When does proper behavior deserve a deliciously improper reward?
The scandalously unmarried Lady Margaret Sawford is looking for adventure—and is always up for a challenge. Her curiosity is aroused by a dangerous-looking stranger with an eye patch, an ideal companion for the life she longs for, no matter what Society might say. So when the piratical gentleman turns out to be a duke—and just as boringly proper as any other nobleman—she can't help but incite him to walk on the wild side.
Well-heeled, well-mannered, and well beyond any interest in society's expectations, the Duke of Lasham is tired of being perfect. Margaret's lush beauty and gently laughing eyes are an irresistible temptation to embrace the imperfect—and her. But if a little misbehavior is appealing, unleashing his wild side is completely seductive—as long as the lovely Margaret is the object of his passion . . .
Frampton's latest Regency never quite delivers on its promising premise. Lady Margaret Sawford is "a lady of scandal": an unmarried writer, an advocate for disadvantaged women, and a skilled card player. She is looking for an opponent "worthy of her skill and attention." The Duke of Lasham has an enigmatic and piratical appearance, caused by the patch over the eye he lost years earlier. He is tired of the dullness of running a duchy and wants adventure. From the time they first meet, Margaret and Lasham fight their attraction to each other, but they keep ending up in situations that are socially, physically, and emotionally compromising. Margaret and Lasham's conflicted romance is slow to evolve, as is the extended story of their trips to seedier parts of London to assist downtrodden women. The heroine and the dragon of Margaret's serialized story serve as a metaphor for Margaret's relationship with Lasham, creating a nice thread through the narrative, but that tale also lacks development. There are several sensual interludes between the two protagonists, and their verbal sparring is witty, but both the encounters and discussions become repetitive. The references to both Margaret and Lasham's family history hint at a deeper dimension to the characters, leaving readers wishing more had been done to bring it out.
Well Played Megan Frampton, well played.
I’ve read this series from the beginning, and think that this book, One Eyed Dukes Are Wild, is my favorite: I adored Lash and Margaret, as two people who approached their lives and positions in quite different ways, even as they have framed those approaches into rather inflexible boxes.
Margaret is the second daughter, always feeling overlooked by her parents until her usefulness as a marriageable young woman becomes a tool for social enhancement. Unwilling to be bartered and fobbed off, Margaret rather scandalously refused the proposed suitor and announced herself an authoress of a popular serialized fiction. Disowned and in disrepute, she has used her ‘taint’ of scandal to pursue causes and a life that appeals to her, even if it is somewhat lonely.
The Duke of Lasham is an awe-inspiring (or fear-invoking) figure: larger than most with an eye-patch and clipped responses, he takes his responsibilities as Duke very seriously, even as it thusts him into situations that are uncomfortable at best. Raised to the title, Lash’s life is full of the serious business and onus of responsibility of a Duke, and his own desires and happiness are foreign concepts. A bit on the shy side, Lash’s inability to express himself without second-guessing or overthinking is endearing, particularly as he agonizes so.
Frampton has woven several elements together as this story progresses: Lash’s learning to discover his own desires and voice while realizing that fun does, indeed, feed his soul. Margaret’s struggle with her own self-imposed remove from a potential relationship that she feels would subjugate her desires to the whims of a man. Lash’s best (and only friend) and Margaret’s maid Annie who both provide insight and a touch of ‘grounding’ for the pair as well as a story, presumably penned by Margaret of Georgina and the Dragon, a tale that demonstrates the wonders of taking a chance.
You can’t help but love this pair as they slowly discover that the arrangement made for ‘adventuring’ brings far more than simple fun and excitement into their lives. Perfectly suited, with Margaret’s willingness to flout convention (to a point) and Lash’s childlike delight in her and the wonder with which he discovers new feelings and wishes that were previously unimaginable. A few twists and steady pacing kept me in the character’s corners from the start, even with moments that were meant to (from Lash) establish remove and considered interactions. No one is really interfering in their developing connection BUT them, her for believing that she would ruin his standing as a Duke with her scandalous reputation and Lash’s inability to express (and sometimes even know) his own desires and wishes. Of course WE see what he needs (Margaret) and what she can’t do without (Lash) and the connection that doesn’t NEED words is perfectly played and staged.
Well Played Megan Frampton, well played.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.