Cover Image: The Duke Gets Desperate

The Duke Gets Desperate

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Member Reviews

I did finish this book , but it took a while to get thru it. I don't like not finishing a book. But I struggled with this one. There was so much negativity in this book. It seemed like Everytime you would think that Raya and Strick(the Duke of Strickland) got past their animosity towards each other, something would happen that would bring them back to being enemies. They went back and forth so many times between hate and love it was annoying. But if you like the enemies to lovers scenario, then this book is for you.
I want to thank Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book.

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Do you know what I totally loved about this book, well two things? Enemies to lovers done really well and the fact that Raya is such a kick-a$$ heroine. She is whip smart and came up with the greatest ideas to earn money. The banter between Strick and Raya was off the charts full of tension and I loved every single minute of it. It was great seeing these two work together to make the Castle profitable without going overboard (hmmm, except when Raya suggested something which was a joke, of course). A read you don’t see everyday and it is written so well.

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Diana Quincy has made a name for herself writing spicy historical romance featuring Arab characters. In The Duke Gets Desperate, she gives us Raya Darwish, an Arab-American woman with a head for business, who unexpectedly inherits the Duke of Strickland's castle. Why's he desperate? Well, he desperately wants his castle back, and he's desperately trying not to have to marry for money. Inheritance shenanigans and mysterious happenings on the estate stack on top of communication issues until we finally reach the HEA.

For sure the best part of the book is how Raya's experience as an Arab woman is woven into the narrative. She faces discrimination and racism both at home in New York and in England. Her complicated feelings with her heritage aren't glossed over. And yet, she's more than just "an Arab character": she's a fully-realized romance heroine. What's more, although her Arab-ness is front and center, it doesn't form the central conflict of the novel. We loved it!

Sadly, the romance and plot were less thrilling. Both rely heavily on miscommunication and misinterpretation between the MCs. The first time Strick froze Raya out because he misinterpreted something she said, they got over it quickly. The second time, when she thought he meant something different than he did, we were willing to read on. But when he purposely hides something from her, then she finds out and hides that she knows he's hiding something, we were kind of done with these plot elements. (The book wasn't!)

All that aside, we are invested in the series premise and looking forward to the next one.

This objective review is based on a complimentary copy of the novel.

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I really enjoy Diana Quincy's historicals. They are always so fresh and unique in terms of plot and characters.

The setup for this was so promising, our hero the Duke of Strickland hopes to inherent his family's castle after his stepmother mysteriously passes away, only to learn she has left his ancestral estate to an Arab American cousin she doesn't even know more than from letter writing.

There's a LOT of hate to love in this one and that's ultimately what didn't work for me.

There was too much reliance on physical attraction drawing them together while still hating each other. It lacked complexity and seemed a bit too surface level for what I was hoping for. And I greatly disliked how the hero thought of the heroine in terms of body parts only.

There was sadly little to no emotional development in the romance and it was my least favorite part of the book. Great side characters and background plot and our heroine's personality really carried it for me.

I received an ARC for review.

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He's a duke, but she inherited his castle....

A fact that Anthony Carey, "Strick" the Duke of Strickland hates with a burning passion. Just like he hated Deena, his stepmother, who left the castle to her cousing, Miss Raya Darwish of New York. Raya is Arab, has a head for business and mind for money. I adored Raya. She is honest, smart, fabulous with money and knows her own worth. Strick, is atrocious to her and they fight and bicker, a true enemies to lovers (not my fave trope, but Diana Quincy makes it work well) but they do have chemistry and physical attraction. Strick basically thinks with his d (all the time). He's not the brightest but he finally comes around to the fact that Raya is better at business and money than he'll ever be.

I really liked the contemporary feel of this book and that it is set in 1886 and addresses a lot of the changing times in the aristocrasy. Raya is great and Strick/Anthony finally grew on me, but that's mainly cuz he was still thinking with his d. Oh, and a surprising amount of Victorian dirty talk.
Highly recommend.
Purchased.

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I finally read my most anticipated release of the year!

I became a huge Diana Quincy fan when I binged her Clandestine Affairs series in 2022 and I've been waiting for her next release since then!

While this book wasn't my perfect romance, she has a way of making tropes I don't usually enjoy still a treat! (It's me, I'm the problem, I'm the only person on the planet who doesn't enjoy dislike to lovers.) Looking forward to the rest of this series!

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Anthony Carey, Duke of Strickland, is angry at his father for giving Castle Tremayne to his flamboyant step mother. As he commiseratees with his friend Hawk and Vauhan.
Basil Trevelyn, Earl of Hawksworth or Hawk, is a long time friend who Strickland can confide in.
Honorable Mr. Guy Vaughan, his sister Miss Frances, neighbors and long time family friends.

Deena Darwish Carey stepmother, cousin Miss Raya Darwish of New York City, her brother, Salem kicked her out of the family business, Darwish and Company, now with her Aunt Majida in tow has arrived to visit Deena

.
Deena is dead by the time Raya and her aunt arrive. Not sure what to do now, she is shocked to learn the cousin Deena has left her the castle. So is Strickland. The solicitor advised that it is all legal.

Raya decides to turn the small tours that the housekeeper does into a bigger scale to make the castle profitable. Strickland value at first but does see the merit in it. As the two bicker back and forth on what can and cannot be included or done to the full property that each own half of.

Raya owns the castle proper along with the gardens and small meadow. The rest is Strickland's. The bailey, outer buildings and acreage of lands, the animals and their pens. Data also enlists the staff and some of the village town folks to come work the enterprises.

When the rumors are finally told to Raya that her cousin's death might not have been an accident, she does not know who to trust or where to turn. When she confronts Strickland he tells her what he knows and thinks.

These two have lively combative discussion on many different topic and start to trust the other. Until secrets start to rise, family starts to interfere, and hurt feelings get involved.

So come join the new ventures starting at Castle Tremayne. Come frolic in the gardens, enjoy the ruins, vista, and heated battles. Ah, normal family antics abound!

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I read 30% and wasn’t feeling the chemistry or particularly liking either of the characters. The hero resorts to name-calling, and Raya says she is business-minded but just decides to open the house up to tours for income without really thinking about it, and when she already had discord with the housekeeper especially that felt like a cruel thing to do to someone who was using that as a source of rightful income. I feel like I read five scenes where Anthony tells Raya she shouldn’t be in a room or be doing a thing in a room in under 100 pages.

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This is the first book in Diana Quincy's Sirens in Silk series. This was my first read by this author and I enjoyed the inclusion of Raya's culture. I also loved how both Anthony (MMC) and Raya (FMC) were passionate about something. Anthony was passionate about artifacts and preserving them for the future, where as Raya was passionate about all aspects of business. I enjoyed how it showed how capable in business Raya was and how she was creative in thinking up business ventures to help save the estate from bankruptcy. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tropes:
Class Difference
Hate to Love

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Anthony Cary, the Duke of Strickland, cannot believe that he lost his beloved ancestral castle to an American factory worker. His step-mother had betrayed him and left the castle to a distant cousin in her will. When Raya Darwish had traveled to England with her aunt to finally meet her cousin, but fate had other ideas in mind. This was the last thing Raya wanted. Who would want a musty old run-down castle? She certainly didn't, but strife within her family back in New York means she has no other income. She has no choice but to move into the castle and face the displeasure of the duke.

This was a different story than the usual glittering ballrooms of London, and I applaud Ms. Quincy for her ingenuity. Both Raya and Anthony are like oil and water and constantly bicker throughout the book, although neither can deny their sexual attraction to one another. I loved how each of them learned something from each other--Anthony, to embrace new ways, and Raya to learn to trust a man's word, especially after being betrayed by her brother.

There is a mystery subplot about what happened to some of the relics that had gone missing from the castle. I had a feeling who the culprit was, and it was revealed in a clever way. I look forward to reading more books in this series.

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Though this wasn't my favorite Quincy novel I am so excited for a new series from her! And what a creative premise--love an American fish out of water.

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Rating: 4.5 Stars

CW: Racism; sexism; death of a parent (off-page)

It’s been a long time since I sat down and read a book in one sitting, but that’s pretty much what happened with The Duke Gets Desperate as I was HOOKED as soon as I started reading. I need everyone to buy this book now so we can all scream and shout about how good it is!

After the death of his American stepmother, Anthony Cary, Duke of Strickland, thinks he’ll finally inherit the family’s castle and be able to restore it to its former glory. But at the reading of the will, he’s stunned to learn the castle’s once again not been left to him. This time, it’s been left to his stepmother’s cousin, Raya Darwish. Raya never expected to inherit a castle and instantly clashes with the young Duke, who insists the castle is rightfully his. She’s willing to give it back to him – at a price. But she learns the estate is practically bankrupt, and she needs to work with the duke so the castle can generate income and they can both get what they want. However, they cannot stand each other, but that disdain gives way to desire, as the two work to restore the castle and answer unaddressed questions over the death of her cousin.

The romance in this is EXQUISITE. The banter! THE BANTER! And the chemistry – these two want each other so badly! The “I hate you, but I love you, but I hate that I love you” vibes were sending me. Like how can you not love interactions like this:

“All we ever do is quarrel.”
“Because you are beyond annoying.”
“And you are the most provoking woman I have ever met.”
“The feeling is most definitely mutual,” she snapped. And yet she wanted nothing more than to feel his kiss again.
His gaze dropped to her mouth. “This attraction between us is a curse.”
Raya sucked in a breath. Putting words to the connection, saying it aloud, made the inexplicable pull between them terrifyingly real. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Liar.”
She licked her lips. “The very idea is repulsive.”
His pupils dilated as he watched the movement of her tongue. “Nauseating.”
“We should keep as far away from each other as possible.”
“An ocean would not be far enough away,” he growled, “to relieve myself of the affliction of you.”

I was so giddy watching Strickland and Raya spar and then kiss and then immediately go back to sparring. These two prove how close the boundaries between love and hate are. I was literally living for every interaction they had and was giggling at how they were both telling each other the same lie about their feelings when it was so clear they were head over heels in love with each other. Why else would you keep kissing? Diana Quincy also delivered on the spice in this, as their chemistry led to some great banging, including some angry, hate banging with dirty talk. I also adored how Strickland showed his devotion to Raya – who wouldn’t want a man to give you a full bed of flowers in a gorgeous abandoned abbey on a castle estate? If you like the vibes of Anthony and Kate from season 2 of Bridgerton (more the show vibes than book vibes), I think you’ll love Raya and Strickland. The book also talks about how Arabs believe in fated mates, about finding your naseeb, and these two definitely felt like they were destined for each other.

Now, while I adored the romance in this, I could have used a tad less miscommunication/lying about certain things. I get WHY the characters thought that was a good idea, but as soon as that plot point came up, I was like, “boy, this is going to blow up in your face,” and I was right. That detracted from my enjoyment of the overall story just a tad, but not as much as I expected.

Outside the romance, I absolutely loved our main characters. I have a serious girl crush on Raya as she handles the unexpected situation of inheriting a castle so well and doesn’t care one wit that Strickland is a Duke. She’s so smart and driven and incredibly business savvy. I loved all the ideas she had to make the castle profitable, as they’re all things we modern readers come to expect when visiting a castle, but I hated that she had to fight tooth and nail to get people to believe her. She really pours her heart and soul into making the castle a business, leaving her mark on it, and Stickland can see and admire that about her. Her relationship with her Aunt was delightful, and I continue to enjoy how Quincy celebrates Arab traditions and culture through her characters.

Strickland was exactly what I wanted as he’s a bit of a stubborn Duke, but he also sees the value that Raya brings, even if he fights her on the changes at first. He’s so devoted to his legacy and the castle that it takes someone new to open his eyes to how to really celebrate it. I also loved that he was into archeology and not afraid to get his hands dirty while looking for Anglo-Saxon relics and making jewelry inspired by their motifs. That was such an unexpected side of him, but I loved that he could geek out on it, and Raya shared his fascination. He’s so stubborn in the beginning and a bit of a jerk, but he also falls hard and is so head over heels for Raya that he more than makes up for it in the end, as he’d do anything for her.

Outside the central romance, I also loved how Quincy wove in a mystery subplot surrounding the death of Raya’s cousin Deena. It worked seamlessly with the broader story, and I loved trying to figure out how all the pieces would come together. Quincy definitely throws a few red herrings your way, and I loved getting to the big reveal, as it was just so much fun.

If I could sum up this book, I would say it is a pure delight and so much fun. I had the biggest, dopiest grin on my face the entire time while reading it. I just loved watching these characters fight their feelings and fall in love. Quincy’s writing is superb, and the wit and humor really shine in this one! Definitely my favorite book I’ve read from her so far, and I cannot wait to read more in this series.

Thank you to Avon/Netgalley for the ARC. All thoughts, ideas, and opinions expressed in this review are my own. The quote is from the ARC and is subject to change.

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Raya Darwish arrives from America to find she's inherited her late cousin's castle. There's only one problem... the lands surrounding it belong to the Duke of Strickland. He assumed the castle would be restored back to the family ducal estate. His late stepmother died under mysterious circumstances and everyone was well aware of Strick's distaste for her. Raya and the Duke must rely on each other to make the estate solvent or risk loosing everything to bankruptcy. Unfortunately, their mutual disdain for each other and Raya's never ending American get rich schemes keep them at odds.

I had such a hard time seeing the actual chemistry between the two of them. Was there a lot of hate banging? Sure. But I didn't see them having a real relationship. I appreciate that Diana Quincy continues to give readers diverse characters and storylines. I just needed more of an emotional connection. I enjoyed all the ways Raya tried to make the castle into a profitable business and thought the scene where she gets drunk off of apple cider was hilarious. The ending wasn't my favorite resolution but it was a quick read and I can see why others liked it so much.

Thank you to Diana Quincy, Avon Harper Voyager and NetGalley for this eARC. All opinions expressed are my own. #netgalley #avonharpervoyager #TheDukeGetsDesperate #SirensinSilk

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I’ve read a lot of historical romances in the last several years, and I’ve been eager to find more diversity in them. The Duke Gets Desperate, the first in Diana Quincy’s Sirens in Silk series, is the first I’ve read starring a character of Arab descent, but it won’t be the last!

Anthony Carey, Duke of Strickland, is shocked and angry when his recently departed stepmother, Deena, who inherited the family castle after his father’s death, leaves the castle to a stranger. That stranger is Deena’s cousin Raya, an Arab American who just arrived in England. She had intended to visit Deena, but after her sudden and suspicious death, Raya only made it in time for her funeral. Naturally, with Strick angry and ready to lash out and Raya no pushover, the two do not get off to a good start. They hate each other, but with Strick still living in the castle he grew up in, despite Raya’s new ownership, they see each other a lot. The close proximity gives them plenty of time to bicker… and maybe to harbor their secret attractions to each other.

The enemies portion of The Duke Gets Desperate is rather believable. They really do not get along! Especially with Raya’s enterprising mind and endless moneymaking schemes meant to save the nearly bankrupt castle—all ideas that Strick is initially quite resistant to. They butt heads constantly. The switch from enemies to something more is a bit sudden, and I do wish that transition had been smoothed over. Regardless, once these two do get together, the fireworks are real! They have such a realistic relationship full of contradictions and mistrust. Even as romantic feelings blossom, they have numerous miscommunications and make a lot of negative assumptions about each other—the meaning behind what they said, the cruel plans they may secretly have. Fortunately, none of their miscommunications are drawn out, but there are a lot of spats that the two have to work through.

While Strick and Raya figure out their feelings for each other, there is still the matter of the castle. Raya got burned by her own family back in the US, and although this castle she’s inherited is in dire financial straights, she’s determined to turn things around. Strick can’t afford to buy his castle back, though he does look into his options. Meanwhile, Raya is a delightfully enterprising woman! She’s full of ideas to make the castle profitable, from paid castle tours to weaving the goats’ hair into sellable products. There’s no end to her business ideas and her excitement over money. Her employees at the castle are rather reluctant to do anything she says, but winning over Strick would help in that matter.

Indeed, in addition the the castle employees being resistant to their new mistress, there is also an undercurrent of the bigotry and racism aimed at not only Raya, but also at her late cousin, Deena. I appreciate how these topics are addressed here. Raya’s Arab heritage and coloring are a big part of why some are bigoted towards her, but her being American is also distasteful to some of the English characters here.

On top of the castle business and tentative romance, there’s also a real mystery afoot: Was Deena’s death truly an accident, or was something more sinister at play? Could the duke himself have been behind her untimely demise? Although the mystery plays a secondary role here, I love how it continues to lurk in the background and how it plays a role in the novel’s climax.

The Duke Gets Desperate is a fast-paced and enthralling read, filled with business acumen, a hint of mystery, and plenty of enemies-to-lovers steam. I enjoyed the characters and how they navigated their unexpected circumstances.

This is the first in a series, and I look forward to reading the next Sirens in Silk books. I’m anticipating love stories for Strick’s two friends, Guy Vaughan and Basil Trevelyn, Earl of Hawksworth… the latter is maybe giving me Persuasion vibes!

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Anthony Cary discovers that he gets the title of Duke of Strickland but not the family castle. His father left the house to Anthony's stepmother. However, the stepmother dies under mysterious circumstances the next owner is her Arab-American niece. When Raya Darwish's brother removes her from running the family business, she leaves America bound England to see her aunt. She finds her relative is deceased and has left the castle to Raya. The house needs some work and it is now up to Raya to figure out how to pay for the repairs. Luckily she has a head for business. I enjoyed the delightful banter between Raya and Anthony as they learn to work together to restore the castle, fall in love, and solve the mystery of what really happened to her aunt/his stepmother. And this cover is beautiful!

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I am a huge Diana Quincy fan and have enjoyed every book I have read. The Duke Gets Desperate has quickly become a favorite read of 2023 for me. You can’t help but fall for Anthony Cary, Duke of Strickland. A duke in love with his lands, tenants and with his beloved castle. There is just one problem - the castle isn’t really his. Upon his death, his father gave it to his American wife. Adding insult to injury his step mother left it to another American cousin. Sorely lacking in funds, he is desperate to set things to rites. Once this American interloper arrives, he will move heaven and earth to gain back the castle.

While Anthony does expect to meet another brash American heiress, he is stunned to face a formidable foe. Raya Darwish is a beautiful Arab-American woman who does not understand why her cousin would have left her a run down and crumbling castle. What could she have been thinking? Having helped run her family’s business in Bostons, Raya begins to see how she can make the castle into a showpiece that she can turn around, sell and leave England. Not on Anthony’s watch! They clash over each proposal, both passionate about their goals. That passion and their conflicts are what drive this romance forward. Yet all around them are mysteries surrounding her cousin’s death and the theft of ancient artifacts found on the grounds. Delicious intrigue, indeed.

I highly recommend this five star read. Diana Quincy writes beautiful dialog and wonderful imagery. I enjoy her books from a historical perspective as I learn about the lives and history of Arabians during Victorian times both in America and England. I greatly appreciate my Netgalley arc of this book. So run, don't walk to your nearest bookstore or let your fingers do the waking and order your copy today! Enjoy!

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Diana Quincy's new series is off to a ripping start with enemies-to-lover.s featuring an Arab American FMC who inherits a castle and a starchy duke who thinks it should have been his. These two are butting heads basically from first meet. Raya is the daughter of textile merchants in the States, (and to borrow a phrase) she's got a head for business and a bod for sin

Raya embarks on a plan to use her business acumen to whip Castle Tremayne into shape and make the estate some money after years of neglect, Anthony, Duke of Strickland, can barely keep up, and the two bicker and banter constantly (in the most delightful way), while breathing heavily the moment either gets within arms length.

I loved that the cultural rep was more extensive than in previous DQ books. I loved Raya's ish talking auntie and as always I love a hyper-competent FMC. The MMC who realizes how amazing she is (even if it takes him a minute), he's not bad either. This may be Diana Quincy's spiciest novel yet, with Strick's penchant for, ahem, coarse language, and the fact that these two can't keep their hands off each other. But I wouldn't have it any other way!

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When his father died, Anthony “Strick” Carey, the new Duke of Strickland, was shocked to learn that his spendthrift father let the entail on the family’s castle lapse and that he left the castle to his second wife, Deena Darwish, an American of Arab decent. Strick never liked Deena and was sure that she was selling off family heirlooms to support her lifestyle, he is also convinced that she had stolen some of his personal possessions, including some rare Saxon goblets he found at a dig, but he was just as surprised as everyone else when she tragically dies after falling from a tower in the ruins. He believes that the castle is now his, and even plans to sell off his precious Saxon collection to fund the castle’s restoration, but when her will is read he learns that even in death Deena has found a way to steal from him because instead of returning the castle to him as she said she would, she left it to her cousin, Miss Raya Darwish of New York. A termagant, who drives him mad with her money-making schemes, yet still makes him burn with a desire more powerful than anything he has ever experienced.

Raya travels to England to meet her cousin Deena for the first time, only to arrive and learn that she is dead and has left Castle Tremanyne to Raya. Raya came to England not only to meet Deena but also to lick her wounds. Raya along with her brother, Salem worked with their father in the family’s linen business, but when her father died, he left the business entirely to Salem, who promptly cut Raya out. Raya is an astute businesswoman and was responsible for the successful expansion of the family business, so being cast out was a double blow, leaving her with no purpose and no way to support herself. She is at first thrilled to learn she inherited a castle, but then learns the truth, the castle is all she has, since all the outbuildings and tenant farms belong to Strick, so she has no way to pay for improvements, upkeep, or even the staff. Never one to give up, Raya has ideas for ways to generate income, but it will mean working with Strick, who annoys her and excites her in equal measure, and happens to be the man rumored to have killed her cousin. They butt heads constantly, but can’t seem to keep their hands to themselves, a problem that ultimately finds them betrothed. But when a secret comes to light and a surprising offer comes in, will Raya marry the duke, or will she choose business over lover?

This was a well-written, fast-paced story with wonderful characters and a fresh and unique plot. The story was filled with betrayal, murder, lies, secrets, jealousy, miscommunications, prejudices, steamy love scenes, a hero who falls first, and finally, a HEA that didn’t seem possible. The story had a lot going on, but it never seemed “busy”, it flowed nicely and while I think Raya was a bit too “in love” with making money, I did appreciate the struggles she encountered and found her to be a very likable as well as one of the most resilient heroines I have ever read. Overall, this was a very good story and I am happy to recommend this title. This is the first book in a new series, so this would be a great book to start with if you are new to this author!

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.*

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Charming! Raya and the Duke of Strickland seemingly need to figure out who actually owns the castle that has been in the Strickland family for generations. But somehow, Strickland’s ne'er do well father left the castle to his second wife who in turn left it to her Arab-American cousin, Raya. While they aren’t at each other's throats attempting to solve the dilemma of who the estate belongs to, they are at each other’s lips with a maddening passion.

This was quite the romp, I really enjoyed the characters - Raya and Strickland had undeniable chemistry. I think the only bit I struggled with was lack of communication leading to misunderstanding. And I know this is a plot technique, it just felt a little over the top at times.

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so refreshing to 1) have a heroine that is NOT blonde and blue-eyed...
2) loved the arab connections
3) the twists at the end made for a great turn of events
4) any time Paterson, NJ and Fairlawn are mentioned in a book:) I am a fan!#TheDukeGetsDesperate #NetGalley

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