The Trouble with Dukes

The Trouble with Dukes

THEY CALL HIM THE DUKE OF MURDER...The gossips whisper that the new Duke of Murdoch is a brute, a murderer, and even worse—a Scot. They say he should never be trusted alone with a woman. But Megan Windham sees in Hamish something different, someone different.No one was fiercer at war than Hamish MacHugh, though now the soldier faces a whole new battlefield: a London Season...

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Title:The Trouble with Dukes
Author:Grace Burrowes
Rating:
ISBN:1455569968
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages:339 pages

The Trouble with Dukes Reviews

  • Caz
    Nov 23, 2016

    Grace Burrowes’

    sees her returning to the extended Windham family, who were the subject of her first published works. The

    series introduces the four nieces of the Duke and Duchess of Moreland while also reacquainting readers with the various other family members whose stories were told previously.

    I suspect a reader’s level of enjoyment of this book may largely depend on their degree of familiarity with the various characters who inhabit

    (a

    Grace Burrowes’

    sees her returning to the extended Windham family, who were the subject of her first published works. The

    series introduces the four nieces of the Duke and Duchess of Moreland while also reacquainting readers with the various other family members whose stories were told previously.

    I suspect a reader’s level of enjoyment of this book may largely depend on their degree of familiarity with the various characters who inhabit

    (a useful term coined by a friend of mine), as the author tends to put her existing characters to good use by moving them from book to book and series to series. If she needs a dashing former cavalry officer for some reason, why invent a new one when she’s already invented Devlin St. Just? Or if she needs a lordly musician, why not just call Valentine Windham into service? For someone like me, who has read – and enjoyed – a good proportion of Ms. Burrowes’ books, this doesn’t present a problem. I like meeting familiar faces and watching how they all relate and interact with each other and with the newly introduced characters in any given book. But for someone completely new to the author’s work, it could all prove somewhat overwhelming and a bit of homework might be in order.

    On the other hand, the story is self-contained, so there are no threads picked up from other books or plotlines left hanging to be resolved in future ones. And if you’re prepared to just accept that all these secondary characters – many of whom, like Westhaven, St. Just, Keswick and Moreland have more than just a cameo role to play – are family members and then go along for the ride, then I’m sure it’s possible to enjoy the book without having read any of the others. But to be completely honest, the plot of the novel is actually very slight, and the principal enjoyment of reading it comes from the well-written, affectionate familial relationships and friendships, something at which Ms. Burrowes always excels and to which I look forward each time I pick up one of her books.

    Megan Windham is the third of the four sisters, all of whom are independent, intelligent young ladies with varying shades of red hair. Megan is fairly quiet and bookish; and when we first meet her, she is being importuned by Sir Fletcher Pilkington, a handsome young gentleman with aspirations to her hand. It’s quickly apparent that Megan wants nothing to do with him and that all he really wants is her dowry so he can pay off his debts and continue to life the high life. She is rescued from his unwanted attentions by a large, imposing man with dark auburn hair and piercing blue eyes – whom Sir Fletcher introduces as a former fellow officer, Colonel Hamish MacHugh.

    MacHugh has recently become Duke of Murdoch and has come to London to see to all the legalities pertaining to his inheritance. He has also escorted his sisters to town so that they can take part in the Season, but he has no patience with the intricacies of society and feels completely adrift in the ballrooms and drawing rooms of the ton, so his plan is to decamp back to Scotland at the earliest opportunity. Yet if anything could tempt him to stay, it would be the lovely and intriguing Miss Windham, whom he senses is burdened by troubles that relate to Sir Fletcher, a man Hamish knows to be vicious, vain and unscrupulous.

    Hamish’s suspicions about the true nature of Megan’s feelings for her suitor are correct. She loathes him and lives in dread of his gaining consent to their engagement. The problem is that telling her parents – or her strapping, protective Windham cousins – of the reason behind her dislike will risk her reputation and that of her sisters, and she is not prepared to ruin their standing in society because a youthful infatuation led her to believe herself in love with the scoundrel, and to write him a number of passionately improper letters – letters he is now using in order to blackmail her into marriage.

    Megan is immediately attracted to her rescuer, who is kind and honourable and who listens to her without criticism or judgement. She feels valued and comfortable for the first time in ages and quickly finds herself trusting him enough to confide in him and ask for his help, which he gives readily. But Hamish has troubles of his own. He is haunted by decisions and actions made while serving on the Peninsula, and gossip about his propensity for violence and insubordination has led to his being dubbed the ‘Duke of Murder’. To make things worse, when Sir Fletcher sees which way the wind is blowing, he does his best to blacken Hamish’s name even further in his quest to become Megan’s accepted suitor while at the same time resorting to seriously underhand methods to sustain his expensive lifestyle.

    That’s basically the plot – Hamish helps to remove the threat to Megan’s reputation and happiness and in return, she helps him to learn to polish his manners and learn some societal niceties so that he won’t feel quite so awkward amongst the ton. Along the way, of course, the pair develops a strong emotional attachment, and Hamish discovers the benefit of having true friends in the form of Megan’s formidable cousins and cousins-in-law. Their witty banter and the subsequent friendships that develop between the men are a sure sign that Hamish is going to fit right in, and give Grace Burrowes the opportunity to showcase her talent for writing strong male relationships.

    My one quibble in this area, though, is that those relationships come very close to eclipsing the romance, which proceeds gently and without any over-played drama. Megan and Hamish are likeable, sensible characters, and I enjoyed watching both of them gradually returning to being their true selves and drawing strength from each other as they fell in love. But Megan confides her troubles to Hamish a little too quickly, and while he’s a trustworthy chap and I could understand her reasons for not wanting to tell her cousins of her dilemma, it nonetheless seems to happen a little too fast. And then there’s the issue of Megan’s parents taking an extended trip (to Wales) right in the middle of the Season even though they believe Megan is about to receive an offer of marriage – to which her father will have to give his consent. Their absence at a crucial time doesn’t make sense and feels like an obvious plot device so as to allow time for Megan and Hamish to spend time together while making sure that Sir Fletcher cannot make his proposal.

    Those criticisms aside however,

    is a sweetly romantic tale featuring two engaging, well-matched protagonists. Readers familiar with the author’s work will appreciate her quirky writing style and sense of humour and those who aren’t will, I hope, find much to enjoy.

  • Mei
    Jan 17, 2017

    Oh dear, I hope this years HR will get better.... at least those I read.... O_o

    I was frustrated with this book. In the first half there's a lot of running around, a lot of people talking, scheming, nothing happened.

    Or, better, I could discern that there's this guy, odious and unctuous, who wanted to force Megan to marry him. But it was not clear why she just didn't slap him or gave him a cut direct...

    I understood, after years of reading HR, that Dukes and Duchesses had very much power and could

    Oh dear, I hope this years HR will get better.... at least those I read.... O_o

    I was frustrated with this book. In the first half there's a lot of running around, a lot of people talking, scheming, nothing happened.

    Or, better, I could discern that there's this guy, odious and unctuous, who wanted to force Megan to marry him. But it was not clear why she just didn't slap him or gave him a cut direct...

    I understood, after years of reading HR, that Dukes and Duchesses had very much power and could make or unmake a person just like this...

    So it was unclear to me here how could anybody treat Hamish, the war hero (tarnished, but still...), the Duke like dirt.... Mah... maybe I got it wrong... *shrug*

    I couldn't also understand why Megan didn't want her family to help her. Why didn't she told them that Fletcher were blackmailing her... she didn't have to tell them exactly why, just that he was doing it!

    I also couldn't understand why Hamish couldn't just propose to her without giving a fig to what Fletcher would do. Why they both cared about that? Didn't the women got married if their reputation was riuned as a reparation of said reputation? Mah...

    And, in the end that's exactly what happens: Hamish asks her to marry him in the middle of a ball! So why all the drama?

    Ah, this is a mostly clean and alsmot virginal romance. The hot scenes are so not hot...

    But, on the positive side, the writing is good, so for me this was a 2.5 stars rounded to 3.

  • Wollstonecrafthomegirl
    Dec 26, 2016

    So, I have a theory. Burrowes does not write great novels when the setting is the London Season. It's like she's at a loss for how to bring her H/h together when they're just a standard couple courting in a standard way. Unless her heroine is the near neighbour/governess/housemaid/gal of all works of the hero and the action is set primarily around one stately home, in the country, with country pursuits, I think she's a bit at sea.

    This novel was at sea.

    The romance never felt well developed. Sudd

    So, I have a theory. Burrowes does not write great novels when the setting is the London Season. It's like she's at a loss for how to bring her H/h together when they're just a standard couple courting in a standard way. Unless her heroine is the near neighbour/governess/housemaid/gal of all works of the hero and the action is set primarily around one stately home, in the country, with country pursuits, I think she's a bit at sea.

    This novel was at sea.

    The romance never felt well developed. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, Megan and Hamish liked one another and then they loved one another. There weren't any particularly great scenes between them or romantic moments. They don’t share any particular pursuits or views (aside from the fact that Megan likes a kilt and Hamish wears one). A quick chat at one ball and then another and then a ride in the park and it seems to be enough. I’m not sure why.

    Even the basis on which they were bought more frequently together – namely Megan’s recruitment of Hamish to retrieve her letters was very strained. Why would Megan recruit Hamish to help her retrieve her letters when there are so many Windham cousins, in laws and benevolent uncles about? And boy, were there a hell of a lot of them about. This is not the book to start with if you're new to Burrowes, firstly because there's (much) better out there, but secondly because it's absolutely packed full of beloved characters past and most of their interactions will be lost on you if you aren't embedded in the Burrowes lexicon. There was, it seemed to me, a lot of focus on those other characters to the detriment of the underdeveloped primary romance.

    Suffice to say, this fell flat for me. In my opinion, the weakest Burrowes to date. And for the first time, I wonder if she doesn’t need to leave the Windhams behind and look at building a new world in which to create new romances.

  • Heather andrews
    Oct 02, 2016

    Hamish is a very sweet man, “listen to me, Meggie. Firstly , when I make a vow, I keep it. Forsaking all others, means forsaking all others. Secondly, I suspect once we’re wed, the effort required to show up at meals with a few clothes on will tax the limit of my abilities. I’m marrying a passionate woman.” Thanks to his girl, Hamish can sometimes forget what he was saying, “I was saying…” Something, something important, and honorable, and… damn. “Don’t stop, Meggie. Not yet.” I enjoyed this boo

    Hamish is a very sweet man, “listen to me, Meggie. Firstly , when I make a vow, I keep it. Forsaking all others, means forsaking all others. Secondly, I suspect once we’re wed, the effort required to show up at meals with a few clothes on will tax the limit of my abilities. I’m marrying a passionate woman.” Thanks to his girl, Hamish can sometimes forget what he was saying, “I was saying…” Something, something important, and honorable, and… damn. “Don’t stop, Meggie. Not yet.” I enjoyed this book, Hamish was just the sweetest man.

  • Elizabeth
    Nov 04, 2016

    Grace Burrowes writes from the heart--with warmth, humor, and a generous dash of sensuality, her stories are unputdownable! If you're not reading Grace Burrowes you're missing the very best in today's Regency Romance!

  • Juliana Philippa
    Dec 07, 2016

    This was my first Grace Burrowes book and unfortunately, I didn't love it. I will definitely be trying some of her other books though; her characters are interesting, the writing is good, and the Windham family, which is heavily featured here, is quite enjoyable (and hysterical)!

    Hamish MacHugh (early

    This was my first Grace Burrowes book and unfortunately, I didn't love it. I will definitely be trying some of her other books though; her characters are interesting, the writing is good, and the Windham family, which is heavily featured here, is quite enjoyable (and hysterical)!

    Hamish MacHugh (early 30s??), now also the Duke of Murdoch, has just received a dukedom he never expected and really would prefer not having. He's in London with one of his brothers and two of his sisters, who are eager to make their societal debut, but cannot wait to get back to Scotland as soon as possible. He gets sidetracked, however, when he by chance runs into Miss Meghan Windham—repeatedly. There's a growing attraction and instant connection between them, and although on the one hand he knows English society isn't for him and can't wait to go home, on the other, how can he not help a damsel in distress ...?

    Miss Meghan Windham (almost 26) is one of the Windham cousins (from the

    ) and middle of four sisters, all unmarried. She has enjoyed her independence, but has never opposed marriage, and at one time even thought that she had found a worthy man to love and spend the rest of her life. Turns out, Sir Fletcher is actually an ass-wipe and she is now in his clutches and being blackmailed into marrying him. He has not proposed or made his intentions officially known to her uncle or father, but his attention to her has not gone unnoticed and being the charming rogue that he is, everyone else just thinks he's an eligible suitor.

    Meghan had pretty much accepted her fate; although she has absolutely no tender feelings for Sir Fletcher anymore, she wants to avoid the scandal that he threatens to unleash on her sisters and her family. Now that she's met and started to fall for Hamish though, she sees the possibility of another and far brighter future ... if only they can get Sir Fletcher to give up on his plan to use her as (essentially) a convenient cash cow.

    I normally prefer to start with praise (who doesn't), but because I gave this book a poor rating, I feel like I should start off with what I didn't like about the book. There were a few things, but I'll start with the biggest first: I found the whole subplot unbelievable. Sir Fletcher's blackmail is legit and he's one crafty, manipulative mofo, but that he would be able to push Meghan into marrying him doesn't hold water. The Windham family is far, far too powerful! He's the youngest (and possibly not true) son of an earl, whereas she has dukes, marquesses, earls, and etc. either in her family or connected through marriage. Even without the title imbalance, the Windham family is presented is as one of

    top families of society—their name and influence would far outweigh any potential smear or scandal Sir Fletcher might try to create (if they didn't just straight-out intimidate him into not doing anything in the first place).

    I also found it very hard to believe that Meghan hadn't confided in any of her family members. I get the embarrassment factor, but that versus spending the rest of her life married to an asshole who is very straightforward about how little he thinks of her and how poorly he will treat her ... yeah, nuh-uh. It's either unbelievable, or it makes her a huge wuss with absolutely no spine whatsoever—neither of which is appealing. It's totally believable within another historical romance perhaps, but the Windham family is so close and so loving, it just rings completely false.

    Finally, while I did really like Hamish and liked most of what I saw of Meghan, I didn't feel the connection between them. Part of that was that I found Meghan a bit hard to understand, due to the above, but also because I didn't always understand some of her other actions either. It didn't make much sense to me the way she acts with Hamish in the beginning, and why does she so readily confide in him when she hasn't confided in anyone else? Their interactions are cute, but they didn't ring completely true, because I never got a sense of what their connection was founded on. There was a distinct lack of chemistry between them and though there are some romance scenes, they completely lacked sizzle for me.

    Oh! And one last thing: the

    comparison of everything to war language was supremely annoying. Everything was a campaign, every move was compared to some war stratagem and described as such; it was really excessive. Made it seem like Burrowes did a great deal of military research ... and then got annoyed that she wasn't able to use it with this plot so tried to stick them in wherever she could. Hamish and several of the Windham cousins were in the military, so it's not completely random, but just very over-the-top in terms of frequency.

    As I said above, I did really enjoy Hamish—he was so adorable and such a sweetie. A very gruff, rough-around-the-edges sweetie. The way he calls her "Miss Meggie" and "Meggie" from the beginning was super cute. I love his to-the-point, blunt-speaking ways, which provide several laugh-out-loud passages, and his irreverence is also very amusing—the "twist" he has on her cousin's titles is sooo funny!!! ("Rosebud" instead of "Rosecroft," "Worsthaven" instead of "Westhaven" lolol).

    The Windham family was extremely enjoyable and it definitely made me wish that I had read other books in the series. I was still able to enjoy the series regardless, but anyone who has read and enjoyed the Windham series will really love this book, because you get to see plenty of the couples again (and quite frequently).

    Enjoy!!

  • Elle ✦ Pretty Little Books ✦
    Nov 23, 2016

    December 20, 2016

    Historical Romance

    The Trouble with Dukes is a passionate and well thought up book that will leave readers utterly breathless. This is my first Grace Burrowes book and it certainly won't be my last! I truly enjoyed the entire book the whole way though and found both the hero and heroine to be extremely likable. While this book is not without its drama, Burrowes tells their story with ease and comfort. Fans of historical romance should definitely be pickin

    December 20, 2016

    Historical Romance

    The Trouble with Dukes is a passionate and well thought up book that will leave readers utterly breathless. This is my first Grace Burrowes book and it certainly won't be my last! I truly enjoyed the entire book the whole way though and found both the hero and heroine to be extremely likable. While this book is not without its drama, Burrowes tells their story with ease and comfort. Fans of historical romance should definitely be picking up their copy of this novel. It's truly a great story!!!

    [ ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ]

  • Stacey is Sassy
    Dec 09, 2016

    I LOVED

    . This type of book is why I love reading and became devoted to historical romance. Historical romance was my first love. I have been known to hook up with contemporary, paranormal/fantasy and suspense but you can’t beat your first love. Historical romance is where my heart lays. The strong but troubled aristocrat, the feisty and quirky heroine and a love story that melts your heart and leaves you with a giddy smile.

    I LOVED

    . This type of book is why I love reading and became devoted to historical romance. Historical romance was my first love. I have been known to hook up with contemporary, paranormal/fantasy and suspense but you can’t beat your first love. Historical romance is where my heart lays. The strong but troubled aristocrat, the feisty and quirky heroine and a love story that melts your heart and leaves you with a giddy smile.

    introduces us to Hamish MacHugh, the newly appointed Duke of Murdoch. Almost immediately, I had a soft spot for Hamish. It’s obvious that he’s devoted to his family and puts their needs ahead of his own. Hamish, his brother Colin and sisters Edana and Rhona are in London for the girls to acquire new dresses. While his siblings are happy enough visiting London, Hamish is not. He’s not interested in social gatherings and especially not with his fellow officers from the war. Not surprising considering they had all dubbed him the

    .

    As the story goes on we learn that not everything is as it seems in regards to Hamish. The stories from the war don’t seem to tell the full story. Being the type of man Hamish is, he’s not overly concerned with what the gossips say in regards to his services to his country. He

    concerned about his reputation affecting his sisters’ chances at finding a suitable match. This concern leads him to do the one thing he tried to avoid…being social. Luckily for Hamish, he meets a bespectacled young lady who doesn’t seem to mind that he’s socially awkward.

    Megan Windham is trapped. She’s in the unfortunate position of being blackmailed by a despicable man, Sir Fletcher. Sir Fletcher/Despicable is in need of funds and kept some very risqué letters Megan had written to him while he was overseas fighting in the war. Megan, at the time, thought she was in love with Sir Despicable but in truth, it ended up being a foolish infatuation.

    Megan’s a Windham, the granddaughter of a Duke and has a sizable dowry. When all of Sir Despicable’s other fortune hunting endeavours go sour, he resorts to blackmailing Megan to clear his debts. Megan doesn’t want to marry Sir Despicable but she also doesn’t want to have to share her shame with her Windham family, especially her cousins. Hopefully, she can get herself out of this situation and if a certain Duke offers his services, she may just take him up on his offer.

    I absolutely loved Megan and Hamish together. Neither of them seems confident but they do have an inner strength they both see in each other. Megan is not concerned with Hamish’s lack of social graces and Hamish is not concerned that Megan is practically blind without her glasses. She sees a strong and virile man who loves his family and works hard to do the right thing…even if it’s against the rules. He sees a beautiful and intelligent woman with fire in her eyes and strength and determination in her actions. The chemistry between them sizzled.

    To me, there is nothing I like more than a man who knows what he wants. Even though Hamish hesitated with lumping himself on Megan, he never questioned that Megan was perfect for him. I wanted a perfect love story for this couple and I pretty much got what I wanted. Yes, there were some issues with Sir Despicable but Hamish was determined to make things right. The best part, Megan didn’t just sit back and hope for the best. Megan made sure she played a part in fixing her problems and in the end stood up for herself. It was very refreshing.

    One of the highlights for me is getting to catch up with the Windhams. Percy (the Duke of Moreland), his sons Gayle (the Earl of Westhaven), Valentine, St Just, Keswick and Deene are very funny. The fact that the blokes in the family are worse than a pack of matchmaking mothers is one of the cutest things ever. You almost get the impression that Percy is eccentric, but deep down he just wants his duchess to be happy. I love them.

    was one of my favourite historical romances this year. I never got distracted, was desperate to get back to it and I finished with a big goofy grin on my face. Can’t ask for more than that. If you haven’t read the previous

    stories you will have no problems following along. I’ll warn you, though, it may make you want to go back to the beginning to see each of their love stories play out.

    Looking forward to seeing if Colin grows up and how he woos Anwen.

  • Luffy
    Jan 03, 2017

    I didn't get comfortable with this book. Its vocabulary was challenging, so I couldn't get relaxed while reading it, I came across lots of words here that I understood only because I know some French.

    In the end, the book moved so slowly that I wondered if this was a book about nothing. I've never read two good romance books consecutively. Something always prevents me from embracing the genre full fledgedly. Oh well, better luck next time.

  • Pamela
    Dec 17, 2016

    The characterization and the writing are both very good. Megan and Hamish are both flawed, but relatable and the supporting cast is all there to do their part.

    While I felt the book had some good moments, I didn't think the subplot was believable. Megan's family is (implied) way too powerful for the "snake in the grass", Sir Fletcher, to blackmail young Megan. Also, for me, I found it hard to believe that as close as the Windham family is, that Megan hadn't confided in any of them. There were way

    The characterization and the writing are both very good. Megan and Hamish are both flawed, but relatable and the supporting cast is all there to do their part.

    While I felt the book had some good moments, I didn't think the subplot was believable. Megan's family is (implied) way too powerful for the "snake in the grass", Sir Fletcher, to blackmail young Megan. Also, for me, I found it hard to believe that as close as the Windham family is, that Megan hadn't confided in any of them. There were way too many war analogies and Megan and Hamish needed a bit more chemistry between them.

    Although this is the first one in the Windham Brides series, many Windham's from previous books are here, as well as all the inside jokes. I would suggest that if this interests you, you might want to read the previous books. This does stand alone, so that is just a suggestion.

    **Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley in exchange of an honest review.**