Tag: Juliana Gray

Guest Review: How To Tame Your Duke by Juliana Gray.

Posted August 19, 2013 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

Published by Berkley, Penguin

Judith’s review of How To Tame Your Duke by Juliana Gray.

England, 1888. Quiet and scholarly Princess Emilie has always avoided adventure, until she’s forced to disguise herself as a tutor in the household of the imposing Duke of Ashland, a former soldier disfigured in battle and abandoned by his wife. When chance draws her into a secret liaison with the duke, Emilie can’t resist the opportunity to learn what lies behind his forbidding mask, and find out what adventure really means…

The duke never imagines that his son’s tutor and his mysterious golden-haired beauty are one and the same. But when the true identity of his lover is laid bare, Moreland must face the demons in his past in order to safeguard both his lady—and his heart.

It has been said that ” . . . it’s not what you know, but who you know.”  Nothing was more true during the Napoleonic Era and the years after, when Western Europe was still recovering from war, rife with political secrets for the overthrow of one kingdom or another, and was a hotbed of espionage.  England was also awash with spies and former spies, with those who secretly king and country undercover and whose knowledge of the dirty inner workings of government agencies could either be a blessing or a curse.  For the three princesses whose stories comprise this new trilogy of historical romance novels, knowing an uncle whose influence reached to the farthest reaches of the British Isles was for them a life-saving factor.  Emilie and her sisters were caught in the sights of those who would take their lives in order to change the course of history in their home country after the death of their parents.  Now they are relying on their British uncle to find a way to keep them safe.

This is a very unusual story setting–a foreign, half-English princess who is masquerading as a male scholar and tutor for a man whose war injuries have warped his perception of himself and his loved ones, allowed it to drive him into seclusion.  This situation is perfect for keeping a princess hidden in plain sight, so to speak, but as all good stories do, this one never allows the characters to have an easy time of it.  It brings together two individuals who are hiding, for different reasons obviously, but both must find a way to live in a more normal setting while preserving their very lives.  Add in an attraction that just wouldn’t go away and a youngster who is bent on doing his own thing, and you have a complicated, somewhat political romance novel that is full of human weakness and angst, fear, emotional ups and downs, mixed in with family loyalty and people who stand by one another no matter the stresses involved.

I have read other works by this author and have found her to be a very good writer, one who does her research and knows the historical context well as well as demonstrating an ease with the historical romance genre.  She also makes this former English teacher’s heart glad in that she uses correct tenses and puts sentences together beautifully. ( Incidentally, one of my pet peeves is reading the past tense of kneel as kneeled when my English text always taught it was knelt. )  It is an entertaining read for those of us who enjoy a bit of suspense and mystery solving mixed in with their love affairs, and it is fun to watch the duke gradually unravel the identity of his tutor.  There are surprises here and some resolution to the crises that made for lots of interest right up to the end.  The story is sensual and certainly has a pervasive sexual tension throughout without being gratuitous and with sex scenes purely for the sake of putting sex scenes in the book to increase sales.

All in all, it was a fine piece of writing that I am happy to recommend to lovers of historical romance fiction.  Not to be missed, IMHO.  I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Berkley Sensation. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

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Guest Author (+ a Giveaway): Juliana Gray – The Allure of the Duke

Posted June 11, 2013 by Holly in Giveaways, Promotions | 9 Comments

Today historical romance author Juliana Gray is here to celebrate the release of How to Tame Your Duke.

The Allure of the Duke by Juliana Gray

A few years ago––at a RITA ceremony far, far away––a happy wind blew me in the direction of a writer who was then a stranger, and is now a dear friend. We were both a few cocktails to the good, and as we cast our eyes over the lists of nominees, we began to ponder just how many dukes populated Romanceland, and how lucky we were that so many of them happened to be handsome, rich, unmarried, and mind-bendingly good in bed.

Our conclusions? Infinite, and infinitely.

“Readers love dukes,” my editor has assured me on more than one occasion, and the evidence would suggest she’s right. But why do we dig a duke so devoutly? Is it just a case of a literary arms race, or is there some deeper spiritual appeal to the ducal designation? Let us count the reasons.

  • D is for Desire, by which we mean What a Heroine Wants, and let’s be honest. She doesn’t want the curate, or the strapping young tenant farmer tilling the nearby fields, or the butcher on the village high street. She certainly doesn’t want the clerk in the green eyeshades, adding figures in the insurance company’s dusty ledgers. Our heroine really desires a man of power, a man who can help her defeat her enemies, a man who takes orders from no one. In short, she desires…
  • D is for Dawg, as in Top Dawg, as in One Dawg to Rule Them All. As in, any higher and you’d have to be royal, and have all kinds of icky ceremonial responsibilities that cut into the enjoyment of your Top Dawg status. You know what I mean. State dinners, the Opening of Parliament, and of course that worst of the worst, the Drawing Room, in which one has to sit cordially through the presentation of an endless string of dull…
  • D is for Debutantes, like the majority of historical romance heroines, and no matter how far we’ve supposedly evolved in our notions of sexual quality, our primal selves are conditioned to salivate like Pavlov’s dogs at the squaring-off of an innocent young maiden against The Most Powerful Man in London and Possibly England Itself. Especially if she wins. And especially if his name resembles…
  • D is for Darcy, because while that particular gentleman was not a duke, he certainly gave off those distinctive ducal pheromones, and his image is so fixed in our minds as the archetype for all romance heroes, the mere sight of that straight-backed, rounded capital D triggers an immediate response in our adrenal glands, stimulating the production of…
  • D is for Dopamine, which sends our pleasure centers into a frenzy of excitement (I need not elaborate, need I?) and frequently results in addiction to the cause of stimulation itself. So the pleasing sensation of witnessing a lovely debutante bring the most desirable man in the country into a state of total devotion, while momentarily satisfying, inevitably creates the need for…more. More, please! More dukes, more dopamine.

And there you have it. We’re addicted to dukes, and the only cure is…

D is for Deprivation. And as my newfound friend and I clinked glasses at that long-age RITA celebration, we agreed: What’s the point of that?

About the Author:

Juliana Gray began writing as a child to relieve the tedium of being sentenced to her room, and later turned to romance to relieve the tedium of unsatisfactory suitors. Sadly, despite five years’ residence in the most exclusive areas of London, she never met a single duke, though she once shared a taxi with a future baron.

Juliana’s debut romance trilogy, including A Lady Never Lies, A Gentleman Never Tells, and A Duke Never Yields, was largely written when she should have been sleeping. She enjoys dark chocolate, champagne and dinner parties, and despises all forms of exercise except one.

Giveaway: We’re giving away a copy of How To Tame Your Duke!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How to Tame Your Duke is available now from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: A Duke Never Yields by Juliana Gray

Posted February 1, 2013 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of A Duke Never Yields (Affairs by Moonlight #3) by Juliana Gray

Impatient with the strictures of polite British society, Miss Abigail Harewood has decided to live life on her own terms—and the first thing she requires is a lover. When the commanding Duke of Wallingford arrives on the doorstep of her leased holiday castle, she thinks she’s found the perfect candidate: handsome, dashing, and experienced in the art of love.

But tempting Wallingford into her bed proves more difficult than she imagined. Restless and dissatisfied with his debauched life in London, the formerly rakish duke is determined to spend a year chaste. But as Abigail tries her best to seduce him, Wallingford finds his resolve crumbling in the face of her irresistible charm…and her alluring secrets.

Abby Harewood is one of those kind of individuals who is bound and determined to find joy in life and she is bound and determined to find it on her own terms.  Thus, she wants to know the joy of sexual congress, she wants to know the intimacy of sharing that most intimate of experiences with an accomplished lover, and she wants to experience life with all its ups and downs and in any way she can manage it.  The one thing she doesn’t want is marriage to an aristocrat who has it within his power to seduce her, make him love her, and then turn to other women as mistresses.  Nope!!  That just isn’t going to happen to her!  If she isn’t going to get forever, then no one is going to get her!
Now the Duke of Wallingford is quite the opposite:  his “joy” has become jaded as he has lived his profligate life for himself alone, taken mistresses who agree to make him feel good in exchange for wealth and position, using his social position for little else than supporting a useless existence.  Challenged by his grandfather to find a way of making his life something quite different, the duke embarks on a year-long abstinent lifestyle at an ancient castle in Italy along with his younger brother and his uncle.  What they didn’t expect to find was that Abby, along with  her cousin who is fleeing an abusive marriage and her older sister who has essentially been put out on the street after the death of her aristocratic husband, is also in possession of a lease agreement for the same castle for the same year-long period of time.  So they each take up residence in opposite wings of the castle, but what they are also unprepared for is the revelation that they might just be wrapped up in the fall-out from a 300 year old curse and that they might be dealing with individuals who are ghosts.
It’s a complicated story and one that will challenge the reader to keep it all straight.  If you want an easy read that will relax your mind, don’t pick up this novel.  On the other hand, it is a compelling novel that will engage the imagination and if the reader is one that likes solving a  mystery or two, then this will be a very entertaining read.  There are so many ups and downs as the duke and Abby joist with one another, so may times the reader absolutely is convinced that they are going to figure out how to make it work between them, and then something occurs that is completely unforeseen and voila!  It all goes to hell in a hand basket.  The lesser characters are also involved in trying to find their own HEA and their search for true love intersects with the duke and Abby frequently.  And even when you know for a fact that these two have finally “made it,” there is another emotional pothole in their road and everything is up in the air again.  
It is a really wonderful read and for historical fiction lovers it will be a fun read.  Add in some ghosts and a 300 year old curse that remains to be broken by true hearted and genuine lovers, and you have a great romance novel that is sure to be enjoyed by nearly everyone who picks it up.  Abby is a gem;  the duke is stuffy and self-centered–puffed up on his own sense of importance.  His uncle is a genius and an inventor and blows up things on a regular basis, and the duke’s brother is a charming lad who has the hots for Abby’s cousin.  So there’s lots going on here–romance times three, and all in one book.

I am happy to give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5.

The Series:

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

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