Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review: When You Give a Duke a Diamond by Shana Galen

He's the most sought-after peer in the realm. She's the most sought-after courtesan of the demi-monde. Their paths were never supposed to cross, until a gossip column decides to pair them up to boost sales -- never realizing that fiction has a way of turning into reality.

When Juliette witnesses the murder of the Duke of Pelham's fiancee, William isn't certain he can trust the word of a courtesan but he has no choice but to keep her safe and close to him. As Juliette and William search for the diamonds that Lucifer wants, both their resolves are tested and temptation proves irresistible. But he's a duke and she's a courtesan, could something really exist between the two of them? And are they brave enough to pursue it?

Duke. Courtesan. These are the labels that define and shape the lives of William, the Duke of Pelham and Juliette, the Duchess of Dalliance. As duke, William has embraced the rigorous order and responsibilities that comes with the title. He's very precise and systematic and very predictable. And he likes it that way.

Juliette's life isn't exactly in disarray -- but it isn't well-ordered either. As the Duchess of Dalliance, Juliette is pressured to keep up appearances and spend for clothes and hats that she really can't afford. Out in society, she must toughen her skin against the contempt of the ladies and the leers of the gentlemen.

When their names were linked in a gossip column, Juliette decides to play up the role and seeks an introduction with the duke at the ball. And their first meeting is disastrous, and devastating for Juliette to be dismissed so easily. It meant nothing to William, but it meant the world to Juliette, whose place in society is tenuous -- always one misstep away from social ruin.

"I've been called far worse."
- Juliette, p. 52

Juliette is an amazing, amazing character. She has accepted the reality of her place in society with admirable, albeit heartbreaking grace and dignity. She's a lovely character and one that I sympathized with. I admired her spirit and her ability to survive. She's got a tough skin and a soft heart -- and a dreamer.

William and Juliette undertake a journey of discovery -- who are they beyond the roles and responsibilities? As with all of the great love stories, "The course of true love never did run smooth." -- and our hero and heroine contend with trust issues -- they had opened themselves up to people before and ended up getting hurt. It is a tentative and gradual unfolding for them: they shed off their armors and become more and more vulnerable -- and it is breathtakingly electrifying. As I was reading the book, I was tingly and goosebump-y -- in a good way.

..."I'm not going to take advantage of you."

"No." She withdrew her hand. "You wouldn't."

"I called you a slut." He knew he was stating the obvious. Moreover, he knew he was bringing up a matter that, were he sober, he would never mention.

She laughed without humor. "I know. I heard."

"It upset you."

She pressed her lips together, the haughty reserve coming down again. "It didn't please me, but it's not the first time, and I suppose it won't be the last."

"You're not made of ice."

She gave him a puzzled look. "What strange things you say when you are foxed." She looked away, appearing to study the books behind his desk. "No, I'm not made of ice," she said quietly. "Neither are you, but we both have hard outer shells." She gazed at him, those blue eyes penetrating like icicles, only far, far warmer. "You know where my shell came from. What about yours?"
- p. 159

I felt the Lucifer/Eliza plot was handled a bit too lightly but it served its purpose in galvanizing the hero and heroine. Galen's main focus was the love story between the duke and a courtesan -- and she succeeded in telling a remarkably poignant and unforgettable story. I super-love this book and can't wait to read this next installment. (Yes, I said "super-love" -- ^_^)

When You Give a Duke a Diamond is the first book in Shana Galen's Jewels of the Ton series. To find out more about Shana Galen and her books, visit her website. She's also on Facebook and on Goodreads.


  1. This sounds like a good book, and the cover interests me. Thanks for the review! I've followed your blog and put your blag badge up on my blog. Feel free to do the same!

  2. Hi, Cory!

    Thank you for dropping by and for your comment!

    I've visited your blog and your jewelry creations are really amazing!

  3. Thank you so much for the lovely review, Tin.

  4. Thank you, Shana!

    I really love Juliette! Very excited for the third book!

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