Title: This Duke of Mine A Grimm’s Fairy Tale Historical Romance
Author: Delilah Marvelle
Setting: London and Weymouth, England; Cassel, Germany; Victorian Era
Published by: Delilah Marvelle Productions, LLC
Published Date: August 21, 2018
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Once Upon A Time…there was a Duke who wore a brass key around his throat. No one in the kingdom knew what it unlocked until SHE came along…
Miss Magdalene Evelyn Barlow may be related to the Grimm brothers, but her life, even as an heiress, is anything but a fairy tale. Only one man can bring that tale to life: The Duke of Thornton. His gruff and isolating ways hide an overly passionate, guilt-ridden man who refuses to let any woman near until trouble-toting Magdalene rolls up her lace sleeves and introduces him to the scrubbing magic of…love.
Length: Full length novel
Heat Level: It will cause respectable people to swoon!
Era: Early Victorian
Real Historical Figures: Featuring the Grimm Brothers!
It’s always a shock to me when I begin one of Marvelle’s novels with its high Heat Level. She does get my attention and so do the characters! It is all made clear as the story unfolds why the characters are the way they are. Reader, she takes us to the darker side of the pain of living and gives us an experience of living embroiled in emotion, pain, suffering, and eventually hope.
Her characters have interesting personalities, molded from their past experiences, which enrich the telling of the story, and take me beyond the foul language which may spew from the mouths of some of the characters. Marvelle definitely puts me in the setting, pushes me into the emotional tangle her characters find themselves, sometimes face first! Each character has a backstory which makes them who they are, whether the character is up to the challenge or not, and we are privy to that and more as the tale unfolds.
In this story Duke Thornton, Anthony, has a real problem, other than being addicted to laudanum. It’s with himself. He sees no merit in himself and carries a dark secret within his heart (again, we discover what that is). He has become what he thinks he is. Hence, the foul language and in your face attitude.
Magdalena has lived her life in fairy tales. She’s the ultra-extreme of the Duke. She reads and guides her fellow young women through teaching the moral stories she finds in the Grimm Tales.
Drawn to the Duke yet repulsed at what he crassness he treats the world, she pushes back. In one conversation, she is frustrated with the Duke and likens him to a wolf, showing him an illustration within her book.
Magdalene regally nudged that large hand away , signaling she disapproved of his behavior. Paging through her book of folklore mantras, she methodically left it open to a story she knew all too well: Rotkappchen. Little Red Cap
She tapped the illustrated face of a wolf in nightclothes peering over linen a bed. “There is no need to be a cliché. Speak plainly here before these young women or do not speak at all.”
He lowered his gaze to the illustration. Rigidly closing the book, he set it on top of the financial ledger, aligning them spine to spine with the back of his hand with a sweep.
His steady gaze bore into her. “You certainly take an unfeeling and harsh view of wolves. Did no one tell you they mate for life?”
Magdaline Barlow reminds him of innocence and goodness—he’s intrigued, yet parts from her, and a year passes without him able to remove her from his thought. His dark side rejects her joie de vivre. But we the reader, see good in him. Here is what he says to the girls at the school which endears him to me.
“It’s time you understand the real world, people can and will die. Don’t ever look the other way. Not even if family or society tells you to.”
Pointing at their heads with the sweep of a rigid hand, he continued, “They say men are the future of England, but that is woefully untrue. You are the future, ladies. That is why I even bothered walking through those goddamn gates and fought my way through mosquitos. For I know you will all one day raise daughters and sons that will go out into the world and mold our society. You create the world we live in a therefore it’s important to always speak up for yourselves and others. For who else will? Most certainly not us men who haven’t even given you a goddamn vote in Parliament. The only way to therefore vote is by using that throat. So use it. For that is your power, to be able to speak, and do not ever let anyone intimidate you into silence again. Do you understand me?”
With that lecture to the girls, he won me over, just as much as he won Magdaline.
Anthony and Magaline have a lot of growing to do, both from different spectrums of the emotional and maturity wheel. Many years pass. Each have changed. When they come together, their story of love is absolutely worth waiting for.
If you like your stories gritty, exploring the darker side of man, you will fall in love with Marvelle’s style. Even through all the heartache, her stories leave the reader with a happy ever after.