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Six Regency heroes — One royal hangoverLast night was a blur. This morning is a shock. Tonight will be a secret. . .The Duke of Norwich has two rules: never marry and never go to sea. So on the morning after the most extravagant royal bachelor party of the century, he is stunned to find himself aboard a storm-tossed ship and locked in the arms of a proper lady.The Countess Six Regency heroes — One royal hangoverLast night was a blur. This morning is a shock. Tonight will be a secret. . .The Duke of Norwich has two rules: never marry and never go to sea. So on the morning after the most extravagant royal bachelor party of the century, he is stunned to find himself aboard a storm-tossed ship and locked in the arms of a proper lady.The Countess of Derby has two rules as well: never give away your heart and never let anyone get in the way of your life's deepest passions. But Esme cannot resist Roman when all seems lost at sea. Yet when their ship returns to London, everything will be forgotten . . . as long as they can keep their secret from the Prince Regent. For if the future king commands them to marry, all their fondest dreams will be ruined. But where love is concerned, some rules are made to be broken . . .


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Six Regency heroes — One royal hangoverLast night was a blur. This morning is a shock. Tonight will be a secret. . .The Duke of Norwich has two rules: never marry and never go to sea. So on the morning after the most extravagant royal bachelor party of the century, he is stunned to find himself aboard a storm-tossed ship and locked in the arms of a proper lady.The Countess Six Regency heroes — One royal hangoverLast night was a blur. This morning is a shock. Tonight will be a secret. . .The Duke of Norwich has two rules: never marry and never go to sea. So on the morning after the most extravagant royal bachelor party of the century, he is stunned to find himself aboard a storm-tossed ship and locked in the arms of a proper lady.The Countess of Derby has two rules as well: never give away your heart and never let anyone get in the way of your life's deepest passions. But Esme cannot resist Roman when all seems lost at sea. Yet when their ship returns to London, everything will be forgotten . . . as long as they can keep their secret from the Prince Regent. For if the future king commands them to marry, all their fondest dreams will be ruined. But where love is concerned, some rules are made to be broken . . .

30 review for The Art of Duke Hunting

  1. 5 out of 5

    Insh

    “I esteem him, but I have just enough pride to refuse to love someone who does not love me.”

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Roman, seventeenth Duke of Norwich, has two rules by which he guides his life--never marry and end the dreaded Norwich curse as he is the final heir to the dukedom and to never to go sea as he is certain as this is how he is going to die. When he wakes up on a ship in the middle of a storm after one disastrous bachelor party, he naturally flies into a panic. Esme, Countess of Derby, sees a man who looks like he is about to fall overboard, she gathers her wits and rescues the man and she quickly Roman, seventeenth Duke of Norwich, has two rules by which he guides his life--never marry and end the dreaded Norwich curse as he is the final heir to the dukedom and to never to go sea as he is certain as this is how he is going to die. When he wakes up on a ship in the middle of a storm after one disastrous bachelor party, he naturally flies into a panic. Esme, Countess of Derby, sees a man who looks like he is about to fall overboard, she gathers her wits and rescues the man and she quickly sees the blind terror he is suffering and sets about trying to soothe him. What they share is just for the moment but the resulting actions from the bachelor party force these to into an unwanted marriage. However, Esme is the perfect balm to Roman's fear of never letting himself fall in love but she is holding a secret that could jeopardize their new found happiness and when yet another secret from Roman's past comes to light, it is with love and joy that Roman and Esme are able to finally find peace together. I really enjoyed this book. It is not overly serious, but just warm, light, silly and sexy fun! I loved the instant attraction between Roman and Esme and how Esme insists that they call each other by their last names (to help protect her secret). So Esme is known as 'March' and Roman is know as 'Montagu'. It always brings a smile to my face when couple give each other nicknames that are just perfect for each other. I also liked how Esme was not a great beauty and she was aware of this and was happy to just go about her life as a widow, never planning of falling in love with someone who could truly love her back. She is warm, witty and enjoys her independence but ends up finding life as a duchess something she can bear. Roman was also a very likeable character from his fear of ducks to his steadfast belief that he must break the family curse, even if it costs him his own happiness. There were some wonderful secondary characters that will give you just enough glimpses to be anxious for their own stories! There are no major flaws with this story other than the fact there are quite a few characters and it took be a bit to remember all the titles, last names and first names...I always get a bit confused when the author goes back an forth. Overall though a truly delightful romance filled with humor, snappy wit and dialogue and a wonderful romance that blooms over time. I can't wait for more in this delightfully fun series! 4 stars I received an eARC from Avon via edelweiss.com

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lady Wesley

    Esme March, the widowed Countess of Derby, is aboard The Drake on her way to Italy to pursue her dreams of becoming a great painter. Just out of port, she finds herself in a cabin with the dashing Roman Montagu, the seventeenth Duke of Norwich, known as Seventeen to his cohorts. His cohorts are the Royal Entourage, a group of dissipate dukes who party hardy with the Prince Regent. The night before, said cohorts got rip-roaringly drunk on absinthe and put Roman aboard The Drake as a joke. You see Esme March, the widowed Countess of Derby, is aboard The Drake on her way to Italy to pursue her dreams of becoming a great painter. Just out of port, she finds herself in a cabin with the dashing Roman Montagu, the seventeenth Duke of Norwich, known as Seventeen to his cohorts. His cohorts are the Royal Entourage, a group of dissipate dukes who party hardy with the Prince Regent. The night before, said cohorts got rip-roaringly drunk on absinthe and put Roman aboard The Drake as a joke. You see, in the time-honored way of immature drunken men everywhere, the entourage thought it would be hilarious to send Roman to sea, knowing that he had a deadly fear of the water due to an old family curse that had led to the premature deaths of the sixteen previous Dukes of Norwich. It all has to do with ducks, in a rather ridiculous way. Esme and Roman find themselves stranded on the Isle of Wight, and with Roman's fear of the sea, he is reluctant to sail even the short distance back to London. They linger before finally returning home, only to discover that word of their encounter has reached the Regent. Not only that, the public is outraged by the wanton behavior of the entourage, and the Regent finds that his popularity, never very high, is plummeting. His solution: make all the drunken dukes marry immediately, including Roman and Esme. Esme never thought to marry again; her first marriage had been arranged, and though her husband was kind, he drank himself to death. All Esme wants is to be independent, to travel, and to paint. She can’t help being a bit in love with her new husband, but she knows that he will never love her. She's tall, rather plain, and never caught on after several Seasons. For himself, Roman has pledged never to marry. He wants to die without an heir and bring an end to the silly curse that has always made him an object of humor. His life, when he’s not partying with the Regent, is dedicated to science and mathematics, and he’s secretly designing a public water delivery system that will improve the lives of everyone in London. Falling in love is not part of his plan, but he truly likes Esme and plans to support her desire to travel and pursue her artistic career. The two lead characters are immensely likable; and their dialogue is sharp and witty; and their intimate scenes are steamy. We get vignettes of the other dukes in the entourage, promising several books to come. I have not read the first book in the series (but I plan to), Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea, yet this novel works well as a entertaining standalone read. Sophia Nash's website gives no clue when to expect more books in this series, but I hope it's not too long. This one was a lot of fun.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    WTF is up with this "bad gateway" you've been throwing up Goodreads?? I wrote a killer review and your 501 error just ate it. So, in short, I liked the book. I think the Royal Entourage series has a great set-up stemming from one crazy night of overindulgence. I, unfortunately started with the wrong book in the series, and by the time I realized I had book 2, not book 1, I was too far to stop. I believe there will be six in this series eventually. Roman and Esme's romance is both sweet (how they b WTF is up with this "bad gateway" you've been throwing up Goodreads?? I wrote a killer review and your 501 error just ate it. So, in short, I liked the book. I think the Royal Entourage series has a great set-up stemming from one crazy night of overindulgence. I, unfortunately started with the wrong book in the series, and by the time I realized I had book 2, not book 1, I was too far to stop. I believe there will be six in this series eventually. Roman and Esme's romance is both sweet (how they both actually care about one another, despite actual appearances) and disturbing (Roman's jealousy; though, in all seriousness I thought (view spoiler)[Topher was gay because all the women felt rather safe around him, but I guess he was merely waiting to retire before scoring a lady? (hide spoiler)] ). Love all the duck/duke humor. Who knew Regency England was so full of duck paraphernalia? I only have one quibble with the plot (OK, two) 1. The twist at the end of the book where (view spoiler)[it is revealed that Roman is, in fact, not the son of the 16th duke but that of an Italian sculptor is pointless. Worse, it detracts from Roman's ability to overcome his fear/superstition and live out his live despite his notorious family history. It makes the entire I-sailed-a-yacht-through-a-storm-to-rescue-my-wife-despite-the-curse feeling of triumph dead in the water (hide spoiler)] . 2. And speaking of the Norwich curse how did (view spoiler)[the original "witch" actually have legitimate children? I was assuming that her accusation/death came very close on her refusal of Norwish I's offer making it less likely that she had children at all. So that would make Esme less of a granddaughter and more of a niece/cousin of some type. So the "direct descendant" business doesn't quite make sense to me. Also, it's an unneccessary plot point because by the time it's revealed he's already learned his true parentage) (hide spoiler)] .

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    "Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea" was so cheesy it was fun.  "The Art of Duke Hunting" was so cheesy it was boring.  The story stars two introverts, who spend the entire novel THINKING about telling each other things about their lives, but never actually DO it.  This leads to hurt "sensibilities" and lots of boring scenes where one character or the other is sitting alone, rehashing their life. There were some good scenes, but the book in general was very forgettable.  Not the best incenti "Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea" was so cheesy it was fun.  "The Art of Duke Hunting" was so cheesy it was boring.  The story stars two introverts, who spend the entire novel THINKING about telling each other things about their lives, but never actually DO it.  This leads to hurt "sensibilities" and lots of boring scenes where one character or the other is sitting alone, rehashing their life. There were some good scenes, but the book in general was very forgettable.  Not the best incentive to get me reading the series again once Nash writes more books.

  6. 4 out of 5

    mervalous

    4 stars I liked this more than I liked the previous one because... it's a married couple. Yes, I suck for marriage of convenience/inconvenience love story. Guilty as charge. Apart from that, chemistry between Roman Montagu and Esme March was so intense! It was, in my opinion, torturous to read when these two were actually liked or loved each other but pride and fear got them first. A loving, giving, and caring person like Esme is really hard to find. I was definitely enjoying the warmth Esme was g 4 stars I liked this more than I liked the previous one because... it's a married couple. Yes, I suck for marriage of convenience/inconvenience love story. Guilty as charge. Apart from that, chemistry between Roman Montagu and Esme March was so intense! It was, in my opinion, torturous to read when these two were actually liked or loved each other but pride and fear got them first. A loving, giving, and caring person like Esme is really hard to find. I was definitely enjoying the warmth Esme was given to Roman. Well, that guy apparently a tortured-soul one with deadly curse run in the family. The best part -- on their first met, they didn't know each other but it was heartwarming. She soothed, she cared and oh so loving I could die if it were me. The ending though didn't meet my expectation especially on the fact that Roman wasn't who he think he was. Very disappointing because well, I was expecting something more melodramatic. Since he was married to Esme, I was expecting if that happened, Esme might've helped Roman escaped from the inevitable. By the by (I learnt this from the series), I will look forward for the next book! Please, please be Candover this time. He sounds very interesting and he's interesting, indeed. Recommended.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Olguin

    Funny! A Dukedom with a Duck curse! Sixteen dead Dukes all killed by duck (feathers, food, flocks, hunting and even a pet) all because of a non-romantic wedding betrothal between the first Duke and a witch - whom he burned at the stake because of her refusal and she cursed him and his line while as she burned. The premise is so unique, I won't forget this story, hence the five stars. The hero (the Seventeenth Duke, in his late thirties) knows he will also die by duck (by his fortieth birthday). He Funny! A Dukedom with a Duck curse! Sixteen dead Dukes all killed by duck (feathers, food, flocks, hunting and even a pet) all because of a non-romantic wedding betrothal between the first Duke and a witch - whom he burned at the stake because of her refusal and she cursed him and his line while as she burned. The premise is so unique, I won't forget this story, hence the five stars. The hero (the Seventeenth Duke, in his late thirties) knows he will also die by duck (by his fortieth birthday). He wakes from a drunken stupor (in a raging storm) aboard a boat called "The Drake" Ha! The heroine saves him from drowning and calms his fears by offering herself. She's had a secret infatuation for him since her coming out, before she was wed and much later widowed. She knows he doesn't remember her from any of the many, many times they had met in London. She's plain and unremarkable, an artist in her early thirties, wears glasses and blends into the background, and was on her way to Italy to study her art now that her mourning period is over. The storm changes both of their plans. I haven't read any other book in this series but I will add them to my TBR list.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    Book 2 in this series is a funny and entertaining historical romance that, for once, actually has the Prince Regent as a viable and contributing character. In fact, the main characters in this series are dukes who form his inner circle and with whom he cavorts as he whiles away his days "playing" instead of ruling England. Now his entourage have offended the sensibilities of aristocrat and commoner alike, and Prinny is determined to reclaim the loyalty of his people. Here the Duke of Norwich is Book 2 in this series is a funny and entertaining historical romance that, for once, actually has the Prince Regent as a viable and contributing character. In fact, the main characters in this series are dukes who form his inner circle and with whom he cavorts as he whiles away his days "playing" instead of ruling England. Now his entourage have offended the sensibilities of aristocrat and commoner alike, and Prinny is determined to reclaim the loyalty of his people. Here the Duke of Norwich is featured along with a warm and outspoken woman who knows her own mind and is willing to live life according to her own dictates. Yet her initial encounter with the Duke changes the path her immediate life takes and the resulting situations are all unexpected in some degree and the basis for some very witty dialogue and fine writing by Ms Nash. The reader would do well to read the first book, and while they are stand alone novels, they do enhance one another.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lidia

    I was extremely disappointed with this second book in the series of Regency heroes by Sophia Nash. The Art of Duke Hunting started off well enough, but it soon became apparent it lacked the laugh out loud humor and witty banter that had me so enthralled with the first book. The story itself was interesting, but soon I became bored with the hero, The Duke of Norwich as well as with the heroine, The Countess of Derby. What kept me enthralled in the pages of the first book was the variety of charac I was extremely disappointed with this second book in the series of Regency heroes by Sophia Nash. The Art of Duke Hunting started off well enough, but it soon became apparent it lacked the laugh out loud humor and witty banter that had me so enthralled with the first book. The story itself was interesting, but soon I became bored with the hero, The Duke of Norwich as well as with the heroine, The Countess of Derby. What kept me enthralled in the pages of the first book was the variety of characters and continuous situations that interplayed with the story, but in the second book, I felt like the author's fizzle fell flat. There was a lack of interesting characters. Between the good beginning and the good end, the pages in the middle of The Art of Duke Hunting were not enough to keep up with the high standard Sophia Nash set for herself with Between The Duke And The Deep Blue Sea.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    This is the second story of Royal Entourage series by Sophia Nash, and I have only one question: Was this written by the same author as the first installment?! Don’t answer it as it’s only a rhetorical question. I’m sure it is, but I can honestly say where the first book just went on giving me the headache, this one was just brilliant. From the first page to the last the story ...an for the rest of the review, please visit us at... http://bookworm2bookworm.wordpress.co... Mel This is the second story of Royal Entourage series by Sophia Nash, and I have only one question: Was this written by the same author as the first installment?! Don’t answer it as it’s only a rhetorical question. I’m sure it is, but I can honestly say where the first book just went on giving me the headache, this one was just brilliant. From the first page to the last the story ...an for the rest of the review, please visit us at... http://bookworm2bookworm.wordpress.co... Mel

  11. 5 out of 5

    KP Pryce

    This was a vastly disappointing read. The characters seemed promising, but they never became 'real' for me. Indeed, I was a bit confused. The 'wisp' of a man who was friend and tutor to the heroine was apparently an older man, but he read like an impertinent, ill bred wannabe dandy. The ducks (or every reference thereto) were extremely irritating, and as willing and flexible as my imagination is, I could not persuade it to stretch so far as to give credence to the hero's 'curse'.

  12. 4 out of 5

    N.W. Moors

    When the seventeenth Duke of Norwich ends up on a ship in a storm after a wild night of carousing, he knows that it's his time to die - especially if a duck shows up. His family line is cursed by a witch, and Roman is the last of his line. Fortunately, Lady Esme March is on board, planning a trip to Italy to view art treasure. She rescues the Duke who can't even remember how he arrived on board and the two have an interlude. This is a lovely story, very passionate with touches of humor. The dial When the seventeenth Duke of Norwich ends up on a ship in a storm after a wild night of carousing, he knows that it's his time to die - especially if a duck shows up. His family line is cursed by a witch, and Roman is the last of his line. Fortunately, Lady Esme March is on board, planning a trip to Italy to view art treasure. She rescues the Duke who can't even remember how he arrived on board and the two have an interlude. This is a lovely story, very passionate with touches of humor. The dialogue is outstanding. Esme and Roman are a wonderful pairing, though it takes them a while to get there after their first encounter. I read the series out of order (this is the second book) so I need to go back and read the first book, but the premise is fun. Seven dukes who comprise the Royal Entourage under Prinny, the Prince Regent, have a wild bachelor party for the Duke of Conover and face public outrage the next morning. I enjoyed this a lot and look forward to the rest of the books.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sasha

    Yikes. I should've known from her past books that this would be a marriage of convenience that focused more on Prinny than the protagonists. I get you did research on the Prince Regent and want to show that off, but do so deftly or in a textbook. The romance was so awkward, with the hero vacillating from hot to cold, and the heroine handing out mixed signals like candy on Halloween. Probably not going to continue the series.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Brooks

    3.5 stars. This was different, in that the characters were emotionally distanced from the reader and each other. I appreciated certain scenes in this book. I do wish the couple had more emotional closeness, as there was distance even though they spent much of the book in physical proximity. Time to read other reviews and see if anyone explained what I’m feeling better.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mk

    I loved the characters but wanted them to communicate with each other. I couldn't always understand why she acted as she did. I really enjoyed how she got along with his family; I would have liked to see more of those interactions. I do recommend it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    THE ART OF DUKE HUNTING : A great tale of love, humor and a curse. Terrific characters, Montagu is worth loving and March ‘s loving is worth having. Excellent descriptions.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sandi aka Maudley

    Great characters with unusual complications.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Book Binge

    This second novel in the "Royal Entourage" series features characters who are a part of the close inner circle of the Prince Regent of England, a man who lived "high on the hog" and whose excesses are the stuff of historic legend. Unlike many historical romance novels, "Prinny" as he was called is an active character. His close friends have really screwed up this time--a bachelor party for one of the highest ranking dukes was so out of bounds and actually destructive that the unwashed masses in This second novel in the "Royal Entourage" series features characters who are a part of the close inner circle of the Prince Regent of England, a man who lived "high on the hog" and whose excesses are the stuff of historic legend. Unlike many historical romance novels, "Prinny" as he was called is an active character. His close friends have really screwed up this time--a bachelor party for one of the highest ranking dukes was so out of bounds and actually destructive that the unwashed masses in England (as they were often characterized) have finally had their fill. As a means of reclaiming any modicum of his people's loyalty, Prinny has decreed that his circle are ALL going to be married and being living staid and proper lives with wife and babies and such. Here the Duke of Norwich, best friend to the Duke of Kress (who is a main character in the first novel) has disappeared as far as his chums are concerned. Actually he ended up on a passenger ship bound for the Continent and he is scared spitless. A long held and well-known curse rests on his family and he just knows he is going to die by drowning. Thus he has determined that he will never marry and the line of succession will end with him. Obviously, someone of the female persuasion has a different idea as she has determined that the duke is going to be around for awhile. If that were not the case, we wouldn't have a story, would we? This is a truly fun novel and lovers of historical fiction will find lots here that will please. The heroine is a woman of strong will and self-determination. She is a widow and she knows what she wants and it is, first and foremost, her own independence. That is, until she offers "comfort" to the duke while they are caught in a storm that could have easily sunk their ship and ended their lives. Out of this sexual encounter comes the necessity of a marriage--of convenience, to be sure, but a marriage that the duke is determined will never produce an heir. The new duchess is an artist of note and while she wants to proceed with her original plans to tour distant lands and their artistic treasures and museums, she has developed a "connection" or perhaps it is safe to say a sense of affection for her erstwhile husband, even though they have agreed that they will lead separate lives. In this case, that agreement appears to be in trouble. This is another fine novel from a writer that has given romance lovers some fine novels and this book will not disappoint. The two main characters are people of the kind that we would probably love knowing, in spite of their aristocratic station. They have set goals for their lives, want to live productively rather than while away their days playing, and feel a deep sense of responsibility for the families who depend on them for their livelihood and future prosperity. The duke is a man who also has an artistic bent but it has been ridiculed out of him by a hard and unloving father. Yet he uses his talents to develop a new method of bring fresh water to the citizens of London. In the midst of their strange relationship is the knowledge that the Prince Regent's popularity is nil and the Duke of Norwich's marriage is still a well-kept secret--on the command of Prinny himself. So there is political stuff here, romance of a rather strange nature, and two people who have difficulty coming to terms with the situation in which they find themselves. Good reading, people, and the kind of historical romance I really enjoy. There is so much humor here--the dialogue in general is witty with the exchanges between the main characters especially fine. Yes, their circumstance is serious but underneath it all is that sense of fun and humor that makes it a delightful book to enjoy and one that will entertain from page one. I don't think you'll want to miss this one. It will be especially good to have read book one in this series although both are stand alone novels. The two stories really do enhance one another. This review was originally posted on Book Binge by Judith.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gail

    2nd in series- library copy

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lissa

    The Art of Duke Hunting from the Royal Entourage series by Sophia Nash Roman Montagu has been haunted by his brother’s drowning, and by the family curse. 200 years ago, the first duke had offered marriage (along with some recently killed ducks as a wedding gift) to a young lady who promptly refused him. Offended, he accused her of witchcraft, and each of the next sixteen dukes died in a fowl manner (usually duck-related). Roman avoids water and lives a high life as part of Prinny’s Royal Entoura The Art of Duke Hunting from the Royal Entourage series by Sophia Nash Roman Montagu has been haunted by his brother’s drowning, and by the family curse. 200 years ago, the first duke had offered marriage (along with some recently killed ducks as a wedding gift) to a young lady who promptly refused him. Offended, he accused her of witchcraft, and each of the next sixteen dukes died in a fowl manner (usually duck-related). Roman avoids water and lives a high life as part of Prinny’s Royal Entourage, where the wild drunken parties lead to all kinds of trouble. This time, the trouble is that Roman Montagu has just woken up, completely terrified, and tied to the rail of a ship named The Drake during a terrible storm. A fellow passenger, Esme March, the Countess of Derby, saves his life on the deck and locks him in her stateroom to keep him from going overboard. The heat they create during the tension and passion of the storm seem like a dream by the time the sea is clear and the damaged ship is limping to the nearest harbor, but both Roman and Esme are intrigued by their encounter. After several days spent stranded in an isolated town, they make their way back to London, each back to his or her own social circle. No one needs to know their ship-board secret…until the Prince Regent commands them to marry! Sophia Nash is witty and wonderful, drawing her characters with the insight that makes reading their story a treat. Reading a romance novel isn’t about whether or not the main characters will live happily ever after, but how it will be accomplished. Roman and Esme both have complicated pasts, but their future is destined to be together. Pick up this historical romance set in the Regency England, where Prinny himself makes a cameo appearance to twist the plot. Highly recommended and very enjoyable sensual historical romance. Great regency setting, with all my favorite conventions including the too-talented but older and modest heroine and very witty banter. Rare (for regencies) actual appearance by Prinny as part of the plot!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessi

    Wow. I haven't finished Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea, but if it's as fun as this book, I may have found a new author to add to my "automatic reads." The Duke of Norwich (apparently known as "Seventeen" to his friends, but that's not really covered here, one of my very few disappointments with this book) has a family curse that he's trying to avoid. It seems that the titled men in his family have unfortunate issues when it comes to ducks. Yep, ducks. I love it. But, after a night of comp Wow. I haven't finished Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea, but if it's as fun as this book, I may have found a new author to add to my "automatic reads." The Duke of Norwich (apparently known as "Seventeen" to his friends, but that's not really covered here, one of my very few disappointments with this book) has a family curse that he's trying to avoid. It seems that the titled men in his family have unfortunate issues when it comes to ducks. Yep, ducks. I love it. But, after a night of complete debauchery with the Prince and the other Royal Dukes, he ends up on a boat... in a storm... Pretty much his worst nightmare. The nightmare that he has in his nightmares. Luckily, Esme March, the Countess of Derby, is on hand to save him. Even to the point of distracting him with a very... elemental activity. Yeah, yeah, it's not historically accurate that a woman would be traveling without a maid nor would a lady probably offer up sex but... eh. I'm really not a perfectionist for historical detail and the scene was just so fun. But neither Reginald's wang nor Esme's (or, as she's called, "March's") hoo-ha proved to be magic and they did not fall immediately in love. However, the Prince needs some goodwill after the debacle and he decides (view spoiler)[that Reginald needs to to marry. Specifically, since he's heard rumors, Reginald needs to marry Esme. Immediately. But not tell anyone. Really? Didn't get that part of the story but it forced the two to spend more time together. (hide spoiler)] . Loved the "B" characters in this one, Esme's mother, her painting mentor, her cousin Verity (please, please, please tell me she gets her own story, it's totally hinted at here. At least, I think it was. It was an oblique hint.), and, of course, the rest of the Prince's entourage. Readalikes: Julia Quinn, Stephanie Laurens

  22. 4 out of 5

    BookMaven

    Where is the Trademark Humor? Roman, 17th Duke of Norwich, has just realized he is aboard a ship named, "The Drake". He does not know why or how he got there. All he knows is that ducks have played a role in the death of the 16 Dukes who have preceded him, so the name of the ship makes him very uneasy. The storm lashing about the ship at sea makes him positively panicky. Esme March, the widowed Countess of Derbyshire sees the distraught Roman on deck and proceeds to force him into her cabin. She Where is the Trademark Humor? Roman, 17th Duke of Norwich, has just realized he is aboard a ship named, "The Drake". He does not know why or how he got there. All he knows is that ducks have played a role in the death of the 16 Dukes who have preceded him, so the name of the ship makes him very uneasy. The storm lashing about the ship at sea makes him positively panicky. Esme March, the widowed Countess of Derbyshire sees the distraught Roman on deck and proceeds to force him into her cabin. She is concerned about his safety on deck and tries to calm him. This act of kindness will alter her life dramatically. She has unwittingly displeased the Prince Regent, and so has the Duke. And the Prince Regent has a surprise for both of them. The first part of this book explains all these problems that the Duke has with ducks, because of an ancient curse put on the first Duke of Norwich. One would think by this beginning that the book was going to be humorous. Also, this is the second book in a series, and the first book is hysterical!! This book, however, is not, though I do believe the author intended it to be. Both the Duke and Esme have all these problems and insecurities that just make one sad. The author takes us from one totally implausible situation after another with characters that just cannot feel or give enough for me to be interested. There were bombshells dropped right and left by the characters that just did not seem to ring true. At the end, we are all of a sudden. deluged with declarations of love, but it just seems to come out of nowhere. IMO, this great writer just had a bad day. One could almost doubt that Sophia Nash even wrote it. The book does, however, move the plot along for the series.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    For my first foray into Sophia Nash literature, this was pretty enjoyable! The Duke of Norwich is cursed- his whole family, rather- to die an early death. So when he awakes on board a storm-tossed vessel, he's certain that death is imminent. Instead, he spends the long hours of the storm in a different whirlwind, one brought on by a mysterious lady who uses her hands to soothe and lips to ignite. Thus begins the surreal fate-driven story of Roman and Esme, the widowed Countess of Derby. Roman is For my first foray into Sophia Nash literature, this was pretty enjoyable! The Duke of Norwich is cursed- his whole family, rather- to die an early death. So when he awakes on board a storm-tossed vessel, he's certain that death is imminent. Instead, he spends the long hours of the storm in a different whirlwind, one brought on by a mysterious lady who uses her hands to soothe and lips to ignite. Thus begins the surreal fate-driven story of Roman and Esme, the widowed Countess of Derby. Roman is a wildly compelling hero, who is infatuated with Esme from the start despite his inability to depend on anyone. His cheeky, insouciant demeanor matched perfectly with Esme's solemn mien; it was the sweet balance of rich coffee and cream. The plot was also interesting. A host of secondary characters entered the scene when Prinny demanded the two be married in order to calm the English citizens' rage at such depravity by royalty. From Candor and Abshire, to obnoxious William Topher and sweet Lily- the story rounded out and wove together seamlessly. Norwich remained steadfast in his desire to give everything and nothing to Esme while she pined for a second chance at a marriage she always truly wanted. In the end, it takes Esme's departure and another terrific storm at sea to throw their relationship into sharp relief- Norwich admitting to his deep-seated need for Esme and Esme releasing her pride and providing Norwich with everything she had. Overall a very good read except for the fact that the ending became rather drawn out by the sugary writing- I don't believe it needed to be frosted that heavily that the two had found love.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Petra Grayson

    I had a really hard time getting into this book. Partly because it's the second in the series and I hadn't read the first book yet. But the story itself just felt rather sad. There was witty dialogue and I like Ms. Nash's writing style, but most of the time Roman and Esme didn't seem all that happy. Roman's afraid of boats. Esme's afraid of people drinking. Neither of them are happy when they're forced to marry. There are injuries and panicking too. Both characters grew and were able to overcome I had a really hard time getting into this book. Partly because it's the second in the series and I hadn't read the first book yet. But the story itself just felt rather sad. There was witty dialogue and I like Ms. Nash's writing style, but most of the time Roman and Esme didn't seem all that happy. Roman's afraid of boats. Esme's afraid of people drinking. Neither of them are happy when they're forced to marry. There are injuries and panicking too. Both characters grew and were able to overcome their problems. Esme gained self-confidence and Roman conquered his fears. But they spent the whole book in angst and were only able to let go at the very end. It was a nice relaxing breath at the end of the book. Everyone was finally able to breathe out and let go, but that means the rest of the book was filled with tension for me. All of the titles and names were confusing to keep straight. I tend to recognize characters mostly by the first letter in their name and there were lots of characters that I kept getting mixed up - because sometimes they'd be called by their title, sometimes their name and sometimes their title location or whatever you call that. On that note, it was hard to figure out the motivations of the characters because I'd read a little bit and then have to go back and re-check which name I was reading about. Once I got to the end, it was a nice ending, but it took effort for me and the characters to get there.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I loved the first book in this series about the "Royal Entourage" and this book was just as good. Poor Roman, the Duke of Norwich, faces a generations old curse on the male heirs in his family. After an ill fated night out with his fellow wild Dukes.. he ends up on a boat.. in a storm.. with the widow, Esme, Countess of Derby. She helps Roman get through a horrendous night on the boat.. and their futures are entwined from there on in. Little does Roman know that Esme is also entwined with his fa I loved the first book in this series about the "Royal Entourage" and this book was just as good. Poor Roman, the Duke of Norwich, faces a generations old curse on the male heirs in his family. After an ill fated night out with his fellow wild Dukes.. he ends up on a boat.. in a storm.. with the widow, Esme, Countess of Derby. She helps Roman get through a horrendous night on the boat.. and their futures are entwined from there on in. Little does Roman know that Esme is also entwined with his family's past. This book has two elements that I always seem to enjoy in a romance, a strong female character and a couple who helps on another "heal" either emotionally or physically. Esme definitely fits the bill as a strong female and Roman needs a lot of healing. I love how all of the stories in this series are so interconnected. The Royal Entourage is quite the group of dissolute rakes, who are also devoted friends. Sure, they keep secrets, and play jokes, and make dares and wagers.. but in the end they are there for each other. I can't wait for the next book in the series! * The first two books came out back to back, so I was hoping that we wouldn't have to wait long for the 3rd, but it looks like it won't be released until Spring 2013. Bummer!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Janga

    I loved Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea, but I think The Art of Duke Hunting is even better. Many of my favorite romance novels combine humor with poignancy, and Nash does so here with skill and emotional power. Roman is a multi-faceted character and a terrific hero, despite all the duck jokes. By the time I read Esme’s description of his “intelligent regal face full of angles,” I was half in love with him. His affection for his friends among the Entourage made him more attractive and I f I loved Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea, but I think The Art of Duke Hunting is even better. Many of my favorite romance novels combine humor with poignancy, and Nash does so here with skill and emotional power. Roman is a multi-faceted character and a terrific hero, despite all the duck jokes. By the time I read Esme’s description of his “intelligent regal face full of angles,” I was half in love with him. His affection for his friends among the Entourage made him more attractive and I found his commitment to devising a way for London to have clean water admirable. His honesty with himself about the emptiness of his self-indulgent life was all I needed to believe him a hero worthy of the remarkable heroine Nash gives him. Even when he makes the wrong choices, his motive for doing so is clear, and his choices are in character for what the reader has come to know about him. And once he recognizes that he is wrong, he takes quick and dramatic action that leads to a sigh-worthy conclusion. See full review at Just Janga: http://justjanga.blogspot.com/2012/03...

  27. 5 out of 5

    Marcy

    Roman Montagu, the Duke of Norwich, is also known as the Duck Duke because of a curse on his family involving ducks (in all forms) causing death. He plans never to marry (to break the curse) and to stay away from water after his brother, the last Duke, died at sea. But after a debauched bachelor party with the 'Royal Entourage' of Dukes, and too much absinthe, he awakens to find himself trapped on the deck of a ship during a raging storm. His worst nightmare. He's dragged out of the storm and int Roman Montagu, the Duke of Norwich, is also known as the Duck Duke because of a curse on his family involving ducks (in all forms) causing death. He plans never to marry (to break the curse) and to stay away from water after his brother, the last Duke, died at sea. But after a debauched bachelor party with the 'Royal Entourage' of Dukes, and too much absinthe, he awakens to find himself trapped on the deck of a ship during a raging storm. His worst nightmare. He's dragged out of the storm and into a cabin by Esme March, the widowed Countess of Derby. She knows who he is as she's been attracted to him for years. Not that he's ever noticed. She helps Roman fight his demons during the storm, but when they return to England the Prince Regent demands they marry. What is supposed to be a marriage of convenience...ends up being so much more. This book was more about the main characters and less about the entourage of Dukes, which I liked. While the reader can easily see that these two are made for each other, it takes them (especially Roman) a whole lot longer. I liked how it ended as we also got to see again the lead characters from the first book in the series.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Regina

    This story was at best annoying and at worst frustrating, yet it was sprinkled periodically with poignant scenes. How does an author make this work? She doesn't; it just turns out to be a rather average tale. It's a strange chemistry. Esme and Roman worked, but why do their best parts always have to be at the end? What didn't work for me was the overused curse plot that surrounds Roman's family. And this story was built entirely around this curse. It colored everything Roman did and felt and bel This story was at best annoying and at worst frustrating, yet it was sprinkled periodically with poignant scenes. How does an author make this work? She doesn't; it just turns out to be a rather average tale. It's a strange chemistry. Esme and Roman worked, but why do their best parts always have to be at the end? What didn't work for me was the overused curse plot that surrounds Roman's family. And this story was built entirely around this curse. It colored everything Roman did and felt and believed in. It made their marriage of convenience frustrating when it was obvious they could have really made a go of it. Esme's part in the curse felt thrown in, and when she finally made the big reveal, it was immaterial at that point. The ending was rather lukewarm, but at least certain facts about Roman's family were explained. Ultimately, I was able to finish this story, unlike the first one (The Duke and the Deep Blue Sea). However, it was far from satisfying. For me it was a lackluster 3 stars.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sharyn

    I read this after reading number 3, so I already met Esme, and was very curious about her marriage. I liked that she was a 34 year old widow and her backstory really helped understand her reluctance to marry. The Duke of Norwich, called the Duck Duke, was cursed and the previous Dukes met early and unlikely deaths caused by ducks. He is determined not to marry and have children to end the curse. But life gets in the way and he and 5 other Duke's cause a scandal, and Prinny's solution to end the I read this after reading number 3, so I already met Esme, and was very curious about her marriage. I liked that she was a 34 year old widow and her backstory really helped understand her reluctance to marry. The Duke of Norwich, called the Duck Duke, was cursed and the previous Dukes met early and unlikely deaths caused by ducks. He is determined not to marry and have children to end the curse. But life gets in the way and he and 5 other Duke's cause a scandal, and Prinny's solution to end the scandal and the public turning against the monarchy is to see that the 6 Duke's are wed. Esme and "17" as he is called are an unlikely pair forced to wed due to circumstances. How they arrive at happiness is a lovely story. The stories run concurrently, which makes it interesting to see the characters turn up in each book. Sussex has a mystery that I hope is solved next, will Candover succumb to the woman we know loves him, and what will Barry's story be? Can't wait.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ibrium

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Light read, with generally likeable characters. Thought the end dragged quite a bit, however, and included a rather ham-handed introduction to the MCs for the next book in the series book 1 of the series. Overall it felt a little unpolished. **eta: I didn't read the first book in the series (I failed to notice that this was book 2 when I bought it.) I didn't feel lost by what was happening, just assumed all the extraneous characters with mysterious doings would be getting their own books eventua Light read, with generally likeable characters. Thought the end dragged quite a bit, however, and included a rather ham-handed introduction to the MCs for the next book in the series book 1 of the series. Overall it felt a little unpolished. **eta: I didn't read the first book in the series (I failed to notice that this was book 2 when I bought it.) I didn't feel lost by what was happening, just assumed all the extraneous characters with mysterious doings would be getting their own books eventually, natch. So, assuming that I sort of thought what I was reading was book 1 (I did), and even knowing now that it wasn't, I still feel the introduction of the characters from the first book wasn't well handled. My opinion on that would likely be different if I'd already known them, but I didn't, and it seemed so weird and out of place. Sorta like they were shoe-horned in.

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