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For the Duke's Eyes Only (School for Dukes, #2) by Lenora Bell Lady India Rochester is a badass archaeologist who knows how to wield a dagger and has an even sharper knack for uncovering history's forgotten women. Daniel Bonds, the Duke of Ravenwood, is a thrill-seeking antiquities hunter. At least that's what he wants the world to think. When the Rosetta Stone is stolen from the British Museum, the former friends-turned-rivals must team up to prevent an international incident, all while avoiding falling in love. *modified from from the official synopsis*
Published by Avon on September 18, 2018
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Lady India Rochester is a badass archaeologist who knows how to wield a dagger and has an even sharper knack for uncovering history's forgotten women. Daniel Bonds, the Duke of Ravenwood, is a thrill-seeking antiquities hunter. At least that's what he wants the world to think. When the Rosetta Stone is stolen from the British Museum, the former friends-turned-rivals must team up to prevent an international incident, all while avoiding falling in love.
*modified from from the official synopsis*
What I Liked
- I want to be Lady India Rochester when I grow up. She’s an expert in ancient Egyptian antiquities, knows a ton of bawdy jokes, and knows how to handle her shit. Also, our introduction to her? She’s dressed as a man, crashing a males-only antiquity society meeting:
She’d bound her bosom with linen to achieve the illusion of a young buck dressed in the first stare of fashion: blue greatcoat over a frock coat of black superfine, gold-embroidered waistcoat, buff colored trousers, and polished black boots.
She looked quite dashing if she did say so herself.
Indy’s mother loved to remind her that she displayed none of the pleasing traits of femininity. She never simpered or flirted, abhorred frills and furbelows, carried a dagger at her hip and know how to use it, and had once been told that her gait resembled that of a swaggering tomcat.
- The chemistry between Indy and Raven is fantastic. Their bickering and snarking is highly entertaining and made me snortlaugh on public transportation more than once #notagoodlook. They are constantly fighting each other as well as their attraction to each other, which means the reader gets witty insults followed by lots of smoochies.
- The plot of this book is insanely ridiculous. Like stupid silly. And I loved it.
- Bell was clearly inspired by both Indiana Jones (right down to the “Indy” nickname) and James Bond. Indy is a well-traveled, serious archeology expert, while Raven is a spy posing as an antiquities mercenary. There are even characters named Uncle M(alcom), and Miss Mina Penny!
- This book kills it in the consent arena during the sexytime scenes. Raven doesn’t want to take advantage of Indy after she goes toe to toe with a Russian in vodka bevvies, and he always asks her if she’s sure at each encounter regardless of the physical level it might entail.
- I feel like a lot of romance novels have a plot thread where the hero needs to be tamed by the heroine over the course of the book, resulting in the reformation of the hero’s roguish ways. Here, Raven has loved Indy since he was 12, has wanted to be with her even though he thinks he can’t/shouldn’t, and always keeps an eye out for her behind the scenes.
And what I didn’t
- THERE IS WAY TOO MUCH FUCKING SHAKESPEARE IN THIS BOOK. I am perhaps a smidge overly sensitive to this because I really do not enjoy Shakespeare.
- This book ends really abruptly. I even knew this was coming thanks to a Smart Bitches, Trashy Books review, and I was still caught off guard by how jolting the ending was. Over the span of final tenish pages we go from mortal peril to the hero getting in touch with his feeeeeeeelings and a HEA (it is a romance after all), to a really…strange epilogue. My head was still spinning from the rapidness of it all hours after I finished.
- The plot is about a badass antiquities expert and a dashing spy and I certainly could have used more of both adventure and nerd stuff and less flirting via a Bard-Off. Please refer to bullet one of this section.
- Much like the those in the comments in the above link SBTB review, I am ready to move on from Heroic Dukes. They’ve had their time to shine. Give me an Eccentric Earl, or a Debonair Barrister or something.
- Finally, I always like to learn something new from whatever book I’m reading. It can be a fun fact about the customs of a time period, or even about the distilling process for bourbon. I didn’t really feel like I got anything new out of For the Duke’s Eyes Only.
“Time waits for no woman,” said Indy. “Grab destiny as though you want it.”
“Who brought a flask to an antiquities meeting? And another thing – why didn’t women’s clothing possess enough pockets for stashing flasks and other important items?”
PREACH, INDY. PREACH.
Overall, I thought For the Duke’s Eye’s Only was an enjoyable, adventurous light read. It was a much needed distraction from the midterm elections and all the noise surrounding them. Plus, I’ve already passed the book on to a friend. That is ultimately why I gave it 4 stars after waffling between that and 3.5 stars. A little more nerdishness and a less jarring ending would really have taken this book to the “Keeper” level. That being said, I am looking forward to the third book in the School for Dukes series, One Fine Duke, in which we get Miss Mina Penny’s story (who seems like she is also going to a badass heroine)!