I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Taming of the Duke: Essex Sister Quartet Number 3 by Eloisa James

In Kiss Me, Annabel, Imogen decides to make the Earl of Mayne her man about town and lover. Unfoturuntately, Maitland will only agree to escort her around town and nothing more. The rake has given up his sinful ways and besides, Rafe, the Duke of Holbrook and Imogen's guardian would object mightily and the two are best friends.  Imogen and Rafe have fought like cats and dogs since they met. She's headstrong and does what she likes no matter what or whom she hurts. And Rafe is a drunkard stuck in the past mourning the loss of his family.  Imogen cannot stand him when he drinks and Rafe cannot stand her when she throws herself at a man. First with her husband Draven who dies tragically, then at various men afterward in her grief who refuse to take advantage of her.

While Imogen is in the Scottish Highlands seeing Annabel get married, Rafe is back in London dealing with a surprise visitor: his long not exactly lost half-brother his father had with his mistress.  It's hard to accept Gabriel Spenser as his father seemed to care more for him and his mother than he did for Rafe and his brother and mother.  Gabe earned a doctorate of divinity at Cambridge and is a professor. He and Rafe were born days apart and look quite similar to each other.  Peter, Rafe's brother knew of Gabe's existence when their father died and the will was read with that provision read to provide for them only to Peter who took the news to his grave.

Gabe is in need of a favor from Rafe.  It seems that there is a young actress that has just had his child and that he has been unable to convince to marry him. He will be keeping the child and in exchange, since the pregnancy caused her to lose a prominent part at a good theater, a production will be put on at the Holbrook Estate in order to launch her back into the theater. But he needs to convince Rafe of this.  Rafe is reluctant at first since he knows nothing about putting one of these on and knows that Gabe knows even less.  But then he remembers Lady Gillian Pythian-Adams who knows by heart many different plays and asks for her help and she is more than glad to help as she is bored to tears trying to find a husband which seems to be an impossibility.

Imogen arrives at Holbrook Court at the end of summer after seeing Annabel married and settled.  When she sees Gabe she sees the possibility for a paramour; someone with whom to have an affair with no strings attached. The problem is he has no interest in her, but rather Gillian.  But he doesn't want to hurt her tender feelings so he says he will meet her in costume to go and see a singer at a bar in town. Then he tells Rafe to go in his stead because he knows that Rafe loves her.  Rafe does indeed love her and he goes in his place and the two have a great time and share passionate kisses.  Rafe has already decided to stop drinking as it is bad for him and if he wants to get his life back he has to stop.  He has started to lose weight and his regular horse riding is making him fit.

He still is going out with her as Rafe and even shares a kiss with her as Rafe, but the kiss is gentle and different than the kiss as Gabe.  He desperately wants her to know that it's him and to tell her that he loves her, but he doesn't feel as though he has earned her love yet.  Meanwhile, Gabe and Gillian are doing their own dance as she believes that he is a rake and he knows that he doesn't have a chance with a titled woman to be his wife.  So, Gillian is trying to flirt with Rafe who is single and a possible match while watching as he makes eyes at Imogen, the woman who stole away her finance, Draven. On top of that, Imogen is flirting with Gabe the man she has feelings for. Gillian cannot seem to win with Imogen around.

This book is like watching a ping pong match as the four players bounce back and forth when you the reader know who should be with whom.  Imogen and Rafe have been boiling since the first book and it is nice to Miss Pythian-Adams again, the bluestocking who could quote entire works of Shakespeare and did so in order to try to get out of her engagement by boring her fiance to death (It didn't work).  And Gabe is quite a sweet character who sees things others miss, but then misses things in his own life.  This book was worth the wait.

Link to Amazon: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51CbCZCa0xL.jpg

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