Ten Things I Hate About the Duke is the second book in Loretta Chase’s Difficult Dukes series. Much like A Duke in Shining Armor, we’re dropped into action already in progress, but this time much of that action is the events at the tail end of the first book in the series. I read A Duke in Shining Armor in February of 2018 and while you don’t need to revisit the first to enjoy the second, part of me wishes I had. The three-year delay had a lot to do with Chase going back to the drawing board with its hero, and the wait was worth it.
The story focuses on Cassandra Pomfret and his dis-grace, the Duke of Ashmont. Cassandra is a headstrong character; she holds strong opinions and isn’t shy about voicing them. It’s the voicing them that has caused one of her current problems – her exasperated father, hoping a husband will rein her in, has ruled that her beloved sister can’t marry until Cassandra does. Following a further series of unfortunate events, the last shreds of Cassandra’s reputation are about to disintegrate, taking her sister’s future and her family’s good name along with them. The titular Duke is Ashmont, he who was jilted in the first book, has character flaws beyond counting, exceptionally good looks, and the ability to plan perfect pranks. Cassandra runs into him (again) the morning after he nearly killed one of his two best friends in a duel, but troublemaker that he is he knows that damaging a lady’s good name isn’t sporting. In his various attempts to do the right thing he ends up falling for her, but can he win her?
Chase writes historical fictions book that happen to feature sex. She’s a Romance author, in that her plots are primarily focused on the emotional lives, but this book is definitely low on the steam but high on the pining. Low angst slow burns work for me, particularly the kind that Chase writes which are chock a block of historically accurate information and poke at the larger feminist themes of the 1830s and now. This book is introspective, and for the days around the New Year it was just the kind of thing I was hoping to read.
I also remain very excited and interested in the third book in this series as it will focus on reuniting a married couple in Blackwood and Alice who we got more time with this book as well. Chase is working on it, but we have no indication of presumed publication date. I’ll happily wait three years if that’s what it takes, but I remain hopeful that its sooner.