A YEAR WITHOUT A DUKE
The duke has died. Long live the duke! The only problem is no one knows who the new Duke of Beckworth is. All of England wonders, but no one more so than the people who depend upon Beckworth for their livelihood. In 1816, a year so cold that the word “summer” is a cruel joke, that livelihood is even more uncertain. However, they are all about to find out, there is nothing more warming than scandal and love…
A DUKE BY DECEMBER
Elizabeth Smith is secretly in love with the tall, handsome golden-haired man who rescued her from Arkansas Territory and offered her a new life. Unfortunately, she knows he’ll never see her as anything more than his secretary.
Nathaniel Hughes has spent the majority of his life in America amassing his fortune. When he discovers he is the next Duke of Beckworth, he must reluctantly travel to England, face down his past, and rehabilitate an estate to save those who live on it. But every duke requires a duchess and an heir.
He’ll figure this out somehow with Lizzie, his loyal and capable secretary, at his side. Once at Beckworth, he finds it increasingly difficult to deny a powerful attraction to the woman he has vowed to protect—even from himself. Can he find the strength to choose duty over desire?
I’ve enjoyed Sabrina Darby’s writing, so I picked this one up without paying any real attention to what it was about.
It turns out A Duke by December is a quick read, beginning in the wilds of the Americas and ending at a stately home in England, our rough-around-the-edges hero suddenly elevated to the rank of duke. Obviously, things connected to this story happened in earlier books, but I was fine reading this one on its own.
As I said, it’s a quick read, so the bigger issues have to be dealt with quickly. There is the aspect of the heroine’s half-brother having an African-American mother, which was dealt with to an extent, but as it was not the main focus of the story it was glossed over just a bit.
There is also the issue of our heroine facing life as a duchess (when the two finally get together). This is the stuff of fairy tales and fantasies, but people love that Cinderella theme.
Me? I spent the whole book filled with dread on her behalf. She is barely literate at the start, and grew up on a farm in the (future) United States. The idea of having to be presented at court and all of that… I wouldn’t want to be elevated so high!
Overall, this is a well-written book. I did find some of the names a little distracting (Mr Beebumbler and Mrs Pemberley!). These are minor things, however.
This would be a good book to see if you enjoy the author’s style and work.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.