The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne
Series: Victorian Rebels Series #4
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: February 7th 2017
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He is noble, notorious, and takes no prisoners...
They say that now His Grace, Collin Talmage, Duke of Trenwyth has only one hand, he might finally be a mere mortal, but no one seems willing to test the theory. Rich as Midas, big as a Viking, beautiful as Adonis, and lethal as a feral wolf, he is the English Empire’s golden son. But now he’s lost everything. Most of his family died in a terrible accident, his protégé and closest friend betrayed him on the battlefield, and his left hand was cut off while he was a prisoner of war. The only thing that’s kept him going until now is the memory of a night spent in the arms of a mysterious raven-haired woman almost a year ago…
Imogen Pritchard is a nurse by day, but a fallen woman by night. Seduced on the job years ago by a Duke who mourned for the loss of his family, Imogen has never shaken the memory of the man’s despair—or the fathomless depths of pleasure he brought to her. But as the threat of betrayals, blackmail, and secrets abound, Imogen and Collin are thrown back together in a dizzying swirl of dangerous games and earth-shattering desire. But can their love overcome the everything that threatens to tear them apart?
Imogen is a nurse who works at a hospital by day and then by night works as a serving girl at the Bare Kitten trying to pay off the debts that her father left when he died. She’s just a serving girl and worked out with the owner that she would never be required to prostitute herself out as he had plenty of girls for that.
On a night that Imogen in working she services a group of soldiers. When one gets a bit rowdy she’s saved by the new Duke of Trenwyth. After a long night of him drinking and her sitting on his lap he pays the proprietor 10 pounds to spend the night with “Ginny” as she’s known there. As it will wipe out about a 1/3 of her debt she agrees. She’s intrigued by and attracted to the new duke whose family had just died in a train crash. She wants to comfort him and they share a beautiful night together.
One year later Imogen is working when she’s told that the missing Duke of Trenwyth is in the hospital with typhus. Since she had it at one point she was immune so was assigned to him. She takes care of him and soon figures out that he doesn’t have typhus and correctly diagnoses him. When he awakens, however he doesn’t recognize her as she had worn a black wig when she was Ginny but really has blonde hair. After a series of events where Imogen is let go from the hospital and then attacked the same night she is desperate and almost ends up a thief but for a kind patient who offers his help.
Fast forward to two years later and Cole, the Duke of Trenwyth has recovered and is still looking for Ginny. He can’t forget her but can’t find her anywhere. On top of his frustrations is the woman next door who seems to be opening her home to criminals and prostitutes that she is attempting to reform but according to him it’s bringing down the whole neighborhood. He also believes that since she is young and her deceased husband was quite old that she took advantage of him. Despite his annoyance with Lady Anstruther, his neighbor, he finds himself attracted to her and unable to do anything about it.
I’ve really liked the Kerrigan Byrne books I’ve read so far. They seem to have interesting premise’s and intriguing characters – The Duke was one that had both. First Imogen’s circumstances when the book first opens. Not so unusual to see a woman working off her father’s debts but I liked how the author kept her relatively innocent until the duke came along. Imogen ended up being an incredibly strong character who could give as well as she got – especially with Cole – and I admired her and the work she was doing to help the less fortunate. She knew what it was like to be in a desperate place and she wanted to help those that found themselves in like circumstances.
Cole was a hard man to like. He had serious anger issues after his capture and captivity and they manifested in strange ways at strange times. I liked his possessiveness of Imogen but not so much his condescension toward her. Imogen never let him get away with it and that I was happy about. He was so set on finding Ginny that he couldn’t see what was right in front of his face. Because he had changed so much Imogen didn’t feel that he was the same person he was before so kept her identity to herself. It was a good push and pull romance, that’s for sure.
Now, that being said I did think that the book, at times, tilted toward the side of melodramatic and that was something I didn’t care for at all. There was a lot going on in the book and there was a lot of introspection as well. With all of that the drama got to be too much at times and I admit I found myself rolling my eyes a bit.
Overall it was a good read, and a good romance that I just had a few issues with.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5