October 27, 2020
Nash, the Duke of Malvern, is a handsome but gruff and uncommunicative man who gives away few of his feelings. His mother ran away from his father when he was ten-years-old. A mean and abusive man, his father often beat his wife and son. Once his wife left, he only showed his son the despicable and debauched parts of society. Nash is afraid to intermingle with people, afraid to unleash any violence on them, as his father told Nash he took after him in every way. Nash has hunted for his many illegitimate siblings and helped them in their lives. All of his servants are half-siblings (they wanted to do this). He has no intention of marrying until his grandmother, the Duchess of Malvern, visits and tells him he must—she tells him his cousin and heir (who he is unfamiliar with) is just like his father, and to prevent this man from becoming the next duke, he needs to choose a wife so he can produce an heir, but a woman willing to live separate lives.
Ana Maria resides with her cousin Thaddeus, the Duke of Hasford, in far better conditions. Her step-mother, the former Duchess of Hasford, had relegated her to servant status as a scullery maid. Now she is Lady Maria Dutton, and at age twenty-eight, having her first season. She, however, is now determined to do things her own way and make her own decisions. Outside of her brother Sebastian, who was declared illegitimate as told in the first Hazards of Dukes novel, NEVER KISS A DUKE, and her cousin Thaddeus, the only person she knows is Nash. The four of them played together as children. She understands Nash’s clipped words and growls and other non-verbal communications. While he doesn’t seem to want her, she becomes determined to have him.
These two seem fated for each other, yet Nash’s preconceptions about himself and of love make it impossible, but Ana Maria attracts him more than any of the ‘eligibles’ on his grandmother’s potential wife list. Does Nash use violence? Yes, in criminal situations. Is Ana Maria allowed to do whatever she pleases? Her brothers and Nash all know she doesn’t know the dangers of society. Both Nash and Ana Maria are hunted by potential mates for their wealth, causing some fascinating scenes. Two questions came to mind as I read the story. The first is how could Ana Maria’s father, the duke, let his wife treat his daughter so shamefully? The second, how could two dukes live so close as to be neighbors? Yet the emotional and unique situations in TALL, DUKE, AND DANGEROUS are what carry the story and make it a good and interesting read.