Review: Heir to the Duke

The Duke's First Son
The Duke’s First Son by Jane Ashford
My rating: 1.5 of 5 stars

Not Much of a Romance Here

FINAL DECISION: I found the heroine shallow, immature and unlikeable and didn’t feel and connection between the hero and heroine. Despite its promising and funny beginning, I could barely make it through the remainder of the book.

THE STORY: Nathaniel Gresham, Viscount Hightower and oldest son of the Duke of Langford is respectable, reliable and takes care of those around him. At the age of thirty, he has decided it is time to get married. Not having found the woman he loves, he agrees to an arranged marriage with Lady Violet Devere, a respectable twenty-six year old wallflower, daughter of an earl and seemingly a good match for the steady Nathaniel. Violet is looking forward to her marriage and the freedom it will allow her. After a lifetime of being under the thumb of her family, especially her controlling grandmother, Violet wants to explore things that haven’t been allowed her — choosing her own wardrobe and friends, drinking and flirting and having fun. Just when it seems like life is going well for Violet, she discovers a family secret that threatens her newfound freedom and her marriage.

OPINION: This was not a book for me. The heroine annoyed me from the beginning. I found her to be immature and selfish. While Violet has married Nathaniel and knows what he expected from their marriage, she decides to make a spectacle of herself and resents her husband’s mature instincts. I understand the the book is attempting to show that Violet will bring fun into Nathaniel’s life, but for me, assisting friends in committing adultery, considering flirting with other men, putting herself into scandalous circumstances is not about fun but about being a child. Even worse, her husband is nothing but kind towards her and yet she resents him. Violet also insists that she is attempting to break free of her family’s control and manipulation and yet she allows herself to be manipulated by everyone around her — except her husband.

For me, there was no real connection between Violet and Nathaniel. They begin the book the day of their marriage and there is no emotional development between them. Instead, this is a book about Violet’s insecurities and immaturity. The sex scenes are tepid and since that is the only part of their marriage that works for Violet and Nathaniel, they are disappointing.

This book started well with a very funny prank committed on Nathaniel by his brothers who steal all his clothes the morning of his wedding and leave him naked. After that, however, the book went downhill for me. I think it is a difference in philosophy. I like a man who is concerned about his responsibilities and I don’t think that it is necessary that responsibilities be ignored, shoved aside and neglected in order to have fun. I found Violet’s worldview shallow and immature and unlikeable.

WORTH MENTIONING: There is a very funny scene where Violet and her friend go bathing in the ocean.

CONNECTED BOOKS: HEIR TO THE DUKE is the first book in The Duke’s Sons series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 1.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

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