Review: The Duke of Ruin (Reluctant Regency Brides Book 1) by Claudia Stone - .Red Wine & Books

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Review: The Duke of Ruin (Reluctant Regency Brides Book 1) by Claudia Stone

 

Print Length: 152 pages
Publisher: Claudia Stone (October 8, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: When Lord Greene wagers his daughter's hand in marriage in a card game, no one is less surprised the woman herself. The only thing that shocks Olive is that the man that he has gambled her away to is none other than The Duke of Ruin.

Rumours abound that the Sixth Duke of Everleigh callously murdered his late wife and killed her lover in a duel --and now Olive is to become his bride.

Ruan Ashford took one look at Olive Greene and knew that he had to have her in his bed. The beautiful, auburn-haired temptress will make a perfect Duchess; there's only one problem - his new wife despises him.

When a chance arises for Olive to disappear she readily grabs hold of it, and soon the Duke of Ruin is hunting the Cornish countryside for his runaway bride. When he finds her can he convince her that he's not the dreadful villain the world thinks him to be and that his love for her is real?

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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Right off the bat, I can say that I wish that Ruan and Olive had gotten more time together to really get to know each other and have the chance to fall in love. You could see there was chemistry between them, and they obviously lusted after each other, but I never really bought into them actually developing feelings beyond that. 

Olive is a feisty and head-strong character. I liked how she wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty (especially once she became a Duchess, she wouldn't have had to worry about baking bread or doing the tasks of a maid, etc). Ruan on the other hand, carries secrets that have caused people (including Olive) to pain him in a very unflattering light. It should have been the recipe for the perfect book. 

However, the majority of this story actually takes place with our two characters being separated - which while it gives us a chance to get to know them as individual people, does nothing to deepen their relationship beyond the lust we have already seen. Even when reunited, there are very few scenes of them actually getting to know each other/developing feelings for each other. It seems like Ruan takes her on a couple of outings, his dead wife's former companion tells her the "truth" surrounding her mistress and Ruan, and suddenly Olive is "in love" with him? It hardly made sense. In fact, it made more sense that they simply wanted to be done living separately so that they could get into bed together. 

The bit of mystery surrounding who wanted Ruan dead was good - right up until they revealed who was behind everything. At that point, I didn't feel as though it made any sense. The person behind the attacks was the least person you would expect (so in that case it was surprising), but it was completely out of character. This person was more to blame for the things that happened than Ruan was. 

I'm also really curious as to what happened to the boarding house that Olive worked so hard to clean and re-open. Was it allowed to remain open? Did Ruan perhaps purchase it or lease it and find someone to run it? Or was everyone simply kicked out and the building closed down again? 

All of these things considered, I did mostly enjoy this novel, and I will read more from this author. 

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                                                                   The Duke of Ruin is available from Amazon.com
                                                             (for free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited)

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