Category Archives: Olivia Drake

Review: When a Duke Loves a Governess by Olivia Drake

Title: When a Duke Loves a Governess by Olivia Drake
Unlikely Duchesses Series Book Three
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A stunning new Regency from beloved author Olivia Drake, When a Duke Loves a Governess…!

Tessa James has worked and planned tirelessly to open her own millinery shop. All she needs now is a loan from the lord who sired and abandoned her. The only problem is, she doesn’t even know his name. What’s a woman to do to find him but enter the aristocratic world by becoming a governess?

Guy Whitby, the new Duke of Carlin, has returned to London after years abroad to discover that his young daughter Sophy has become a wild-child known for scaring away every governess who’s crossed his doorstep. When Tessa James applies for the job, he hires her in desperation despite his misgivings that she’s too bold and beautiful–and that she might be fibbing about her qualifications.

Their blooming attraction leads them on a completely unexpected path to love that neither wants to deny. But when an old enemy threatens Guy’s family, their forbidden romance goes up in flames. Can they still learn to love and trust each other as forces try to tear them apart?


When a Duke Loves a Governess by Olivia Drake is a sweet yet slightly steamy historical romance. While this newest release is the third installment in the Unlikely Duchesses series, it can be read as a standalone.

Tessa James has made her own way in life following the death of her mother and part of her childhouse in a workhouse. She currently works for a milliner who does not appreciate her flair for hat making. Fed up with her boss, Tessa makes the impetuous decision to quit her job and apply for a governess position.  If she secures the position, she will be able to make more money. But more importantly, Tessa hopes she will be able to search for her nobleman father. With no formal governess experience or references, can Tessa bluff her way into position?

Guy Whitby never expected to become the Duke of Carlin but he takes his new position seriously. He is also caring for his four-year-old daughter Sophy for the first time since her birth. He wrongly assumed his deceased wife’s parents were better able to care for her. Instead, Guy discovers Sophy is extremely spoiled and willful so he is dismayed to keep losing her governesses. Although he has a few reservations about Tessa, he agrees to give her a week to show she is capable of the job. Luckily for Guy, Tessa proves more than able to care for his daughter without breaking her spirited nature.

Tessa and Guy are instantly attracted to each other. But both of them are well-aware of the pitfalls of an affair between them. Tessa wants nothing to ruin her chances of finding her father and opening her own business. Guy’s disastrous marriage is the perfect reason for him to keep his distance from his beautiful employee. But with their attraction becoming too difficult to ignore, will Guy convince her to become his duchess?

When a Duke Loves a Governess is a charming love story with an intriguing storyline. Tessa is smart, talented woman who has no desire to give up her independence. Guy is a decidedly unstuffy  with an interesting backstory. Young Sophy is a handful but she benefits greatly from unconditional love and attention. With a slight element of mystery, Olivia Drake brings this heartfelt historical romance to a joyful conclusion.  Readers are sure to enjoy this latest installment of the  Unlikely Duchesses.

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Filed under Contemporary, Historical, Olivia Drake, Rated B, Review, Romance, St Martin's Paperbacks, Unlikely Duchesses Series, When a Duke Loves a Governess

Review: Forever My Duke by Olivia Drake

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.

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Filed under Forever My Duke, Historical, Olivia Drake, Rated B, Review, Romance, St Martin's Paperbacks, Unlikely Duchesses Series

Review: The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake

Title: The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake
Unlikely Duchesses Series Book One
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 333 pages
Book Rating: C+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


When two childhood sweethearts find themselves together after years apart, does their romance have a chance to be rekindled now that he’s a duke and she’s a governess? Olivia Drake’s new Unlikely Duchesses series begins with The Duke I Once Knew, where first love is always the sweetest…

For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her parents and her siblings’ children. Now, eager to create a life of her own, Abby seizes upon a position as a governess on a neighboring estate. Unfortunately, her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the notorious rake who once broke her youthful heart. But since he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years, Abby assumes she’ll never have to lay eyes on him ever again. Then, from out of nowhere, Max appears. He is stunned to come face to face with the girl next door he fell for years ago—before he went away, and she stopped writing to him. . .even though Abby swears that he is the one who left her without a word. Could it be that this spirited, witty spinster has won Max’s heart all over again—and that they may have a second chance at love?


The first installment in the Unlikely Duchesses series, The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake is an engaging historical romance.

Abigail “Abby” Linton is the youngest of five children and the only one who is unmarried. Having taken care of her now deceased parents for many years, her siblings use her as unpaid help with their families. Without any input from Abby, they are making the decision for where she will live next. Fed up with being taken for granted, she makes an impetuous decision to become the governess for Lady Gwen.  

Gwen is the teenage sister of Maxwell Bryce who just happens to be the man who broke Abby’s heart fifteen years earlier.  Since the Duke of Rothwell does not visit the estate where Gwen resides, Abby is certain she will not cross paths with her former love. Needless to say, she is rather dismayed when Max unexpectedly shows up with his mistress and three other friends in tow. The sparks soon fly between Abby and Max as they discover their simmering attraction burns hotter than ever.  But with both of them hurt and angry over how their relationship ended, will this pair of star-crossed lovers find their way back to one another?

Abby is a kind-hearted and compassionate woman who has no regrets about the years she dedicated to caring for her parents. She is devoted to her nieces and nephews but with her thirtieth birthday fast approaching, she realizes it is time to forge her own path in life. She is even hopeful a romantic prospect will appear on her horizon. But not even in her wildest imaginings does Abby believe she will ever see Max again. The way he ended their romance broke her fragile heart and she is somewhat stunned by his reputation as an infamous rake.

Although he deeply cares for Gwen, Max lives a fairly carefree life. After circumstances beyond his control leave him and his group of friends without a place to say, he does not think twice about taking them to his country estate. Without giving much thought to his actions, Max carries out his plan to make the widowed Elise his mistress.

Needless to say, Abby is outraged at Max’s behavior and the two are soon swapping pointed barbs.  With her family, Abby is a doormat, but she does not hesitate to stand up to Max.  Their unresolved past is huge source of conflict that could easily be solved if they would just talk to one another. Abby’s irritating habit of jumping to conclusions leads to some very heated discussions as she confronts Max with her unwarranted accusations. Elise creates some very predictable drama as she stoops to underhanded behavior to rid herself of her rival for Max’s affections.

The Duke I Once Knew is a sweet second chance at love historical romance.  The novel is well-written, the dialogue is snappy and the setting is the perfect backdrop for the unfolding story. The characters are a little frustrating but they do learn from their mistakes and they are quick to admit when they are wrong. The pacing is a little slow and the plot is somewhat predictable. Rife with historical details,  Olivia Drake brings the time period vibrantly to life.  Despite some flaws, this first installment in the Unlikely Duchesses series is an enjoyable read that I recommend to fans of historical romances.

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Filed under Historical, Olivia Drake, Rated C+, Review, Romance, St Martin's Paperbacks, The Duke I Once Knew, Unlikely Duchesses Series