Review: How to Dance with a Duke by Manda Collins

Posted February 16, 2012 by Suzanne in Reviews / 2 Comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Review: How to Dance with a Duke by Manda Collins
How to Dance with a Duke
by Manda Collins

3.5 Stars


Released: January 31, 2012
Series: Ugly Ducklings #1
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Pages: 333

Miss Cecily Hurston is on the hunt for a thief and a missing, possibly murdered, man to try and clear her scholarly father’s name. Her father has been struck down by a stroke and is unable to communicate and his journals missing, the only place that may hold some clues is the Egyptian Club of which her father is a founder. Unfortunately a woman must be married to a member to enter, deciding that it is the only way Cecily is determined to be a marry by becoming a social success after years mouldering away as a bluestocking wallflower with her cousins, cruelly called “the Ugly Ducklings”. However, a chance encounter with the new Duke of Winterson, Lucas, changes everything, especially as he is the older brother of the missing man and is determined to find him.This is Manda Collins debut novel and I have to say it is fantastic, her writing is polished and her mixture of mystery and romance engrossing as well as a great change from the normally fairly straight forward historical romances. This book is comparable to Amanda Quick’s books, which normally have some kind of mystery centered round a archeological or some type of intellectual pursuit and a romance between the main characters.

What I liked a most about this book was the characters of Cecily and Lucas, Cecily was a headstrong and clever female worried about her future, especially with her father ill. I liked her strong personality and also how she tried to use her intellect as a defense and a shield to hide herself away, she was a very well drawn character. Lucas was also very sweet, he was honorable and most of he had the good sense to fall in love with Cecily. The romance between them was there from the very beginning, you knew at least that they were attracted to each other, but it seemed that the romance grew from a friendship and respect for each other, rather then some mad desire to sleep with her, then fall in love.

The mystery element of the story was good, although perhaps not the strongest I have read, more it was a device for getting Lucas and Cecily together, but there were gaps where nothing was happening and I did guess the culprit fairly early. But this didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book.

But, although I did like this book and I had fun reading it, it hasn’t captured me, it did have some great elements in it but it isn’t a book that stands out too much from the crowd of other romances. But, I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a quality example of a historical romance, and I will be looking out for the next book in the series.


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About Manda Collins

Manda Collins spent her teen years wishing she’d been born a couple of centuries earlier, preferably in the English countryside. Time travel being what it is, she resigned herself to life with electricity and indoor plumbing, and read lots of books. An affinity for books led to a graduate degree in English, followed by another in Librarianship. By day, she works as an academic librarian at a small liberal arts college, where she teaches college students how to navigate the tangled world of academic research. A native of coastal Alabama, Manda lives in the house her mother grew up in with two cats, sometimes a dog, sometimes her sister, and always lots of books.

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Gosh, we all seem to be admitting our ages…and I hate that I am at the point in life when admitting my age is a “thing”…whodda thunk it? I was kind of hoping I would remain 21 forever. However, I have moved out of that New Adult stage of my life and am now strictly in the Contemporary Romance age zone of 28. I would prefer to be in an Urban Fantasy arena, but I don’t think I own enough black leather. However, I could probably squeeze into some PNR, I am fully prepared to give a horn job to my favourite demon, or suck on my sexy vamps…fangs and I am definitely up for some heavy petting with some fine looking shifters. Than again their’s always Sci Fi…I am fully prepared to do the right thing and help some poor alien race with more 6 packs than a supermarket repopulate their planet. Not that I am loose woman or anything.

Annnnnd I will stop myself there, before I start waxing lyrical about my love of historical romance and fantasy as well; no one needs to know about my elf fantasies. As you can tell, I adore and day dream about most romance genres, and my three big loves are 1) reading about romance 2) writing about romance and 3) talking about romance with my gals. Which, is why I love Under the Covers so much, I get all my bookish needs satisfied and don’t get judged when I talk about my favourite characters like they are real people. Which they are right?
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I love historical romance…will add this to my list!!!


Always willing to try a new author. This sounds like a good read. Enjoyed the review.