on December 26th 2017
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Everyone Nicholas Bateman ever loved has died. Except Violet Caulfield, which must mean he never loved her. Nine years after she threw him over to marry a viscount, Nick is a widowed duke who prefers isolation. When a friend convinces him to leave his lair of self-imposed solitude, he considers taking another wife, provided she agrees to his terms: no emotional attachment of any kind.
Now widowed, Lady Violet Pendleton hopes for a second chance with the man she’s always loved. But she isn’t prepared for the desolation in his soul or the animosity he still bears toward her. Despite those obstacles, it’s clear their passion hasn’t dimmed. However, the heat between them isn’t enough to melt the Duke of Ice, and this time Violet may find herself the jilted party. Can love, once so tragically lost, finally be found?
~~Reviewed by Monique~~
Nicholas, Duke of Kilve, was brooding again, alone at home, when his friend Simon, Duke of Romsey, pays him an unexpected visit. Simon has brought an invitation to a house party; while Nick is content to wallow in his solitude, Simon is desperate to go out. Simon’s reputation has never recovered from the malicious gossip since the death of his wife and has earned him the unsavoury moniker of The Duke of Ruin. If Nick goes to the affair, Simon will be able to accompany him; and Simon does want to remarry, if someone will have him, unlike Nick, THE DUKE OF ICE, who has settled in his lonely widowhood. Nick relents but tells Simon he will leave as soon as he can. Their hosts, Irving and Hannah Linford invited them because Hannah knows that dukes, even ones with a much-tarnished veneer, will give some éclat to her party and elevate her social status. Hannah is also Lady Violet Pendleton’s best friend, but what Hannah didn’t know is that Violet and Nick were once lovers.
Darcy Burke has struck gold again with this seventh instalment of The Untouchables, which can all be read as standalones, and THE DUKE OF ICE is another must-read from this fabulous author. Ms. Burke has created such compelling characters that I never disliked Nick, who is at times truly disagreeable and even rude. I felt sad for him because he has experienced so many painful losses, among them Violet’s marriage to another man. Nick is nearly a hermit, and I wholeheartedly agreed with Simon that he ought to do something about his sorry excuse for a life. Violet didn’t have it much easier, she has never stopped loving Nick, but she doesn’t like THE DUKE OF ICE that he has become. I adored Nick and Violet, as well as the fabulous Simon; all three are coping with their losses as best as they can, but in very different ways, which was one of the many highlights of this book. Even secondary characters are splendid: the terrifying old gossips, Lady Nixon and Mrs. Law; Cassie and Andy; the young Diana, Lavinia, and the terrific and most intriguing Sarah.
The writing is a marvel of smooth elegance, and the dialogues are superb, especially between Simon and Nick. I loved how Darcy Burke utilised the various games and entertainment at the party to advance the plot; the segment featuring the archery contest was particularly well done. Nick’s epiphany left me breathless and teary-eyed, and those moments where the present meets the pasts are brilliant, and so moving. THE DUKE OF ICE is an incredibly emotional story; there was a lot of drama I did not expect, and I dare anyone to stop reading once the second half gets under way because this is intense! I had barely finished this book that I wanted to read the next one: THE DUKE OF RUIN.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.