Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Date of publication: May 1st, 2018
Genre: Historical romance, romance
Series: Playful Brides
The Unexpected Duchess – Book 1
The Accidental Countess – Book 2
The Unlikely Lady – Book 3
The Irresistible Rouge – Book 4
The Unforgettable Hero – Book 4.5
The Untamed Earl – Book 5
The Legendary Lord – Book 6
Never Trust a Pirate – Book 7
The Right Kind of Rogue – Book 8
A Duke Like No Other – Book 9
Kiss Me at Christmas – Book 10 (expected publication date: October 30th, 2018)
Book synopsis (from Goodreads):
General Mark Grimaldi is devoted to his service for the Crown, risking his life and giving up everything for his career. The political promotion he’s always wanted is now within his reach, but he needs to convince his estranged wife to return to England and play the role of happy bride in order for him to get the position.
Nicole Huntington Grimaldi has spent the past ten years in France, not having seen her husband since she left England. But now he’s on her doorstep, asking her to return with him, and Nicole sees the opportunity to get something out of this deal. So she agrees, on one condition: she wants a baby.
A Duke Like No Other is a Regency spy caper with Valerie Bowman at her best as husband and wife match wits and may just fall in love in the process.
I love a good second chance romance. There is nothing like seeing two people separated by circumstances reuniting. So when I was approached to review A Duke Like No Other and I read the blurb, I accepted.
I enjoyed reading this book. I am a huge fan of Regency Era romances. Something about that period calls to me. I like that the women can be smart but get the man. I also like that the men were willing to do anything to prove that they loved their women. I loved that allure of the ton and the endless balls/functions that the Lords and Ladies attended. I loved the titles (I mean, hello Duke!!!) and the description of life back then. While I know it wasn’t at all easy, I enjoyed reading about that upper-class. My guilty pleasure.
I haven’t read any of the other books in this series. But if they are anything like A Duke Like No Other, I will be happy with them. I liked that while this book is in a series, you can read it as a stand-alone. I have a couple of pet peeves when I read books out-of-order from the series. I can’t stand it when I get a book that is like 254th in a series and it is taken over by the previous characters antics. Or when the author relies too much on the plotlines from the other books and leaves me going “What the heck is going on“. Fortunately for this book, none of what I mentioned happened. While the previous characters are mentioned and featured, they do not take over the plot.
I did like the main characters but I wish that the author came clean with why they broke up sooner. Instead, she let it leak, slowly, throughout the book. Seeing that I read these books on my Kindle, I can’t skip to the end. So reading the flashbacks drove me nuts. I was done with that part of the plot before it began.
I thought that Mark and Nicole needed a lesson in communication. While I agreed with why Mark being so upset with Nicole, it didn’t deserve a break-up. I also think that Nicole might have overreacted a bit when she moved to France. All they needed to do was talk and Mark would have gotten the entire story from Nicole instead of reading it in a letter from her mother.
I thought Mark had a huge chip on his shoulder. HUGE. It was his unwillingness to bend when it came to his mother’s family that left a bad taste in his mouth. He refused to acknowledge anyone. He was going to decline something that he shouldn’t have because of that chip. It wasn’t until the letters that he started to bend. But I did think it was going to be too late to make amends with his uncle and cousins.
I liked Nicole but like I mentioned above, I thought that it was silly that she ran to France to lick her wounds. I also thought that her condition to Mark’s request was a little odd. It wasn’t commonplace at that time for a woman, married or not, to raise a child on her own. And in France of all places. I also found her choice of profession a bit odd and at ends for the era. Not saying that it could have happened but it was very unlikely.
The chemistry and heat between Nicole and Mark were there. Oh, boy was it there. And the sex was hot. It was kind of dirty too. I liked that. I liked that Nicole knew what she wanted and she wasn’t afraid to let Mark know. I liked that Mark didn’t forget what turned Nicole on after 10 years. Like I said, the chemistry and heat between them were hot. I was surprised that my Kindle didn’t fog up.
I liked the mystery angle that was introduced halfway through the book. It made the plot more interesting and added some extra depth to the plot. I do have to laugh at Mark being jealous of Oakleaf. I giggled at that.
The end of the book was perfect. I was very surprised at who the murderer ended up being. It was the last person I thought it was. The author did a great job at casting red herrings all over the place to distract the reader. Of course, the part where Mark and Nicole get back together was the clincher of the book. I had tears in my eyes while reading it. And the epilogue. I couldn’t get over it!!
What I liked about A Duke Like No Other:
A) Regency England
B) Mark and Nicole’s romance
C) Second chance romance
What I disliked about A Duke Like No Other:
A) Took too long to disclose why Mark and Nicole broke up
B) Zero communication between Mark and Nicole
C) Mark’s huge chip on his shoulder
I would give A Duke Like No Other an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is mild violence. There is not any language. I would suggest that no one under the age of 21 read this book.
There are no trigger warnings for A Duke Like No Other.
I would recommend this book to family and friends. I would also reread this book.
VALERIE BOWMAN grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got. Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her mini-schnauzer, Huckleberry. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS. She is the author of the Secret Brides and Playful Brides series.
First comes love, then comes marriage. Unless it’s the other way around. . .
General Mark Grimaldi has sacrificed everything for his military career, working his way through the ranks without the benefit of a nobleman’s title. Now, his years of dedication are about to pay off—with an offer for a prestigious promotion to Home Secretary. There’s only one condition: Mark must be married. Aside from the small matter of not actually wanting to be wed, Mark faces another troubling problem: he already has a wife.
Nicole Huntington Grimaldi has spent ten contented years in France without her husband—and without regret. When Mark asks her to return to London and play the part of his beloved wife, she sees her chance. But neither of them is prepared for news that will throw Mark’s future into chaos…nor the undeniable desire they’ve rekindled. Maybe happily-ever-after can happen the second time around in A Duke Like No Other, the next Regency romance from Valerie Bowman.
Valerie Bowman’s Playful Brides novels are:
“Wholly satisfying.”—USA Today
“Smart and sensual…readers will be captivated.”—RT Book Reviews
I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperback, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review A Duke Like No Other.
All opinions stated in this review of A Duke Like No Other are mine.
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**