I read Blame it on the Duke by Lenora Bell during my flu episode. And maybe that’s what affected my ability to truly enjoy the story the way I wanted to. The way I believed I would when I picked up the book. Because, honestly, there was nothing wrong with it. At all. It was damn-near perfect. And I think that’s what my flu-fatigued mind rejected to; the perfection.
The Kama Sutra theme, the multi-lingual, highly intelligent, ancient-manuscript translating heroine; handsome, bad-boy (on the surface) hero. What’s not to love? For me, apparently, a lot. And nothing specific I could put my finger on.
The story followed all the prescribed and predictive elements of a good romance, except for one odd detour to an estranged aunt to learn how to seduce a man with chicken soup and buy skimpy lingerie. But other than that, the plot and tempo were well-orchestrated, the characters, especially the hero’s father, interesting if not endearing. There was even a lion. Yet I could not summon the glued-to-the-page enthusiasm I usually experience when I read a Regency-era romp. And if pressed, I have to say it was the editing. The polish. The perfection. I found no rough or raw edges to grip, no elemental character flaws to breathe passion and realism into the characters. I didn’t feel their story. Which may be my problem more than the story’s. I was sick, and can’t guarantee feeling like death didn’t influence my impression.
Read it, and decide for yourself. 3.5 stars.
Action will remove the doubts that theory cannot solve. ~Tehyi Hsieh