Review: Not That Duke

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.

Review: Not That DukeNot That Duke (Would-Be Wallflowers, #3) by Eloisa James
Published by Avon on July 25, 2023
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384

FINAL DECISION: Very enjoyable story. Two decent people who get things mixed up, which causes difficulties in their relationship. Stella’s insecurities and Silvester’s desire to appear perfect create difficulties for this couple, who are so obviously perfect for one another from the start.

THE STORY: Lady Stella Corsham knows that Silvester Parnell, Duke of Huntington, is not for her — even as she can’t keep her eyes away from him. Stella knows that Silvester is in love with the beautiful Yasmin, and Stella, who is freckled, a redhead, wears glasses, and has a curvy figure that is not fashionable, doesn’t believe she can compare. Silvester likes Stella, who is eccentric and intellectual, but is determined to win the hand of Yasmin, even against his friend Giles, but cannot stop thinking about Stella and wonder what she will do or say next.

OPINION: I generally don’t like romance triangles, but I never felt that Silvester “loved” Yasmin. He was always more engaged with Stella, even as he kept insisting that he was going to win Yasmin’s hand. He was more intellectually and physically attracted to Stella. Their interactions were sweet and funny.

Indeed, they are so obviously perfect for one another that the conflict comes from the fact that Silvester pursued Yasmin first. The first half of the book sets up that conflict with readers seeing how Stella’s insecurities are based on her experience and how much she is devastated by Silverster choosing Yasmin.

Stella’s distress in this book about all the ways she is “not” is sometimes hard to read. Her pain was intensely real and understandable. I did love that other women in her life were determined to show Stella that she had value even if she didn’t fit in with the shallow societal standards.

I do love a good “married couple needs to build a relationship” book. The book so clearly demonstrates that mere desire is not enough, and Silvester and Stella learn to communicate their needs and weaknesses with one another. I thought their connection was wonderful as they really see one another’s needs, strengths, and weaknesses.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book is broken into two parts. In the first part, Silvester is pursuing Yasmin. After the transition, Yasmin and Giles are married, and Silvester’s attention finally turns to Stella one hundred percent.

CONNECTED BOOKS: NOT THAT DUKE is the third book in the Would-Be-Wallflowers series. This book overlaps with the events in the prior book THE RELUCTANT COUNTESS, and therefore there are spoilers for that book. It is not necessary to read that book first, but this book is so much better if you have read it.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE; I received an eARC 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.


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