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Feature book: No Other Duke But You

28 August 2019

No Other Duke But You by Valerie Bowman

Subgenre: historical romance
Release date: 30 Apr 2019
Publisher: St Martin’s Paperbacks
Format: ebook and print
Length: 312 pages
RRP: $8.79 (ebook); $15.99 (print)

The matchmaking team are at it again. Lucy Hunt and several of her friends are determined to make matches for friends and others who request it.

Lady Delilah Montebank, is in the team of matchmakers with Lucy, and Delilah has been so busy during her six seasons, she hasn’t had the time to even think about her own match. That is until her mother tells her that she must make a match by her birthday, or she will be marrying Clarence Hilton, the son of the Earl of Hilton, who was reportedly her father’s best friend.

Delilah is a very pleasant and somewhat naïve young lady. She believes in love and making the best matches, but she doesn’t really understand the true nature of the relationships between men and women. She is rather clumsy, for example, when out walking with her target Duke, she is whipped in the face by a tree branch. She speaks bad French whenever she tries to inject it into her conversation, and she has a parrot, that repeats whatever he hears, called Miss Adeline. And her own mother despises her daughter.

Delilah makes the mistake of telling her mother that she will marry the ultimate catch of the season, the Duke of Branville.

Thomas Hobbs, Duke of Huntley, has been reluctant to marry. He inherited the dukedom while he was completing his university studies, and he has since felt he has much to live up to. He has a sister who is very demanding, and insists through blackmail that she be entitled to a match to her specifications, but managed to scare off the best of men. Thomas decides it is time to find a wife and he approaches Lucy Hunt to make his match, Delilah, but Delilah is not to know. He has loved Delilah forever.

What ensues is matchmaking chaos. Each of the people who were seeking a match seem to find another more compatible. This makes for a very frustrating time for Delilah and the matchmakers. Delilah goes to extreme lengths to make sure the Duke of Branville is attracted to her, including a potion. Eventually Delilah realises Thomas is her one and only.

Shakespeare’s play A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream is the focus, and is the way in which each of the characters being matched can interact and to be visible to their possible match. Then Delilah’s mother finds out she has participated in the play, and she takes it out on Delilah, and says she must marry Clarence. Fortunately, Thomas finds out why the mother wants this arrangement between Clarence and Delilah, and banishes her mother from their life once they marry.

I have been enjoying this series around the matchmaker friends. This particular story has many elements of a comedy of errors as Thomas tries to convince Delilah they should be together as he has loved her forever. Delilah is totally oblivious to the clues Thomas sends her as she is focused on her own matchmaking and the match she needs to make. I really like that, as he understands her, he was able to take things at an appropriate speed, like her first kiss. I also like what he did to her mother. (Yes, I did find her mother very loathsome and odious and there was not enough done to her to make her suffer).

reviewed by Heather

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

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