. Your inappropriate and rude behavior gives credence to that assertion.”


Michaels, Maddison. The Devilish Duke (Kindle Locations 2477-2485). Entangled Publishing, LLC. Kindle Edition.

I haven't LOL so much and enjoyed reading about a rakish H, in a very long time ! Normally, rakes and former manwhores get on my nerves a little but Devlin just made me laugh. He was the best combination of funny and sexy. One of the funniest scenes occurred when the heroine told him that she wouldn't tolerate infidelity. Devlin's quick response was:

“It may surprise you to know that I haven’t actually cheated on a woman before.”

Michaels, Maddison. The Devilish Duke (Kindle Location 1508). Entangled Publishing, LLC. Kindle Edition.

For a second, I was awed ! It's hard to find a rakish libertine who can truthfully make that claim, so I was filled with wonder and joy:



Then, Devlin continued and added:

“No,” he confirmed. “I’ve never been with a woman long enough to do so. I get bored with them rather quickly, you see.”

Michaels, Maddison. The Devilish Duke (Kindle Location 1510). Entangled Publishing, LLC. Kindle Edition.

Well, let's just say that my next reaction was:



I know. I know...it's no laughing matter, but seriously, Devlin was damned funny ! And, since there was no OW drama and no cheating in the novel, I was able to enjoy all of this without making my usual judgements against the citizens of Manwhoria.

Everything was resolved, as expected, but it happened in the most dramatic manner because Devlin ends up jumping in front of the villain's pistol in order to save Sophie. As is the case with certain rakish H's, it takes a life or death situation to make Devlin realize just how much he loves her. It had actually been obvious to the reader from before because of Devlin's irrational jealousy of 2 men who cared for Sophie and his intense possessiveness. Devlin was also the type of H who kept repeating that his jealousy was non existent and that he was just being protective of his fiance. There was also a cute minor storyline that included Devlin's young ward Nicholas. In the epilogue, set a year after their marriage, Queen Victoria is happy with Devlin, the heroine is pregnant and the MC's are happily ensconced at their country estate with the adorable, mischievous Nicholas. I can't wait to read the second novel in the series, because it deals with the heroine's older brother, Daniel: the Earl of Thornton.

I am not giving any spoiler information about the identity of the killer because it will definitely ruin this specific storyline and kill the suspense.

This novel will be enjoyable for readers who are entertained by a romance with a dash of mystery and a hot, amusing, rakish H whose manwhore past is behind him.

Safety: No cheating, no OW, 2 wannabe OM. The scene between the H and the OW at the beginning occurred before the MC's were introduced to each other and it was just kissing.
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Reading Progress

April 22, 2018 – Shelved
April 22, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
Started Reading
October 1, 2018 – Shelved as: badass-hero
October 1, 2018 – Shelved as: beautiful-heroine
October 1, 2018 – Shelved as: broody-hero-with-tortured-past
October 1, 2018 – Shelved as: feisty-funny-heroine
October 1, 2018 – Shelved as: hero-is-heroine-s-only-lover
October 1, 2018 – Shelved as: hero-was-a-stubborn-asshole
October 1, 2018 – Shelved as: jealous-obsessive-hero
October 1, 2018 – Shelved as: made-me-laugh
October 1, 2018 – Shelved as: marriage-of-convenience
October 1, 2018 – Shelved as: sexy-hot-hero
October 1, 2018 – Shelved as: virginal-heroine
October 1, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-20 of 20 (20 new)

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message 1: by Vashti (new) - added it

Vashti Super good review Carmen,looks good added it!


Sangria Awww I liked this too!


message 3: by Ivy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ivy H Vashti wrote: "Super good review Carmen,looks good added it!"

This was a lot of fun for me Vashti ! I didn't expect to enjoy it so much. Hope you enjoy it when you decide to read. Thanks : )


message 4: by Ivy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ivy H Sangria wrote: "Awww I liked this too!"


I know you did ! Lol. It was your and Esther's reviews that helped convince me to read this book : )


Esther Great review and glad you liked it. I also really enjoyed this one Carmen. :)) Really liked the H and h and there spunky dialogue.


message 6: by Leigh (new) - added it

Leigh Great review!! I need to read this one. I really enjoyed the second one despite there being no steamy scenes.


message 7: by Ivy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ivy H Esther wrote: "Great review and glad you liked it. I also really enjoyed this one Carmen. :)) Really liked the H and h and there spunky dialogue."


They were really funny and sexy together, weren't they ? Lol. I can't believe I'd forgotten this on my reading list but I'm so glad I read it. Thanks Esther : )


message 8: by Ivy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ivy H Leigh Anne wrote: "Great review!! I need to read this one. I really enjoyed the second one despite there being no steamy scenes."

This one didn't have too many steamy scenes either but it was lovely ! The H from the second one that you've already read, got into a fight with the H of this book ! It was so funny and I can't wait to read that second book. Thanks Leigh Anne : )


message 9: by boogenhagen (new)

boogenhagen Falling out of a tree is almost as good as having a window fall on the heroine to ruin a moment.

Great Review!


message 10: by Margo (new)

Margo LOVE this review, and the dogs were even more exceptionally cute than normal. (I think I fostered that Rottie at one point.)


message 11: by Jultri (new) - added it

Jultri Sounds great, Carmen! Bonus for the interrupted OW scene! It’s already on my TBR list and your excellent review just cemented its position there.


message 12: by Shannon (new)

Shannon This is such an awesome review!!! I love this book cover. It's one of my favorites this year!


message 13: by StMargarets (new)

StMargarets Great review! I love the dog with lip stick all over him/her. I will think of lovable rakes this way from now on.


message 14: by Ivy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ivy H boogenhagen wrote: "Falling out of a tree is almost as good as having a window fall on the heroine to ruin a moment.

Great Review!"


LOL. Ikr ! The good thing was that it ruined the "moment" with the H and the unknown OW. Thanks Boogenhagen : )


message 15: by Ivy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ivy H Margo wrote: "LOVE this review, and the dogs were even more exceptionally cute than normal. (I think I fostered that Rottie at one point.)"

You fostered that cute, smart Rottie ! You LUCKY woman you ! Lol. Rottweilers are adorable and they're so chubby and sweet when they're puppies with their round moon faces. Thanks Margo : )


message 16: by Ivy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ivy H Jultri wrote: "Sounds great, Carmen! Bonus for the interrupted OW scene! It’s already on my TBR list and your excellent review just cemented its position there."

Yeah thank God for that interrupted scene ! Lol. I think you'll like this book Julia. And thanks : )


message 17: by Ivy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ivy H Shannon wrote: "This is such an awesome review!!! I love this book cover. It's one of my favorites this year!"


Oh yes, the cover is so HOT ! I wish other authors would realize that a hot guy is so much more interesting than a girl in a frilly dress, standing in a rainbow coloured photoshopped room. The book itself was good too. Lol. Thanks Shannon : )


message 18: by Ivy (last edited Oct 02, 2018 08:24AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ivy H StMargarets wrote: "Great review! I love the dog with lip stick all over him/her. I will think of lovable rakes this way from now on."

LOL. And he looks so smug, self-satisfied and happy in the photo too ! Thanks St. M : )


message 19: by Debbie (new) - added it

Debbie DiFiore I gotta read this. Great review!!!!


message 20: by Ivy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ivy H Debbie wrote: "I gotta read this. Great review!!!!"

Thanks Debbie ! : )
The H was a reformed rake and there was no cheating so you might enjoy it.


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