I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Never Deny a Duke (Decadent Dukes Society, #3) by Madeline Hunter
Series: Decadent Dukes Society #3
Published by Zebra on April 30, 2019
FINAL DECISION: I loved the restrained hero who hides some secrets and the independent woman who fascinates him. I especially enjoyed that these two become friends and there is great respect between them before passion wins out.
THE STORY: Eric Marshall, the Duke of Brentworth is incensed when he learns that a Scottish woman, Davina MacCallum, seeks to gain control of one of his family’s properties claiming that her family are the rightful heirs and it should not have been added to the ducal estate. Brentworth is determined to turn away the fraud, but his anger is in direct proportion to his intense attraction to Miss MacCallum. Davina wants to reclaim her family legacy in order to build a life for herself and establish a medical facility on the property — honoring her father’s work and her own interests in the medical field. But first she has to wrest the property from the duke.
OPINION: While I admittedly tend to enjoy the outwardly passionate stories, I really did like this book even with its restraint. In the beginning of this book the hero is really buttoned up (but fear not, we learn some of his secrets later). The relationship between the hero and heroine begin in polite (and not so polite) arguments. Some might not be interested in the details of the land inheritance, but I found the investigation quite interesting.
Eric is such a restrained man but he has an essential kindness and respect of Davina that I really liked. He is a man living with his mistakes but he is a good person. Davina is an independent a woman who is unconventional for her time. Yet, what is especially enjoyable in this book is that it feels like this book stays within the constraints of its time. So often these days, historicals have characters who sound like they fell from the streets of modern America into a time machine. These characters are progressive for their time, but the way they interact with one another and even in the constraints of their time felt more realistic.
This romance is quieter and the relationship takes time to progress, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. It reminded me of the type of book that Mary Balogh — a restrained slow burn.
I especially liked seeing the other couples from the series who have important supporting roles here as well.
WORTH MENTIONING: There is a nice little epilogue to reward readers of the series.
CONNECTED BOOKS: NEVER DENY A DUKE is the third book in the Decadent Dukes Society series. While the romance here is self-contained and thus the story can be read as a standalone, the overlapping characters makes this book richer by being familiar with their stories.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.