Title: Good Dukes Wear Black
Author: Manda Collins
Series: Lords of Anarchy #3
Genre: Regency Romance (Mystery)
A writer for the Ladies Gazette, Miss Ophelia Dauntry’s passion is her pen. So when she sees a fellow writer kidnapped before her eyes—and the trail of evidence leads to the Lords of Anarchy—Ophelia vows to find her friend and take down the notorious London driving club in her column. But before she can argue her case, she needs the inside scoop from its newest leader: Piers Hamilton, the Duke of Trent.
Headstrong, handsome Trent joined the Lords of Anarchy after a decade in the British Army. He’s made it his business to tame the misbehavior within the driving club—and the infuriatingly attractive Ophelia is only getting in his way. The deeper she digs into the case, the more she puts her own life at risk. Can Trent convince Ophelia to trust him to seek justice…and find protection, and passion, in his arms?
Source: ARC from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley
I feel strangely cheated. On the one hand this book had an intriguing and compelling mystery that kept me intrigued right to the end, but on the other… where was the romance? Seriously, there is zero chemistry between these two. Trent is as exciting as a dead trout, he’s only helping because of the club’s reputation, then out of nowhere he kisses her. And suddenly, ta-dah! This is romance.
No, no it isn’t. There’s no spark between the characters, not at the beginning, not even at the end. Even the marriage proposal felt like an after thought.
The club is also a non-event. I’m new to both this author and this series, and clearly the club has featured more heavily in the other books – at least the bad behaviour of some members – but here it’s just a thing in the background that provides a handy scapegoat for bad things to be blamed on.
As for the mystery, I quite liked that. The way Maggie was taken and the way Ophelia and Trent follow the clues to track her down was quite interesting, even though they did seem to lose interest at one point. There’s also a massive continuity error that made it really easy to guess, thanks to something Ophelia thinks about halfway – which she apparently completely forgets about because it comes as a huge surprise to her at the end (which hopefully might have been fixed in the final version, since I read an ARC). Also, not impressed by the too-stupid-to-live moment towards the end, but it was mostly redeemed by what followed.
Overall, I found this okay. The mystery and the details about asylums were interesting, but I found the romance lacking, the characters kind of dull and the whole thing fairly unmemorable. It wasn’t bad, and it was an easy read, but I didn’t love it either. If you’re a fan of this series and author, then you’ll probably love this. Sadly, as a first taste, it didn’t really entice me back for more.
Good Dukes Wear Black is Out Now!
Visit Manda Collins for more details.