Peckham, Scarlett. The Duke I Tempted. New York: NYLA Publishing, 2018.
eBook | $4.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-1641970327 | 277 pages | Georgian Romance
When people were first talking about The Duke I Tempted, I had mixed feelings. I was intrigued by the concept, but I’m not into BDSM, especially given the ways some authors have inaccurately depicted it. But this book and the second one are both available on OverDrive, and I am still looking to stretch my romance-reading wings, so I decided to gie it a try.
And I was blown away. It’s hard to believe this is Peckham’s debut novel, as the story is pretty much impeccable, touching on the difficult topics of grief and loss and Archer’s unorthodox tactics to negotiate these feelings. But ultimately, it reinforces the essential truth of BDSM being about pain only being a means toward pleasure, and while I make no claims of being an expert, I felt the depiction of it in relation to his character felt realistic.
I also really like Poppy. She’s already not your typical heroine at the beginning, with her skills as a botanist and her independent nature, but I enjoyed seeing her response to the discovery of Archer’s secret, where she works to become knowledgeable about BDSM, even joining the club at one point, to learn how to please her husband.
And that leads me to the supposed “cheating,” which other reviewers have made much ado about, when all I wanted was content warnings about potentially harmful material. Out of context, it is cheating, I won’t disagree. But I think when you factor in the issues Archer is going through and Poppy working to understand, even when he offers her the chance to be free of him, it’s proof that she doesn’t see it that way, or at least she didn’t once she got over the initial shock.
This is a historical romance that has a very by-the-numbers premise, but with a few additions, becomes more daring and subversive. I recommend this to anyone looking for a new, edgier take on historical romance.
Buy it here: https://amzn.to/2RtEdCH