Series: Winter Garden #4
Published by HarperCollins on June 29, 2010
Genres: Historical Romance, Victorian Era
As the last male heir, Ian has inherited a dukedom after the death of a distant cousin, a legitimate title he can now claim proudly. With his new title, and the enormous wealth that comes with it, he feels it's finally time to marry and breed some respectable heirs, to at last let go of the vague memories of being held captive and drugged five years before. Widowed at twenty-three, Viola has become a self-sufficient young woman living in London and raising her son. She wants no part of her former life, especially now that she has a titled son who must be protected. More than anything, Viola's goal now is to raise her son respectably while forgetting her past - that is until she meets Ian again and her comfortable world is shattered.When Ian receives a note informing him that Viola is out of mourning, he seeks revenge on the woman whose family changed his life five years ago - when her sisters kidnapped, drugged him, and left him chained to a wall in a dungeon for several weeks. But Ian is also falling for Viola and will go to any lengths to make her his mistress, even threatening to expose her to all society and imprison her. And although Viola's startled to learn Ian knows many of her secrets, she has some shocking secrets of her own.
This review may contain spoilers, so fair warning, upon reading the review.
The Duke’s Captive is the fourth book in this series “Winter Garden” and this is an author I have been meaning to read her backlist but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I have read loved this author over the years and I believe some of her books were part of the “Avon Romance Treasure” line if you are familiar with those. The Duke’s Captive was quite an interesting story, now this one is the last book in the series, but I was able to easily read this as a stand-alone. It did have some teasers to a previous book, but I do feel like it was distanced enough that you can read this book as it’s not an integral part of the series just loosely connected. I will say that I didn’t know what I would be getting with this but it did have a revenge plot, so be aware of that going in, and it won’t work for everyone. But I do think if you are in the right frame of mind or mood then this will be a fun plotline for you to enjoy.
The Duke’s Captive is a sexy captivating tale set in the victorian era to entice you that features:
- Ian-Inherited a Dukedom, the protective brother, emotionally damaged and scarred from PTSD
- Viola-Widow, single mother of a five-year-old son, artist, keeper of secrets
In The Duke’s Captive, we set the stage with our hero, who is setting a trap for our heroine. Ian, five years previous, was kidnapped by the heroines, Viola, sisters and was chained, drugged, and treated like an animal and Viola was the only comfort he had. Ian was drugged and has blurred memories of believing he was sexually assaulted and even though Viola wasn’t fully complicit he still blames her because she was the only one that escaped punishment. And now its five years later and he has finally found her and is ready to place his revenge but his plan has holes in it including knowing actually what happened between him and Viola, and despite the secrets being kept, his plan of revenge turns into something deeper, and love enters his heart, and when the truth comes out, will Viola and Ian be able to find the love they have been craving all of these years?
A fierce heat lit his eyes when his gaze captured hers, and the intense hunger she witnessed in their dark depths made her heart skip a beat and her stomach twist in knots. He remembers something. . . .
In The Duke’s Captive, I was so enchanted by their chemistry, and from the very beginning, I just knew that this would be an entertaining read. You just never know what to expect in a revenge plot especially in a historical (because some of them can be total bananas) but I will say that in this one it definitely was written in such a way that really worked for me. Now I don’t read revenge plots very often, but this is a book I have been wanting to read so much over the years. I can’t tell you how long I have had this one on my wishlist and FINALLY, I read it and really enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this story especially in the first chapters, but the evolvement was really beautiful in this one. I was charmed by their chemistry and so many swoony moments that will take your breath away. But there are also moments of pain and heartbreak from both our main protagonists. For most of the book, you aren’t sure where you stand with the heroine, you definitely sense so much more happening, but things don’t get revealed till in the second half of the story, so you really have to trust the author here to lead you right and it happens…TRUST ME, she will captive your heart but it gets slowly built throughout the story.
“When I can taste you and smell you and feel you like this, I fear I’ll never be able to rid myself of you, that you’ll go on haunting me night after night forever.”
There is one trope that needs to be mentioned in this one and explain because I know it’s a trope that many readers might struggle with: Secret Baby. Anyone that knows me knows how much I struggle with this trope and how it rarely works for me. Now you need to see this from the heroine’s point of view. This is more of a circumstance where the heroine fears the hero and what his reaction would be if she had told him the truth instead of marrying and finding protection. She loved Ian, but at the time, knew that they couldn’t be together and she did what needed to be done for her child. I really like how at the top of the chapter headings, we get excerpts from her journal and really showcase her side of the story in such an elemental way. We don’t get too much from her perspective that much, it happens, but we do see a flow of seeing both of their sides and seeing them work towards a relationship and how complex of a situation they are both in here. They have both sacrificed and been hurt, and it will take having faith in each other’s love that will help them learn to adapt and grow from the changes.
“But the one thing I want most, Viola,” he whispered, leaning in to nuzzle her ear, “is to see you happy, to hear you laugh, not from sarcasm or anxiousness, but from joy. I have dreams of it, maybe memories of it. I don’t know. But since I’ve come back into your life, I have never once heard you laugh from sheer happiness, and nothing, right now, haunts me more.”
Overall I found The Duke’s Captive to be a sensational read that captures the heart and soul to the depths, it’s a rough road of emotion, secrets, and the unraveling of the passions of the essence of humanity….BREATHTAKING~