Friday, April 13, 2012

Unwrapping: Review of THE TATTOOED DUKE by Maya Rodale

Back in February I pre-ordered the book THE TATTOOED DUKE by Maya Rodale. I was so looking forward to reading it as soon as it arrived. Soon after it arrived, I found out that I had been chosen as an Avon Addict and my list of reading increased three-fold so THE TATTOOED DUKE got pushed lower in the pile. With a recent lull even though the list is still long, I finally got the opportunity to read this eagerly awaited installment of the Writing Girl Series.

As some of you may know if you've been reading my blog for some time, I am a great fan of Maya Rodale and actually hold her out as the inspiration for my creation of this blog. I love her Writing Girl Series because the ladies are all things respectable in Regency England but don't hesitate to do things their way or speak their mind even if it's hidden within a column in the London Weekly. I love to think of myself as a member of the mob of scribbling women and if you're not already familiar with these ladies, please do make their acquaintance. I love this cover by the way!


Breaking news, scandal fans!
You thought you knew the dangerous Duke of Wycliff, London’s globe-trotting adventure addict. Here’s what you don’t know: he’s penniless. Sebastian Digby’s dukely lifestyle is over forever unless he finds a rich bride. But thanks to The London Weekly, everyone knows better than to tangle with this lothario. Besides (as one writer can testify), it seems that Sebastian has been unable to keep his hands off his own lowly housemaid…
And that’s a problem. A big one.
Because that housemaid just happens to be me. Eliza Fielding. The same undercover Writing Girl who’s been exposing the Duke’s most intimate secrets to the world. And now I’ve gone and complicated everything by falling love with him. Passion and deception have never been so delicious, but now the truth could destroy everything. This is more than a conflict of interest. It’s a seduction where love itself hangs in the balance.

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Reading THE TATTOOED DUKE by Maya Rodale is a unique experience.

Eliza Fielding is one of the notorious Writing Girls who work for the London Weekly under the supervision of Mr. Knightly who expects much from his girls. When he tells Eliza, in no uncertain terms, that she is to get the story on the returning Duke of Wycliff, Eliza knows her job is on the line. She decides the best way to get close to this mysterious man who has been gone from London these past ten years is to go undercover in his household as a common housemaid. Getting the job is easy as no one else seems to want it, keeping it is going to be a whole other thing.

Sebastian Digby is the newest Duke of Wycliff, a notorious family of men who are notorious for their inability to keep their wandering hands off their housemaids. Sebastian does his best to resist the temptation but the lovely, impertinent, and irresistible new housemaid, Eliza, is making it very difficult to keep from becoming like his ancestors. His goal in life is not to get tied permanently to London but to get his hands on enough money to fund a search for the mysterious and unreachable Timbuktu in Africa.  A Duke's title isn't worth much without money or respect behind it and right now, Sebastian has little of both especially since someone is leaking information about him to the irrepressible newspaper columnist W.G. Meadows.

Eliza is trying desperately to get the story that will save her job but soon finds herself falling under the spell of the handsome and intriguing Duke of Wycliff with his tales of far off lands and dazzling tattoos that inflame more than a desire to admire them. All the while, her past is coming back to haunt her and she fears her life and career are quickly coming unraveled.

Sebastian is fighting his growing desire for the delectable housemaid haunting his thoughts while scheming to gain the funds needed to get him to Timbuktu. As much as he desires Eliza, both in body and company, he knows there's no future to be had with a common housemaid. So he turns his thoughts to the wealthy widow Lady Althea who is more than willing to gain his attention by any means possible including by pretending her child is, in fact, his from a brief affair ten years earlier. When he learns the truth, he turns his interest to winning the reward offered for the identity of W.G. Meadows.

Will Eliza get the story and save her job? Will Sebastian gain his funds to make the venture to Timbuktu before others get there first? Will he ever knock on Eliza's attic bedroom door and will Eliza let him in to succumb to her greatest desire? Will these two save each other or will THE STORY tear them apart forever?

As I said earlier, reading THE TATTOOED DUKE by Maya Rodale is a unique experience. Maya has written Eliza and Sebastian's story in such a way that you feel you are watching it unfold rather than reading it. It incited my imagination in such a way that I saw each chapter more like a scene in a movie rather than a free flowing novel. I enjoyed Eliza and Sebastian's nighttime encounters on the roof discussing all things familiar to them and culminating in some kissy face activity. I enjoyed the way Sebastian would finagle a way for Eliza to work alongside him in the greenhouse while enjoying each other's company, unwittingly giving her fuel for her column and usually ending with a little more kissy face. A scene would end with a kiss or a piece of information that neither wished to hear but the next chapter would begin a new scene continuing this intriguing tale of pursuit and deception. The story grew stronger with every scene change. It was fun, unique and worked splendidly to keep the tension at a tolerable level and the reader's interest in the secrets that needed uncovering. Reading THE TATTOOED DUKE was reminiscent of the way the first novels were written - more as segments as if from a journal or letters rather than continuous storytelling.

THE TATTOOED DUKE by Maya Rodale kept me amused as well as on the edge of my seat wondering how Eliza and Sebastian would overcome the obstacles keeping them from consummating their mutual desire for each other. THE TATTOOED DUKE was everything I'd hope it would be as it followed the other two books in the Writing Girl Series - A TALE OF TWO LOVERS and A GROOM OF ONE'S OWN.  If you're not already familiar with these incorrigible members of the mob of scribbling women, please be sure to introduce yourself to them but especially to THE TATTOOED DUKE for along with enjoying the camaraderie that Eliza holds dear with her fellow Writing Girls, you will surely fall in love with Sebastian just as I have.

I recommend THE TATTOOED DUKE by Maya Rodale to every reader who enjoys a story about an unintended bad boy and his naughty undercover impertinent reporter/housemaid. It's a delightfully fun and oh so, sexy way to spend some quiet time with a dashingly handsome and oh so, scandalous Tattooed Duke.

Happy Reading Everyone!

THE TATTOOED DUKE by Maya Rodale, an Avon Romance and available now in both ebook and print format.



Gaelen said...

This looks fabulous!!! Of course, I would not expect any differently from Maya Rodale. Can I just say that guy on the cover is hot?? just sayin.

Great post, Amy! Now I'm all the more excited about this book.


Amy Valentini said...

Hi Gaelen,
I'm so happy to see that someone finally commented if for no other reason to express delight over that fabulous cover! He is HOT, isn't he? Wait till you meet Sebastian, you're going to fall hard for this guy.
I'm glad you came by and I helped fuel even more excitement over this book. It's definitely Maya's best yet. : )
Have a good weekend!

Dalila G. said...

Hi Amy,

I did add Maya's book A TATTOOED DUKE to my list of TBB books.
I already own A GROOM OF ONE'S OWN, just haven't had the time to read it. Plus, I'm so far behind on my reading that I'm not sure if I even have A TALE OF TWO LOVER'S in my TBR pile! UGH!!

I really need to get a bit more organized. I LOVE my books,I just need a sexy male secretary to help me out.
Hmmmm.......I wonder, your last post, that guy will be perfect for me. ;-)

Thanks for the wonderful review, I do plan on reading all of the books in this series, just not sure when! LOL!!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Amy Valentini said...

Hi Dalila,
Wouldn't we all love to have some gorgeous hunk as our secretary (not sure that's PO but I don't care) ... I'd make sure his duties extended past office duties! The Writing Girls series is loads of fun because the heroines are far from shrinking violets. Enjoy!!