Review: The Duke's Matchgirl by Lila DiPasqua

Thursday, January 9

Title:  The Duke’s Matchgirl*
Author: Lila DiPasqua
Series:  A Fiery Tale Novella
Genre:  Historical Romance
Publisher:  Penguin
Format:  ebook   
Date/Year:  December 4, 2013
Reviewed by:  Andrea 

*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:

From bestselling author Lila DiPasqua comes a scorching new historical romance novella in the acclaimed Fiery Tales series! An emotional, erotically charged retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl.

As childhood friends, Leopold d’Ermart and Suzanne Matchet were inseparable. One unforgettable Christmas Eve, their relationship changed from the best of friends…to lovers. But the heir of the Duke of Mont-Marly isn’t supposed to fall in love with the daughter of his family’s physician. Or vice versa.

Is this a second chance at first love?

Years later, Suzanne is dreading her first Christmas without her father. The heartbreak Leo caused when he left seven years ago is a distant memory. And she prefers to keep it that way. The last thing Suzanne expects is for tall, dark, and sinfully seductive Leo d’Ermart to show up at her door and announce he wants her back in his life. And in his bed. Worse, the now celebrated libertine is even more devastating to a woman’s senses than ever before…

Or are they playing with fire?

The only woman Leo, Duke of Mont-Marly, has ever yearned for is the adorably unconventional, intelligent beauty who got away. He discovers Suzanne creating and selling matchsticks, elixirs for the ill…and is still so damned alluring. Leo is determined to show her the depth of his desire, win back Suzanne’s heart. And give her a Christmas beyond her wildest imagination…

My Musings:

This was my first book by Lila DiPasqua. I'd read in another review that this novella works very well as a stand alone.  It does, so that made it perfect for me. Sometimes I like to start off with a novella rather than a full book when I’m reading a new to me author.  It’s usually enough to give me a taste for their work but doesn’t require much of a time commitment from me.  My first impression upon starting into the story was, “Wow, this author can write!”

THE DUKE'S MATCHGIRL tells the tale of Leo and Suzanne. They have a history together. Years ago, Leo and Suzanne were childhood best friends. That friendship developed into love as they grew older.  The problem was that Leo was engaged to another woman all along.  He didn’t know his intended and he didn’t love her.  His position in society and his obligation to his family gave him no choice in the matter.  Looking back, he realizes he never should have kept his impending marriage a secret from Suzanne.  It broke her heart when she discovered his deception, and drove her away from him.

Suzanne has spent the years since Leo’s betrayal working as a successful apothecary. It’s a great profession for her.  As a woman on her own in life, it gives her a comfortable life.  On a more personal side, it gives her the opportunity to use her love of science and quest for knowledge in a way which is socially acceptable for a woman of her time.  You know how I love female scientists, so of course I was all about Suzanne.  She is smart, determined, independent, and resilient.  Leo’s sudden reappearance in her life threatens her carefully constructed happiness. 

There are so many good points to this little novella.  The character development is very good.  I got to know and connect with Suzanne very quickly.  Enough so that I could feel her vulnerability to Leo.  The quality of writing is just as good.  The pace is perfect and the amount of dialogue, action, and inner thought was well balanced.  The chemistry was spot on too.  Their desire for one another was one big continuous smolder.

THE DUKE'S MATCHGIRL is no blushing historical romance, this is an erotic historical romance.  Surprisingly, that was the source for my biggest stumbling block with the story.  The erotic nature of their relationship was too much for me.  Suzanne was a brilliant woman and she had obviously made informed and rational life choices before Leo’s reappearance.  I was a little annoyed that she couldn’t seem to sustain an intelligent thought when in the same room as Leo.  Even when in a serious conversation, she couldn’t think beyond her lust.  That frustrated me more and more as the story went on.

I was so impressed with everything about this book, but the full-on erotic nature of it was a little too much for me.  Because of that, I had to deduct a full point in my overall rating.  I do realize though that every reader has a different reaction to a book.  So, if you are looking for an erotic historical romance that is both well-written and engaging, this is your book.


Overall:  3.5
Sensuality level: 4

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