Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review of How To Dance With A Duke by Manda Collins

Title/Author: How To Dance With A Duke (Ugly Ducklings #1) by Manda Collins
Publisher/Date published: St. Martin's Paperbacks, January 31st 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "What’s a wallflower to do when she’s suddenly in need of a husband? Use all the pluck and moxie she can muster to get what she wants...
Miss Cecily Hurston would much rather explore the antiquities of Egypt than the uncharted territory of marriage. But the rules of her father’s exclusive academic society forbid her entrance unless she weds one of its members. To clear her ailing father’s name of a scandalous rumor, Cecily needs to gain admission into the Egyptian Club — and is willing to marry any old dullard to do it.
Lucas Dalton, Duke of Winterson, is anything but dull. He’s a dashing and decorated war hero determined to help Cecily — even if that means looking the other way when she claims the dance card of Amelia Snow, this season’s most sought-after beauty. But Lucas has a reason for wanting Cecily to join the Egyptian Club: His brother went missing during one of Lord Hurston’s expeditions to Egypt. An alliance with the explorer’s bluestocking daughter could bring Lucas closer to the truth about what happened... or it could lead him to a more dangerous love than either he or Cecily could have imagined..."

If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen me tweeting about How To Dance With A Duke while I was reading it. There are two occasions in which this happens: either I'm REALLY enjoying it or I'm really not. Unfortunately, the second was true in this case.

I just have to say it: How To Dance With A Duke was slightly ridiculous. At one point I asked myself if it was ridiculous enough to be amusing, but that point passed fairly quickly. And then it was also just basically somewhat boring.

I mean, I like a good wallflower-turned-beauty story, but in this case I just didn't believe it. Also, the whole novel started of with a sort of game of conversation-avoidance tag between the two main characters and it left me going HUH??
Cecily and Lucas are supposed to be two rather smart characters. Then why in the world would they think it's a good idea to start having sex when someone's locked them in a room in a place they weren't allowed in the first place and just when they find the key?? I mean, I get that they needed a reason to be forced to marry each other (or rather, I don't, cause people get married without being forced to as far as I know), but this was just ridiculous. Besides, they'd only kissed once and that was it. It felt off.
I was also annoyed that on more than one occasion we had Cecily tell us that Lucas had whispered 'loving things' in her ear without actually knowing what he said. And for all her smarts she had some really ditzy and too-stupid-to-live moments.

Another thing that made me snort with its ridiculousness (this has Cecily looking at Lucas' 'male member'):
"To Cecily's mind it was rather a shame that he was forced to hide such an impressive specimen with clothing. Though she could understand that perhaps it might get in the way during day-to-day activities."
And then a few lines later:
"Your... er... appendage is very elegant, Your Grace."

REALLY?? I mean, seriously? SERIOUSLY? I cannot even comment on this beyond that.

Even though I didn't like Cecily at all, I did like Lucas. Sure, he didn't come across as intelligent as he supposedly was, but he seemed like a decent guy and he obviously was more in touch with his feelings than Cecily was. I liked that he put his foot down when she was trying to push him away and was all angry male. One thing that did annoy me about him is that he had this war injury and walked with a limp. This in NO WAY impaired him during all his activities except for dancing.... Yes, consistency and all that.
The backstory and the mystery were okay, I figured out whodunnit pretty early on. The whole climax felt a bit, well, anti-climactic to me. The bad guy is just a crazy man who is supposedly very dangerous but is on the other hand incredibly easy to get away from, even if Cecily probably isn't strength personified.

All in all, I was just not very impressed and it did get some smiles from me, but unfortunately I don't think these moments were meant to be laughed at.

My rating: 1,5 stars


  1. Wow. Locked in a closet, huh? That seems like a good reason to get it on!! :)

  2. Oh dear. This novel seems to suffer from becoming too typical and too unbelievable. :(

  3. Oh, I remember this book. I read it earlier in the year and it was a bit unbelievable. I thought the characters were OK enough (though I agree with you that Lucas was more likable) but I didn't like the book all that much, either.

    Cecily did have her TSTL moments.