What the Duke Desires by Sabrina Jeffries
Series: The Duke’s Men #1
Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.5 Stars)

Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons, long ago buried his grief for his missing elder brother, Peter, who was presumed dead after being kidnapped. When a mysterious note arrives from Tristan Bonnaud asserting that the Duke’s brother is alive, it leads Max straight to the winsome Lisette Bonnaud, illegitimate daughter of a viscount and Tristan’s sister. Soon he and Lisette are traveling to Paris posing as husband and wife, in search of Tristan, who has disappeared. And the longer he spends with Lisette, the easier it is for Max to see that the line between dukedom and desire is easier to cross than he imagined…

I’m on a bit of a historical romance kick lately. They are giving me exactly the right amount of happy feels that I need.

From the first moment that Max mentioned that his father (and uncle) went mad, and that his father had contracted syphilis I knew that had to be the cause. However, since this took place in the early 1800s, and the link wasn’t definitely determined until the later 1800s, I wasn’t sure how that was going to be worked in. The madness was a huge obstacle in this book – understandably so. I eyed the solution slightly askance, until I read the author’s note at the end. I can’t even begin to say how much more I appreciate this book knowing the thought and research that went into these very things. It’s made me feel like Sabrina Jeffries is an author I can trust to handle history with respect, while putting in her own twists and resolutions.

While I’m still pretty much over the smexy times (who knew this would happen?), I do find them fairly easy to skim over. And that’s probably why I’m over them. There’s no real relationship building happening during them. It’s just about the sex. And that’s fine – I love and understand that – but when a scene can just as easily not be there, because it doesn’t affect the plot, characters, or world, I’d just rather it not be there. Anyway, personal preference that has become more and more prominent in my mind.

Despite that one complaint – which I carry with nearly all romances I read now – I greatly enjoyed this book. It was fun, and cute, and romantic. And I liked the mystery. It wasn’t overly convoluted, it made sense, and I liked how logically it was resolved. That can be a somewhat rare occurrence. Then there’s one scene, towards the end, that is going on my list of one of the best, most romantic gestures I’ve ever read. The put-down he delivers to a villain of the story is so incredibly awesome that I nearly wanted to cheer.

This is the first book by this author that I’ve read, but I can say for sure that I’m looking forward to finishing out this series and digging into her backlist.



  1. Reply

    Green Embers

    April 16, 2016

    “but when a scene can just as easily not be there, because it doesn’t affect the plot, characters, or world, I’d just rather it not be there.” — I love this part, agree so much. It works for more than the sex stuff. I notice sometimes writers include unnecessary scenes which don’t contribute.

    • Reply


      April 16, 2016


      Yeah, it definitely works for a lot more than just sex scenes. I’ve read a lot of scenes that I wondered about their purpose for.