Book Review: The Duke Gets Even by Joanna Shupe

The Duke Gets Even by Joanna Shupe (Amazon Link)

Just after midnight on Tuesday last as I was finishing up Lorraine Heath’s Waking Up With the Duke and London’s Greatest Lovers series (review forthcoming), my Kindle synced and BOOM—a new Joanna Shupe novel plopped into my feed like a bomb and I squealed like a little boy, most likely waking my entire neighborhood. Whatever, I did not care because I knew how I was going to spend my week and weekend—rereading Shupe’s entire The Fifth Avenue Rebels Series and I did—one a day, every glorious day. 

Shupe can write and she’s the best writer of erotica I have ever read. With The Duke Gets Even she proves it. 

As with any series, the characters in each book reveal layers, ultimately unveiling aspects of personalities and the complicated fundamentals of relationships and histories leading to emotionally vulnerable moments, and passion that will make you sweat. Shupe creates and dispatches these stories with a sublime emotional zeal. 

With Eleanor, in all four books, Shupe appeals to the rebellious, independent Irish-American girl in me. Nellie aka Eleanor is by far one of my favorite heroines ever with her social justice pursuits and demands of thwarting the pious, fascist, and oppressive reproductive cruelties that enslave all people and belted out by the ugly, bigoted, simpleminded, fanatics that pander to their maladjusted religion—the patriarchy. 

She quite liked the idea of thwarting recreational semen from taking purchase in wombs all across Manhattan.

How can you not love and worship a woman that writes sentences like that!?!

Shupe pokes hard at the women that enable the patriarchal abuses forced upon all of us that confine us to little more than chattel and keep us regressed. 

Such a precarious world in which women lived, one that was utterly and wholly controlled by men. And yet, so many women were willing to perpetuate it. They weren’t interested in changing things for the better, only maintaining the status quo. Couldn’t they see the damage being inflicted on them?

And Lockwood? Well, I thought he was an asshole, but a quarter of the way into this book, I fell flat on my ass in love with him. But Nellie wasn’t having it—she didn’t wanna join the dreaded aristocracy till one of Shupe’s delicious former heroines, Katie, enlightened her.

“Disappear!” Katie made a disparaging noise. “Can you not see the influence and power you could wield as a duchess? You’re part of the establishment, the ruling class. You could make a real difference for people, Nels.”

And just like that, Nellie, as a Duchess and a part of that abhorrent ruling class, will pick up the check for us without complaint, judgement, or ego and use her power for good in squashing that abominable patriarchy—all hail Eleanor! All this and have the love of her life along with the best sex ever. Oh how I love my historical romance novels. 

The second book, The Lady Gets Lucky, with Kit and Alice, is probably my next favorite. I love the trope where a woman shows up on a rake’s doorstep and asks him to teach her to seduce a man then the rake falls in love with her. LOVE IT. 

Thank you, Madam, for your lovely words and may your beautiful brilliant characters inspire a burgeoning flood of feminists everywhere to unite and remove the cruel and atrocious reproductive restrictions that hinder us all. And “May the winds of fortune sail you. May you sail a gentle sea. May it always be the other fellow who says, ‘This drink’s on me.’” Your drinks will always be on me, Sister. Sláinte!

© 2023 Matilda London/Pamela Gay Mullins

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