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?
Title: Forever My Duke
Series: Unlikely Duchesses #2
Author: Olivia Drake
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency Romance
Published: December 31, 2019
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
My Rating: 3.5 stars
Forever My Duke is the second title in the Unlikely Duchesses series. A romance between an English Duke and an American woman who is fulfilling a deathbed promise to her friend to take her child, Leo, to England to be with his only remaining family. It’s a good story, a bit of a slow burn with all the drama and angst that two people who suddenly find themselves attracted to an unlikely partner will encounter. I liked Natalie and Hadrian’s story but I didn’t always like the main characters. At times, Natalie’s dislike for anything remotely related to the English can be cut with a sharp knife. She’s convinced that everyone she meets is cut from the same cloth as the people who tore apart her friend’s family resulting in death and her having to be here in the first place. Hadrian is of an age when he needs to consider marriage and since he has no belief in love is ready to settle down with a young girl (18-ish which isn’t young for marriage at that time fame) who was chosen as his future wife years ago – that he doesn’t know, like, or love her is beside the point. Meeting Natalie changed those feelings as the fiery, independent, stubborn woman captured him from that first unusual meeting. Now convincing her that she should stay, that he can love her for a lifetime is his only goal.
I enjoyed aspects of Forever My Duke, and I believe there is an audience that will completely enjoy this romance. I wish I could have connected more with the main characters, but that is on me. The story flows easily, the historical touches fit well, and I truly enjoy this author’s work. I simply couldn’t like Natalie very much and that reaction did matter to my reaction to the story.
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*
Available in paperback and for the Kindle