Here a Duke, There a Duke by Madeline Hunter

They are everywhere in historical romance. I’m talking about those dukes. Readers love them and it seems the genre can’t get enough of them.

Why are they so popular? Probably because their status in their world was unsurpassed. Other than royalty, there was no higher rank than a duke and the title came with the wealth and land that signified “top dog” in the pack.

Dukes held such an elevated spot in society that they were among the few people who did not have to care about society’s opinion. All those rules and social expectations on behavior did not affect them as much as lesser mortals. Who was going to give a duke the cut direct?

They were the equivalent of billionaires that are found in contemporary romance— lots of money and lots of power.

With all the dukes in novels, one might think there were a lot of them in real history. Wrong! It has been calculated that there were only 31 nonroyal dukes during the “long Regency” period, including those of Scotland and Ireland.

Some interesting tidbits about dukes:

—-The first English duke was The Black Prince, son of Edward III, made a duke in 1337. Prior to this in Europe the title Duke referred to a sovereign, such as the Duke of Burgundy or the Duke of Normandy.

—-The first nonroyal duke was made in 1351. He was Henry of Grosmont, 4th Earl of Lancaster (and first Duke of Lancaster), and by historians’ reckoning the wealthiest man in England at the time.

—-Twice titles were created specifically for women, in their own right, to last only their lifetimes. The mistress of George I was made the Duchess of Munster(Ireland) and Duchess of Kendal (G.B. 1719-1743.) Cecilia Underwood, wife of the Duke of Sussex, was made Duchess of Inverness (1840-1873.)

—- One person could be two or more dukes. For example, the current Duke of Richmond is also the Duke of Lennox in the Scottish peerage

—-A duke’s place in the order of preference is based on the date the title was created. Today the “premier duke” with the oldest nonroyal title is the Duke of Norfolk.

—-During Elizabeth I’s reign, there were no dukes after she beheaded the only one around. For the last thirty years of her life, the title was extinct.

—-Unlike lower titles, dukes are not addressed as “Lord So and So” or “My Lord.”  They are addressed as Duke. As in “How’s it going, Duke?” More formally, they are addressed as “Your Grace.”

From New York Times bestselling author Madeline Hunter comes the latest sexy tale of three untamable dukes and the women who ignite their decadent desires . . .

He May Be A Devil

He’s infamous, debaucherous, and known all over town for his complete disregard for scandal, and positively irresistible seductions. Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford, is obscenely wealthy, jaw-droppingly handsome, and used to getting exactly what he wants. Until his attention is utterly captured by a woman who refuses to tell him her name, but can’t help surrendering to his touch . . .

But She’s No Angel Either . . .

Amanda Waverly is living two lives—one respectable existence as secretary to an upstanding lady, and one far more dangerous battle of wits—and willpower—with the devilish Duke. Langford may be the most tempting man she’s ever met, but Amanda’s got her hands full trying to escape the world of high-society crime into which she was born. And if he figures out who she really is, their sizzling passion will suddenly boil over into a much higher stakes affair . . .

Madeline Hunter’s novels are:

“Brilliant, compelling. . . . An excellent read.” —The Washington Post

“Mesmerizing.” —Publishers Weekly

“Pure passion.” —Booklist

Praise for the previous works of Madeline Hunter

“Fueled by an abundance of subtle wit and potent sensuality . . . an exquisitely crafted love story by one of the romance genre’s masters.” —Booklist

“A rash, adventure seeking heroine and an honorable, take charge hero clash splendidly as passions blaze . . . to the delight of all concerned.” —Library Journal

“Intelligent and memorable. . . . With its tangy dialogue, Pride and Prejudice themes, bits of mystery and nefarious characters, readers may be reminded of Jane Austen.” —RT Book Reviews (Top Pick)

“Hunter . . . spins the intrigues of an enterprising bastard son and a resourceful artist to delightful effect in this excellent launch.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)