Monday, December 14, 2020

BOOK REVIEW: Forever Your Duke by Erica Ridley

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

I haven’t read any of Erica Ridley’s historical romances before, but this holiday novella, Forever Your Duke, sounded like fun, and I was in the mood for something lighthearted and holiday themed. 

The Duke of Nottingvale owns a vacation home in Cressmouth, a mountain village that celebrates Christmas cheer year round. Its Christmas celebrations are famous, but the duke doesn’t have time to enjoy them. Weighed down by the responsibilities of being a duke, he holds yearly Christmas parties, which he also doesn’t have time to enjoy. This year, he is hosting a party that a bevy of young debutantes will attend, because he has to pick a wife–another duty. The young ladies have been chosen for their breeding, good looks, and suitability to be a duchess. One of the attendees is Lady Gertrude, an eighteen-year-old beauty whose debilitating shyness is her only flaw. She has no particular interest in the duke, but if he doesn’t choose her, her father will marry her off to an old lecher friend who has promised her father a piece of land in exchange.

Gertie is accompanied by a chaperone, her cousin, Miss Cynthia Louise. Cynthia is a thirty-year-old spinster, an orphan raised by her aunt. At her own coming out, twelve years earlier, Cynthia made very little impression on anyone. After six years of trying to attract a mate, playing by society’s rules, Cynthia decided enough was enough. She plays by her own rules now. She lives near Cressmouth and has made friends with the villagers, who call her by her given name. She plays billiards, swears, gambles, goes skiing, and generally has fun. She is not at all what the duke is looking for in a wife. And, although Cynthia is attracted to the duke, her aim is to match him up with her cousin, not win him for herself.

Over the course of a two-week house party, the duke and Cynthia flirt and court and fall in love.

The story is short and sweet. Cynthia is an amusing character and the duke is a nice guy. 

Forever Your Duke is the twelfth book in a series: The 12 Dukes of Christmas. That’s probably more Christmas dukes than I need to read, but I may look up a couple more!

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