Series: Difficult Dukes #1
Published by Avon on November 28th 2017
“She pushed open the window. ‘Adieu,’ she said. And climbed through, in a flutter of satin and lace.”
FINAL DECISION: I loved this book and the characters. Focused intensely on the hero and heroine, this book is about moments which change their lives, fate and chance, and making and living with their choices.
THE STORY: Hugh Philemon Ancaster, Duke of Ripley, has arrived in London for one of his best friend’s wedding. He is one of the trio of dukes known as Their Dis-Graces for their rakish and reckless behavior that had society hiding their innocent misses from them. Tasked with making sure the wedding goes off without a hitch, Ripley has a challenge when the brides slips out a window and disappears. Lady Olympia Hightower is in a position that women envy. Seven years the Most Boring Girl of the Season until she became engaged to one of the Dis-Graces. On the eve of her wedding, she has second thoughts and fueled by too much alcohol she makes a run for it. Ripley is determined to protect Olympia on her run and intends on returning her to his friend — until he realizes he can’t.
OPINION: I have to admit that while I read all kinds of books and certainly all kinds of romance books, what I read for is relationship and characters. The external drama in this book is small — a woman engaged to one man falls for his best friend. What makes this book extra special is the exploration of how these two characters fall in love and deal with their love and their guilt.
The relationship and dialogue between Ripley and Olympia sparkles with humor and great emotion. The exploration of fate and missed chances and grabbing onto what one wants gave this story depth. It is would incredibly easy to formulate the story of the fiance who is unworthy or a liar or who doesn’t really care. Chase doesn’t take the easy route. These two feel intense guilt and really wonder if they had missed their chance. Choices are not always easy or clear. There is a real call to action — what will you regret now, what will you regret forever?
There is such a connection between Ripley and Olympia — humor, exasperation, understanding, lust, anger. They days they spend together and the intensity of their experience brings them to love. Usually romances that only last days are difficult to understand. This book works beautifully in that sense. This is not insta-love but a mutual recognition of something more that is built upon years of awareness combined with an intense period of interaction.
There are some laugh out funny scenes in this book — including an indoor race that might be my favorite I’ve read this year. The intensity, humor and deep emotion of this book will stay with me for a long time.
WORTH MENTIONING: Introduced in this book, there are two other couples and the cast off Duke of Ashmont whose stories should be explored in this series.
CONNECTED BOOKS: A DUKE IN SHINING ARMOR is the first book in the Difficult Dukes series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Edelweiss in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.