It’s been a while since I finished a book and thought, “well that could have been a novella.” I am a big Valerie Bowman fan and I was excited for the next book in her Playful Brides series. They’re usually fun and lighthearted. Unfortunately, this book tipped into the over the top and ridiculous category. Really, I should have known from the synopsis this story was going to be absurd because it was loosely based on A Midsummer’s Night Dream, which is a slightly ludicrous play.
NO OTHER DUKE BUT YOU is a friends to lovers story about Delilah, a clumsy, accident prone heroine with a heart of gold, and her best friend Thomas, Duke of Huntley, who has been in love with her for years. Let me just say, the first 50% of this book was promising. Yes, I was annoyed that Thomas had a nice guys finish last mentality, but he really loved Delilah so I was willing to forgive him. And Delilah is my favorite kind of heroine. I liked how much she cared about everyone else.
I was willing to overlook how immature Delilah and Thomas were. They both acted like teenagers but it was cute and made me smile so I was still enjoying the story. Everything went sideways once Delilah bought the silly love potion that, at one point, four grown adults fully believed in and were running around attempting to use. There were a few characters that scoffed at it, but the heroine was all in on the love potion and it annoyed me. She was a grown woman. A love potion? Really? Plus she was going to use it on a man who A) wasn’t interested in her AT ALL, and B) was interested in her supposed friend. I lost a lot of respect for her through that whole plot point. She felt guilty, but she was still going through with it.
Plus, because Delilah was basically clueless Thomas was even a man most of the book, there was basically no sexual chemistry between them. There isn’t as much from Thomas’ perspective and since he’s the one who has been in love with her for years, I felt deprived of some prime pining opportunities. I really had a hard time believing in them as a couple. Friends, yes. More? Eh. Even when things *ahem* heated up, it came out of nowhere for me.
Overall, if you’re looking for a super light and silly historical romance, this one is for you. I still love Valerie’s writing and I am sure I will continue on with this series, I just need more emotional heft and sexual chemistry next time. And maybe fewer love potions.
**I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**
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