Gareth Lloyd lives a life of quiet obscurity, toiling in the Docklands by day and living the life of a recluse by night.
Fate has forced his return to London after many years abroad, and soon Gareth finds he can no longer repress the childhood horrors which haunt him-memories which worsen when he receives shocking news.
The Duke of Warneham has died suspiciously and without an heir, save for a distant and long-forgotten cousin.
Now Gareth must take on a burden he never wished for . . . and that includes the newly widowed duchess.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 416 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster
- Publication Date: 21/07/2007
- Category: General
- ISBN: 9781416527152
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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.
Review by theshadowknows
If anything, Liz Carlyle can certainly write. Even when the story she tells isn’t quite as well put together, her prose sweeps you up and places you right in the minds of her characters. Never Deceive a Duke picks up right after Never Lie to a Lady, after Gareth Lloyd’s unrequited love, Xanthia Neville, heroine of NLL, has been married off to Lord Nash. Gareth isn’t too pleased, and things just keep getting worse when he finds out he’s inherited a dukedom upon the death of his cousin. There’s bad blood between Gareth and the former duke, which comprises a twisted family history of murder(s), anti-Semitism, betrayal, and abuse. Gareth has tried to put all that behind him, embracing his life as a shipping magnate and unofficially adopted brother to Xanthia and her brother – they’re all three of them joint owners of Neville Shipping. Gareth’s tortured past comes rushing painfully back to him once he’s forced to very reluctantly join the unwelcoming aristocracy and assume responsibility for his estate. This includes meeting and deciding what to do about the dowager duchess, the former duke’s widow, Antonia. She happens to have a whole boatload of baggage of her own, which makes them quite a depressed/depressing pair. Never Deceive a Duke is a pretty good read. Its pacing falters at times, but not too badly. There’s a murder mystery, which develops into several murder mysteries, actually, and this aspect of the plot seemed well constructed. Though things did a little complicated near the end, when it seemed like everyone and their mother had been murdered at some point. The ubiquitous George Kemble makes an appearance here. He’s called in to do all the dirty work and get to the bottom of the former duke’s death. There have been nasty rumors that Antonia did him in for her own gain, and Gareth, having instantly taken a shine to her, wants her name cleared. I love George Kemble. He’s hilarious, but still chillingly dangerous, and steals the show every time. As for the romance, it was unbalanced at best. Gareth I really liked. He’s a very tortured guy. The flashbacks prefacing each chapter provide powerful, moving vignettes of his childhood, the difficulties of being raised between two worlds, neither fully Jewish, nor accepted into the English aristocracy. I’ve never come across a Jewish hero before, and I think that through the flashbacks this aspect of his character was well drawn. He’s a unique character. The extent and depth of his pain, what he’s suffered, isn’t readily apparent. The way in which his character is thus layered and gradually explored was skillfully handled, and my favorite part of the book. Gareth quietly suffers throughout, never wallowing in self pity. He’s a very strong, very appealing hero. Antonia, while equally tortured, is more pathetic than noble in her suffering. She’s basically a depressed, shattered, shadow of her former self, having undergone a nervous breakdown and been committed to an insane asylum. This was before her marriage to the former duke, which took place barely a year after her first husband’s death, which had precipitated her mental collapse. She’s also exiled from society because of all the nasty murder rumors. I thought it was really interesting to have a heroine purported to be mad, after coming across so many supposedly mad heroes. Maybe madness is sexier in men or something… who knows. Either way, Antonia fits into the woman in white role perfectly – fragile, not quite all there, sad, weak, and broken. Unfortunately, the romance suffers for her overriding weakness, because Gareth has to take care of her the whole time, despite her protestations that she’s getting stronger and starting to know her own mind. Their conversations sound like therapy sessions as Gareth dispenses pearls of wisdom and tries to piece Antonia back together. (I have to mention, even though it’s nitpicking, that their conversations bugged the hell out of me though because Gareth kept saying Antonia’s name over and over again. Every sentence it was, “Well, Antonia…” “Did you know, Antonia…” “I think, Antonia…) Anyway, his protectiveness towards her, the way he lays himself completely at her feet and becomes her white knight of sorts really is romantic and noble, but also sad – both for her and for him. She doesn’t develop enough as a character – she stays pretty weak throughout, which means that, even though she grows to depend upon Gareth, he can’t do the same with her, and so he has no one to heal him in turn. Never Deceive a Duke was very readable, (despite my complaint about the obsessive repetition of Antonia’s name,) with a great hero, and an interesting mystery. The romance though, was a bit of a disappointment.
Review by mlorio
Twice wed and twice widowed, Antonia has vowed never again to marry. But when her husband's death is deemed suspicious, and his long-lost heir returns to seize control of the dukedom, she finds that fate has placed her future in yet another man's hands.Gareth Lloyd runs Neville Shipping with an iron fist. Unrecognizable as the starving orphan who was abandoned by his family and sent an ocean away from home, Gareth has put his troubled past behind him. That is, until the Duke of Warneham is murdered, and Gareth turns out to be the dynasty's last living heir. Gareth neither wants nor needs the honors and obligations of nobility. As he faces his painful past, he both draws comfort from Antonia and comforts her as she confronts her own harsh past. Gareth is determined to clear Antonia's name from suspicions of murdering his uncle, her dead husband. The question becomes how far should Gareth allow their relationship to develop?
Review by new_user
Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this book as much as everyone else did. This was my first from Carlyle, and I don't think I care for this author's style very much. She writes like a modern American writing a Regency novel, e.g. the hero Gareth keeps reiterating over and over the value of working and that life is meaningless without work, etc. This just would not have been present in England at that time. Likewise the heroine's many reflections on the situation of her fellow women, even as she explains to her servant that "she must behave appropriately" in a very June Cleaver fashion. These moments kept jarring me from the storytelling, and the duchess came off as nothing more than an archetype, shallowly developed. We know she's resistant to her lot in life because this is conveyed not-so-subtly when she keeps becoming flustered and "flushing" or otherwise lapsing in the ladylike composure that is so obviously important to her. Needless to say, this cannot power a character through three or four hundred pages. We need a little more, a heartbeat perhaps, and I got the impression her flustered routine continued a long while. As anothe reviewer wrote, she's just needy (that's the entirety of her character). I liked Gareth, but he's misplaced here for the reasons I mentioned before. I also thought if the author took the time to establish in flashbacks that Gareth comes from a partly Jewish heritage and that his childhood suffered because of it that the flashbacks should have been connected to the present at one point, perhaps mentioning his difficulties in the present, or else they seem somewhat aimless. It would have been more useful for the flashbacks to center around his ship experiences in that case, which seem to have affected him strongly (and to tell from his repeated mentions of it, continue to affect him). The dialogue and some of the secondary characters felt as if the writer had done her research watching Disney's adaptation of the times. I can suspend disbelief, and I can read less faithful reimaginings of the period. I don't mind-- but it's a little difficult when a novel takes itself so seriously while an anachronism entirely powers a character's motivations. It's a little hard to ignore. Most likely, I wouldn't have caught onto this if the romance were less limp (or just the heroine), if there were heat, tension, whatever you call it. Gareth was too strong to credibly fall for this kind of heroine. But there you have it. Sorry, folks, I know a lot of people read her.((Note: If you'd like to read an author who's done her research and, whether from exposure or from education and an open mind, can write British and French characters believably without them becoming caricatures, I recommend Joanne Bourne's The Spymaster's Lady. I'm reading it now and I love it.))
Review by Marcella1717
Good plot and good book overall, but it took me a bit longer than usual to read it. The protagonists are both very tortured characters.