Title: Forever My Duke by Olivia Drake
Unlikely Duchesses Series Book Two
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Forever My Duke is the second novel in a brand new Regency romance series from Olivia Drake about rakish dukes and the governesses who steal their hearts.
“I find Miss Fanshawe to be quite charming—for an American.”—The Prince Regent
Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton, needs a bride. He even has the perfect one picked out. That is, until he meets the lovely, free-spirited Natalie Fanshawe. She’s the opposite of what a man of his high rank should desire in a wife—an outspoken American who has never even set foot in a London ballroom.
But Natalie doesn’t have time to be swept off her feet by a handsome duke who must be a spoiled scoundrel like every other British lord. And she couldn’t care less about Hadrian’s title. After all, it’s not as if he actually worked to attain his wealth and status. He surely can’t understand what it’s like to be a busy woman, planning to open a school while trying to reunite a six-year-old orphan with his English relatives. Nevertheless, Hadrian launches his campaign to win her heart. Can the utterly delightful American beauty ever find a way to love him…despite his being a duke?
Forever My Duke by Olivia Drake is a charming historical romance. This newest addition to the Unlikely Duchesses series can be read as a standalone.
Natalie Fanshawe is an independent, intelligent and lively young woman. An American, she disdains the British aristocracy having been raised to believe all people are equal. So when she travels to England to fulfill her best friend Audrey’s last wish, Natalie is not overly impressed by the Duke of Clayton Hadrian Ames’ rank. Her only concern is ensuing six year old Leo Bellingham is in good hands when she brings him to his grandfather’s estate. Natalie is right to be concerned since Audrey and her father were estranged for many years before her untimely death. Fiercely protective of Leo, Natalie wants to keep her promise but she is very uneasy about leaving her delightful young charge in the care of his grandfather.
In a fortuitous coincidence, Hadrian is also traveling to the same estate. He is a bit stuffy and a stick in the mud who puts duty above all else. Finally ready to settle down, Hadrian is planning to marry Audrey’s much younger half-sister. He is quite charmed by the refreshingly forthright Natalie, but he is well aware she not the right woman for him. Hadrian is quite reserved and holds his emotions in check but after meeting Natalie and Leo, he becomes a bit more lively.
Natalie is a strong, vibrant woman who knows her own mind. She refuses to compromise her beliefs and she challenges Hadrian right from their first meeting. Natalie fights her attraction to Hadrian but she genuinely enjoys his company so she finds it difficult to keep her distance from him. She is very concerned about Leo but she feels like she has to honor Audrey’s last wish.
Forever My Duke is a breezy, entertaining romance. Despite a few predictable plot elements, the storyline is engaging with delightful banter. Natalie is a marvelous character who is impossible not to like. Hadrian is aloof but likable and he struggles with communication and deep emotions. Leo is an adorable little boy who easily steals every scene he appears in. Natalie and Hadrian’s relationship is fun to watch unfold and both characters grow and evolve over the course of the story. Olivia Drake brings this heartwarming romance to a sigh worthy conclusion. Old and new fans of the Unlikely Duchesses series are sure to enjoy this latest installment.