Cover Image: Escaping the Duke

Escaping the Duke

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Member Reviews

By Melanie Rose Clarke. Pub Date 6/17/2021

5*. Best Enjoyed when you want a funny HR romp. 

Priscilla Livingston is a daughter of a duke and is also, secretly, a crusader for social justice, working behind the scenes and within her means to find the secrets of the nobility who are less than amenable to vote for causes that would better the less fortunate in society in the House of Lords. She then poses as Lord P and writes letters to the Duke of Bradenton to share the secrets she finds, which he uses to further their mutual causes. Unfortunately, her father has put a stumbling block in the way of her progress: He wants her to find a husband by the end of the season.

Edward Hawkins, the Duke of Bradenton, is also a crusader for the people. However, when he expects that his somewhat anonymous confidant, Lord P, may be putting himself at great risk, he becomes determined to sus out his companion’s identity so he can offer protection. While trying to catch Lord P in the act at a ball hosted by a dangerous member of the nobility, he instead stumbles across Priscilla. As Edward gets to know her, he finds a feisty, compassionate and secretive woman that stirs feelings in him like no other woman has. 

Unfortunately for Edward, he is not on Priscilla’s list of eligible husbands. She feels that if she were to wed him, he would want to own her and she cannot allow anything to get in the way of her social justice causes. Even as she develops feelings for him, she knows that she cannot give in to them. 

However, as Edward begins to close in on her secret identity, things start to get a little dicey, and soon it’s not just her causes at stake, but also both of their hearts. 

Oh my word. So funny. Clarke is an amazing author and the way she writes the internal dialogue of her characters is absolutely fantastic. I honestly loved this book and found myself laughing out loud at times.

Edward is my favorite kind of curmudgeon HR love interest. I pictured him with the large build of Luke Evan’s Gaston and the brooding sexiness of Mr. Darcy. Priscilla is funny, strong, and all heart. Their banter was fantastic and the various settings in which they interacted only helped the plot and pace. I will definitely be picking up the next books in The Secret Crusaders series. I highly recommend this book if you need a pick-me-up!

Thanks to Netgalley and Dragonblade Publishing for the advanced copy in exchange for this honest review!
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A Delightful, Lighthearted, and Laugh-out-Loud, Regency Romance

This is my first book by this author, and I found it to be a gem. It is often difficult to say what I like about a book. Reading the story, I often found myself smiling about priscilla and Edmund’s antics. They are both stubborn, and dare I say, at times foolish? They are both champions of social causes, but Priscilla takes risks Edmund would never allow a wife to take. Priscilla must keep her identity from him, and she must keep writing him letter under the guise of a lord. Priscilla must marry, but she will find a man who is not interested in her activities. It might be that lord who talks to rocks, or perhaps, it could be the one who talks to plants.

As Buddha said, “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” What happens when Edmund finds out that the lord with whom he is corresponding is not a lord at all but the woman he has been pursuing? I enjoyed this story and would recommend it to those who like lighthearted Regency romance. I fell in love with Priscilla and Edmund, stubbornness, and all. I look forward to what comes next from this author
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Escaping a duke was an art … one that Priscilla Livingston fails in the best way!

Melanie Rose Clarke has created a witty story involving some great characters with some great underlying messages. 

1. All people matter - socioeconomic status does not determine the importance of an individual. 
2. You can’t run from love.
3. Being brave can be very difficult, yet very rewarding.
4. If you are choosing a suitor avoid those who: A. Name and talk to pet rocks, B. Love plants way too much, C. Believe horses are more inspiring than a future bride.
5. Always keep a large vase handy…you never know when you will need it!

I enjoyed this story a lot, it had me laughing out loud at certain points. It would have been a solid 5 star read if it had an epilogue and if I wasn’t slightly annoyed by Lady Priscilla’s antics. Even so I recommend this story and cannot wait for the next book in the series!

4.25 Stars ⭐️ | 3 Flames 🔥
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4.5 stars

I enjoyed Escaping the Duke far more than I expected to, especially considering that I don't particularly love the "I have a secret identity" trope. The author's witty, humorous writing style and terrific character development go a long way toward making this version of the trope palatable.

This story--the first in a promising new series--follows the friendship and romance that develop between a duke (Edmund) and a duke's daughter (Priscilla). Edmund and Priscilla know each other in more than one way, though Priscilla is the only one who knows the full story. To Edmund, Priscilla is a captivating and brilliant woman who would make a perfect duchess. Priscilla is equally charmed by Edmund but is very much opposed to marrying him; if they marry, she knows he will uncover and put a halt to her other identity, that of Lord P, who Edmund also knows, but only as a mysterious correspondent who helps him win socially conscious votes in Parliament. It seems to take Edmund--an intelligent man--far too long to figure out the truth, in my opinion, but the regard he has for Priscilla definitely redeems him.

Both Edmund and Priscilla are deeply involved in fighting for social justice, a cause I deeply connect with. However, at times, their extravagant displays of wealth (that dress! Edmund's ball!) seem at odds with their cause, though to be fair, Clarke includes plenty of examples of their generosity in thought, deed, and action in an attempt to balance it out. 

I was also mildly unconvinced by Priscilla's reasons for refusing Edmund's suit. If he is uncommonly dense in figuring out Loud P's identity, Priscilla matches him in her inability to really see him and therefore trust him. Together, though, they are a terrific couple, and they are surrounded by other terrific people, many of whom will undoubtedly star in future books. Yay!

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. Thanks!
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Escaping the Duke was an enjoyable read! I found the characters charming however the main issue in the books is a bit confusing. Their reasons not you be together seemed a bit forced and the jokes about rocks and vases could have been condensed. 

That being said, there were lots of things I liked about the book! The Dukes unwavering affection was refreshing and sincere. Priscilla was adorable and although this isn’t a super spicy historical romance, the character connection was enjoyable!
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Priscilla Livingston grew up helping the less fortuned as a lady of the ton she had to hide it.  She found a partner with Edmund Hawkins, the powerful Duke of Bradenton.. Priscilla writes him as a guy to hide that she is his informer.  Edmund deiides it's time for him to marry and decides Priscilla would be perfect for him little does he know she is his informer he also tries to find out his informer's identity,
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This was just boring, uncomfortable, and not my style. I guess this is what I get for trying to go out of my genre comfort zone.
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Thanks go to the publisher and Net-Galley for the complimentary digital copy of Escaping the Duke by Melanie Rose Clarke. I voluntarily agreed to read and review this Regency romance prior to publication. My opinions are my own, and nothing has influenced my rating.
Escaping the Duke is a well written debut novel with engaging characters and an emotionally charged plot. The pacing is good and kept me involved from the first page to the last. I enjoyed the light banter between the characters a great deal.
Priscilla, daughter to a duke, is a quirky woman determined to right the wrongs that plague the poor of London. She forms a sewing group, but the topic discussed have nothing to do with needlework. While she’s a bit of a do-good type, she has plenty of backbone and is not afraid to speak her mind.
Edmund, Duke of Bradenton, has all the qualities I enjoy most in a hero. He too, wants to help the downtrodden by backing bills that will make their lives easier. While he could easily come across as too good to be true, he has such a charming side, it makes up for that.
As a couple, Priscilla and Edmund are ideal for each other, and I could see them having a convivial union. While the romance is a slow burn and based on mutual interests instead of blinding passion, I enjoyed their love story. I’m all for keeping one’s card tight to one’s chest, but I did get a bit frustrated with her big secret. That went on too long, and I would have liked a less abrupt ending. It felt rushed to me.
If you enjoy traditional Regency romances with enchanting characters and a lovely plot, then you will love Escaping the Duke as much as I did. I’m amazing by the talent and potential Ms. Clarke shows in this delightful novel. Happy reading!
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My first read of Ms. Clarke's work.  I loved Priscilla and applauded her determination to live a life of service to the needy.  When Edmund met her and decided she was his perfect duchess, I could understand right away why she didn't want anything to do with marriage.  There were times when Edmund was just too much of a stalker for me.  The poor girl couldn't walk down the street without him following her!   I will never write a spoiler, so I won't tell you all that happens.  There is quite a merry chase, moments of sadness and soul searching.  The letters were a lovely way to share their thoughts, too.  I enjoyed this story!
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OOOOh I hope this will be a series! It's promising first serve. Our heroine... Priscilla Livingston. She is strong and a fighter. She's doing this secretly, of course. She has a hidden, secret identity that we just know has to entangle her up with our hero, Edmond. Awesome story about to powerful people! Loved it.
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3.5 stars

An amusing romp though only kisses until the end of the book, then full on passion.  

Priscilla is keen to help the disadvantaged having seen her grandmother rescue an abandoned baby.  Edmund is a powerful duke who is using parliament to reform bills going through the house of lords.  Priscilla has been writing to Edmund as Lord P giving information to help him persuade Lords to his side.  She in turn is receiving information about her social justice aims from an admirer.  Edmund decides that Priscilla is the one to make his duchess, Priscilla believing marriage is a curse to her campaigning is reluctant, even though she has her own parents loving marriage as a positive example. 

We meet his/her friends so plenty of scope for other books.  The comedy aspects were quite well written but perhaps, for me the on/off took too long to resolve. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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This was such a joy to read! Priscilla as a main character is someone who instantly stood out from some recently published historical romance main females—in a good way. She has a mission and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. The relationship between her and the Duke comes about in such a unique twist to the crossdressing trope (would this count? For now, I’ll say yes). Such a nice romance—I can see this being too slow for some people, but I found the pacing to be just right for my tastes. 

The prose was simple and subtly powerful, with some gorgeous imagery in some scenes. Characterizatiin was strong and there are some side characters that I’m hoping get their own book in the future! This author is going to be someone I look forward to.
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I have never read a book where the heroine gets in to so many sticky situations. It was absolutely delightful. I love the fact that both Priscilla and Edmund are both fighting for the working class. It is so engrained in who they are that they forge a strong bond, even while trying to hide who they really are. I loved reading this book!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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What’s not to love about a strongly independent dukes daughter, Priscilla Livingston has dedicated her life to social causes. She’s been writing anonymously under a pen name, Lord P., to the Edmund Hawkins, the powerful Duke of Bradenton. Bradeton has been trying to find who he is, he wants to join forces to further their joint help for humanity. But there’s one problem Priscilla has come into the crosshairs of the duke as a prospective wife. She has quite intrigued him with her intelligence and why is she lying to dissuade from perusing her. He knows she’s hiding something so the cat and mouse game is one to see who can fool who. A captivating story as Bradenton tries to uncover who Lord P really is and uncover Priscilla’s secrets. She doesn’t want a domineering arrogant husband like the duke she a husband one who will not care about her personal interest. Mysteries to solve and they two antagonists become enchanted with each other and fall in love. I voluntarily read and reviewed this excellent book filled romance. Great start to a new series!!!
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Loved this book!  Priscilla and Edmund were strong, very likable characters!  Both were each in their own way working to help the less fortunate.
There were many interesting secondary characters that kept reappearing throughout the story.  I hope we see some of their stories in the future as well.
Story was very well written and kept my attention throughout.
This is my first time reading Melanie Rose Clarke and it won't be my last.  I highly recommend reading this wonderful story!
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Hide n Go Seek has never been so creative until you have read this book! I felt this book is not a cookie cutter romance and will keep you entranced and laughing at the witty banter throughout the book!  Priscilla Livingstone is for the downtrodden, but wants a man who will not control her or stop her from going on her excursions of stealth to get information to help her causes. 
The Powerful Duke of Bradenton has taken a liking to Priscilla which she has been trying to discourage to no avail. Things heat up between the two and this is when the antics begin! 
The book is written with great characters and a fun storyline that will keep you turning the pages! 

I definitely would recommend this book!

I received a free advanced copy from NetGalley and these are my willingly given thoughts and opinions.
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"Some people will say you can't do amazing things, Priscilla, just because you are a female. Do not ever believe them. You can do whatever you wish to do. You can save the world." Her grandmother had looked in her eye as she said the words. It was to frame Priscilla's life.

I absolutely adored this story! Laugh out loud moments, especially Priscilla's thoughts, a tangled web of deceit, albet for a good cause, and a merry chase between she and Bradenton!

So very glad to have read this first in a series and cannot wait for more!! Simply delightful....
Oh yes, I love that cover!
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This novel was absolutely wonderful! Pricilla is a young lady with huge dreams - she wants to save the world and she's not afraid to get her hands dirty to achieve her goals. This season she is supposed to be courting eligible bachelors in hopes of finding a husband, except her aspirations lie elsewhere. Under the pen name Lord P, she has been secretly assisting and advising the Duke of Bradenton, Edmund, on social issues. Edmund spends the majority of this novel trying to unmask the notorious Lord P while also falling madly in love with Pricilla, not realizing they are one in the same.

This book was a glorious blend of mischief, passion, and comedy. I found myself laughing out loud whilst reading many of Pricilla's inner monologues. She was hilarious! The continuous joke regarding vases between our two lovers was one of my favorite parts of the novel. What I really appreciated, above all else, was Pricilla's promise to herself - she would not marry and sacrifice her dreams of making the world a better place. Although she loved Edmund, she didn't want to be selfish in that affection. She was constantly fighting an inner battle with herself regarding her feelings for him and who she would choose for a husband. Edmund never gave up on her, though. He fought for her until the very end, constantly proving himself in every way. He needed her to know what kind of man he was. That he was not the cruel and demanding Duke she believed him to be. 

If you're looking for a comedic, sweet love story with low angst - this is the perfect novel for you! This historical romance brings us some of our favorite tropes: forced proximity, enemies to lovers, and many more. There are no explicit sex scenes, and although I do prefer a little more detail, I did not feel that anything was lost from our story. I loved the sweet stolen kisses and longing glances more than I thought I would. The passion between these two was evident. I am so excited for book 2 to release! Melanie Rose Clarke has found a new fan in me. 5 stars!

I received this ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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A witty fun read that can be read in a sitting at the beach or by the pool! The main characters are great and there are also wonderful side characters that I hope have their own stories told!  And I love the beautiful cover!
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I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view.

Ever since she witnessed her grandmother save a child's life, Lady Priscilla Livingston has done everything she could to help those in life who are ignored. But, as a woman, her choices are limited, so she creates the persona of 'Lord P', and acts as informant to Edmund Hawkins, the powerful Duke of Bradenton, who uses the information she discovers to help pass laws and enact change. However, her father has said she needs to marry, and when she thinks her plan to find a boring, and more importantly, busy, husband, here enters Edmund, who sets his sights on Priscilla, and won't be discouraged. Not even when he discovers that she's keeping secrets, and is potentially in danger; in fact, it spurs him on further. Will Priscilla be able to stick to her morals, and continue her good work, or will all be revealed?

I really enjoyed this book, and flew through it once I started it. Both Priscilla and Edmund were interesting characters, who we learnt more about as the book progressed. Both were from lofty and highly privileged backgrounds, as the daughter of a duke, and a duke himself, respectively, but cared about those most in society deem as 'lower' or 'unworthy'. They can see the world is changing, and society needs to be reformed to make it a better place, and even if they have to go to dangerous lengths to manage it, they will do. Their chemistry was unreal, and I loved the banter between them, and especially how conflicted Priscilla was about lying to Edmund about 'Lord P'. Their relationship was fantastic, and I can definitely see how Melanie is setting the scene for the following books in the series - hopefully about our couple's friends. I look forward to continuing the series!
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