Review : How to Dance with a Duke by Manda Collins

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May 3, 2012 by thebookslayer

How to Dance with a Duke
by Manda Collins

How to Dance with a Duke (Ugly Ducklings, #1)
Rated : 

Before I get started you must know that this review will have rant-like tendencies. Yes, I know authors abhor such things and some reviewers detest it as well. But I can’t help but want to shout that This book was awful. There is nothing that makes me more mad than buying a book that looked so promising just to have said image completely shattered. You have been warned that this review is not going to be pretty.

Now let’s start from the beginning. I actually really enjoyed the beginning of the book. The beginning is part of the reason it has a little over 1 star. It was so strong and I was sucked into what was happening and couldn’t wait to find out how the characters would play out their roles.

Let me share with you parts that I loved.

The very first lines are of Cecily beating up a member of the Egyptian Explorer Club because he was not allowing her in. Her father is a key member of this club and she is desperate to get her hands on his journal of the recent journey. He has taken ill which leaves her to decipher what happened in Egypt. The guard remains firm that because she is not a married women or a man of the club she could not enter. Slamming the door in her face she decides to vent her frustration further by kicking said door.

Defeated she heads down the stairs trying to come up with a plan to get the journal and in so doing show that her father had nothing to do with William Dalton’s disappearance. For this is the second reason she needs the journal.

Her disgraceful behavior was caught by… just take a guess I am sure it will come to you. Lucas Dalton who is not only William’s brother but a Duke, the Duke.

Now we have our two most important players meeting by chance and the sparks start to fly in more ways than one. They banter back and forth until they have both revealed who they are and who they are related too. At this point they both go there separate ways. We meet their families… blah blah blah. I instantly adored his mother.

“Never let it be said, my dear,” his mother said, closing the door behind her, “that I am such a wilting flower that I cannot endure a temper tantrum from one of my boys.”

“There is not a day that passes when I do not wish to share some bit of news or some observation with him, and then I am heartbroken all over again to find him gone. “

I think these two quotes say a lot about his mother and what type of influence she has on Lucas’s life. Yea for his Mom!

Cecily is part of what the ton calls “The Ugly Ducklings.” Apparently, their mothers(all sisters) were all so beautiful and caught great men that when they had less than stellar daughters they gained this term. The three cousins went through an awkward phase and then tended to be more wallflower than anything else at dances.

Recap: Strong willed women – Cecily / Dashing mature man – Lucas.

Here is where it started to loose me. The Ball

Now we all know that the scene where the man spots the woman is suppose to be a turning point of some sort, but it goes a little awry.

Cecily ends up stealing Amelia’s (her worst enemy) dance card. She not only finds the names of several eligible bachelors who are members of the club she desperately needs to get into, but also three words or as later abbreviated:

S: Smile
B: Blink
T: Tilt


Really I am actually worried that this advice is what makes her so popular. Yes, our strong willed women has now stepped down to SBT! The worst part is that suddenly all the men want to dance with her. This in turn means that Lucas steps in to keep her all to himself because now he magically doesn’t want anyone else to have her.

Tug-of-War Match:

Pull_Push_Push_Shove = they now have an agreement to help each other. She will help him search for what happened with his brother and he will help her search for a good husband. Crazy but this is not the worst part. Let me just say that this agreement takes a while to come up about. Therefore bringing the book down yet again.

During this build up the characters are nothing but

duckypooop:when i see josh hutcherson.

If they just would get it out of their systems the story would have moved on. But alas we had to wait till page 167. Way too long I tell you. To make matters worse the whole scene comes out of the blue when they are trapped with mummies no less. I mean it is kind of gross that they could smell something rotten. The door slams shut on them and they have to retrieve the key so naturally out of all the times they have been together alone this is the time they “seal the deal” if you will.


This then leads into the ever predictable, “We will get married because there could be a baby,” speech the next day. This scene is where I lost it.

Remember Cecily is supposedly a strong willed free thinker. Lucas now is full of guilt and must convince her to get married. START:

L: Miss Hurston, there is something which-
C: Your Grace, if I might speak to you regarding the events of-
L: I will speak first, if I may Miss Hurston. Miss Hurston…Cecily.
Our…encounter of last evening makes it imperative that we wed without delay.
Before you object to my proposal, I beg you to hear me out.

Blah Blah Blah Banter back and forth..

C: I do, in fact, wish for a home of my own. I even, though you will be surprised to hear me admit it, wish for a family a husband, children. But if has never been my objective to marry for those things alone. I had hoped to marry someone with whom I could share my scholarly pursuits. A man who would encourage me in my work, rather than object to it outright, as my father did with my mother.

L: And you think that I would not encourage you? That I would resent your mental acumen? Your skill with languages and your translation abilities?
C: I do not know. I know very little about you at all.
L: I should think you know me well enough after our activities of last evening. Even if we are not so closely acquainted as to sense one another’s every thought, we ‘know; one another in the biblical sense at the very least.
C: But that is just it. I do not want a typical ton marriage. I  want more than just conversation over the breakfast table and bodies occasionally joined. I want the sort of marriage Miss Wollstonecraft speaks of. A marriage of partnership and mutual understanding.
L: And you do not believe you could have that with me?
C: I do not know if I might or not.

At this point can I just say that our decisive Cecily now does not seem to know anything.

1st point

L: And how, pray, did you intend to overcome your objections when you planned to marry one of the men of your stolen dance card?

Yes Cecily how?

C: Those gentlemen would have been easy enough to manage.

What? So the marriage of partnership turned into her wanting to manage her husband. But it gets better.

2nd Point 

L: Do you mean to tell me that you do not wish to marry me because I am not a simpleton? Because I am not easily managed?
C: I would not put it so bluntly. But, in effect, yes.

Wow I am not quite sure what to think of that! Hum. What does this say about her….

3rd Point 

Now the crowning jewel of this whole conversation. Cecily has told him repeatedly NO! Lucas goes all caveman on her.

L: What if I won’t take no for an answer, sweet Cecily? What then?

Kiss Kiss Kiss When in doubt use your body to make her say yes!

L: I cannot, I will not, profess an undying love for you, Cecily. I will not flatter you or tell you what you want to hear. I am drawn to you, however. I have been since I saw you that day in front of the club.
Now, circumstance and fate have brought us together, and by God I will not be denied.

4th Point goes back to the 1st Point

Last ditched effort

L: Cecily, you were prepared to marry men for whom you had little affection and even less attraction. I do not offer you the sort of partnership you crave-I am not even sure I know what you mean when you speak of it.

Well don’t we all have that problem. What the hell is anyone talking about?

They go back and forth a few times and suddenly Cecily chimes in with “Then, my lord, I accept your proposal of marriage.”


Bam! She is suddenly married off a few pages later and life goes on. But we are only halfway through the book? I know, I know where do we go from here. Well there are more odd scenes sprinkled here and there. A bath scene which has Lucas saying:

“I will tell you a secret,” he said.

At this point I was excited maybe we would learn something interesting. I was wrong.

“It is difficult for a man to hide his reaction to a beautiful woman.”

Well Damn I thought this was already brought up when he popped her cherry.

“What do you mean?”

He let go of her chin and took her hand, guiding it down to brush against the evidence of his reaction to her particular form of ugliness. “This is what you do to me.”

Um. I am really not sure why this is in the book. Of course why not add it into the mix. Then to make things worse she actually needed him to tell her yes they have consummated the marriage. Sigh. Where did her brain go? Because I tell you it is gone with the wind or maybe full of it might be a better way to describe it.

She also describes his appendage as “elegant” and then they go into a talk about having good manners.

Life goes on for these two as they keep their distance because that is how to maintain a good marriage. Enter the sexual frustration yet again. Really?

duckypooop:when i see josh hutcherson.

Cecily goes behind Lucas’s back to investigate even though he is investigating as well. It just seems like it is one thing after another. This only gets her shot at and in more fights with Lucas.

Now I will no longer bore you but will say Will died.

Lord Brighton stole off with Cecily and held a gun to her at The Egyptian Explorer Club. Let’s not forget the sarcophagus he wanted to stuff her in to die. But the kicker was that Geoffrey is the one who killed her mother. Lucas saves the day right after Brighton’s confession and all things are wrapped up.

I can’t say I was surprised by any of this and honestly it just keep going downhill from the bickering through kidnapping it just lost my interest.

So I have given this book 1.5 stars because at least I enjoyed how it started.

The worst part of this book is that The Duke can’t actually dance due to a war injury. So it is all metaphorical which tends to grate on my nerves. Couldn’t it just have been called “Who’d Done it?”

If you choose to read it, Good Luck!
Hopefully you will enjoy it more than I did.



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I love reading, blogging, pinning all the things on pinterest, wine, whiskey, tequila, and coffee.

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