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Feature book: The Duke I Once Knew

10 July 2019

The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake

Subgenre: historical romance
Release date: 10 Jan 2019
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Format: ebook and print
Length: 336 pages
RRP: US$7.99 (ebook); A$15.99 (print)

Lady Elise Desmond wants to marry the duke. And she will go to any lengths to achieve that aim.

Abigail Linton just wants a break. She is about to turn thirty years old and is still unmarried. She wants some freedom from family obligations. Being the youngest by many years, she cared for her parents before they died. She has cared for her siblings’ children, she just wants to experience something different. Abby has decided she wants to be a governess for the duke’s sister. Her family has many objections like how will they care for, or really control, their numerous children, and the other tasks around the village where they live. Abby is adamant, she will take on the role.

Maxwell Bryce, Duke of Rothwell, left Rothwell Court when he was sixteen years old. He has returned only once, when his father died. He is now back, with some hangers on, and a boxer who is competing in a match, and Max is training him. What he doesn’t expect is to find Abby as his sister’s governess. Abby, the girl he cared for fifteen years ago.

Naturally Abby and Max re-connect and during their discussions they discover letters they had written when they were fifteen and sixteen, respectively. They do talk about what may have been in the letters but there are other issues to overcome before their HEA. Abby also becomes the target of Lady Elise, who desperately wants the duke. So, there are many ways in which this manifests itself, culminating in Elise having herself banned from the duke’s presence.

One of the parts in the story I like has some similarities to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and I have noted this a few times in some of the historical romances. It is the bungled marriage proposal. Our hero says something along the lines of ‘You have to marry me now,’ and she says no, which to the hero is totally unexpected. And yes, I do actually like this as I try and speculate as to where and how the second proposal will be done, and how he will actually convince his heroine to marry him.

A great read.

reviewed by Heather

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

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