Taken by the Duke (The Pleasure Wars) Reviews

Taken by the Duke (The Pleasure Wars)

Taken by the Duke (The Pleasure Wars)

An eye for an eye, a sin for a sin…The Pleasure Wars, Book 1Amid all the lies and scandals that fuel Society’s gossip mill, one truth has stood out: House Rothcastle and House Windbury have always hated each other. Lady Ava Windbury prays the feud will someday end, to no avail. One dreadful night, her brother accidentally causes the death of Christian Rothcastle’s sister, a tragedy that leaves both men maimed. Consumed by grief, Christian makes a grim decision. He will kidnap Lady Ava so t

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3 thoughts on “Taken by the Duke (The Pleasure Wars) Reviews

  1. Stella (Ex Libris)
    15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A sensual Regency Romeo and Juliet historical romance you’ll love, July 2, 2013
    This review is from: Taken by the Duke (The Pleasure Wars) (Kindle Edition)
    Ever since I discovered Jess Michaels’ writing I know that if I’m in the mood for some seriously scorching historical romance she is the person to go to. Her novels are sinfully delicious, addictive and oh so steamy! And it was just the same with her latest release Taken by the Duke, which is the first book in her brand new series, the Pleasure Wars series.

    Taken by the Duke is a sensual Regency Romeo and Juliet retelling: the Rothcastles and Windburys have been feuding for so long they can’t even remember what caused their rift. One fateful night the fighting between Lord Rothcastle and Lord Windbury results in a dreadful accident, which causes the death of Lady Matilda Rothcastle, beloved sister of one and lover of the other. That night changes both men. The grief, guilt and hatred festers until Christian Rothcastle devises the perfect revenge: he’ll kidnap Lady Ava Windbury, sister of his arch-nemesis, will ruin and then discard her, bringing shame and scorn on the Windbury family.

    However, he did not count on the beauty and gentle goodness of Lady Ava. No matter how hostile and rude he is towards her she is humble and kind, not wanting the perpetuate the constant battle and hate between the families. She is ready to sacrifice her virtue and reputation to gain peace and reconciliation between the Rothcastles and Windburys.

    “And yet the result he likely hoped for was not coming to fruition. She felt no desire to distance herself. In fact, the more he spat at her like a feral barn cat, the more she felt driven to find out what she could about him. To make him see her, and by proxy her brother, as human.”

    “Perhaps if he delved deeply enough into her body, into her heart, he could take some of her power with him when they parted. A final gift from a woman who used his attempts to make her into a weapon of war, and instead embarked on a mission of peace.”

    Ava is not what Christian expected. She doesn’t cry or beg but accepts her fate with calm and resignation. Despite her vulnerable state of having been kidnapped and kept captive, as well as being “only” a woman in a men’s war Ava had some awe-inspiring inner strength and her gentleness and compassion did not mean she didn’t possess a spine of steel. She was a strong woman using kindness as her shield against the world and its ugliness.

    “He stared, still mesmerized as ever by the beauty of her form. She was so lithe and lovely, so graceful and yet so strong in her spirit. He had thought he could break her when he took her. Now he knew she would never be broken. And he envied her for that inner strength. For her confidence that she controlled her own happiness and refused to turn it over to any other person.”

    Christian is astonished and flummoxed by Ava and her every reaction, which simply defies every expectation or rule, and soon he finds himself unable to resist her. He wants her not because of his evil plans but because he wants to get close to her and enjoy her light and warmth while she is still there with him. It was moving to see how such a wisp of a woman thawed this hardened man, who has spent the past couple of years hating all the Windburys and what they stood for.

    “I brought you here for revenge,” he said, his voice very soft. “I could think of nothing else when I took you. But now… I wonder if we could spend the rest of our time together, not in a bargain, not in a war, but just as lovers who want to share a brief moment in time.”

    Jess Michaels gave us some great and vivid characters, Ava, Christian and Liam (Lord Windbury, and I hope the hero of the next novel in the series) were interesting characters the reader could sympathize with and root for, and the passion between Ava and Christian was hot, sensual, sweeping the reader along with the drift of the story. Besides the passion Jess Michaels also gave us some heart-wrenching emotions: reading about the men’s suffering and guilt was both moving and heart-breaking.

    Verdict: Taken by the Duke is a captivating sensual Regency Romeo and Juliet historical romance I gobbled up in mere hours, it was a gripping and entertaining story and I can’t wait to read the next books in the series! :-)

    Plot: 8/10
    Characters: 9/10
    Writing: 9/10
    Ending: 8/10
    Cover: 9/10

    I give Taken by the Duke 4.5 stars!

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  2. Rose's Book Blog
    8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    My review: Taken by the Duke, July 2, 2013
    By 
    Rose’s Book Blog (Hayward, CA) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Taken by the Duke (The Pleasure Wars) (Kindle Edition)
    If there is one genre that I have a soft spot for it’s historical romance. Not just any historical romance, but erotic historical romance complete with a Duke. When I took on this review I knew I would enjoy this book but more than the erotic aspect of it, I loved the story of this book. Christian really takes an eye for an eye to a whole new level.

    Welcome to the war between the House Rothcastle and House Windbury. No one alive knew why they never got along, but some long ago deceased relative started a war between the two families and it has raged for decades. But when the war goes to a whole new level leaving Christian Rothcastle and Liam Windbury severely injured and Christian’s sister dead the war explodes. Stricken with grief, Christian will do anything and I mean anything to make the Windbury family suffer. So what better way than to go after Liam’s own sister, Ava.

    Ava has been a wallflower for as long as she can remember. The feud between her family and the Windbury family has left her without any suitors. She is forced to only interact with her aunt and her friend Portia and the few other women who only want to gain gossip from her. It’s not until one night at a party that she sees Christian again does something spark deep within her. Christian still shows signs of the accident in his limp and the cane he now walks with but he returns to society anyway 6 months after the death of his sister. He devises a plan, kidnap Ava and make her brother feel lost without her the way he now feels about his sister. Christian’s plan works, but he’s surprised to find that Ava isn’t like any other woman that he has encountered before. She’s defiant and so very sure of herself, showing no fear even though she is scared. But not scared of Christian, scared of what she is feeling towards him.

    The original plan was for her to just stay and he would let her go unharmed after he felt her brother had suffered her loss, but Christian quickly decides that he must have Ava for himself even for just a short period of time. So he makes Ava a deal that she cannot refuse. Sacrifice her virginity to him and he would let that pay the debt for her what her brother has done. Ava will do anything to try and stop the way between the two families which has ripped both families apart so she agrees. What Christian didn’t except was not only for Ava to accept to stay for three weeks and have an affair with him, but what he feels when they are finally together. Christian is determined to make their affair only of a sexual nature but as time goes on and they grow closer to one another and their attraction grows, Christian feels his walls begin to break down and he lets Ava see the real him that no one ever gets to see. But deep down to Christian she is still the enemy and that is a fact he cannot overlook for a long time.

    He finally decides that if Ava wants to leave, he’ll let her go but she doesn’t want to leave and is determined to stay for the entire agreement. So what happens with their feelings begin to grow towards truly caring for one another and what happens with Liam finds them together? Join Ava and Christian as they discover truths about what Christian’s sister was really trying to do and who among them wants to hurt the Windbury family more than Christian does? But most of all will Christian ever be willing to accept Ava for who she is and let go of the hurt he feels deep in his heart?

    I loved this story. I felt like I was right there along side the characters in this story and that is part of the reason why I love to read these stories. The characters were very well thought out and is was a beautiful story. Jess just has a way with words that draws you into the story and you find yourself up late at night reading, engrossed in the story and in serious need of a fan on more than one occasion. This was my first novel by Jess but it will not be my last as I look forward to reading the other novels in the Pleasure Wars series. This was an easy 5 stars for me!

    ***Complimentary copy provided by author/publisher for an honest review***

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  3. SummerSnowFalls
    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Romeo & Juliet meets Beauty & the Beast., July 15, 2013
    By 

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Taken by the Duke (The Pleasure Wars) (Kindle Edition)
    At first, I was a little hesitant when I heard this book was going to be premised off the Romeo & Juliet trope. However, as per usual, Jess Michaels delivers an excellent, satisfying story that weaves only the best elements of these classic stories into her own tale. I loved Ava’s practicality and frankness juxtaposed against Christian’s early blindness to revenge. The scene in the office outlining the terms of Ava & Christian’s bargain made me laugh out loud and I wanted to cheer for Ava when she stood up to Christian in the gardens regarding their families’ feuding and the consequences thereof. I think one of the best scenes in the book came in Matilda’s bedroom – emotional and poignant, it represented a real, tangible change in Ave & Christian’s relationship and connection to one another. Laura’s actions came a little out of left field, so that was a surprise. Liam seemed a little too cold, but since the emotional development of this story centered on Christian, Liam’s actions are acceptable I suppose. The ending was heartwarming, but rather abrupt and left some loose ends, but since this is the first in a series it was understandable to set up the remaining books. All in all, a great read and highly recommended.

    As a side note, I am interested to see the interactions between Liam and Portia. Something about the way Portia talked about him after he “rescued” Ava piqued my interest. (Also, trust Portia to get to the heart of Ava’s story. What are best friends for, right?)

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