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REVIEW: Sins of a Duke by Suzanne Enoch

Dear Ms. Enoch:

Book CoverIt is always very difficult to live up to one’s own hype. The Sins of a Duke is the fourth and final entry in the Sin series. I have read two of the previous three. In the previous stories, Sebastian, the eldest brother, has played a large role. He was a strong and influential member of his family, as well as a powerful man of England.

He had lost his wife a few years ago and has been raising his daughter by himself. He’s much used to responsibility, having inherited the dukedom at age seventeen. The novel opens well enough with Sebastian acting every inch the autocratic lord that he is, displaying political savvy and usefulness to the crown. He’s portrayed as an attentive father and a good brother as well as one who is subconsciously is missing something in his life.

Enter Josefina Katarina Embry. Josefina is the daughter of the Rey of Costa Habichuela, a country on the coast of South America. Her family is in London to gain financial and political support from the crown. Instead of getting the Bank of London to foot the bill, Josefina and her father propose that they sell bonds to any “progress-minded Englishman.” Sebastian recognizes that when things look too good to be true, they usually are and he sets out to discover the secrets the Embry’s hold.

The main part of the story is marked by uncharacteristic actions by Sebastian (I couldn’t figure out why Sebastian, doubting her character would bring her into his home to be the mother of the being most precious to him) and a forced attraction between himself and Josefina.

There wasn’t anything about Josefina that I found particularly loveable. She was complicit in her father’s schemes. She showed little remorse until the end. If Josefina had been more carefully drawn, more multi-dimensional, she may have been more appealing. As it was, she was a puppet, acting first at the behest of her father and then, at the behest of Sebastian. Her efforts to manipulate Sebastian (at her father’s directive) with her body were both unsavory and unbelievable. She is supposedly a virginal miss bent on marrying Sebastian but her actions waver between being a practiced courtesan and a rube debutante.

You also employ a writerly cheat by telling us a character motivation that was completely untrue in order to misled the reader into doubting the intentions of one character. When the “cheat” is revealed, it falsified so many of the previous passages.

The overall love story failed to deliver for me. Sebastian and Josefina appeared to have very little chemistry and their love scenes were quite tepid despite the coarser and more graphic language used in describing them.

The story is probably a must read for the fans of the Melbourne family. The book was at its most engaging when it depicted the family dynamic. Those parts clearly showed the love and affection the members had for each other. It were those scenes that I found the most romantic. C-

Best regards,


Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Danielle
    Jun 07, 2007 @ 05:14:47

    I have to agree with your review…I felt that there was no chemistry between Josefina and Sebastiian. I would have liked to have seen a little more interaction between Josefina and Peeps to make her a little more likable. In my opinion her father was a little full of himself and I would have liked Sebastation to really knocked him down more than one peg. I felt that Josefina was not worthy of Sebastian.

    The Griffin siblings….Shay, Nell and Zach show their love and support for Sebastian. And how protected they still are with each other.

  2. KayWebbHarrison
    Jun 07, 2007 @ 10:00:42

    I read an excerpt at the end of Not Quite a Lady. I couldn’t believe the “name” of the supposed South American country. “Habichuela” is a kind of bean, a rather ordinary one. Bean Coast?
    (frijol / frijoles is a variety from Mexico)

  3. Jane
    Jun 07, 2007 @ 10:03:08

    Josefina – she was such a bland character that was supposed to be more interesting given her duplicitous purpose but it all seemed so contrived.

    I had no idea, Kay. How funny.

  4. Robin
    Jun 07, 2007 @ 10:56:01

    I tried to read Sin and Sensibility but it was a DNF for me. Since then I have been afraid to try anything else by Enoch, but I hear her contemporaries are good. Which makes sense to me, since S & S read waaayyy too modern for me as a historical. I’m not sure whether that’s what made the prose feel stilted to me, but it could have been.

  5. Estelle
    Jun 07, 2007 @ 13:05:48

    Same here Robin, I couldn’t get past Sin and Sensibility and I didn’t feel like reading the rest of the seires. I’m glad I didn’t too, after reading this review and the ones for the other two books.

    I tried the first book in her contemp series but it didn’t grab me so I gave up on that too.

    Ms Enoch is not for me, I think. I don’t seem to be able to connect with or care for her characters and plots.

  6. bam
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 02:15:40

    I was wondering if I should get this or not. I’m thinking “meh”.

  7. romancefanreader
    Jun 25, 2007 @ 18:54:06

    I just bought this book. Now I will return it.

  8. Disappointed Reader
    Jul 26, 2007 @ 17:30:40

    I have to agree. This book was a complete disappointment. The only redeeming parts were where Valentine and Eleanor were mentioned. If not for that, this book should get an F. Truly awful.

  9. An unsatified reader
    Jul 27, 2007 @ 19:32:01

    I agree with everyone elses posts. This was my first Enoch and probably my last. I had to force myself to read through at times. Josafina was a disappointing character, and what was up with her mother?

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