If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all. - Oscar Wilde
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. - B. F. Skinner
No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. - Mary Wortley Montagu

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Review: I've Got My Duke to Keep Me Warm by Kelly Bowen / @TastyBookTours @kellybowen09

Title: The Lords of Worth #1: I've Got My Duke to Keep Me Warm
Author: Kelly Bowen
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: December 16, 2014
Genre: Historical, Romance
ARC Received From: NetGalley
Reviewed For: Tasty Book Tours

Where Secrets Smolder...

Calm. Cool. Collected. Gisele Whitby has perfected the art of illusion—her survival, after all, has depended upon it. Years ago, to escape an abusive husband, Gisele "disappeared." Now she must risk revealing her new identity to save another innocent girl from the same fate. But she needs a daring man for her scheme, and the rogue in question shows a remarkable talent . . . for shattering Gisele's carefully constructed fa├žade and igniting her deepest desires.

...Passion Ignites.

This isn't the first time Jamie Montcrief has awakened naked and confused from a night of drinking. It is, however, the first time a stunningly beautiful woman offers him payment afterward. Gisele has a business proposition for him, a mission involving cunning thievery and a brazen rescue. How can he say no to a plot this dangerous . . . and a woman this delectable?

Other books in this series

(Reviewer's Note: This story deals with the issue of domestic abuse as well as the injuries sustained by the abused. Both are addressed in my review. Please take this into consideration before reading further or purchasing this book.)

Gisele was a fascinating heroine. She wasn't some society miss looking for a husband during the Season. She wasn't a spoiled daughter setting her cap for the most eligible bachelor. She wasn't even a wallflower or a fallen woman. By all accounts, actually, she wasn't even alive. She faked her death to escape a cruel husband and to keep her stepdaughter safe. She refused to play the victim any longer, choosing instead to do what was necessary in order to live longer than one more day. She became a beacon of hope for women in similar situations. She did what was necessary, had connections that were necessary, to make her mission in life a success. In the course of four short years, she saved countless women from abuse by sneaking them away, giving them new identities, and finding them new places to live.

Jamie was a surprising and delightful addition to Gisele's intimate circle. He battled his own demons--PTSD, bitterness, self-loathing, and abandonment by his family--to rise to the occasion and stand by Gisele when she decided to stop her madman husband from hurting another woman. In the process, he discovered a reason for living again and it was Gisele. She showed him how to live again simply by being the example he needed. As a result, her strength became his and the love they shared was undeniable, unbreakable, and unconditional.

Abuse isn't pretty. The slice of a knife, the snap of a crop, and the lash of a whip over flawless skin can't be romanticized. The scars left behind are marks for the abuser to bask in, evidence of their handiwork on a person who is weaker than them. They can't be erased, can't be hidden. In the stark light of reality, long after their abuser has gone away or died, the victim will always have reminders of the hell they lived through. Gisele's abuser was her husband, a man who should have protected her, not mistreated her. Each time he raised his hand or a weapon against her was because, in his mind, she deserved it. How do you romanticize such twisted logic?

You can't, but there can be that silver lining that gives a person hope. Gisele was other women's silver lining, and Jamie was hers. He was the first man outside of her intimate circle of friends to reassure her that no man would lay a finger on her like her husband had, that she would not have to be locked away in a gilded cage in the middle of the country again. He was hope and light and love in a world where she was all alone despite her companions. He gave her a reason to trust in a man again, to love a man again. He made good on his promise by loving her with tenderness not whips, by disagreeing with just words not fists.

From beginning to end, as secrets and agendas were made known, as risks were weighed and taken, my heart was in my throat. I laughed and cried and contemplated as the story unfolded. I fell in love, was filled with hate. I wanted happiness but revenge as well. Ms. Bowen did a wonderful job of tugging at my heartstrings, making me fell more than one emotion while I read, and pulling me into Jamie and Gisele's world with detail-oriented, well thought out chapters and unforgettable characters.
"You have to let it go if you ever want a chance at living again." (Gisele to Jamie, ARC, Loc 2672)

Kelly Bowen grew up in Manitoba, Canada. She worked her way through her teenage years as a back country trail guide and ranch hand. She attended the University of Manitoba and earned a Master of Science degree in veterinary physiology and endocrinology.

But it was Kelly's infatuation with history and a weakness for a good love story that led her down the path of historical romance. When she is not writing, she seizes every opportunity to explore ruins and battlefields.

Currently, Kelly lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two boys, all of whom are wonderfully patient with the writing process. Except, that is, when they need a goalie for street hockey.


  1. Thank you for hosting today! Great review!

  2. Great review for a great first book!!! Love the characters!!!