A Duke’s Promise, by Jamie Carie

book coverFrom the Land of Fire and Ice back to England’s shores, Alexandria Featherstone finds herself the new Duchess of St. Easton. Her husband has promised a wedding trip to take them to the place where her imperiled parents were last seen — Italy and the marble caves of Carrara — but a powerful Italian duke plots against Alex and her treasure-hunting parents.

Hoping to save them, Alex and Gabriel travel to Italy by balloon. Fraught with danger on all sides and pressured by Gabriel’s affliction to the breaking point, they must learn to work and fight together. The mysterious key is within their grasp, but they have yet to recognize it. This journey will require steadfast faith in God and each other — a risk that will win them everything they want or lose them everything they have.

A Duke’s Promise starts where the previous book in the Forgotten Castles series leaves off. Alex and Gabriel are now married, and it’s their wedding night. If you’re a Christian who doesn’t like any implication of sexual relations in their reading, you won’t like the next several pages. However, this is a married couple, it’s their first night together, and we need to remember that God created sex for married couples to enjoy. And they certainly seem to enjoy it throughout the book. (Right, I’ll step off my soap box now!)

This is the book where we finally meet Alex’s parents and, sadly, I took an instant disliking to them. Katherine is cold, manipulative, and deceitful, while Ian comes across as a bit of a mouse who defers to his wife in everything. It appears that their marriage was originally one of convenience, and there are questions about that which are never answered.

I enjoyed the first three quarters of the book, but I was disappointed by the final section. In my review of The Forgiven Duke, I said the plot reminded me of an Indiana Jones adventure. There were four Indiana Jones movies and just as I was disappointed by the final one so was I disappointed by the final quarter of A Duke’s Promise.  The action moves from romance and adventure to science fiction and fantasy. I’m sure there was a deep meaning to what takes place, but I couldn’t decipher it. Furthermore, it appears I was on totally the wrong track with regard to Gabriel’s synesthesia. Finally, I was still left with logistical questions. How do they avoid any remaining Spaniards? How do they get home? How does the Prince Regent react to their homecoming? I guess I’m just practically-minded like that.

Publisher: B & H Publishing

Publication Date: 01 September 2012

Page Count: 320

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I downloaded my free ARC of A Duke’s Promise from B & H Publishing on the NetGalley website. I was under no obligation to write a review.

 

The Forgiven Duke, by Jamie Carie

book coverTethered by her impulsive promise to marry Lord John Lemon – the path of least resistance – Alexandria Featherstone sets off toward Iceland in search of her parents with a leaden heart. A glimpse of her guardian, the Duke of St. Easton – the path less traveled by – on Dublin’s shore still haunts her.

Will he come after her? Will he drag her back to London, quelling her mission to rescue her treasure-seeking parents, or might he decide to throw caution to the wind and choose Foy Pour Devoir: “Faith for Duty,” the St. Easton motto. The Featherstone motto Valens et Volens: “Willing and Able,” beats in her heart and thrums through her veins. She will find her parents and find their love, no matter the cost.

The powerful yet wing-clipped Duke of St. Easton has never known the challenge that has become his life since hearing his ward’s name. Alexandria Featherstone will be the life or the death of him. Only time and God’s plan will reveal just how much this man can endure for the prize of love.

The Forgiven Duke starts exactly where The Guardian Duke leaves off, as though it was merely the next chapter instead of the next book. Alexandria is on a ship bound for Iceland while her guardian, Gabriel, is left on the dock. Neither of them knows how their lives will change before they are reunited. Book two of the Forgotten Castles series follows their stories in alternate chapters.

Just as with its predecessor, I could not put this book down and finished it within a day. The plot reminded me an Indiana Jones adventure. There’s a treasure to be found, and whoever ends up with it will command great power. There are good guys and bad guys who are after them. The good guys also have their weaknesses. Indiana Jones hated snakes, but Gabriel gets terribly seasick. There is romance and, sadly, there is brutality. It’s rare to find such violence in Christian titles, but the bad guys are ruthless and will do anything to obtain the prize. It is while suffering such brutalities that our character (no spoilers here) places their trust in Christ to get them through the experience.

Violence aside, there are a few downsides to the novel. The history is not always accurate. For example, Alexandria supposedly spots Beau Brummel in London, but by this time he was living in France in order to avoid being sent to debtors’ prison. There is no mention of Iceland still being a Danish dependency. I also found myself wondering how it was that everyone in Iceland spoke English. (I wonder the same thing in sci-fi movies; the aliens always speak fantastic English.) Jamie Carie’s portrayal of Iceland, however, more than make up for these deficiencies, with detailed descriptions of everything from the unique Icelandic horses to the clothes worn by the native Icelanders.

So, the Forgotten Castles saga is now two-thirds complete. While I’m beginning to understand the reasons for Gabriel’s affliction (about which I wondered in my review for The Guardian Duke), I still have questions. Will Alexandria find her parents? Will they be glad to be found? What exactly is everyone searching for? Who will get the prize? What happens to the bad guys? Will the Prince Regent irrevocably screw up England’s relationship with Spain due to this treasure hunt? All these questions will be answered, I hope, in A Duke’s Promise which will be released in September.

Publisher: B & H Books

Publication Date: 01 July 2012

Page Count: 320

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I downloaded my free copy of The Forgiven Duke from B & H Books on the NetGalley website. I was under no obligation to write a review.

 

The Guardian Duke, by Jamie Carie

Book CoverThe Guardian Duke is award-winning novelist Jamie Carie’s most exciting story yet, a uniquely arranged Regency-era romantic adventure where hero and heroine know each other through written letters but have yet to meet.

Gabriel, the Duke of St. Easton, is ordered by the King to take guardianship over Lady Alexandria Featherstone whose parents are presumed dead after failing to return from a high profile treasure hunt. But Alexandria ignores this royal reassignment, believing her parents are still alive and duly following clues that may lead to their whereabouts. Gabriel, pressured by what are actually the King’s ulterior motives, pursues her across windswept England and the rolling green hills of Ireland but is always one step behind.

When they do meet, the search for earthly treasure will pale in comparison to what God has planned for both of them.

It is 1818. The Napoleonic Wars ended three years ago and, while George III remains on the throne, Great Britain is under the rule of the Prince Regent, the future George IV. Twenty year old Alexandria Featherstone lives on Holy Island (also known as Lindisfarne), off the coast of northeast England. She hasn’t heard from her parents in almost a year and The Crown has decided she be put under the guardianship of a very distant relative, the Duke of St Easton. He is just 12 years older than her, but they couldn’t be more different. He is cautious, whereas she is impulsive. He has been brought up in a manner appropriate to his standing in society; Alexandria has not and acts accordingly. As a result, when Alexandria decides to go after her parents Gabriel has no choice but to go after her.

This was a book I couldn’t put down, which is great except for the fact the book is the first in a new series. After finishing, I’m left with a number of questions, including what happened to Alexandria’s parents, and what were they after? How does Gabriel’s synesthesia (seeing sounds as colors) fit in? The synesthesia is particularly interesting: the first medical description of the phenomena was in a German 1812 thesis, just six years before the time in which the book is set.

The Guardian Duke is released on 01 February 2012. The following book in the series, The Forgiven Duke, will be released in July 2012.

Publisher: B & H Books

Page Count: 320

Publication Date: 01 February 2012

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I won an ARC of The Guardian Duke through a contest on Jamie Carie’s blog. I was under no obligation to write a review.