My review cross-posted from Joyfully Reviewed: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/new-reviews/dangerous-in-diamonds-by-madeline-hunter
The term “rake” is far too tame a descriptor for a man like the Duke of Castleford. The hedonistic duke with a Midas touch spends six days a week drinking, whoring, and other pleasurable pursuits, leaving anything of importance to be dealt with on Tuesdays. However, now that his friends have made the abominable decision to fall in love and marry, Castleford finds himself bored to tears. That is, until a relative bequeaths him several properties of seemingly no importance. Castleford is resigned to taking a closer look at what is so special about the lands in question. He’s surprised, however, that one of the properties houses The Rarest Blooms, a place where all of his friends’ wives once lived. What really breaks Castleford out of his ennui, however, is Daphne Joyes, owner of The Rarest Blooms. The exquisite widow temps Castleford like no woman has before. Unfortunately, she has an uncanny ability to resist his charms. Castleford can’t resist the challenge Daphne presents and it’s not long before the pair finds themselves in a dance of seduction that could lead to the most unlikely of outcomes – love.
There is a danger, I suppose, in highly anticipating a novel. Ever since the first Rarest Blooms book, Ravishing in Red, I have wanted to read the dissolute Duke of Castleford’s story. From Ravishing in Red to Provocative in Pearls to Sinful in Satin, Castleford stole every scene he was in, charming the hell out of me, even with his profligate ways. I absolutely loved him and couldn’t wait to see him fall in love. With such high expectations going in, I felt all the more strongly my disappointment in Dangerous in Diamonds. Up until his own book, Castleford has such life, such personality that he fairly exploded off the page. In Dangerous in Diamonds, Castleford is pretty subdued. He has some flashes of brightness, but overall he was a surprisingly lackluster hero. Daphne, in turn, is the same woman we’ve known all throughout the series: beautiful, honorable, and protective. Admittedly, she was never very interesting to me, so I was not let down by her blankness. As a couple, Daphne and Castleford do have some spark and that helped to carry Dangerous in Diamonds.
Despite my criticisms, Dangerous in Diamonds isn’t a bad book. Madeline Hunter’s writing is solid and the story moves along at a reasonable pace. Fans of The Rarest Blooms will delight in seeing all the prior heroes and heroines play a role in Daphne and Castleford’s story. The conclusion of Dangerous in Diamonds will likely satisfy the majority of readers. I will say that there is, for some reason, a curveball thrown in in the last ten pages of the story that was never really dealt with to my satisfaction. I don’t want to spoil what it was, but it felt like a pointless addition (I’m not a fan of obstacles slapped on at the very end of a book). Overall, Dangerous in Diamonds was a letdown for me, but readers who either haven’t read the previous Rarest Blooms books or didn’t adore Castleford’s personality will likely enjoy the book quite a bit more.