Thursday, October 1, 2020

BOOK REVIEW: Misleading the Duke by A.S. Fenichel

I received this book for free from Netgalley. That did not influence my review.

Misleading the Duke by A.S. Fenichel has a beautiful, original cover and a fun premise. It’s the second book in the Wallflowers of West Lane Regency Romance series based on four strong women who rebelled against society and authority and who were sent to Wormbattle finishing school by their frustrated parents. There, they bonded, taking on the name of the Wallflowers.

This book works as a standalone, but I do think reading book one first would have helped me get my bearings. Backstory was provided, but it seemed that whatever it was that set the protagonists off on the wrong foot had been presented in the first book even though it belonged more to this story. As it is, they enter this novel behaving badly toward one another and it takes awhile to get to like them as characters.

Nicholas Ellsworth is a duke and a spy. His past is dark and murky, but now he wants to retire and settle into the dukedom he has inherited. He knows he needs to marry and is content with the arrangement made to wed Lady Faith Landon, one of the Wallflowers. She, however, is less content to marry a man she’s never met; apparently, the previous book had to do with the lengths she went to in order to find out what kind of man he was. He was not happy to be spied upon, and decided he didn’t want to marry her. Being a gentleman, he apparently was waiting for her to “cry off.”

As this book opens, he’s still waiting and she still wants to get to know him. He’s grumpy and she’s devious, arranging to capture him alone for a week in a friend’s country home. (This bit of plotting was rather farfetched, but it set the rest in motion.)

Nick’s past comes back to haunt him, threatening not just the budding relationship but also their lives. The book is heavily weighted with graphic violence, more so than sex, which is unusual for a Romance. This allows Faith to show what she’s made of. (Nick, too.) Love comes quickly to the pair, but it takes them a while to believe that the other feels the same way.

The friendship between the four women is one of the strongest parts of the book, and it will be interesting to see how the other three fare in the world of Romance. I suspect this will end up not being my favorite book in the series.

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