I wanted to like this book. I tried REALLY hard to like this book. It had just about every trope I enjoy in historical romance; I should have loved it – but I just couldn’t get past all the ridiculous plot elements, the rose-colored glasses fictional world, and the inconsistent characterization.
I honestly believe this whole book could have been improved with a few key plot and character tweaks. The writing was, frankly, excellent. Which is part of the reason I was hoping I would give it a higher rating. I also love an amnesia plot! Love. But THE DUKE IS BUT A DREAM, sadly, didn’t live up to my expectations, even with one of my favorite tropes.
My biggest gripe with this book ultimately stemmed from the heroine. So you mean to tell me, this sheltered virgin heroine has been writing a column giving out romance and sex advice to all the women in London? I probably would have accepted that if the author hadn’t started each chapter with parts of the column. Some of them were so outrageously modern I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief enough.
In the same vein, the heroine was really, really knowledgeable about sex. Right away. This could have been pretty easily fixed by making her not a virgin (shocker). I love sex-positive heroines. But if I am reading a historical romance, I want to know how/why their views are so contrary to the society they live in. As a positive, her intimacy knowledge made for some fun and steamy scenes! I just wish they made sense in the context of the story.,
Additionally, the world this book just seemed… idyllic. And not in a fun way. But in a “dear lord, there are so few roadblocks where there really should be some.” The hero, a Duke, treating the heroine like a member of his class right off the bat? Umm, okay. It would have made so much more sense to me if he was just a wealthy businessman. Way fewer rules; it would have fit the story so much better.
As I mentioned, the hero was characterized as a broody, mad Duke… which lasted all of two pages. He was just a really nice man with sad boi elements. Every time the author tried to add “dark” aspects to his character, he just ended up groveling two pages later. It happened multiple times! The heroine had similar inconsistencies and even the Duke’s sister made odd decisions based on how she was portrayed to readers.
Overall, I can see myself continuing with the series – book three sounds really good! And as I mentioned, the writing was good. I hope it was just this particular book that didn’t work for me!
**I received a free copy of this book in order to provide an honest review**