It took me a while to get into this book, in fact, I’ll go as far as to say I didn’t really enjoy the first part of the novel. Fortunately, that just made the happily ever after sweeter in the long run. The Duke I Once Knew combines all the fun romance novel tropes including second chance romance, a governess heroine, a libertine hero, and a crazy house party.
Once the hero and heroine had worked out their misunderstandings, I really started to enjoy their relationship. Abby was a great heroine. I loved that she was a caretaker at heart, but didn’t let her need to take care of the hero stop her from standing up to him. She was multidimensional and I was completely engaged in her from the beginning. As I mentioned, the fact that the first part of the book didn’t really flow for me made the last part of the book where everything “clicked” that much better.
The main two reasons I didn’t enjoy the first part of the story were the more formal historical romance writing style and the hero’s indolent attitude. I would compare Olivia Drake’s writing style to that of a Mary Balogh or Eloisa James. Lovely prose, it just takes a while to get used to. I also think Ms. Drake added a few too many unnecessary plot elements.
The hero was so dissolute at the beginning of the book, I had a hard time believing his redemption arc, especially because it happened so quickly. I disliked him a little too much. While I understood his motivations by the end, he often came off as spoiled and entitled.
Overall, I think setting up a new series can be difficult and the great ending, as well as the hero’s eventual redemption, made this book palatable. I will probably end up continuing the series depending on which characters get their own book next.
**I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**
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