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Theo is the town’s beloved orphan. He’s a bartender in the winter and a landscaper in the summer. He’s had one bad boyfriend and is focused on making his business work to the exclusion of a love life.
When the grumpy Brit – Heath – walks into his bar, at first Theo thinks he’s a jerk – and he kinda is – but as time moves on – the two fairly quickly find they have more in common than just being the only gay guys in town.
Unfortunately, Heath is hiding something pretty big and when Theo finds out their lives – which are already complicated by living across the ocean from one another – become almost completely incompatible.
These Dreamspun Desire books are just plain fun! I love seeing all these old tropes changed to fit a more modern and gay storyline!
In this case – the secret nobility! – we get to watch little orphan Theo get all his dreams answered but really we get to see two really lonely guys find their soulmates.
I think MJ O’Shea is a fantastic writer and she managed to beautifully blend the easy, sweet and predictable trope into a more complex and really well thought-out and well-developed story about real people – not just caricatures.
I really enjoyed this and though the ending was a little less satisfying than I wanted, I appreciated that it left us in a very plausible place that was still very, very happy.
Rusty Topsfield tries very hard to have a good English accent and for the most part it’s passable. It’s enough that it gives the narration a little extra sense of “being there”. I really like his dialog but find his non-dialog parts sometimes a little “lilty”. In any case I don’t think it detracts from the experience and I was never bothered by any of the above niggling complaints. I think this is a great way to experience this story and highly recommend it.
For both the story and the narration 4.5 of 5 stars
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
What did you like best about Duke in Hiding? What did you like least?
"Duke in Hiding" is a sweet tale of romance between Heath, the British Duke of Kingston hiding in a small New Hampshire town due to a death threat and Theo, orphaned hometown boy who is a part-time bartender and full-time landscaper. The story is low on drama and angst, with lots of hometown flavor - friends around town, secondary characters Gilly and George, dinner dates, movies, more meals together, etc. There isn't a lot of sex in the book, but there's plenty of romance and you can really feel the sizzle and chemistry between Theo and Heath. However, after a pastoral slow-paced romance, however, the ending felt rushed and somewhat haphazard.
What other book might you compare Duke in Hiding to and why?
Probably another of the Dreamspun series books - similar style of books with guaranteed HEA.
Would you be willing to try another one of Rusty Topsfield’s performances?
No. My rating for the book itself is 3.5 stars, but I gave the narrator 2 stars. Usually there comes a point in any audio book where you forget about the narrator and the story unfolds. Unfortunately, I never reached that moment with Rusty Topsfield's narration. Topsfield places an odd emPHAsis on some words ... and there are ... pauses that ... disrupt the flow ... of the ... story as well as a "lilt" at the end of the sentence. Gilly's character has a very irritating "vocal fry" and I found the British accents very inconsistent. For me personally, the narrator did not enhance the story but rather distracted from it.
Was Duke in Hiding worth the listening time?
The story was enjoyable but I would not listen to it again due to my problems with the narration.