Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Date of publication: December 31st, 2019
Series: Unlikely Duchesses
Forever My Duke—Book 2
“I find Miss Fanshawe to be quite charming—for an American.”—The Prince Regent
Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton, needs a bride. He even has the perfect one picked out. That is, until he meets the lovely, free-spirited Natalie Fanshawe. She’s the opposite of what a man of his high rank should desire in a wife—an outspoken American who has never even set foot in a London ballroom.
But Natalie doesn’t have time to be swept off her feet by a handsome duke who must be a spoiled scoundrel like every other British lord. And she couldn’t care less about Hadrian’s title. After all, it’s not as if he actually worked to attain his wealth and status. He surely can’t understand what it’s like to be a busy woman, planning to open a school while trying to reunite a six-year-old orphan with his English relatives. Nevertheless, Hadrian launches his campaign to win her heart. Can the utterly delightful American beauty ever find a way to love him…despite his being a duke?
Hadrian Ames, the eighth Duke of Clayton, shut the door against the noise of the taproom.Forever My Duke by Olivia Drake
Regency-era romances have always been a favorite of mine to read. I love immersing myself in those types of novels. So, when I saw that Forever My Duke was up for review, I jumped on it. I couldn’t wait to read about the American who captures the Duke. While I enjoyed the book, the female main character got on my nerves. I wasn’t a fan of how the six-year-old was treated by the Earl and his family.
Forever My Duke is the second book in the Unlikely Duchesses series. It can be read as a stand-alone. I did enjoy that. I am not a fan of picking up a book mid-series and then realizing I have to read the previous books. But, at the same time, I wish that there was more of a tie in to the first book. There was no mention of Abby and Max in this book. So, yeah, complete opposite reactions from me.
I did like Natalie. She had gone through a lot before arriving in England. My heart broke for her when she revealed what happened on the day of the massacre. What she did to protect the children. My pity for her did wane a little when she opened her mouth. She was abrasive and defensive. Her opinions on England’s hierarchy, while right, made her even harsh. There were points in the book where I wanted to reach in there and shake her. It got that bad. Plus, she wasn’t a perfect childminder. Leo disappeared several times while in her care. Drove me nuts.
I had to agree with a comment made during the book about Hadrian being uptight. He was very uptight. I loved seeing him gradually unbend. He became an interesting person to read about because of that. I did think it was creepy that he wanted to a) marry his 2nd cousin and b) marry her knowing she was barely 17. I know that is how it was done back then, but it didn’t lessen the ick factor for me. I loved how gentle he was with Natalie and Leo. Made my heart swoon. Of course, I never doubted his feelings for Natalie (who did). His actions at the end of the book with Leo spoke volumes.
I LOVED Leo. For a child who had undergone an extremely traumatic experience, he didn’t act like it. He acted like a typical six-year-old boy. I loved it. I loved that the author didn’t try and make him act like a miniature adult. Instead, he got into situations that a child his age would typically get into. Well, except for the end, with his uncle. But how that ended was flipping hilarious.
I didn’t get a romantic connection between Natalie and Hadrian until halfway through the book. Hadrian was focused on wooing his cousin (which resulted in an amusing secondary storyline). The romance didn’t start until they were at his house in London. Even then, I wouldn’t describe it as an immediate thing. It took some time for Hadrian and Natalie even to acknowledge their feeling. But once they did, it took off.
There were several intertwined storylines in Forever My Duke. The main storyline, Natalie delivering Leo to his maternal grandfather, was intertwined with Hadrian and Natalie’s romance. Intertwined with both storylines was the secondary storyline with Leo’s uncle and Natalie’s mysterious parentage. All of these storylines did make for an engaging read.
The end of Forever My Duke was one of the best I have read to date. Leo was hilarious. I liked that Natalie made amends with certain people from her past. I do wonder who the next book will be about.
I would give Forever My Duke an Adult rating. There is sex. There is no language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.
I would reread Forever My Duke. I would recommend it to family and friends.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**