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At the start, A Duke But No Gentleman seemed as though it was going to venture into darker territory than that which is normally found in the pages of an historical romance. When I finished the book, I came away appreciating the fact that Ms Hawkins has tried to do something a little different, but feeling that it hasnít quite worked. Iíll give her credit for the fact that her rakes really ARE rakes and are, quite honestly, a rather unpleasant pair, but the story is more about the friendship between two men and how that is affected when one of them falls in love than it is a romance. Because of the prominence of the friendship and rivalry between Blackbern and Norgrave, the love story (such as it is) is pushed into second place, relegated to being the means by which the rivalry is propelled rather than present as a romance for its own sake.


Itís no secret that Iím a big Grace Burrowes fan. I understand the criticisms that are sometimes levelled at her books; they can be repetitive, the heroes are too improbable, there are too many Americanisms etc., but for the most part I can forgive her those things because she writes stories that pull me in by virtue of the strength of her characterisations and the way in which she gets to the emotional heart of those characters and their stories. Itís the rare Grace Burrowes book that doesnít quite work for me Ė but unfortunately, Tremaineís True Love is one of those few.


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