Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Monday, January 23, 2012

ARC Review: How To Dance With A Duke by Manda Collins

Title: How To Dance With A Duke
Author: Manda Collins
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Category: Historical Romance
Type: Kindle/Paperback



Book Blurb:

What’s a wallflower to do when she’s suddenly in need of a husband? Use all the pluck and moxie she can muster to get what she wants…

Miss Cecily Hurston would much rather explore the antiquities of Egypt than the uncharted territory of marriage. But the rules of her father’s exclusive academic society forbid her entrance unless she weds one of its members. To clear her ailing father’s name of a scandalous rumor, Cecily needs to gain admission into the Egyptian Club—and is willing to marry any old dullard to do it.

Lucas Dalton, Duke of Winterson, is anything but dull. He’s a dashing and decorated war hero determined to help Cecily—even if that means looking the other way when she claims the dance card of Amelia Snow, this season’s most sought-after beauty. But Lucas has a reason for wanting Cecily to join the Egyptian Club: His brother went missing during one of Lord Hurston’s expeditions to Egypt. An alliance with the explorer’s bluestocking daughter could bring Lucas closer to the truth about what happened…or it could lead him to a more dangerous love than either he or Cecily could have imagined….

Book Excerpt:

“…Really, it is because I hold you in some esteem that I would not wish to saddle you with a wife such as I will make.”

“And what if that decision is not up to you? What if I am somewhat in awe of your scholarly pursuits and would have no objection to your quest to edit your father’s journals? What if, so long as you were able to maintain a nominal presence in the ton, I don’t give a royal damn whether you play whist or not?”

He leaned forward, placing his lips close to her ear, so that he could whisper, “What if I will do anything to put you in my bed and keep you there?” Cecily felt a shiver run through her as his tongue flicked out and swept up the whorl of her ear.

“What if I won’t take no for an answer, sweet Cecily?” he asked, turning his head to kiss a path down her jaw toward her mouth.

“What then?” he murmured.

By the time he pressed his mouth to hers, Cecily was on fire with longing. All the places where he had touched her last night seemed to pulse in readiness, to draw her body toward his in an effort to bring the sweet friction that had brought her so much pleasure before.

She did not hesitate to return his kiss, to open her mouth and welcome him into her, match his tongue thrust for thrust. Her hands crept from his shoulders to grasp him closer, pulling him more tightly against her even as they thrust into the soft waves of the slightly overlong hair at his nape.

Wordlessly, he pulled her against him, relishing the feel of her soft curves against his hardness. He had thought perhaps she might deny the powers of the attraction between them, but instead she had given into it.

With reluctance, Lucan pulled back from her. Stepped away, made no attempt to conceal the evidence of his desire for her. Needing to keep his hands busy so that he could resist reaching for her, he straightened his waistcoat, smoothed his hair back down.

“You cannot deny what is between us, Cecily,” he said quietly. “An attraction like this cannot be suppressed or denied.”

Dialogue Highlight:

As she worked, Lucas recited Latin conjugations in his head, trying with all his might to keep himself from falling on her like a starving man at the sight of a beef roast. He couldn’t remember ever feeling this way about any other woman, let alone a headstrong virago with a flair for danger. It was so entirely out of character for him that Lucas briefly wondered if her were suffering from some sort of brain fever.

Deep in his heart, however, he knew that the only explanation had nothing to do with fevers and everything to do with the burgeoning affection for the woman laid out like a Christmas feast on the floor before him. It was at once thrilling and utterly, utterly terrifying.


Moving to his knees, he realized with an inward groan that the most expedient means of moving her would entail him straddling her legs on his knees, then gripping her hips to lift and slide her into a position parallel with the door.

How the bloody, cursed, damned, fu**ing hell did I manage to get myself into this ridiculous situation?

His jaw clenched, and looking down at his companion, he said, “All right, I’m going to need to lean over you a bit.”

Lean over her.

He rolled his eyes at the euphemism. What he was about to do was quite a bit more than leaning, though he was damned if he’d tell an unmarried lady to prepare to be covered. Which was technically what he was doing. Minus the actual … covering.

Lifting his left leg, he brought it over to kneel on the floor on the outside of her right knee, and deciding to simply jump in, Lucas leaned forward and grasped her by the hips. Ignoring her gasp at his touch, he lifted her up and simultaneously moved on his knees toward the door on his left, and moved her in the same direction.

“There,” he said, removing himself from his precarious position and leaping to his feet. “That should do it.”


Wow! I absolutely loved this book! I saw it a few months ago and about drooled over the cover. It is fantastic! Exactly the type of cover that pulls me in. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to read it. And lucky me, I was given the opportunity to review this book. I can honestly say that Manda Collins has what it takes to become a well-known go-to historical romance author. You know what I mean. The authors that, as soon as you see their name, you are snatching that book off the shelf? Yeah … that kind of author.

I honestly can’t think of anything this book doesn’t have. First there is Cecily, a wallflower. A group of three women, actually, nicknamed The Ugly Ducklings by their snobbish peers of the ton. She has a lot of spunk, determination, and plenty of wit. Once she sets out to complete her goal of entering the Egyptian Club, she makes her transformation and never looks back. Then we have Lucas, the Duke. He is back from the war, his brother is missing, he has to care for his mother and sister-in-law, he has his brother’s disappearance to get to the bottom to, and he is well and truly distracted by Cecily. She, of course, is like no woman he has ever met. He knows immediately he cannot allow her to marry any of the Egyptian Club twits she is scouting after … and he knows that he will make her his one way or another. But Cecily has been scorned once and will fight to the end to deny the fact that her attraction to Lucas has evolved into something much more precious. The issue is whether or not she is willing to risk her heart once again. But Lucas can be very convincing and utterly charming when he is after something he wants. And he wants Cecily.

I found the characters within the story to be completely believable. It didn’t take long before I was completely immersed within this world and making guesses at whom was behind the evil plots shrouded in mystery. I also very much enjoyed the supporting characters to the point that I am very much looking forward to the telling of their own stories. My only complaint was an area within the wedding scene that confused me. At some point Lucas’s mother is called Lady Michael for about a page, which is not her name. And Clarissa exits the scene, but is back in it about a page later. I read that section a few times to try and figure out what I missed, but I hadn’t. However, this is a Galley copy, which means some typos may exist and will likely be corrected prior to publication. So that said, there was nothing about the story that I disliked. Did I mention the smexy? Yeah, it’s got that too. What I really appreciate about the book is the balance. There seems to be just the right amount of each component. The mystery does not overpower the romance and the romance does not take anything away from the secondary characters, and so on. How To Dance With A Duke is hands down, a beautifully crafted story.

Manda Collins is one to watch! I loved this debut novel and can’t wait to see more from her. Cecily’s wallflower friends are set up within the story to follow this book up with stories of their own. And if I am not mistaken in my assumption, one or two of Lucas’s friends may just be the matched they need to find the happiness they crave. Hang on … Be right back!

Actually, I just checked. Book 2, How To Romance A Rake will be out July 31, 2012 and will allow the readers to experience Juliet and Lord Deveril’s story! And OMG! Another fabulous cover! If you have assumed that I added the next story to my TBR list, you are correct. I look forward to telling you all about the next book when it releases. Until then, enjoy this fabulous debut novel.

(Digital ARC received from publisher via NetGalley for review.)


  1. I'm really excited about this book, in fact I just saw it on the shelf at Walmart! I just wanted to see a review before I took the plunge but no time to read it now!! Just one Question... Lucas...Dark or Blonde? :o)

  2. @Tracey - Thanks very much for taking the time to read my review. Lucas is dark. And I would encourage you to buy it so that when you do have time to read it, you have it. If you love HR, you won't be disappointed.


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