I bought Dukes Prefer Blondes a while ago after hearing positive chatter amongst Cannonballers, and then, as I do, I became resistant. I finally got over it when Mrs. Julien published her Favorite Romance Couples list.
Firstly, Mrs. Julien is correct. Oliver and Clara are a wonderful couple. They argue and bicker, often with logic. Clara has a wonderful habit of turning Oliver’s words back on him. Oliver is surprised to find an aristocratic woman with a brain. Clara is dying on the inside, bored by the life of a lady. The sparks between them are physical and intellectual, though both are reluctant to admit they have feelings. Their banter and the heat between them was stellar. Because they are on different layers of the social strata, they have to fight for their relationship. Possibly my favorite exchange in the book happens after they are married and Clara stands up to Oliver, knowing she must fight for the relationship she wants. The push pull between Clara and Oliver as individuals and their era appropriate gender roles adds tension and believability to the relationship.
Secondly, Mrs. Julien is also correct that the story is not as good as the couple. I have a hard time resenting anything that brought these two characters together, but apart from the sizzle and banter, the plot is weak and full of holes. The thing I hated most, though, was Oliver’s nickname, Raven. I filled in Oliver whenever anyone called him Raven. It’s little touches like this that make me think Chase is not an author I will love unreservedly.
Thirdly, I discovered that Loretta Chase is a fashion nerd and you can follow her on Pinterest. I spent a long time looking at her pins of the fashion and style of Dukes Prefer Blondes.