Summary from Goodreads:
When does proper behavior deserve a deliciously improper reward?
The scandalously unmarried Lady Margaret Sawford is looking for adventure—and is always up for a challenge. Her curiosity is aroused by a dangerous-looking stranger with an eye patch, an ideal companion for the life she longs for, no matter what Society might say. So when the piratical gentleman turns out to be a duke—and just as boringly proper as any other nobleman—she can’t help but incite him to walk on the wild side.
Well-heeled, well-mannered, and well beyond any interest in society’s expectations, the Duke of Lasham is tired of being perfect. Margaret’s lush beauty and gently laughing eyes are an irresistible temptation to embrace the imperfect—and her. But if a little misbehavior is appealing, unleashing his wild side is completely seductive—as long as the lovely Margaret is the object of his passion.
Megan Frampton is a new-to-me author this year with her series Dukes Behaving Badly. The Duke’s Guide to Correct Behavior was a good start, but maybe needed a bit more work. Put Up Your Duke was an excellent step up with a good plot but the new entry in the series, One-Eyed Dukes are Wild, really brought everything together with a fantastic plot, great hero and heroine, and good tension.
We met Lady Margaret Sawford in Put Up Your Duke when her sister Isabella made a marriage of convenience with Nicholas, the new Duke of Gage (which turns out well, obviously, since Isabella and Nicholas are the main characters in that book). Isabella decides that she won’t let her parents marry her off to a man she’s never met, Lord Collingwood, breaks the engagement and announces that she is the mysterious author of the Gothic serials in the paper leading her parents to pretend she doesn’t exist. (Which in the end is good, because Collingwood is a swine and the less said about Isabella’s and Margaret’s parents, the better.) One-Eyed Dukes are Wild starts a few years later. Margaret has returned to London – still the scandalous author, still unmarried, who lives alone with her maid and wears non-virginal colors. She keeps herself financially afloat with her writing and her winnings at the gambling table (she’s a bit of a whiz with cards) because she’s still an aristocrat and she gets invited to parties for her reputation.
Seeking quiet at a party, Margaret crosses paths with the Duke of Lasham. Lash (who has such a great first name, I’m not going to spoil it), despite his pirate-like eye patch, is so concerned with being the correctly-correct Duke Who Always Does the Right Thing Because That’s What Dukes Do isn’t quite sure what to do with Margaret. She gives him the deference due his rank but doesn’t flatter, simper, cling, or entrap. Indeed, she tells him at the first meeting that she doesn’t wish to marry him if they are found in the same room alone together. When they later meet by happenstance at the National Gallery, and Margaret rescues Lash from a gaggle of “art appreciating” women, they begin to wonder if there is more beneath the surface of the other (that’s a really terrible sentence, I apologize).
I quite like Margaret. She’s independent, feisty, rash but with good intentions, smart at cards, and has an excellent maid (though I am tired of the I-don’t-think-I’m-pretty-because-my-sister-is-gorgeous-trope). I also like the idea that the “scandal” of her writing is that she writes fairy tales for money and they are published in the paper as opposed to writing actual scandalous material circulated under the counter, so to speak. I loved how her adventures with Lash, when he decided he needed to stop being so “correct,” included going ballooning (which he loved) and eating eel pies (which I don’t think he did). Even the scene where they go to the dance hall was an interesting twist – I have usually encountered scenes like this where the heroine is the one looking for adventure, not the hero, so this was a fun change.
What Frampton does in this book is turn the idea of “behaving badly” on its head. In the previous books, the dukes generally are considered to be “bad” rakes (although, in my opinion, not nearly bad enough to deserve the sobriquet). In this book, Lash is so proper and always does what is right and that behavior has caused him to be fenced in. In his experience, behaving badly has consequences. He doesn’t know how to feel or have his own emotions or read intimate situations correctly – this leads him to behave very badly later in the book. The contrast in personality between Lash and Margaret creates excellent romantic tension.
One-Eyed Dukes are Wild was released today! Happy reading!
Dear FTC: I received a DRC of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss.