Series: Once Upon a Dukedom #1
Published by Avon on March 30, 2021
FINAL DECISION: Heath does longing better than just about anyone. I didn’t expect to like this one and indeed had skipped reading it until I decided to read the third book in the series and started with this one. I wasn’t excited by much of the plot of this book but the angst filled longing of Kathryn and Griff made this book for me.
THE STORY: Lady Kathryn Lambert seeks to marry a title in order to gain her grandmother’s inheritance which she desperately wants. Now that a duke is seeking a wife she seeks the help of her old friend Lord Griffith Stanwick on how to appeal to the duke. Lord Griffith Stanwick has stifled his desire for Kathryn because he knows that as the “spare” he does not meet Kathryn’s requirements in a spouse and yet he is able to fulfill her wishes by helping her capture a title. Then Griff’s father is found guilty of treason and Griff loses even the “spare” designation. Even while the duke seems the only reasonable choice, Kathryn cannot forget Griff.
OPINION: This book suffers from some of the first book in a series problems. There is a lot of exposition about the upcoming characters and situations. I expect more drama and angst from the next books in the series, but at the same time, I loved how much Griffith showed his devotion to Kathryn. He is willing to give up everything — including her — to make her happy. Of course, he makes this decision without talking with her, but that is part of what makes up the drama in this book.
I began the book not really liking either the hero or the heroine but ended up loving them both. They are both opinionated and stubborn but the story demonstrated the depth of feeling that each has for the other. Some readers might be upset by the fact that both are willing to give up love for material comforts, but I felt that that better reflected the choices of women at the time. At the same time they come around at the end.
Heath writes some of the most amazing endings in romance. The longing that she builds up through the book is released at the ending in beautiful emotions. The final third of this book captivated me. I’m glad that I got through the first part of this book and I look forward to the next book in the series.
WORTH MENTIONING: There is a time jump about a third of the way through this book as this book overlaps with BEAUTY TEMPTS THE BEAST (which takes place during that time jump).
CONNECTED BOOKS: SCOUNDREL OF MY HEART is the first book in the Once Upon a Dukedom series. This series is, however, a spinoff from BEAUTY TEMPTS THE BEAST. It is not necessary to read that book, however.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.