Not the Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt

Freya de Moray is many things: a member of the secret order of Wise Women, the daughter of disgraced nobility, and a chaperone living under an assumed name. What she is not is forgiving. So when the Duke of Harlowe, the man who destroyed her brother and led to the downfall of her family, appears at the country house party she’s attending, she does what any Wise Woman would do: she starts planning her revenge.

Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe, is being blackmailed. Intent on keeping his secrets safe, he agrees to attend a house party where he will put an end to this coercion once and for all. Until he recognizes Freya, masquerading amongst the party revelers, and realizes his troubles have just begun. Freya knows all about his sins—sins he’d much rather forget. But she’s also fiery, bold, and sensuous—a temptation he can’t resist. When it becomes clear Freya is in grave danger, he’ll risk everything to keep her safe. But first, Harlowe will have to earn Freya’s trust-by whatever means necessary.

Titles in the Greycourt series include Not The Duke’s Darling – When A Rogue Meets His Match –

Title:  Not the Duke’s Darling
Series:  Greycourt #1
Author:  Elizabeth Hoyt
Genre:  Regency Romance
Published:  December 18, 2018
Publisher:  Forever
My Rating:  4.5 stars

I am a long time reader of Elizabeth Hoyt’s works, and her delving into actual history that relates directly to her story and her characters is one of those many reasons that I return for her next book and the next.  I’m not only entertained but I learn fascinating unknown to me facts as well.  There is world building in Not the Duke’s Darling, there has to be for a series that involves historical facts as well as fictional characters and their reactions to those events.  I didn’t find it overwhelming, yet there is a lot going on in this story, and in the stories to come.

Freya and Christopher are intriguing characters, both with their own demons to battle.  And it’s obvious that Christopher has played a part in Freya’s personal family history and events.  Although their shared history is there between them, the attraction is even stronger.  Each has an agenda that could work for or against their relationship.  It is, frankly, fascinating to watch it being played out through their romance… and, at times, heated exchanges

I had never heard of the Wise Women sect in this particular reference, that is a fascinating bit of history that played quite well in this story.  The danger to Freya is very real, and while she is bold and feisty, a woman who can take care of herself she is also a woman who can stand equally beside her man.  Christopher is that man.  Considering the gender roles of the time period, Christopher is a gem among men.  He can let Freya fly, be herself completely and not feel one bit intimidated or ‘less of a man’ because of her personality.  I quite fell in love with Christopher, a man far ahead of his time.

I would be very easy to say too much, so I’m going to wrap this up with one simple statement.  This is a romance with mystery, danger, forward-thinking people and steamy moments between two people who are meant for each other.  I enjoyed myself immensely and cannot wait for When A Rogue Meets His Match to become available.  If you enjoy your heroines strong and determined, if a man who will let you take the lead without a second thought is your ideal man, if touches of mystery and danger only add to a romance in your opinion… then you’ll love Not the Duke’s Darling.  I would recommend this story to Historical Romance readers, but also those who enjoy Mystery and Intrigue mixed in with their Romance (no matter the time period) as well.

*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.*

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