Title: What A Duke Dares
Author: Anna Campbell
Genre: Historical Romance
Book Synopsis (via Goodreads)
What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that’s who. She’s known Camden Rothermere since they were children-and she also knows she’d bring nothing but scandal to his name.
Cam can hardly believe Penelope turned down his proposal. But if she wants to run off to the Continent and set the rumor mill ablaze, he can’t stop her. Then her brother’s dying request sends him to bring home the one woman he thought he’d finally gotten over.
The only way they’ll both get back to London without their reputations in tatters is to pretend they’re married during the journey. That means kissing like they mean it and even sharing a bed-until it becomes hard to tell where the game ends and true desire begins . . .
This fantastic book had a solid plot and wonderfully crafted characters. The male protagonist’s reason for avoiding scandal seemed a bit far-fetched at first, but as the story progressed, it became clear and understandable.
One of the best things about the book was how the male protagonist fell in love with the female protagonist even before he knew what love was. It was a heartwarming aspect of the story that added to the characters’ depth and made it all the more engaging.
However, I did find the characters’ tendency to constantly self-loath and self-flagellate to be a bit excessive at times. I was glad to see that this issue was eventually resolved towards the end of the book, but it was still a minor issue that detracted from the overall reading experience.
As I was reading the book, I couldn’t help but wonder if the male protagonist had Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD). Whenever he faced rejection or negative feedback, he retreated into a mental chamber to relentlessly criticize himself. It was concerning to see how deeply affected he was by criticism.
Another aspect that caught my attention was the careless manner in which women were portrayed in the book. Although these instances were few and far between, I found myself cringing whenever I came across the outrageous comments. It felt like the author didn’t pay enough attention to how their words could be perceived by the reader.
In the concluding scenes, Camden, the male protagonist, learns that Penelope, the female protagonist, had aided her brother in eloping, and was unkind to her in the process.
This development was unsettling to me, as I firmly believe that while it is acceptable to feel angry and express emotions, one must maintain a basic level of respect towards loved ones.
It’s interesting to note that Camden doesn’t immediately show respect towards Penelope after discovering her involvement in her brother’s elopement. It isn’t until Leath insults Penelope that Camden changes his behavior towards her, which is surprising.
This novel is a remarkable example of an author who skillfully portrays multiple couples. The author follows the story of Penelope’s brother and his love interest from their initial meeting to their eventual elopement.
Their love is breathtakingly beautiful, but it does feel a bit rushed. I am eager to know how they will cope with the social backlash they will undoubtedly face upon their return.
Despite the absence of long and dramatic conversations between the main characters, this book is a captivating read. It’s fascinating to watch the characters come to terms with the depth of their emotions.