Genre: Historical Romance
My Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Publisher: Avon – (June, 2011)
Rating: B; Great, would want to read again
Heat Level: 4; Very hot
Waking Up With the Duke by Lorraine Heath
July ‘On the Shelves’ Pick!
Waking Up With the Duke is an emotional and dramatic journey into one of the most unique romances. Heath has added yet another gem to her ‘London’s Greatest Lovers’ Series.
Ransom Seymour, the Duke of Ainsley has lived his life as a scandalous rake and is known as one of London’s greatest lovers. Yet an unexpected accident three years ago left him with a scar on his chin and his friend in a wheelchair, never to walk again. Overwhelmed with guilt for his friend’s situation, he is completely shocked when his friend suddenly asks him to do what he cannot; give his wife a child.
Lady Jayne Seymour Marchioness of Walfort has blamed Ainsley for her husband’s situation for years now. She is just as shocked at her husband’s proposition and disgusted that he would pick Ainsley. She finally agrees to spend a month with Ainsley in order to conceive a child. During that time she discovers a new side of this man she thought she knew, but truly did not know at all. Afterwards, too much time together has left Jayne and Ainsley wishing for things they cannot have and feeling emotions that can never be voiced. What was supposed to be a simple arrangement to create a child has turned everything upside down and complicated their lives beyond repair.
Let me start by saying this was perhaps the oddest historical I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Lady Jane absolutely hated Ainsley yet her husband was asking her to produce a child with him. Honestly, I was a little shocked and a little disgusted. Most times, I am not a big fan of the adultery theme…regardless of the moral character of the spouse being cheated on. This spouse even gave permission! Still, I was not giving up on this book because Heath usually delivers nothing less than gold with her stories. Fortunately, I was not disappointed. Heath presented this story in a unique way in which the details and circumstances were easier to accept. Of course, you’ll have to read it to discover all the details for yourself…
So what did I end up reading? Well, a very angst-filled story that was passionate and romantic. Despite my reservations, I enjoyed it very much. Ainsley was portrayed as a handsome rake…an extremely ‘kind, considerate lover’ to all his women yet his actions and feelings towards Lady Jayne were motivated by a long time adoration. You could tell early on that this woman was very special to Ainsley and this request would test him in more ways than one. Despite the craziness of the situation, Ainsley was determine to make her month at his cottage memorable and not just in the bedroom. After reading about their time together, you would just ache at the thought of both of them having to go back to their normal lives.
Lady Jayne was an interesting heroine. She confused me a lot with her conflicting thoughts and actions. At first I did not understand why she suddenly agreed to this situation…especially when she hated Ainsley so much. She had just as much difficultly, well maybe more difficultly, cheating on her husband as I did with reading about it. It’s made clear Jayne and her husband share at least a strong fondness with each other and maybe even love. So this arrangement is a difficult situation for her to deal with. Near the end her stubbornness almost drove me mad when it came to making decisions on other matters, but she eventually saw the light and made the best decision, in my opinion.
I have yet to meet a book by Lorraine Heath that has not made me cry and Waking Up With the Duke was no exception. Heath creates such overwhelmingly emotional moments that are sometimes shocking yet always delightful. Her characters are also so fully and completely developed where anything that happens to them, you experience on some level. Which for me, makes the tears flow very easily! There are many twists and turns in Waking Up With the Duke, some that I saw coming and others I did not. It only solidifies the genius that is Lorraine Heath. It’s a rare treat to find a story so beautifully written. It is also a stunningly sexy read…which should be obvious since these characters have nothing to do except try and create a baby for one month! Still, the bond that these two characters form is something more than physical and it is more that just a silly romance.
I cannot say this is my favorite of the series since I had such a difficult time with the surrounding circumstances, but that’s really my only complaint, and a personal one at that. Otherwise I adored the relationship and time these two characters shared together. Ainsley and Jayne’s journey is one that will leave it’s mark and make you reminisce about the book long after you’ve finished it. You need never fear with Lorraine Heath’s work…she’ll give you everything you want and more all wrapped up in this stunning little novel. Don’t miss Waking Up With the Duke…and don’t forget the tissues! You’re gonna need them!
London’s Greatest Lovers Series Order:
1) Passions of A Wicked Earl
2) Pleasures of A Notorious Gentleman
3) Waking Up With the Duke