Star Rating: 4
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Date of publication: March 28th, 2023
Genre: Romance, Historical Romance, Historical Fiction, Historical, Regency, Regency Romance, Adult
Triggers: Domestic Violence (off-page), Child Custody battle
Series: Say I Do
Yours Truly, The Duke—Book 1
Yours Truly, The Duke is the first novel in the historical romance Say I Do trilogy about dukes needing to wed to tap into their wealth by New York Times bestselling author Amelia Grey.
Fredericka Hale needs a husband, and fast. She’s been caring for her deceased sister’s three young children, and now a childless cousin has petitioned the court for custody. Fredericka is powerless to stop her, but having a husband might sway the ruling. The last thing Fredericka wants is a hurried-up marriage to a man she doesn’t know—much less love, but she’ll do it for the children. So when the handsome Duke of Wyatthaven shows up with a proposal, she accepts. He’ll help her, and in return, they’ll lead separate lives. But distance cannot keep them from their powerful attraction.
At the top of his game in London, the Duke of Wyatthaven has no interest in marriage. However, if Wyatt doesn’t marry by week’s end, he’ll lose a sizable inheritance from his grandmother. When Wyatt’s solicitor finds Miss Fredericka Hale, Wyatt considers this little hiccup solved. Miss Hale is lovely, and intelligent. Most importantly, she prefers country life to London, so he’s free to continue his life as usual. But when circumstances force Fredericka and the children to show up at the duke’s door, Wyatt can’t deny he’s always been under her spell. Will the duke give up his bachelor lifestyle and give into the fiery passion growing between them?
Bold lettering on the stiff paper in his hands blurred as the Duke of Wyatthaven tried to concentrate on the infuriating matter before him. Proposing marriage.Yours Truly, The Duke by Amelia Grey
Miss Fredericka Hale needs to get married, and it needs to be fast. Being unmarried, she stands to lose custody of her sister’s three orphaned children to her married cousin. Wyatt, the Duke of Wyatthaven, is the answer to her prayers. Like her, he needs to be married as soon as possible to claim a sizable inheritance left to him by his late grandmother. They planned to marry and never see each other again, a marriage in name only. But the best-laid plans often don’t go their course. When Fredericka’s cousin threatens her, Fredericka does the only thing that comes to mind: go to her husband. But will Wyatt and Fredericka be able to overcome her cousin’s schemes? And will they be able to keep their distant but friendly relationship? Or will they fall in love?
I was super happy seeing that Amelia Grey had another series starting. Historical romances are one of my favorite genres to read. Having read her books previously, I knew what type of romance I would get. So, yes, I was thrilled that this book was out.
Before I get deeper into the review, I want to mention this book’s trigger warnings. They are domestic violence (off-page and alluded to), parental death (off-page and remembered), remembering of abuse by a school teacher, and a custody battle. The most graphic of the trigger warnings is the abuse that Wyatt remembers his schoolmates enduring (the teacher never touched him because of his status). If any of these triggers you, I recommend not reading this book.
Surprisingly, the love story between Fredericka and Wyatt was not the book’s main focus until maybe the last few chapters. Instead, the book focused on the children and who should have custody. I found it fascinating how custody worked back in Regency England. Unmarried women were not considered ideal guardians unless there was a male figure in the picture or said unmarried women had money/a title. But, if another relative (a married couple or an unmarried man) pursued custody, the magistrate gave it to them. Marriage or being a man always trumped the woman. Surprisingly, if titles were involved in the custody dispute, the magistrate always deferred to the person with the higher title. So a marquis challenging a duke would not have a chance in court unless it could be proven that the children were being harmed. So, I understood why Fredericka was wound up so tight for 90% of the book. Those children could be taken away from her because of that, and when Wyatt showed up to propose (out of the blue), it was an answer to her prayers.
I agree with the consensus that Fredericka was too controlling during the book. But, saying that, I understand why (see above). She also dwelled too much on the past. She was insanely jealous of Jane and her sister’s relationship and let it color every interaction. I seriously wanted to grab Fredericka, shake her, and say (in the words of Elsa): “Let. It. GO!!!”
I thought that Wyatt was the complete opposite of Fredericka. He was too easygoing. At one point, I thought Wyatt would have made a perfect modern-day surfer. He had the Regency “brah” attitude down pat. There was a reason why Wyatt was that way, and when the author revealed why, I wanted to swoop in and hug him. The guilt that he lived with was almost too much for me to read, and the scene with his friend who had the misshapen hand broke my heart.
The children were a massive part of this book, and I loved them. But, they were damaged by the domestic violence they saw and their parents’ deaths. I had tears when the oldest girl yelled at Wyatt not to hit Fredericka and the pain Wyatt had when Fredericka explained why she said that. But they also made me laugh. There is a significant scene with Jane and Fredericka when they walk in on the kids drinking brandy and smoking cheroots (like they saw Wyatt and his friends doing). I know I shouldn’t have, but I laughed. Why? Because it was a typical thing, a kid would do (excluding the smokes and booze). All they wanted was to act like Mr. Lord Duke (as the youngest called him); at the time, it seemed fun.
While Fredericka and Wyatt had sexual tension, the author chose to have them build their relationship. There were a few (well, more than a few) stolen kisses sprinkled throughout the book. I was disturbed that Fredericka could get utterly bamboozled by his kisses. What magic was Wyatt doing with his lips, and where can I find a man like that?
I also liked that this was a clean romance, and when Fredericka and Wyatt finally had sex, it was a fade-to-black scene. Listen, I like explicit sex scenes as much as the next woman, but they get boring (yes, I said it). Sometimes, you must let your imagination do what it does best and imagine things.
The end of Yours Truly, The Duke was cute, but I found certain things unbelievable. I thought having Jane and Fredericka talk, and the past was laid to rest was not believable. Jane was such a dink to Fredericka throughout the book; people do not change like that.
I would recommend Yours Truly, The Duke, to anyone over 21. There is no language and mild violence. There are also very mild sexual situations. Also, see my trigger warning paragraph.
Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks, NetGalley, and Amelia Grey for allowing me to read and review Yours Truly, The Duke. All opinions stated in this review are mine.
If you enjoyed reading this review of Yours Truly, The Duke, then you will enjoy these books:
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