When You Give a Duke a Diamond by Shana Galen
Length: Full Length (358 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia
HE HAD A PERFECTLY ORDERLY LIFE...
William, the sixth Duke of Pelham, enjoys his punctual. securely structured life. Orderly and predictable—that's the way he likes it. But he's in the public eye, and the scandal sheets will make up anything to sell papers. When the gossips link him to Juliette, one of the most beautiful and celebrated courtesans in London, chaos doesn't begin to describe what happens next...
UNTIL SHE CAME ALONG...
Juliette is nicknamed the Duchess of Dalliance, and has the cream of the nobility at her beck and call. It's seriously disruptive to have the duke who's the biggest catch on the Marriage Mart scaring her other suitors away. Then she discovers William's darkest secret and decides what he needs in his life is the kind of excitement only she can provide...
Dignity, punctuality, routine, and responsibility mean little to Juliette, the Duchess of Dalliance, but they rule William, the Sixth Duke of Pelham. His “mind-numbing” routine, drilled into him by an unloving father, never lets him forget—he is a DUKE.
When he publicly cuts Juliette and calls her a strumpet, nothing more than a well-paid whore, she calls him an insufferable ass. Even though she's divorced and known as a courtesan, she's not made of stone. His cruel words hurt but she cannot let it show if she wants to keep her exalted place in society.
When these two become co-conspirators to find a murderer, the friction between them wears away the calloused, rough edges until their true personalities shine. It's a slow sometimes painful process, but it polishes them to a breathtaking awareness that nurtures love like neither of them has ever known.
Elizabeth, the duke’s fiancée; Lucifer, the gambling hell owner; and Oliver Clifton, Juliette’s ex-husband, are little more than shadowy characters, yet they have remarkable influence on the action. They fuel the mystery, fear, and suspense, while Lily, the Countess of Charm; Fallon, the Marchioness of Mystery; and the Earl and lady Sinclair fuel mystery of another kind and a tale that surrounds the Three Diamonds and their relationship to the Earl.
The other secondary characters help weave together the intriguing elements of the plot that prove to have political entanglements as well as the ton’s insatiable curiosity and societal pitfalls. Of course, "where are the stolen diamonds?" is a prominent thread ever present in the plot.
Shana Galen gives some insight into the personalities of the primary characters and sets up a situation before immersing the reader into murder, mischief, mystery, and meanness. As she shepherds the hero and heroine along through happenings that threaten societal suicide for them, she keeps the tension high. With subtle humor and poignant back stories, she makes the characters seem real. The awakening of the Duke of Pelham to a life not ruled by routine and always having to be “a DUKE” captivates. The part Juliette plays in his awakening brings her out of the category of divorcee and courtesan to become the person she’d dreamed of being.
When You Give a Duke a Diamond is a Regency romance that reveals the mores of the time and has just enough twists and turns in it to keep one turning pages; but most of all it entertains with wonderful characters having to deal with just enough conflict to show their strengths and weakness that make them seem so human and so deserving of their happy-ever-after. A joy to read!