I have been waiting for Big Duke Energy for months since I discovered the book was being published. I was ecstatic with the whole collection! My two favorite novellas were The Earl On The Train and Duke Of Every Sin. I couldn’t choose the best between the two. Following closely after these two was The Wolf Of Westmore. Put Up Your Dukes was my next choice, and I enjoyed its differences from the rest. Finally, Loved And Found; however, due to the tropes, it was not my favorite. All five were excellent tales of secondary characters; some I have been waiting to read their story for years! I am so excited there will be three more of these anthologies. Big Duke Energy wowed and entertained with beautiful storytelling of passionate romance!
The Earl On The Train by Kerrigan Byrne
I wish I had six stars! Oh Sebastian, how I have impatiently waited for your story! I fell in love with Sebastian and Veronica in The Duke With The Dragon Tattoo. I have looked forward to this romance for years, and it exceeded all my expectations. Villain to hero is a favorite trope, and Sebastian is the epitome! Sebastian had so many layers. He was such a complicated, vivid, and raw character. Veronica transforms from this defeated, timid, lonely person to a strong, vivacious woman that learns to take what she wants. This is a super-steamy, beautifully passionate romance. The physicality was so much more than common sensuality; it was emotional, angsty, and entrancing. The story takes place in forced proximity and includes intrigue and action. The secondary characters were lush and added to the plot. The writing was fantastic; several lines were so beautiful that I highlighted them, something I rarely do. Finally, although so short, The Earl On The Train is one of my favorite of the Victorian Rebel series. I did not want Sebastian and Veronica’s love story to end!
Loved And Found by Christi Caldwell
Thaddeus and Edies’ story is about heartbreak, loss, and second chances. Thaddeus and Edie’s plight as young, doomed lovers is heart-wrenching. Torn apart by class difference, the two get a second chance after going through horrendous trials. Both Thaddeus and Edie were broken yet still held dignity and strength. This plot is angsty, fraught with heartbreaking revelations, and hauntingly passionate. Although the tropes are not my favorites, the quality of writing is undeniable. The plot builds evenly to a breath-taking final chapter. Despite my reservations on some plot points, I enjoyed this story immensely.
The Wolf Of Westmore by Amalie Howard
I loved how the enemies-to-lovers and star-crossed-lovers tropes were combined in this romance. Wulfric was pure sin, and Jocelyn was pure sweetness. The sensuality between the couple was off the charts. Their passionate scenes were so well written. The dialogue and storyline immersed me into the story. The plot moved quickly and had a good pace but was not rushed. I loved Wulfric, the ultimate bad boy. Jocelyn was beautiful and caring but had a steely strength. Both main characters shone brightly. The storyline caught my attention in the first chapter and kept my rapt attention. This romance enchanted and enthralled me.
Put Up Your Dukes by Janna MacGregor
Martin and Amelia are in an estranged marriage due to Martin’s ownership of a gossip newspaper. I thought the character development was phenomenal in such a short story. The storyline is pretty simple, but Martin and Amelia’s personalities are enormous. The unraveling of the marriage was palpable. The couple had to mature and grow into their relationship. This is a messy, passionate romance. Unlike the other novellas, this one shines because of the realistic take on a struggling marriage. This was not my favorite; however, I was captured by Martin and Amelia’s plight. It is visceral at times but concludes beautifully.
Duke Of Every Sin by Stacy Reid
So good! Ethan and Verity are thrown together over the fate of a small child. This is a hauntingly beautiful story of loss, forgiveness, and redemption. The plot is intricate and ebbed and flows well for such a short story. I read this one in an hour. I couldn’t put it down! Ethan is a tragic, flawed character, and Verity is all things sweet and loving. Ethan finds healing in Verity’s love. The passionate connection between the couple is perfectly portrayed. Both main characters were written with love and care. Duke Of Every Sin was the perfect ending to a stand-out anthology.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book through Netgalley and the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Release Date: March 29, 2022