The Duke's Decision

Dukes in Danger: A Haversham House Romance

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Pub Date 25 Jan 2021 | Archive Date 31 Mar 2023

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While gathering research for the puzzles she sells to newspapers, Vivian, the widowed Viscountess Rowden, literally stumbles across the arrogant Duke of Whitley.

Whit, known to the ton as the Ice Duke, is spymaster for the Crown, and he has evidence of enemy agents using newspaper ciphers to send coded messages to Napoleon's army. His mission is clear—less clear are his feelings for the woman he may have to destroy.

While Vivian struggles to put the past behind her and find a future where her heart can be safe, the duke must decide whether the lovely and independent viscountess is friend, foe, or fate.

While gathering research for the puzzles she sells to newspapers, Vivian, the widowed Viscountess Rowden, literally stumbles across the arrogant Duke of Whitley.

Whit, known to the ton as the Ice...

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ISBN 9781509233977
PRICE $4.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 16 members

Featured Reviews

While gathering research for the puzzles she sells to newspapers, Vivian, the widowed Viscountess Rowden, literally stumbles across the arrogant Duke of Whitley.
Whit, known to the ton as the Ice Duke, is spymaster for the Crown, and he has evidence of enemy agents using newspaper ciphers to send coded messages to Napoleon's army. His mission is clear—less clear are his feelings for the woman he may have to destroy.
While Vivian struggles to put the past behind her and find a future where her heart can be safe, the duke must decide whether the lovely and independent viscountess is friend, foe, or fate.
Whit and Vivian are meant to be together in spite of him thinking her to be a spy. I have not read a book by this author before.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinion of this book which I read and reviewed voluntarily.

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Historical fiction with new insights…a protagonist who thinks for herself, is quirky…other characters…foils for the main character…this author is talented and gifted at writing an intriguing novel. This book was sent to me by Netgalley for review. Thanks to the publisher for the electronic copy. I enjoyed reading his story…hoping for a romantic ending… enjoy the ,yesteryear within…curl up in a comfy chair and become lost in the past.

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A bit slow on the uptake. Very similar to many other historical romance novels I have read before. I did like a few things that were unique to the author, as fast as memory serves. However this isn't one I would add to my personal collection though I appreciate the chance I was given to read it.

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3.5 stars rounded up for effort. This isn't a bad first in a series by what appears to be a first-time writer of Regency romances. It's well-edited and the prose flows well, without all of the choppiness and glaring anachronisms that you sometimes find in writers' early books. I enjoy a good spy plot, and this does have a decent amount of suspense, along with a clever MFC.

The main hiccups have to do with an overage of dialog, extraneous description, and unnecessary emphasis on side characters, instead of a consistent focus on the suspense elements and the strengthening of the MCs' relationship. The writer seems unsure as to whether she wants this to be a tense, dark espionage tale or a light drawing room/house-party romance. This indecision leads to scenes that are momentum killers and can cause the reader to skim habitually. For example, during what should be a tense confrontation between the MC's, there's a detailed description of the MFC's "high-necked nightgown "and how it "billowed about her feet" instead of giving the reader a sense of her internal turmoil. The MFC spends a lot of time in the second half of the book being stubborn and yelling at the MMC while the MMC orders her around. They run hot and cold, with little in-between. The steamy scenes are effective, but they seem to come out of nowhere and surprise even the MC's. Looking at the cover of this book, I didn't know whether to expect "sweet and clean" or "some steam"; it's actually steamier than I expected. Not a bad thing IMO (although it might confuse readers who only go for steam or steam-free), but I didn't really buy the MCs' love at the end. Finally, just as the last 10% of the book picked up a last burst of momentum, there was a plot hole that bothered me involving whether the MFC was really valuable to the bad guys or not, and the plot leaves off with something of a cliffhanger.

Overall, though, this is a good first time effort. With more focus on the tension and suspense elements and deeper character development, this would have been a solid 4 star or higher read.

Review left on Bookbub, Amazon and Goodreads 9/6/22.

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Vivian loses her husband in a manner that surrounds her in scandal, even though it had nothing to do with her. Unfortunately, she has a niece making her come out and wants Vivian to join her in town. She knows this isn't a good idea, but she misses town and decides to go. Her passion of puzzles leads her to a bookstore where she runs into Whit. This chance encounter irrevocably changes her life by adding passion, exposing a danger she isn't aware of, and making a dream come true that she is too afraid to dream of. I absolutely loved this book!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Thank you NetGalley for this electronic copy!

I greatly enjoyed this debut novel. It was a terrifically easy read with a great romance at its heart. Some parts were a little stilted, but it was faced paced and action packed with some spice on top. A great recommendation for anyone with a Bridgerton hangover!

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I got an Arc of this book from NetGalley.
I enjoyed the core story, but I felt it was missing a few beats in the relationship developing between Vivian and Whit. It felt rather simple, t the buildup to the romance went from 0 to 100 in the blink of an eye. I guess I would have liked a little more verbal sparring and a bit more prelude before things got steamy.
The story could have used a little more meat on its bones as the concept is really interesting and could have been really thrilling, especially since the author seems to really care about the story and not just getting to the next steamy scene.
However all in all it just ended up as an okay read for me.

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I enjoyed the romance and the mystery of “The Duke’s Decision”. I am not a fan of books that spend most of their time in balls and house parties so that may affect my rating somewhat. 4stars.

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I received a copy of this from Netgalley and this is my freely given opinion.

This is the story of a young widow, Vivian, Viscountess Rowdan. She is a young woman who was married 4 years prior, but her marriage was a disappointment and scandal. She and her husband had formed what she had believed was a love match and it was the talk of the ton - but that love story turned into a scandal very shortly after their marriage when it turned out that he was a terrible, drunken abuser, and spent more time as a drunken, cheating rake, than with her. Their marriage ended in scandal when he died with several whores. Vivian was relieved to find herself free of a terrible marriage with just enough monies to be able to live independently in Somerset.

To bolster her income, she uses her talent for puzzles and ciphers to produce popular puzzles for a London paper a couple of times a week, under a male guise. This was a pasttime she had engaged in since she was a girl, and she continued it through her marriage, and it plays a pivotal role in this story.

She is encouraged by her family to come back to London and join them for her cousin's come out, and initially because of her scandal, she is reluctant to do so, in case it taints her beloved cousin's come out. But it does give her the opportunity to gather more resources for her puzzles and pursue and idea of compounding her income with her talent. During one of her research runs at a favoured bookstore, she runs into Whitaker Graham, the Duke of Whitley; Whit.

Whit is engaged clandestinely as a high level spymaster and there has been a leak in his trusted group of spies. He has been using the bookstore as a secure way to share messages and information, and by chance, the book that Vivian had grabbed for information had a clandestine message. He finds out that Vivian develops ciphers and puzzles, and it turns out that the opposing faction, the French, have been using the published ciphers to develop a changing code to pass message along. This makes Vivian a suspect for treason, and he personally investigates further.

It turns out that Vivian is involved, but unknowingly, since it was actually her dead husband and his compatriots who where involved with the French. They had been using her ciphers without and were dependent on her producing more. Whit is conflicted as he is uncertain if she is an unknowing innocent drawn into the intrigue, or a master spy and manipulator and he is the one being duped as he is entangled in his own attraction to her, and also exposing his secrets to her. Vivian is distressed and conflicted herself, as she is falling for Whit, but finds herself in an emotional quagmire because of his distrust of her, the danger she is in if she is believed to be engaged in treason, the fear of the loss of her freedom and independence.

This was an exciting spy adventure, and a bit of a murder mystery, and intrigue romance, and I was intrigued by Vivian and her fascination with producing ciphers and puzzles - I actually love word puzzles and the like myself, so that caught me from the beginning. But I found Whit to be very overbearing as an alpha male type and wanting to save Vivian. I think I did not enjoy that so much considering how much Vivian valued her independence, after that awful first marriage of hers. So the twist where his plans to save Vivian did not come to fruition was a pleasant surprise. I am conflicted a bit as there was a bit of a cliffhanger; unfinished business ending, with an HEA for Whit and Vivian. I hate cliffhangers.... but I am curious as the main villain got away, with the knowledge that he has unfinished business with Vivian.

This only whets my curiosity for book 2; and there is an introduction to book 2 at the end of this story.
3.75 stars out of 5.

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This is my first experience reading something by this author and I found it to be very entertaining. Vivian is a widow, after having what she thought to be a love match and ending in scandal when her husband died. He was a drunk and an abuser and she was glad now to finally have her freedom. Vivian is gifted in cryptography and talented in solving puzzles and has been interested in this since she was a young girl. She continued with this past time even throughout her marriage and published her ciphers in the London paper. Whitaker Graham, the Duke of Whitley, is a spy and has found out there is a leak in his trusted group of spies. He also learns that the French have been using published ciphers to pass secret codes. He has been using the bookstore to share information and he runs into Vivian while she is there researching for her puzzles. By chance, the book that she picks up for her research has a secret message in it placed there by Whitaker. When he finds out that Vivian develops ciphers and puzzles, he immediately becomes suspicious of her and decides to investigate her. As it turns out, Vivian is involved, but without her knowledge. Her husband had been working with the French all along and using her ciphers. Both Whitaker and Vivian are undeniably attracted to each other, but with his suspicions of her, and the danger of her losing her freedom, she remains conflicted.
The story is captivating and pulls you in right from the start. I liked how the characters were well-developed and I became invested in their story from the beginning. The storyline had a nice flow and the plot twists kept me turning the pages. The story has a nice combination of romance, drama, danger, and intrigue and it was a very entertaining and enjoyable story. The story does end on a bit of a cliffhanger, which already has me intrigued for the next book.
I received a complimentary copy from Netgalley and am voluntarily leaving my review.

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This is my first Carolina Prescott book and I loved it! Whit is quite a hero with his ducal arrogance and ice blue eyes. Vivian is adorable. She had lived and survived one of the most hurtful marriages. Their innocent ‘meetings’ lead Vivian to question Whit about his purposes. Yet, Whit is falling in love and trusts his instincts; therefore, trusting Vivian when everything around her leads him and his colleague to believe she is the spy for whom they are looking.

The conversations between Vivian and Whit are witty and funny as they challenge each other, holding the other accountable. I loved how Vivian was determined to be herself and not let Whit overpower her. She kept him on his toes trying to keep her safe.

This is a great beginning to the Dukes in Danger series. The men in the home office group will make perfect heroes for upcoming stories. I am looking forward to Linea and Avery’s romance!

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4 1/2*Stars*
Vivian, Viscountess Rowden, creates puzzles and cyphers for the LONDON MAIL OBSERVER. In the wrong place at the wrong time, she comes under suspicion of the Home Office as a spy. The "Ice Duke," Whit, the Duke of Whitley, pursues the lady. The closer he gets to her, the less he can understand her game. Is she lying or telling the truth that she is innocent. Her puzzles/ciphers are being used for coded messages to the French. Napoleon may be on Elba, but there is the possibility of his escape and more British soldiers will die. The duke wasn't prepared to be more than attracted to Vivian. This hampers the investigation. As more evidence mounts against her, he has only one solution to save her. A strong willed widow goes up against the spymaster himself.
Open door sex.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book.

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I very impressed with this authors writing. Not only was I very entertained, but I wanting to read more of her books. I thought the witty remarks and charming characteristics of the characters was marvelous. All the characters seemed so real in the book. From their dialogue to the details of how they felt were explained simply and clear for my imagination.
The romance between Whit and Vivian was on fire! Whit is definitely a Duke whom I wouldn’t mind to come and rescue me. He’s a man of many talents that I wouldn’t want wasted on anyone except me. The mystery and crime behind the puzzles was great! The occasions that Whit, Edgewood and Vivienne encountered played a good part in keeping the pages turning.
Until next time my fellow readers… read on!

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I read this book, hoping for a good story, but it didn't go exactly as planned. Please be aware that I may have some spoilers in this review.
The heroine is a widow who has spent the past few years earning a nest egg by writing puzzles and selling them to a London newspaper. She is young, having married during her Season and she thought it was for love, until she realized that her husband would chase anything in skirts. And sometimes it was multiple anything's. Her husband passed away while cavorting with two women of looser morals. The heroine was humiliated and kept to the country for the first year of her mourning. She then moved to Bath, but she was still gossiped about. So she moved to a quiet coastal town to research and write her puzzles. After a few years, she agrees to comes to London for her cousin's Season. It had been a little over two years since her husband's death and her cousin begged for her support. The heroine's parents had passed away when she was young and she was raised by her aunt and uncle. They treated her as their daughter and their child, her cousin, considered her a sister. She came back so long as she would not hurt her cousin. If her husband's scandalous death started to hurt her cousin's Season, she would go back home. While researching astronomy for a puzzle, she meets a handsome man with corn flower blue eyes. She has chosen a book and he wants it also. He pages through the book and then gives it to her. She feels insulted; she thinks he has acted as if she is not smart enough to understand astronomy. But that is not true. The man is our hero, a duke who spies for the crown. And he was picking up a coded message left in that particular book. He had never met the heroine and he is suspicious. Why is she buying a book that was used for transporting messages between spies?
This book is part of a series, but the reader does not need to read or refer to them while reading this book. But that is not the problem. My problem was that the story was very thin and needed to be fleshed out more and it was too wordy and slow. The story line and telling needed to be a little more explicit. While I liked the characters, it needed a little more to it. But then there were a lot of unnecessary words and situations that did nothing for the story. And the author used "per se". And used it incorrectly. I am giving this book 3 stars. That is stretching it but I did think it was a decent story. I recommend reading, but this is a buyer beware recommendation.

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