Review, The Duke Project

Review: The Duke in My Bed by Amelia Grey (2015)

Heirs Club of Scoundrels, Book 1

Heat Factor: Moderately coercive

Character Chemistry: Loathing each other, longing for each other

Plot: Dissolute Duke makes a vow to marry a dying man’s sister

Overall: Maybe if you really love dukes you’d like it?

Continue reading “Review: The Duke in My Bed by Amelia Grey (2015)”
Smut Reporting, The Duke Project

The Devil Duke: Regency Romance’s Perfect Bad Boy

Tell me if this sounds familiar: there’s this Duke. He is dark and handsome. But he has a bad reputation. He might be called the Devil Duke (I’m thinking here of The Duke by Katherine Ashe, or Stephanie Laurens’ Devil Cynster, 6th Duke of St. Ives, who appears in every single book of hers that I’ve ever read) or the Dangerous Duke (like the titular hero of The Most Dangerous Duke in London by Madeline Hunter).

This Devil Duke probably leans into his nickname, and may even actively cultivate it. (Perhaps by reading a book on witchcraft at a party, in one particularly ridiculous example of this phenomenon.) The reasons for embracing the nickname may be a cover for other plans, or due to angst, or maybe just because it’s fun and decadent to have a really bad reputation.

Think Mr. Rochester, but classically handsome and with a title and also without a wife locked in the attic. We hope.

Continue reading “The Devil Duke: Regency Romance’s Perfect Bad Boy”
Smut Reporting, The Duke Project

The Duke Project: What’s Angst got to do with it?

Holly’s most recent review for the Duke Project was Christy Carlyle’s A Duke Changes Everything, which features the quintessential Angsty Duke. The hero hates his inheritance, hates his home, hates the memory of his family (except for his sainted and sadly departed mother – the fraught relationship between Dukes and Their Mothers is a whole separate thing, which I definitely want to talk about in the future).

But let’s drill down on the angst bit. According to Merriam-Webster, angst comes from the German for “fear” and refers to “a feeling of anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity.” “Angst” was first used this way in English in 1942, so it’s not like these angsty Georgian and Regency and Victorian Dukes would have used the word to describe themselves.

Continue reading “The Duke Project: What’s Angst got to do with it?”
Review, The Duke Project

Review: A Duke Changes Everything by Christy Carlyle (2018)

The Duke’s Den, Book 1

Heat Factor: One sex scene with details.

Character Chemistry: If you say so.

Plot: He comes to terms with the past. She embraces the future.

Overall: I never connected with the protagonists, so the rest didn’t even matter.

Continue reading “Review: A Duke Changes Everything by Christy Carlyle (2018)”
Smut Reporting, The Duke Project

The Duke Project: What IS the deal with Dukes?

Discerning readers of The Smut Report may have noticed that some of Holly’s reviews mention an elusive and undefined thing called The Duke Project. Now, the time has come for The Duke Project to actually begin.

So… What is The Duke Project, exactly?

You may have noticed that there are approximately one million smut books featuring Dukes. Many of those novels have the word “Duke” in the title, so they’re easy to find even if you don’t do a deep dive into the genre. In real life, there are like 30. In Romancelandia, they are everywhere. So Holly decided to set out and try to figure out – what is the deal with dukes?

She is obviously not the first person to notice or comment on this phenomenon. Author Lorraine Heath wrote for NPR : “In modern terms, the duke is the equivalent of the movie star, seen on the big screen, bolder than life.” In a piece on the popularity Dukes for USA Today, Elizabeth Hoyt told Madeline Hunter, “He’s the alpha-est of the historical world.” Basically: Dukes are fun! They represent fantasy and escapism – you know that when your hero is a Duke, he’s wealthy, powerful and noble.

But just because they’re fun doesn’t explain the whole thing, so Holly is going to unpack what exactly makes a Duke a Duke, one characteristic at a time.


Next Time in The Duke Project: Let’s talk about angst!