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.
The Heiress Bride (A Duke's Heiress, #3) by Madeline Hunter
Series: A Duke's Heiress #3
Published by Zebra on May 23, 2023
FINAL DECISION: This is a delightful historical romance. Nicholas and Iris’s relationship crackles with flirtation and intense chemistry. The story concludes satisfactorily, but I wanted more time for the couples to savor their happy endings at the end of the series. Still, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging read.
THE STORY: In the final installment of the trilogy, “The Duke’s Mysterious Heiress,” Nicholas Radnor finds himself in a precarious situation as the new Duke of Hollinburgh. Despite his handsome appearance and charm, Nicholas is burdened with financial difficulties due to his land-poor status. More difficulties arise when Iris Barrington, the last of the three enigmatic women named in the duke’s will, unexpectedly arrives at Nicholas’ doorstep. Nicholas should be skeptical of Iris as she is clearly hiding something, and her story and history are suspicious. Nevertheless, Nicholas is an honorable man, and he works to help determine whether she is the rightful heiress, which is complicated by his immediate and intense attraction to Iris. Iris, an independent and unconventional woman, is a rare book dealer who enjoys a sophisticated and adventurous lifestyle. While she possesses secrets she must protect, she finds it difficult to resist Nicholas’ curiosity and amorous advances. Although she should keep him at arm’s length, his seductive skills make it challenging to maintain her resolve. As the two interact, their mutual attraction complicates matters, but they soon realize that personal gains are not their sole concerns. Nicholas must navigate his newfound responsibilities as the duke, unravel the mystery surrounding Iris’ inheritance, and determine whether their family legacies make them enemies or allies.
OPINION: This is a delightful story that kept me reading to the end in one sitting. One of the standout aspects of the book is the enchanting relationship between Nicholas and Iris, which is both flirty and simmering with intense chemistry. From the very beginning, their connection is palpable, and it’s clear that they are drawn to each other. Despite their undeniable attraction, the characters’ honor and the weight of their secrets prevent them from complicating their relationship, adding a layer of tension and anticipation that kept me eagerly turning the pages.
The book skillfully weaves together the ongoing story surrounding the death of the prior duke, providing a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. The mysteries and secrets that have been built throughout the series are tied up nicely, offering a sense of closure and fulfillment. Hunter’s ability to seamlessly connect the threads of the overarching plot is commendable, leaving no loose ends and leaving readers satisfied with the resolution.
While there is much to love about this book, the ending left something to be desired by me. The absence of an epilogue where all three couples from the series come together is a missed opportunity. It would have been a joy to see them all in one place, celebrating their love and the triumphs they’ve experienced. Additionally, Nicholas and Iris deserved more time to savor their happy ending, allowing readers to revel in their love story and witness the growth of their relationship.
Despite this slight disappointment, the book remains a highly enjoyable read. The captivating romance between Nicholas and Iris, the well-crafted plot, and the satisfying resolution of the overarching story make it a worthwhile journey. This book left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling, even if I ended up craving just a little more time with the characters.
WORTH MENTIONING: I really enjoyed the foray into book collecting depicted here.
CONNECTED BOOKS: THE HEIRESS BRIDE is the third book in A Duke’s Heiress series. The romance is self-contained in this book, however, there is an overarching mystery about the death of the duke that continues through all three books and is easier to understand if the books are read in order.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.
NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley in order to prepare this review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.