Series: Game of Dukes #2
Published by Grace Callaway Books on December 6, 2018
FINAL DECISION: I loved Rhys as the redeemed rake. A man of mistakes and flaws and hidden pain who comes to see his own worth through the love of a kind and generous woman. Plus, this book has a treasure hunt.
THE STORY: Rhys Cavendish, Duke of Ranelagh and Somerville, known as Ransom, is running from moneylenders. The death of his uncle gives him an opportunity to pay off his creditors, but he requires help to navigate the treasure hunt his uncle set up. Rhys turns to a local fossil hunter to help with his search. But the woman he wants to hire ends up being the woman he knew as Maggie Goode, who he had a passionate one night encounter years ago. Now a respectable widow with a child, Maggie desperately needs money to save her family business, but she wants to keep her distance from her ex-lover, especially because she has a secret about her daughter to keep.
OPINION: I really loved the couple in this one. Rhys, is a favorite because he truly changes in the course of this book. He begins as a man who keeps everyone at a distance because of his own past, his feelings of inadequacy, and his shame. He is man who has made big mistakes in his life and this book is partly about him coming to terms with his mistakes and learning from them. He also begins to see clearly things that are not his mistakes to claim and realize that he can move beyond his past. I really liked that Rhys has made serious mistakes and this book doesn’t wash those away. Rhys has to accept and move beyond those mistakes. As an example, Rhys inherited a dukedom in trouble, but he made it much worse. Often heroes are seen as beyond such mistakes, but not Rhys. He was selfish and stupid, immature and self destructive for much of his adult life. This book is him truly growing up, and I really enjoyed his flaws.
Maggie is such a cheerful and devoted person that I also really liked her character. Her optimism and devoted nature helps heal Rhys. I also liked that Rhys’s protective nature helps Maggie with those who would take advantage of her. But Maggie definitely is resourceful on her own. She is integral to the treasure hunt and her intelligence and cleverness allow the two to pursue the treasure and navigate the people and adventures needed.
The relationship between Maggie and Rhys doesn’t follow what is normal for romance novels. Much of their connection is resolved earlier than I expected, but there are still challenges to their HEA. The treasure hunt and threats to the couple makes this book a combination of a romance and a mystery/adventure. I really liked the combination.
WORTH MENTIONING: Readers of the prior book in the series, THE DUKE IDENTITY, will remember Ransom as somewhat an antagonist in that story. This book redeems him nicely.
CONNECTED BOOKS: ENTER THE DUKE is the second book in the Game of Dukes series. It can be read as a standalone although there are overlapping characters from prior books by this author.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.