Thursday, July 11, 2013

Review: Taken By the Duke (The Pleasure Wars #1) by Jess Michaels

Taken By the Duke (The Pleasure Wars, #1)
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

An eye for an eye, a sin for a sin…

The Pleasure Wars, Book 1

Amid all the lies and scandals that fuel Society’s gossip mill, one truth has stood out: House Rothcastle and House Windbury have always hated each other. 

Lady Ava Windbury prays the feud will someday end, to no avail. One dreadful night, her brother accidentally causes the death of Christian Rothcastle’s sister, a tragedy that leaves both men maimed.

Consumed by grief, Christian makes a grim decision. He will kidnap Lady Ava so that her family will feel the pain of loss as keenly as he feels the loss of his own sister. But once he has Ava in his clutches, desire takes unexpected hold. Even more surprising, she willingly surrenders to his every sexual whim—after haggling over the terms of giving up her virginity.

Too late, he realizes she is using her body for peace, not war. But just as their affair of revenges turns into an affair of the heart, the past rears its ugly head to take matters into its own hands…

Product Warnings

This book contains scenes of erotic seduction, sexual revenge and the healing power of love.

I have a secret: I like reading  or watching movies about feuds. I have this list of  the  classic family feuds in  fiction like the Capulet-Montague,  Heathcliff–Linton,  Corleone–Tattaglia,  and Atreides–Harkonnen. Then there are the real family feuds in history like those of  Hatfied -MacCoy, Oinaz -Gamboa, Ampuatuan-Mangudadatu,  Talbot–Berkeley,  Clanton/McLaury–Earp, and  Campbell–MacDonald just to name a few.  Should I include The Rothcastle-Windbury feud into the list of fictional feud greats?

Although I gravitate towards the MM genre these days, sometimes it just feels good to take on a good historical romance written by authors whose written work do not feel rushed or filled with empty text that fills page. The worse for me is when I see a great plot and main characters ruined for the chance to write erotica that do not work and do nothing to contribute to the story or the romance. 

Jess Michaels has given us Taken By The Duke to enjoy and to enjoy and to enjoy. It is a tale filled with betrayal, angsts, attempts at reconciliation, lessons learned and of course, who can miss the erotica here? Those who follow or read this blog know that I have already read attempts on a take on Romeo and Juliet that did not quite pan out. Some reviewers have also commented that this is similar to that classic Shakespearean tale. I disagree for as the Montagues and Capulets let down their arms on the death of their children, the feud between the Wyndburys and the Rothcastles did not end. It read more like a status quo and seeing as this is just book one of The Pleasure Wars Series, we are sure to expect more from these families, or at best Liam, who may find peace on his installment.

The feud between the Rothcastle and Windbury families is bloody and tragic. Matilda Windbury restarted the war between the two families in the hopes of helping her brother. In a twist of fate, she found herself falling deeply in love with Liam Wyndbury. Unfortunately, it resulted to her death which began the tale of Ava and Christian. 

There is also has a  a light take on Stockholm Syndrome when Lady Ava finds herself responding sexually as well as emotionally to Christian in a kidnap situation. But then again, Christian also seems drawn to Ava - and not in the way he expected. 

The  Rothcastle-Winbury of Taken By The Duke is a very interesting read made more enjoyable by such a talented writer. It has just recently joined my list of favorite fictional feuds for it has all the elements of a great family feud. I know, this makes me sound bloodthirsty, but I get caught up with intricacies and politics of how feuds begin and end. No matter if they end in romance or in blood.

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