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August 29, 2019

How To Love A Duke In Ten Days by Kerrigan Byrne ~ a Review & Interview

by MK French


Alexandra Lane had suffered a horrible trauma, but at least had her two best friends to help her through it. Now she is being blackmailed for it, one of her closest friends is betrothed when all three never wanted to marry, and the Duke of Redmayne is known as the Terror of Torcliff because of the visible scars he has. Alex is aware that marriage to the duke would help her financially and perhaps protect her from the blackmailer, and Piers feels fiercely protective of her and drawn to her intelligence.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

August 2019; St. Martin's; 978-1250318848
audio, ebook, print (448 pages); romance 
The #metoo tag before the book opens tells you what the trauma was that Alexandra had lived through, and the secret she kept is not only the rape but that she murdered her rapist. It isn't described in any detail, though it's clear what happened by the mention of blood all over her clothes. Her friends helped her get rid of the body, and this secret shapes her for the rest of her life. She focused on her studies in archaeology, even going to Sorbonne University to earn her doctorate. She's skittish of any touch, any man, and has zero interest in sex or romance. Piers' scars from an animal attack are visible, but the betrayal of his fiancee marrying his cousin in his recovery had also soured his emotions toward others. The two have similar suspicious outlooks on others' motivations and are easily upset when their worst fears are seemingly confirmed.

Piers, for all of his demanding presence, is thoughtful and caring in his own way. Of course, he assumes the worst of Alex, but I don't even hate him for it. The reader knows what had happened from the prologue, but such violence never once occurs to him in that moment. It's not the type of person he is, and when he figures it out for himself late in the novel, he at once berates himself for not seeing it sooner. This isn't something a cruel man does, which only made me like him more.

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Interview with Kerrigan Byrne

Q: What inspired you to write How to Love a Duke in Ten Days?
A: I’ve always been one of those women who have enjoyed fierce female friendships. I think that soulmates, even for heterosexual women, can be just as necessary with other women as with men, and a real hero must not just love and respect you, but also your tribe. I wanted to write a series where historical heroines could truly have it all, education, dreams, businesses, wealth, genius, revenge, hot sex, AND true love. Where the sacrifices were made on their behalf instead by them, and where their heroes learn to lift them up in all ways, heal their
pains, calm their fears, become their best friends, and protect them with what I hope is a great balance between alpha hotness and progressive sensitivity.

Q: Is there one thing you would like readers to take away from this story?
A: That’s tough because I packed a lot in there! I would say the one thing from this book, specifically, is that happiness is attainable against the odds, even when overcoming the worst that people can do to one another. Even though I’m a grown up and a cynic, I still like to write books that remind me that true love conquers all, because that love can come from so many people.

Q: Can you describe your typical day writing this book?
A: This book was especially difficult for me to write, so I spent a great deal of time in my bathrobe. I would get up, my fantastic husband would make me coffee, I’d call my critique partner and we’d do a bit of brainstorming, and I’d write and rewrite for hours, stress, cry, throw things, walk the dog, eat, snack, eat some more, facebook way too much, and then finish under word count, binge a tv show or a book until I stared at the ceiling into the wee hours. Oh, and there was drinking in there at regular intervals. Glamorous, I know!

Q: Describe the hero and heroine of How to Love a Duke in Ten Days in three words each.
A: The Duke of Redmayne: Wary. Wounded. Wicked.
Lady Alexandra Lane: Brave. Brilliant. Beautiful.

Q: What is the one thing that the heroine, Alexandra, can’t live without?
A: She cannot live without her two dearest friends in the entire world, Miss Cecelia Teague, and Lady Francesca Cavendish. They literally buried a body for her, and would defend her to the death.

Q: What was your hardest scene to write in How to Love a Duke in Ten Days? Your favorite?
A: As with many (most) of my novels, the prologues are the hardest to write, and read, I suspect. Usually, I take the characters to the very edge of their breaking point, oftentimes pushing them over so they have what seems like insurmountable conflicts to overcome both internally and externally. So, for this book, Alexandra’s assault was the most difficult thing to get through, and boy did I enjoy being able to help Piers put her back together, because he was just the perfect hero for her. Tender, empathetic, a good sense of humor, and a large dose of protective alphaness.

Q: Why do you write historical romance? 
A: I’ve always romanticized the past. I can’t help it. I love the pace and the aesthetic, the gowns and the suits and the manners and the manors. I love to do historical research and it’s so fun to see how much we are influenced by the past and how, even though so much has changed through the centuries, people really haven’t. Also, it’s fun to play with language, mystery, and sex in a time when a scandal was still possible. *wink.

Q: Is there another particular author that inspires you or that you enjoy reading? 
A: There is a LIST! I would say in historical romance, though, it’s always always Lisa Kleypas. She has a grasp on the characterization of historical folks that I can never hope to attain. I’m just in awe of her every word.

Q: Where do you go or what resources do you use to make sure your novels are historically correct? 
A: I love to find books about a time period at B&N or my local bookshops. I go to Harper’s Bazaar for fashion, and a slew of Victorian references for the time period. I do read blogs and sometimes consult with historians and experts.

Q: Did you learn anything surprising while researching for this novel?
A: Many things! I learned how truly difficult it was to attain an education as a woman as little as a hundred years ago. It’s really incredible how far we’ve come in a century.

Q: What do you do when faced with writer’s block, if you ever are?
A: Oh man. I often am. I usually try to shake it loose with a brainstorming conversation with a few friends I have who always seem to be able to unstick me. I rely heavily on the creativity of others as well as my own.

Q: How did you feel the first time you realized one of your books was a big success? 
A: I didn’t believe it. It seems surreal every time I truly realize that a story I wrote entertained another human. Let alone more than one. I’m like… they paid to read it? WHAT?

Q: What’s next for the Devil You Know series?
A: I’m especially excited for the next book ALL SCOT AND BOTHERED because it’s about Alexandra’s best friend the curvy vicar’s daughter, Cecelia Teague. She inherits London’s most infamous and successful brothel, and one imposing, surly Scottish enemy along with it. She and Lord Ramsay, the Lord Chief Justice with an axe to grind against her establishment, can’t be in a room together without the sparks flying. I can’t think about this book without smiling.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A: I hope you enjoy this trio of roguish redheads as much as I enjoyed writing them!


Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

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