Thursday, August 20, 2009

Four Dukes and a Devil Anthology

I bought this book because I love Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series. I've never heard of the other authors.

Things I love about anthologies:

1. No long, boring back story. You jump right into the action.
2. Good way to "test drive" new-to-me authors.
3. If I hate the story, there are more to choose from.

Things I hate about anthologies:

1. You get into the story and suddenly it's over.
2. You can get characters from a series you're not familiar with.

Four Dukes and a Devil contains five stories. The first story, The Irish Duke, by Cathy Maxwell, was good. A 26-year-old spinster, Susan, starts a business (shocking!) as an advisor for young women in society looking to meet appropriate husbands. One of her selling points is "The Irish Duke" - it's a little known fact that the Irish Duke follow English and Scottish Dukes in order of precidence. The English families are horrified - they didn't know. Of course, she does not mention they are still titled and there are only two in existence. Then, at a dance with her "charges", she comes across a very irate gentleman - the Duke of Killeigh, and Irish Duke. He questions why no one will dance with him and learns Susan is indirectly responsible. He hatches a plan to make her renounce her story and ends up falling in love.

The second story, The Duke Who Came To Dinner, by Elaine Fox, was a contemporary romance that started out with a bang....a naked woman riding down the street on her bicycle! This story had two Dukes -a ghost that was a Duke and a Duke who is actually a dog, specifically the dog who stole the aforementioned clothes! It was a nice story about a normally shy woman who got out of her "comfort zone".

The third story is by Jeaniene Frost - Devil to Pay. Cat and Bones make a brief cameo, Mencheres has a bit more of a part. As you can probably tell from the title, this was the Devil section of the book. Elise is a vampire who is slowly losing touch with humanity. She runs across a man, Blake, who is in some sort of trouble. Turns out the trouble is he's posessed by a demon and the only way to get rid of it is to die; the only problem is that if he's near people the demon will pass to another person. Elise and Mencheres come up with a plan to get rid of the demon, but Elise is falling for Blake and doesn't want him to die. Is there any way to save him?

The fourth story, Catch of the Century, by Sophia Nash, is a historical. Victoria Givan is a 30-year-old spinster governess, traveling with three young charges to a new assignment. She has some difficulties and they end up walking along the side of the road when they are almost run over by a fancy coach. The owner, John Varick, gets out to apologize and ends up offering a ride to Ms. Givan and her charges thinking he's giving her a short ride, until he realizes her destination is 60 miles away! He feels obligated to take them and then deposit them at their destination, but once they arrive it's uninhabitable. He arranges for them to stay at his place, which is nearby, and attraction develops. Mr. Varick has a secret identity that is not revealed until later in the story.

The last story, Charmed by her Smile, by Tracy Anne Warren, is also a historical. I must say this was my favorite story. The young heroine, India Byron, is at a ball and grabs a stranger and implores him to kiss her...she's being hounded by an unwanted suitor and hopes that seeing her kiss someone else will put him off. It works, but she finds herself attracted to the stranger. They part after a second kiss, never to see each other again, so she thinks. A few weeks later she is at a friend's country home for a week, and her unwanted, very persistent suitor is there. He proclaims his love and tells her he will have her. She tells him she is almost engaged to the gentleman he saw her kissing earlier. Then, to her surprise, she runs into the gentleman at the country house! He agrees to her request to pretend to be courting her, then she finds out he's a Duke! Of course, there's attraction, but the Duke is not intersted in marriage and tries to keep his distance. Then, India gets into some trouble. What's a girl to do?

All in all, five very delightful short stories. I am a big fan of Jeaniene Frost but now I've also been introduced to some new-to-me authors and look forward to discovering more of their work.


  1. I had this book in my hand the other day but was unsure. Your review made me decide to get it. Thanks :)

  2. Patti I got this book for exactly the same reasons as you. I wanted to read the Frost story but ended up enjoying almost every story. Nice review.

  3. Wow - it is rare to find an anthology where every story looks cute. This is the first review I have seen of this..I was wondering about it. *heaves it up on my tbr*

  4. Wow, what an interesting grouping of authors and novellas. Great reviews Patti!

    I'm not a big anthology fan cause for me, I enjoy the whole backstory and slow lead-up to the love and romance. I'm always frustrated with the shorter plot lines of novellas. But I have found some good authors from anthologies.

    Have a great weekend!

    ;) VFG