Friday, September 20, 2013

My book review for Discipling the Duchess: an amazing story with an early version of a Dom

Disciplining the Duchess
I absolutely had to share this book review with my readers here since some of you know with my stories like Breaking Blood on Alabaster, and my upcoming story coming out in November, SHROAG 50, along with my story, Pearl on Cherry, also coming out in the fall, I've been exploring and have been obsessed for months with what an early, rudimentary version of a Dom would be like. Well, I finally found another writer's version of this very thing, and I was mesmerized. This story is not for the faint of heart by any means, but if you're fine with angsts, like your historical fiction to include BDSM themes and a lot of spanking, then this story is one you might enjoy. It's one of my all-time favorites, it's that tasty and raw... With that being said, here's my Goodreads review I left today for this story.

Disciplining the Duchess by Annabel Joseph
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Have you ever read a story and it rang through your core so deeply, it felt like a lover? Well, that’s exactly what this book did to me. The writing was that brilliant! The last book to make my toes curl was Tender Mercies by Kitty Thomas. This one, though—holy hell—it seriously had me damn near hyperventilating several times, it was that ingenious and perfect. Every aspect of both of the main characters spoke to me on a very primal level and I think I experienced every emotion that exists as I read this story. I loved this mix of historical fiction with BDSM. They fit very well even though the combination sounds odd—kind of like Court and Harmony.

Harmony was like the Bridget Jones of the regency period, which I identify with completely. And Court. Oh, Court, how my heart doth swoon for thee! He is the early embodiment of a primal Dom. This story was exactly what I’ve been obsessing over for months—the possible origins of the Dom. Yum! I’ve written a few stories about that very theme, so this was like a balm to my searching soul. I wanted to read someone else’s take on it, and I was not disappointed at all.

I have to admit, the very first chapter was tedious for me and kind of dragged, so much so that I kept picking it up, setting it back down for a week or 2 and then tried it again. That went on for a few weeks, and I’d set it aside, work on writing a book I was going to publish soon, then I’d read something else, then go back to it. Boy, am I glad I continued on. I told myself to give it at least 5 chapters, and once I got to the scene where he danced with Harmony, I was hooked. In fact, when I finally got to the dance scene, I read the entire book from that point on in less than 24 hours. I couldn’t sleep until I finished it, even though my eyes were burning and I was exhausted. I just couldn’t step away. It was impossible to stop reading it!

All of the spanking was nothing short of delicious. The honeymoon night was off the charts H.O.T! She was so innocent and so uninhibited, it made him unleash like mad. I loved how torn he was over pleasing society and being the proper Duke, and loving his wife unconditionally regardless of all of her quirks. He was very much duty bound and had been raised to strictly adhere to certain principles and values, and so her quirks threw him at times. She was a history buff who loved to read and longed to visit historical sites. Yes, I felt like I was Harmony every bit of the way, even though I’m a pretty good dancer, and she was a clod on the dance floor. I’m that way with all sports, so I felt her plight completely. Her self-esteem was so low, due to the whole ton always picking on her, and for being basically a spinster at the age of 23, having never entertained a beau. Loved her!!!! She no longer cared about her reputation since she had no prospects, and her brother was awful to her, so all she cared about was history, dammit, and she would stop at nothing to fill her mind with books that would create never-ending questions in her mind.

The visit to Hadrian’s wall was priceless, along with her reaction to finding an eyelash on Court’s cheek and whisking it away with her gloved finger only to tell him to make a wish (that came before the wall, though, btw). He never knew how to react her. She made all his defenses come crashing down because of her wild imagination and childlike creativity. God, I loved her! I adored his nickname for her as well—Miss Chaos. Fit her perfectly! And it was one of the reasons she kept telling him he shouldn’t marry her, and there was no need for them to adhere to conventions since nothing happened when he had to stay overnight at the Inn with her, albeit in their own separate rooms, without a chaperon. She absolutely knew she’d be a disaster and embarrass him at every turn since with the exception of her father, she could never please a man. I felt that deep in my heart, since this has been my experience most of my life as well. Man, she was like my long lost twin from a distant past and another country.

He was her protector. He was her fierce lover that would do anything at all to please her in the bedroom. Gah! Can I bite his ass now after he spanks mine? He was so freaking hot and so just so entirely MALE! Every time after he’d spank her, he’d make love to her and ravage her so completely, they were both boneless afterward. I was feeling it, too. Oh yeah! I couldn’t believe it when he started their honeymoon night with a spanking, “to foster a sense of closeness between them.” I was skeptical, but damn. I wished now my honeymoon night had played out exactly like that. It was erotic and so damn naughty, I loved every second of it. Her reactions of “Oh no!” repeatedly when she’d get aroused, garnered more sighs from me and swoons because he was such a skilled lover. It was the right mix of sweet and naughty from both.

There were times I felt almost like I was reading the story of what Gone with the Wind should have been like behind the scenes. Like this was the story we didn’t get to see but all wanted. That story has been a favorite since I was a teen. Rhett should have taken lessons from Court—spank her, dammit. You’ll both feel so much better afterward when your headstrong wife gets out of control because she does not see bounds or limits. She only sees a challenge she must conquer. And he only sees a woman that makes him wild with desire that he can’t for the life of him resist, though he can’t explain it.

Even when they were driving each other nuts, you could still feel the passion. And even when they made poor decisions, from their perspective, upbringing and societal pressures, all of it made perfect sense to me. The times when she became despondent and was almost walking around like a zombie, trying to become what she thought he wanted, had my heart ripping out of my chest because I knew it was killing both of them. That’s how invested I was in these characters, that when they almost destroyed each other and themselves, I was still rooting for both of them, having absolute faith they’d find a way to get through it together and find peace and happiness in the end.

Perfection! This is one of my all-time favorites. I loved it so much I had to buy Lily Mine since I read that was a historical piece by this same author with spanking as well. Can’t wait! Oh, but that is after I re-read this gem. I’ve already gone over the honeymoon scene. Couldn’t resist.

I also have to say, I loved the crotchety old mother-in-law and how she picked on Harmony when they were face-to-face and then defended her to Court behind her back. Isn’t that the truth? This woman was jealous and admitted it later because her marriage had been fairly tragic with a cheating husband whom she loved dearly and simply couldn’t please when he was living. Loved how things turned out for her in the end as well.

Here are some of my absolute favorite lines:

*In this scene his mother complains to him about Harmony reading incessantly*

“She spends hours in there, reading!”
“Horrifying,” he murmured. “If she does not take care, she may learn something.”

*This scene is where Court is dealing with her insisting she go see Hadrian’s wall*
“I would lend you my coach but my mother is using it to call on acquaintances,” he said. “I’ll hire one at the inn.”
“What if you can’t?” came her small voice.
“There are very few things I can’t do.”

(Uh, yeah. He said that more than once, and I was panting every damn time.)

Seriously—this book was amazing. I’m still reeling over it, and I’m so glad I bought it on a whim, based on another reader recommending it in one of my groups I belong to. I am now a fan of Annabel Joseph and will checking out more of her books soon!

View all my reviews

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