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Ratings and Book Reviews (12 27 star ratings
12 reviews
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4.3 out of 5
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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Lovely second-chance romance...

    The road to happily-ever-after was not easy for Abigail Linton and Maxwell Bryce, who met and fell in love when they were teenagers. Fate separated them, and their letters to each other were waylaid, but that first love remained in their memory. Fast forward 15 years, and Abigail is a 30-year-old spinster who wants to spread her wings after years spent taking care of her now-deceased parents. Even though her family objects, she resolves to take the position of governess to Max's young sister. Max is now the Duke of Rothwell, enjoys quite the rakish reputation in London, and hasn't been home in fifteen years. Fate, in the form of a measles outbreak at his friend's estate, brings him home with a party of friends, just as Abigail has taken up her position. Max and Abigail strike sparks off each other and find their way back together, in spite of past assumptions and the scheming and meddling of Lady Desmond, a widow who is angling to become Max's Duchess. The Duke I Once Knew is the first book in Olivia Drake's Unlikely Duchesses series. It is lovely and well-written, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an enjoyable second-chance romance.. I look forward to other books in the series. I received a copy from the St. Martin's Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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    a charming second chance romance

    The Duke I Once Knew delivers a charming second chance romance with recognizable cliches and tropes of the romance genre. It is refreshing to read a historical romance book that doesn't try to anything but a historical romance book. Warning: the heroine is thirty-year-old virgin spinster and the hero is a complete rake. Their first meeting after fifteen years, the hero is getting handsy with his wannabe mistress. But don't let this dissuade you from taking a chance on this book! Once upon a time the hero and heroine formed a teenage love and promised to marry each other when the heroine became of age, but due to some unknown force their letters never reached each other. Now, this type of miscommunication/reasoning for a second chance romance is usually one I stay clear of, but Olivia Drake managed to have the couple confront each other early on about the miscommunication. Despite that, they didn't' fall head over heels in love with each other again. I liked that. They understood that the past was the past and nothing they could do to change it. However, I did find the resolution concerning why they never received each other's letters to be anti-climatic. I was expecting something a bit more dramatic. It made the reasoning for their separation minuscule. The story mainly focused on how the hero and heroine connected again after fifteen years, which was fine by me. I enjoyed seeing how their feelings resurfaced again and bloomed into more mature feelings. The hero especially I think had a lot more growing up to do before he could commit himself to the heroine. He didn't get much character development unlike the heroine which I would have liked more. He didn't take much actions towards his character growth until the end and we only got a glimpse of his past what the heroine inferred about it. Their chemistry was sweet with a little heat. I mostly felt the chemistry and angst from the heroine's POV. What made this book special was the writing style. The author did a wonderful job of balancing out the internal emotions with the story narration. I'm definitely looking forward to reading about the next couple in this series.
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    Enjoyable second chance romance

    I received an advanced reader’s copy of this novel. Abigail Linton is a spinster who was first taking care of her parents then her brother’s and sisters children. She longs for the chance to live on her own and make her own choices. She gets a job on the neighboring estate the belongs to Maxwell, the Duke of Rothwell. Rothwell had broken Abigail’s heart but he’d not been to the estate in years and she didn’t expect he would ever return. Rothwell does end up back at his estate with some friends and their paths cross again. Abigail and Maxwell wrestle with their attraction and feelings for each other despite the years that have passed. I thought the pacing was pretty good throughout except for a few places where I felt it could have been tighter. The various characters were unique and I really liked that some of the minor characters experienced some internal change. The descriptions of the settings and characters were done well. Overall, this is a well written, enjoyable story.
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    Standing Up for Oneself

    4.5/5 I loved reading Abby and Max’s amazing story in The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake, book 1 in her Unlikely Duchess series. Youngest child, Abigail Linton spent years devoting herself to caring for her aging parents as well as the children of her siblings. As her siblings debate who she will help next, Abby decides to make her own life; taking on a position as a governess on the neighboring Rothwell estate. When she was younger she befriended Maxwell Bryce, the son of the Duke of Rothwell, her teen heart falling for him; until he left, breaking her heart. Having never returned, Abby expects that Max has forgotten her and she had no worries of running into the infamous rake. Unexpectedly arriving at his estate, Max is irate to find Abby as his sister’s new governess. He does not understand why Abby is also angry since she rejected him all those years ago. He finds that he is still attracted to her and suspects she feels the same. Maybe, they do have a second at love. Despite the chemistry and desire these two shared, they both must overcome the jaded advice given to them by their parents as teens before letting go of the past and sharing a future of love. Ms. Drake wrote an emotionally rich and moving story filled with sexual chemistry, fun dialogue, and endearing characters that are not to be missed. I highly recommend The Duke I Once Knew to other readers. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
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    Great second chance at love

    I just adore second chances at love. Abigail "Abby" Linton and Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, were once best friends when they were school aged kids. When Max's mom passed away and his dad sent him away, they agreed to keep in touch through letters until they were both of age and could marry. What neither of them knew was that the letters that each of them wrote never made it to the other, so they both thought the other didn't want them anymore. Abby spent most of prime years taking care of her ailing mom. With both parents gone, and nearing 30, Abby decides she has to get out from under her siblings demands and take control of her own life. When she learns that Max's little sister is in need of a governess, she jumps at the chance. After all it has been 15 years since Max left. Abby gets the job and imagine her surprise when Max shows up at Rothwell Court! Yep, fireworks are still there....too bad Max showed up with another woman and his group of friends! As these two dance around their real feelings, the truth of what really happened 15 years ago comes to light. It takes a great leap of faith for these two to get their happy ending that they should have had years ago. I just adored this book. Abby and Max were two young people when they met and their feelings for each other never really died as much as they tried to forget the other. I just love when love and happiness win out in the end. I really enjoyed all the other characters in the story also. Between Abby's crazy family, Lady Gwendolyn and Max's aunt Lady Hester, there is a lot of fun, entertaining craziness going on. Read this book, you will not be sorry!
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