Published by: Amazon Digital Services
Format: .mobi ARC
Genre: Historical Romance
Reviewed by: Erin
Buy at: Amazon
What to Expect: This is a sweet friends-to-lovers book featuring honest-to-goodness adults, witty banter, and some really good groveling.
Lady Eleanor Palmer, a practical young widow, wants a family of her own. Her first marriage was an adventurous disaster, so this time, nothing but the most proper sort of man will do. Absolutely not who she’s looking for? The impulsive, roguish Duke of Hampshire…even though she has secretly loved him as long as she can remember.
Nicholas Langford, the Duke of Hampshire, has always relied on Eleanor’s humor and good sense. Who else would guide him through a scandal with laughter and grace? He would do anything to ensure his old friend’s happiness—even help Eleanor find a suitable new husband.
As Eleanor makes plans for a new life without him at its center, Nicholas realizes the depth of his own feelings. But he can offer Eleanor nothing she thinks she wants. How can he convince her he is everything she truly desires?
Theresa Romain’s My Scandalous Duke is a warm hug of a book. It has very little angst, no trigger warnings, not a ton of conflict, just two people who are already fond of each other falling deeper in love. What’s not to like about that?
Lady Eleanor Palmer comes from a very respectable family. Her brother is a marquess, and she was raised to expect a good marriage. Instead, she married a wild young man who spent their money, drove them into debt, then died and left her poor, tinged with scandal, and dependent on her brother. She has become the image of staid young womanhood, looking for a staid, steady sober man to marry and give her children.
Nicholas is the Duke of Hampshire. He’s a flirt, loves women, and is only steady in the realm of his ducal responsibilities, not in love. He and Ellie have been friends since childhood and he has no idea she’s adored him since he and her brother played together. He promises to help Ellie find a husband, but he hates the idea of his close friend drifting further away.
We all know how this is going to end, but what makes the book special is Nick and Ellie’s friendship and the light banter they have together. For example:
“Remember that look you said I give you? When whatever you’re saying is pure foolishness? Behold, Nicholas. You’re on the receiving end of it now.”
I love it. These are two people who know each other very well, and who care deeply for each other. Nicholas is an idiot when it comes to Eleanor (dang feelings he doesn’t understand!) but he’s not a wastrel. He’s deeply involved in politics and the running of his estates. He is also selfish, wanting Ellie to put him first no matter what, and she not-so-gently calls him on that. He does, to his credit, grovel beautifully after that.
This is a standalone novella. In a well-paced novella, you have to just pick a few aspects to focus on and hope they’re the right ones. This is all about the characters and their slowly developing understanding of each other. There’s not much in the way of plot, and not much in the way of conflict. Understandable given the format, but it at times makes it feel a little generic. As it’s a one-shot, it doesn’t even have the larger context of a series to give it weight. That said, these stressful times can certainly use more lovely mature people who are deeply fond of each other.
As I said, this book is a warm hug and a hot mug of cocoa. Doesn’t that sound nice?
What you might not like: It’s a novella, it’s short, and there isn’t a ton of plot.
What you’ll love: The banter, the sincere friendship between the hero and heroine, and the maturity of the characters.
Erin is a full time contributor to Binge on Books. She is a voracious reader and reviewer who has been been reading romances since she stole them from under her neighbor’s mom’s bed while she was at work. You can read all her reviews here.
Connect with Erin on Twitter: @booksandjoe