Friday, December 6, 2013

A Duchess in the Dark by Kate McKinley

The Basics:
A Duchess in the Dark by Kate McKinley
Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
Published December 3, 2013

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The first in a series of erotica novellas from Kate McKinley. 

When a well-bred young lady opens the wrong bedroom door at a Regency house party, she has no idea of the sensual delights that await her on the other side.

Why I picked this book up:
The gorgeous cover. The promise of sensual delights!

What worked for me:

This is a romance with a light dusting of spice. I thought it was going to be erotica, with the opening scene setting a sexy tone. It wasn't, though. The story was a little sweeter than that. I think it was smart to introduce us to Ashton and Daphne this way because it immediately placed sexual tension in their relationship.  In a longer work, we could have had more build-up, perhaps, but because we didn't have an opportunity to see these characters as not involved, it was easy to see how they were clearly meant to be together.

I liked the triangle in this story; it provided a good opportunity for Ashton to step up and be the better man for Daphne. It was also a novelty to have this point of conflict be something not life-threatening. The writing was strong enough to create and resolve tension that wasn't made urgent by potential death or disaster (beyond the threat of future unhappiness). 

What didn't work for me:

It was so short!  Okay, sure, it's a novella. It's supposed to be short. I still wanted more. This could easily have been expanded into a longer length work, and I would have been quite happy.

The love component is rushed a bit - McKinley relies on her characters' knowing each other before but never considering each other an option until now. This works, but I would have been happier to have this element teased out just a bit longer to firmly establish the connection.

Bottom Line:

I enjoyed this for what it was - a romantic novella. I would have been happier if it were a longer piece, but I can't hold the restrictions of the format against the story. 

I would certainly read another novella in this series, and will keep an eye out for future works by McKinley.

4 stars
For fans of romantic stories, of novella-length stories, of romance blossoming between characters who already know each other.

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