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    Easy Chick Lit

    How (Not) to Marry a Duke by Felicia Kingsley is not my usual pick. I normally veer away from trope-filled vomit-inducing romantic chick-lit. I am happy to admit that this novel exceeded my (admittedly low) expectations. The original title for this book was A Marriage of Convenience which describes the plot. Jemma and Ashford come from vastly different social realms. Ashford is a high and mighty Duke with an extravagant lifestyle and eccentric friends. Jemma is a hard-working, stubborn woman who has luck (and a massive inheritance) fall into her lap. Jemma’s strong character and Ashford’s whiny habits give way to a story where the gender roles are reversed. They are forced to marry each other to save their own lifestyles, and their opposition is clear. Jemma is a breath of fresh air in an uppity society, and Ashford learns how to dial back his excessive life. To be honest, there was a lot about this book that bothered me. The novel switches back and forth between Jemma and Ashford. Although it worked in moments that quickly flipped back and forth between their thoughts in a tense moment, I originally thought that having an alternative male voice in the story downgraded Jemma’s strong character. In fact, I believe that as she sinks deeper and deeper into her duties as a Duchess and learns the ways of society, she loses some of the strength that I admired from the beginning. The switch in characters would have been more welcome if there was a change in tone, but Kingsley writes in the same tone for both. She also gets wrapped up in a woman versus woman drama that I utterly despise – although it is relatable. Despite what I’ve said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It touches on some mental health issues (something I find very important), and there are some amazing females portrayed in this novel. It is not entirely predictable, and the tropes that typically exists in chick lit are not present. I can’t give this book a 4/5 because there are just too many issues I had with the writing, but this novel is perfect for an easy holiday read. I give this a 3/5.
3

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