The Duke in Denial

The Duke in Denial - Alexandra Ainsworth 2.5 HEARTS--What to expect a lot from "The Duke in Denial": pacing, confuzzlement and so-so characters.



Alexandra Ainsworth's debut novel is a gay regency...romance(?) about a country gentleman widower who just became a duke and a damaged solider who is gay but does not reveal his preference because...you know it's a Regency romance. And you'd get jailed, hung or worse for being gay back then. The widower Sebastian is a quiet sort of fellow who does not care about which lady he marries as long as he gets it over with so he can father an heir to secure the line. And he might or might not admire the male form. He'll never tell a soul because...it's just not done. And the solider, William, is a frequent visitor of molly houses (male brothels) wants a man to call his own.

And finds it the moment he sees Sebastian on the street. It was insta-dick from then on. William is so in love with Sebastian. Sebastian is drawn to William but does not want to go to jail so he gets engaged to William's sister. The two flip flop so much they could also be known as fish so much in this book. They will say one thing to each other, then question it over and over...*smh* William is there loving Sebastian for what reason I do not know because Sebastian offered nothing as a character. Nothing. I love a good quiet character but he was dull as a butter knife. I don't understand what William was so love-crazed about. Nor William. Sometimes it felt like I went back to reading MF Regency. And I cut my teeth on those books so I know what I like and what to look for.

The author had a good idea for the plot line (well not the suspense part as much). I wished we stuck to that instead of the extra filler we get and odd scenes that add nothing to the story. This book could have been shaved in half, IMO.

Do I need to know about war preparation plans in Sussex? Not really.
Do I need to read about a frivolous cousin? Nope. I think she was supposed to add humor. But I grimaced whenever she showed up.

The secondary characters were not strong nor were the main characters. William is besotted with Sebastian. Sebastian is hard pressed to marry William's sister to avoid any rumors, though if the guys tried harder on making not making googly eyes and trying to touch their legs together in a carriage, I don't think they'd have to worry about people catching on.

Steam Level: 1 out of 5 - Sometimes the sex can save a dull book. This didn't.

A mystery/suspense angle got thrown in the second half. Flat lined for me from the start, sloppy sleuthing. Then the plot thickens, the pseudo-villain is found out. And the reasoning behind the entire 'crime'? The villain had TEN years to do something about it. Too many questionable reasoning for my taste.

No one was interesting enough to connect with. I questioned everyone's motive down to the carriage driver because there personalities weren't concrete enough. An example, Sebastian is a widower who lost a child. He came off like a virgin or more exactly a blushing miss.

The two blushing misses misters get a HEA of sorts. Meh, I liked neither of them.

Would I read more from this author? Maybe. There are good ideas. This book takes a meandering stroll to get to the point. Not bad also not memorable. I'm in the middle of the road with my rating. *shrugs*