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ARC Review: Never a Duke by Grace Burrowes

Publishing Date: April 22, 2022

Synopsis:

Despite having humble origins and a criminal past, Ned Wentworth has learned to dress, waltz, and express himself as elegantly as any lordling. When Lady Rosalind Kinwood’s maid goes missing, her ladyship turns to Ned, precisely because he still has friends in low places and skills no titled dandy would ever acquire, much less admit he possesses.

Rosalind is too opinionated and too intelligent, and has frequently suffered judgment at polite society’s hands. In the quietly observant Ned Wentworth, she finds a man who actually listens to her and who respects her for her outspokenness. As the search for the missing maids grow more perilous, Rosalind and Ned will have to risk everything—including their hearts—if they are to share the happily ever after that Mayfair’s matchmakers have begrudged them both.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this novel, more than the previous novels in the series (though admittedly I’ve only previously read books 5 and 6). A large part of that is that Ned and Rosaline are both genuinely good and likeable people, despite their past and Rosaline’s despicable family. I loved how, as they interacted, they genuinely came to care for one another and do their best to lift each other up. I also loved that it was easy to read and painted a vivid picture of a believable world that sucked me in from the very beginning.

I loved Ned and Rosaline’s determination to save the abducted women and their eventual frank discussion of Ned’s past. I especially loved all the little details, my favorite being Ned’s embroidery. It’s unusual and a seemingly trivial thing but it really showed how much he missed his family and the life that was ripped from him. It also showed his sensitivity and disdain for propriety, as well as how much of himself he’d kept from the Wentworths but was willing to show Rosaline. Oh and the proposal scene was delightful. As was Ned’s tiger Artie, and I greatly hope to see more of him in the future.

I spent portions of the novel feeling as if I had read it before which was very strange as it is an arc and I am quite sure I haven’t. Maybe that was a combination of familiarity with the secondary characters and some backstory from previous novels and a somewhat predictable plot in general? Or perhaps it’s not so much a predictable plot as one that shares themes with other novels I have read in the past. Nevertheless, whatever the reason for the feeling, I still very much enjoyed the journey and was reluctant to close it and leave the world so vividly pressed between the pages.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for providing an e-arc for review.

ARC Review: How to Catch a Duke by Grace Burrowes

How to Catch a Duke (Rogues to Riches, #6)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book took longer to read than most historical romances I read, and the pace was very slow. Stephen and Abigail were also a bit standoffish and took a long time to really open up to the reader. Once the story got going, however, I enjoyed it immensely. I probably would have enjoyed it more had I read the first four books in this series, rather than just the fifth, and would have got more of the references within the Wentworth family, but there was enough information provided that I never felt completely lost.

Once the story got moving, I really enjoyed it. The relationships were a tangle that was sorted in the end, and both Stephen and Abigail had past struggles and sorrows that they had to come to terms with (and they eventually did). Even without reading the first four books, I feel like this one wrapped up the series and provided a fitting end.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for providing this e-arc for review.

ARC Review: The Truth About Dukes by Grace Burrowes

Rating: 4 out of 5.

For the first 15% of this book I really actively disliked it. I was seriously considering dnfing it. I’ve read Burrowes’ books before and enjoyed them, but it felt like we were dumped into a scene midway through followed by a series of short conversations between characters I didn’t know about this mysterious thing that no one was naming. Part of this could be that it was the fifth in a series (which I didn’t realize until I started reading it.)

However. I persevered and actually started really enjoying it soon after that, when Constance and Robert start interacting more.

The really interesting thing about this book, to me, is that it wasn’t what I was expecting for a historical romance. There wasn’t a lot of sex (honestly that’s a good thing), and Constance and Robert got together VERY early on. The conflict didn’t hinge on their relationship or misunderstandings between them, but rather on outside events each was going through. It actually felt more like historical fiction than historical romance.

The families were wonderful, and I was reminded a great deal of the Bridgertons. Which is good as I adored the Bridgerton clan and now I adore the Rothmeres and Wentworths as well. I’m tempted to go back and read the other books in the series now that I know how much fun the characters are.

This novel also took on some serious topics – Epilepsy, mental competency trials, anxiety, and adopted children one regrets giving up. I don’t have personal experience with any of those, but I do have other debilitating physical and mental illnesses and the way these topics were handled rang true to me.

All in all a great book, but that awkward beginning drops the rating a bit for me.

Thanks to NetGalley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for providing this e-arc to review

*whoops just realized this review has been sitting in my drafts for a month. Smh.