A DUKE IN SHINING ARMOR (Difficult Dukes #1) by Loretta Chase


Not all dukes are created equal. Most are upstanding members of Society. And then there’s the trio known as Their Dis-Graces.

Hugh Philemon Ancaster, seventh Duke of Ripley, will never win prizes for virtue. But even he draws the line at running off with his best friend’s bride. All he’s trying to do is recapture the slightly inebriated Lady Olympia Hightower and return her to her intended bridegroom.

For reasons that elude her, bookish, bespectacled Olympia is supposed to marry a gorgeous rake of a duke. The ton is flabbergasted. Her family’s ecstatic. And Olympia? She’s climbing out of a window, bent on a getaway. But tall, dark, and exasperating Ripley is hot on her trail, determined to bring her back to his friend. For once, the world-famous hellion is trying to do the honorable thing.

So why does Olympia have to make it so deliciously difficult for him . . . ?


One of the things that I adored most about this novel is that despite what the title might suggest, the hero isn't always saving the day. Ripley gets into some of his own scrapes, injuring himself multiple times, and Olympia is actually the one who helps him resolve the situation. On multiple occasions she stands up against bullies, defending those that are weaker, and risking herself to do what's right. And although some might say that running away from the alter shows a certain cowardice, I think that in this situation it shows a tremendous amount of courage. She knows that she doesn't feel what she should for her fiance and takes off on her own, still in her wedding gown and without a plan. She risks the censure of her family and of society to do what she thinks is right. That takes real bravery. I love that there's a sense of balance in this romance. Both the hero and heroine save each other, as it should be.

I know many people have problems with cheating in novels, or even just the implication of it. I'm usually one of these people, as well. Normally I would probably feel a bit icky about a romance where a guy falls for his best friend's fiance, but somehow the author handled it in a way where it didn't seem like the wrong thing to do. I think maybe this was due to the fact that we don't really get to know Olympia and Ashmont as a couple and we know that they aren't in love with each other. They're marrying because it seemed like the right thing to do and because of family pressure. And although Ripley is constantly reminding himself and the reader that Olympia should be off limits, he beats himself up about it so much and they just seem to fit so well together that you actually end up encouraging him in your head. Go get her, Ripley! Kiss the girl! So, if the idea of a novel where a hero pursues his best friend's ex seems like a turn off to you, you might actually be pleasantly surprised despite your reservations.

Loretta Chase did a wonderful job of creating characters you really want to cheer on and a romance that I couldn't put down. I can't wait to see what she has in store for us next in this series. If you love a historical romance with a rake trying his darnedest to reform and a spunky heroine who is finally ready to break all the rules, A DUKE IN SHINING ARMOR is definitely one to read. 

Disclosure: I received this book free in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own.



Loretta Lynda Chekani was born in 1949, of Albanian ancestry. For her, the trouble started when she learned to write in first grade. Before then, she had been making up her own stories but now she knew how to write them down to share. In her teenage years, she continue to write letters, keep a journal, write poetry and even attempt the Great American Novel (still unfinished). She attended New England public schools, before she went off to college and earned an English degree from Clark University.

After graduation, she worked a variety of jobs at Clark including a part-time teaching post. She was also moonlighting as a video scriptwriter. It was there that she met a video producer who inspired her to write novels and marry him. Under her married name, Loretta Chase, has been publishing historical romance novels since 1987. Her books have won many awards, including the Romance Writers of America RITA.

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