Review: Anything But A Duke by Christy Carlyle

Two Stars

This was my first Christy Carlyle novel and I have to be honest, I was completely pulled in by the stunning cover and fun synopsis. Diana, our heroine, is an impoverished inventor looking to save her family by acquiring an investor for one of her creations. Aidan is a self-made man and investor (there was a Shark Tank-like scene in this book and I was here for it) attempting to get into the upper echelon of British society by marrying a debutante with connections. Aidan and Diana decide to help each other out, he finds her a buyer for her product, and she introduces him to ladies with whom he may suit. The story sounds charming right? It had so much potential, and I wish I enjoyed it more.

What I liked: I liked that Aidan wasn’t a rogue or rake, he was just a guy with a lot of money looking for his family; Diana really throws him for a loop. I also enjoyed how accepting he was of his love for her. He didn’t fight it and just let himself fall, which was refreshing.

What I didn’t like: Unfortunately this is quite a long list. First off, I thought the mystery of Aidan’s family was too secondary to the main plot. It had basically nothing to do with Diana or their relationship, or even the overall plot. You can skip every single part of the mystery and the book would still make sense. It felt like filler and a way to make Aidan a little more interesting because, to be honest, while I liked him in general, Aidan was pretty two dimensional.

Second off, I enjoyed Diana’s determination and ambition, but I did not enjoy her lack of emotional depth. Honestly, I have no idea how Aidan even fell in love with her because she gave him nothing back except a little bit of snark and mostly indifference. I thought about how I would feel if Diana was the hero and acted the way she did, and I was still mad. I didn’t connect with her character at all, she wasn’t even very warm with her friends. The only time I saw a hint of personality is when she interacted with her twin and that’s because he was the comedic relief in this book.

Lastly, while this was a quick read once I got into it, nothing about this plot or these characters struck my emotions. I really wanted to care about them, but I felt like I never got under the surface with any of them except Aiden, but even his romantic thoughts felt forced. Even the angst at the end seemed just thrown in there and was resolved within a chapter. Oh, and I forgot to mention how the mystery was solved (fizzled out), mostly because the mystery was so forgettable.

Overall, I am going to chalk this one up to just not working for me. This story had good bones but was thin on emotional depth or conflict. I am sure many people will enjoy strong Diana and her loving Aiden, I was just not one of them.

**I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**

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