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Review: A Duchess in the Dark (By Invitation Only, #1) by Kate McKinley

I received this book for free from the mentioned source in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.

Review: A Duchess in the Dark (By Invitation Only, #1) by Kate McKinleyA Duchess in the Dark by Kate McKinley
Series: By Invitation Only #1
Published by: Forever Yours on 12/3/2013
Genres: Adult, Novella, Romance
Pages: 71
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

View on: Goodreads
Grab it: Buy on Amazon

Review Score:
About the Book:

When a well-bred young lady opens the wrong bedroom door at a Regency house party, she has no idea of the sensual delights that await her on the other side…

Miss Daphne Hayward is on the hunt for a safe, honorable husband and she has set her sights on the perfect target. He’s kind, titled, and miraculously single. She plans a full-scale seduction that will bring him to his knees, begging for her hand in marriage. But when she mistakenly climbs into another man’s bed, sparks ignite, threatening to send all her plans up in smoke.

Ashton Fitzgerald, Earl of Claymore, is surprised by the powerful desire that surges through him when he sees Daphne for the first time. So when he unveils her as his mysterious midnight visitor, he is determined to make her his…forever.





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A Duchess in the Dark is a short story by Kate McKinley that tells a tale of mistaken identity and romance.  Daphne Hayward is a young woman living in England in the 1800’s.  Like any woman of the time period, she is on the hunt for a husband, but not just any man, she has one in mind whom she has been pining after for two seasons now.  She is convinced that Edward is in love with her, and in order to get a proposal from him, she sneaks into his bedroom to seduce him; once she has been tainted he will have no choice but to propose to make things right.  The only flaw in her plan?  She seduces the wrong man.


Enter Ashton Lewis Fitzgerald, the Duke of Claymore.  Notorious for bedding multiple widows (not at the same time, as far as we know) he has women all over England fawning over him.  Everyone except for Daphne, that is.  Ashton believes his latest widow is the one who has found her way to his bed, and is surprised to find a blood stain on his sheets the next morning, the tell-tale sign that he has unintentionally deflowered a virgin.  Now, Ashton is on a mission to find the newly tainted woman and attempt to make things right.


I kind of wish that this story had been drawn out into a full novel rather than a short story.  It would have been nice to see Daphne’s character filled out a little bit more.  We know she is obsessed (in love, whichever you prefer) but I never really understood why.  She seems to be under the impression that Edward is the perfect gentleman, even though he shows multiple times just in this short story that he doesn’t care about her in the slightest.  It could be that he is of good social standing, but if that were the reason, she wouldn’t be so reluctant to accept Ashton’s advances, considering he is a Duke.


I really would have liked to learn more about Ashton as well.  I got a little confused when it comes to Ashton, because at the beginning of the story he seems like a lady’s man with no interest in getting married, never staying with one woman for too long, and then all of a sudden he’s saying he has been noticing Daphne since he’s known her, remembering little details that only a man in love would have noticed, and it seems like his character isn’t really consistent.


The story was written well though, I enjoyed reading it.  The fact that I wanted it to be longer is a good sign, if I had really disliked it I would have been counting the pages until it was over.  The only thing is that it didn’t really grab me.  I can’t really put a finger on why, either.  I didn’t dislike the characters, I didn’t hate the way it was written, it kept me fairly entertained, it just didn’t have a wow factor, I guess.  I wouldn’t tell someone not to read it if they wanted to read it, but I don’t know if it would be my first choice for a recommendation.


Overall, I give A Duchess in the Dark 3 out of 5 controllers.  The mistaken identity plot is classic, and it’s hard not to enjoy Ashton and how awkward he can be at times, or how romantic he can be at other times.  Like I said, I didn’t dislike it, but it just didn’t grab me like some stories do.


My Rating

rate - 3

Ariel sig