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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Haunting of a Duke by Chastity Bowlin

The Haunting of a Duke by Chastity Bowlin
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (292 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Fern

Facing danger from both sides of the grave, will two souls merge to find a love that conquers all?

Communing with spirits has been both gift and curse to Emme Walters. Now it's made her a killer's target. Emme knows why the Dowager Duchess of Briarleigh invited her to a house party—to investigate whether the duke, Rhys Brammel, murdered his wife years ago. But Emme never imagined she would fall in love with the brooding duke.

Branded by society as a possible killer, Rhys is suspicious of Emme and her alleged "gift." Then a late night encounter creates awareness of her other, more attractive, aspects. When Emme's life is threatened, Rhys becomes her protector.

Emme and Rhys find passion and peril as they join forces to solve the mysteries at Briarleigh. She made him believe in spirits, but can she make him believe in love?

Emme Walters is attempting to return to her bedchamber after awakening from another strange bout of sleepwalking. Lord Rhys Brammel follows her to try and understand what underhanded task she must be about at such a late hour. When she’s at risk of being exposed – and her reputation ruined – his natural, gentlemanly instincts urge him to protect her, and they both escape undiscovered. Both Rhys and Emme are enjoying a weekend party held by Rhys’ family, though each are reluctant in their own ways for their own reasons. Rhys in particular finds Emme’s motives for being present particularly suspect, but that distrust only fuels his curiosity and interest in the lovely young lady.

This is a wonderful historical novel, full of secrets, mysteries and paranormal abilities. I sympathized with both Rhys and Emme, caught up in strictures and rules not of their own making, and each in their own way trying their best to balance their honor, duty and their own desires. While this could have been yet another historical romance the author adds far more depth both to the plot and characters. There are spirits who communicate with Emme, regrets of actions long past and all sorts of intrigue that make this a vivid, wonderful story to read.

There is plenty of conflict and tension in the forms of both Rhys’ and Emme’s scheming family, as well as both Rhys and his best friend’s inherent distrust in Emme’s paranormal powers. Artfully crafted this book will satisfy a wide range of readers, from those who love historical, to medium or even straight mystery readers. There is also plenty of sexual chemistry and spice to keep the romance readers turning the pages to discover what happens next. I greatly enjoyed this novel and found the author’s style, wit and tone of voice easily readable. Recommended.