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Forever My Duke: A gorgeous historical Regency romance: 2 Paperback – 18 November 2021
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Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton, needs a bride. He even has the perfect one picked out. That is, until he meets outspoken American Natalie Fanshawe – the opposite of what a man of his high rank should desire in a wife.
Natalie couldn’t care less about Hadrian’s title or his need to marry. He can’t understand what it’s like to be a busy woman, planning to open a school while trying to reunite a six-year-old orphan with his English relatives.
Nevertheless, Hadrian launches his campaign to win Natalie’s heart. But can the American beauty ever find a way to love him, despite his being a duke?
A dazzling and fun Regency romance perfect for readers of Suzanne Enoch and Joanna Shupe.
About the Author
Olivia Drake is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels have won critical acclaim and numerous industry awards, including the Golden Heart Award and the prestigious RITA Award for excellence in the historical romance genre. Shortly after graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in journalism, Olivia sold her first novel two weeks after sending it to a publisher. She now lives in Texas in a cosy cottage with a feisty cat, a loving husband, and two wonderful daughters who still come back whenever they want a home-cooked meal.
- Publisher : Canelo Escape (18 November 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1800327137
- ISBN-13 : 978-1800327139
- Dimensions : 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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This story did start out a little slow, however it did pick up the pace after a while.
I am a big fan of Natalie - she feels very progressive compared to the other ladies in the story. She won't be bullied, she won't take being insulted, and she couldn't give a stuff about what everyone expects her to do - she does it and she owns it.
Now, Clayton. I wanted to love him, I really did. However he came across as a bit of a bully, an arrogant ar$e and a bit of a flibbertigibbet. I mean, one minute he was off to propose to one lady, then next he was all about someone else. I did like things that he did for Natalie and her charge for the most part, but still, not so much at times.
This book just didn't seem, to me, to fit in with the time period. Something just felt a bit off about it - however this could just be me.
So, whilst I did like Forever My Duke, I wasn't exactly blown away by it. I am sure it will be a favourite for many readers, just not for me.
I just want to address that issue briefly; Hadrian is 29 and the Lady Ellen is 18, and that was absolutely a thing that happened in the Regency era regularly, and with much bigger age gaps too, and nobody looked sideways at it at all. Hadrian really didn’t know Ellen at all, hadn’t seen her since she was a child, but his father had wanted a family alliance so he went to meet her to give her consideration. On meeting her, however, especially in comparison with Natalie who’s 25, he realizes she’s far too young for him and quickly backs out, which made me like him a whole lot more than I did at the beginning.
The author does seem a little undecided about what sort of story she wants this to be; Natalie’s quite judgemental, pious and disapproving of the aristocracy’s licentious ways, and then is very much the instigator of an affair with Hadrian. The sex didn’t seem to fit the tone of the characters, and honestly it could have been dispensed with altogether and had no effect on the overall story. I’m not keen on what seems to be the latest trend of compulsory sex scenes in historical novels; this would have been equally as good a read without it.
I wasn’t all that keen on Natalie’s gung-ho Americanism, either; particularly in the immediate aftermath of a war, she seemed intent on burning bridges rather than mending fences. Hadrian practically bent over backwards to accommodate her and she barely seemed able to say thank you., let alone able to make allowances for the differences in his upbringing and position and consider how those affected his actions. I think we were supposed to respect and admire her for her determination and refusal to accept anyone as her ‘betters’, but her sanctimonious and superior attitude made it hard to even like her a lot of the time. Because of this, I’m afraid that despite overall very good writing, I can’t say I really liked this, and therefore I’m giving it three stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.
Top reviews from other countries
My granny told me that great storyline and how she couldn't put the book down
This is my first read by Mrs Olivia Drake and once I began my reading, it was quite impossible to put this book down.
Sure I have a few reservations but I was quickly engrossed in this story, and needed to see what would come after.
The first chapter introduced Hadrian as a haughty person, but how wrong I was.
What an arse he appears at the beginning when in fact he is just the result from his upbringing and he could have been much more worse. His requirements for the perfect bride is what was imprinted in him since his childhood, he had known nothing else, and is expected to follow the society’s rules.
He might be lofty but never conceited, plus he is kind too. From the very beginning, he shows respect to Natalie, always trying to help her when he could have turned his back to her troubles. At every turn, he is there to support Natalie, his overbearing presence is only due to his breeding. And rather quickly, he sets his cap on winning her over, she a woman who has very few to recommend her. He even fears he might fail.
Natalie in fact is the one bearing a grudge against him, she faults him for his birth. While he can’t change it, he tries to show her she can relate on him.
She is a strong willed woman, what she went through made her tougher, but she is still a caring woman with dreams to help the weaker and poorer. Her main flaw is she needs time to see beyond the facade. Not every commoner is good nor every peer bad.
So when Hadrian realized he has no interest in a perfect bride and is much more enthralled by the very woman who might reject him for his rank, she learns the world is not white nor black.
I liked that for a change, the arrogant duke was in fact from the beginning a fair man with a noble heart. He just needed the right woman to open himself and let his true self free.
I do love Leo, he is a fun little boy and for once not presented as a precocious child, he acted like a little boy of 6 and was quite a naughty sweetheart.
My reservation is during the first part of the story it looked out of character for them to lust so much after one another. I do prefer when there is an attraction which evolves to a slower pace than insta-lust rendering the women knees-weak and the men driven by the brain in between their legs. So I was glad when at a time, when together they were finally able to think straight.
Mrs Blake has drawn up a spirited tale of fighting one own biases to comprehend the true power of love.
I was granted through Netgalley by the publisher an advance copy, but also purchased my own.
Here is my true and unbiased opinion.