Saturday, December 31, 2011

How to Dance with a Duke by Manda Collins

What a delightful, entertaining debut!  I was first drawn to the lovely cover and then when I read the blurb I was intrigued as it sounded a bit different than all the regencies out there so I was more than happy to dive in.

Miss Cecily Hurston is determined to clear her ailing fathers name of murder by gaining access to the elusive Egyptian Club, obtaining his journals and decoding them (as she is a mastermind at codes).  Only one small problem....she is female and the club is only for males and their spouses.  So what is a wallflower (who is stuck with the unflattering nickname of A Ugly Duckling along with her two cousins) and bluestocking to do?  Find a husband that won't mind her scholarly pursuits and get inside that club.  But another small problem arises and that is in the form of Lucas Dalton, Duke of Winterson.

Winterson also has an agenda that includes Cecily's father but he is on the other side of the fence.  Winterson's brother, Hurstons assistant, has been missing ever since the last excavation and Hurston seems to be the only one that knows what could have happened to him.  Since Hurston is ill and unable to communicate, Winterson also wants the journals to dig for clues for his brothers whereabouts and when Cecily's plans become know to him, he reluctantly agrees to help her sift through the eligible men.  There is, naturally, a problem with that as our couple already has quite an attraction for each other and Winterson has a hard time imagining another man with this bossy, clever, headstrong female.

Overall, this truly was a delightful book!  I was drawn to Cecily from the first page and drawn to the sparks that flew between Cecily and Lucas right away as well.  Cecily has a wall built up around her from a previous heartbreak so her back and forth attitude with Lucas was a bit frustrating and I wished Cecily would have just left her guard down for good instead of toying with Lucas and his feelings one to many times.  I really enjoyed how Lucas, a wounded war hero who did not expect to inherit his title, seemed to take life in stride and was a bit proper until he meet Cecily and he slowly let some of that properness abate and let love in.  You can just feel the love that grows between these two and you truly see how it affects Lucas and how it finally affects Cecily.  The mystery aspect surrounding Lucas' brother and her father kept me flipping the pages and it took me a bit to piece it all together and I was still surprised by a few curveballs thrown in.   For a debut I was very happy with the mix of romance and mystery, neither seemed to be overshadowing the other and it blended together into a wonderful, sexy romance.  If you are looking for a historical romance that has a lovely romance that grows over time, mixed with some interesting settings among the excavation world in London and a bit of mystery to keep you flipping the pages, Manda Collins has delivered a winner!  I know I can not wait for the next two books in the series :)  4 stars

I won an ARC of this book from Ms Collins off of Twitter.  Thanks so much!!

Ugly Ducklings series
How to Romance a Rake (Ugly Ducklings #2)
        July 31st

How to Entice an Earl   Spring 2013


  1. I just got this one from Netgalley and I can't wait to read it! Great review! I'm a new follower.

  2. Thanks Kate, hope you enjoy it! And thanks for the follow. I followed you as well, your blog looks great!