Series: 12 Dukes of Christmas #5
on October 22, 2019
Genres: Historical Romance
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he Duke of Azureford isn’t the arrogant, aloof lord his peers perceive him to be. Yes, he’s awkward, but he has a plan to fix it. In order to woo a respectable lady, he must learn how to flirt. The completely inappropriate girl next door would make a perfect instructor, but a terrible duchess. So why can’t he walk away?
Incorrigible hoyden Miss Carole Quincy likes fast carriages, carom billiards, and the beautiful, buttoned-up Duke of Azureford. She’d be delighted to help him out of his shell and into her arms. Who cares if they’re just pretending to flirt? The heady, breath-taking, soul-consuming feeling inside her runaway heart surely can’t be love…
Miss Carole Quincy has a problem. Her private sketchbook full of her dreamy architectural ideas was dropped in the Duke of Azureford’s cottage when she attended his party. She was unable to recover it when it tumbled into the library. Six months later, she is desperate to retrieve it before the duke returns to his holiday residence next door. If there were only her private ideas on architecture design… each scene has a lady doing unladylike activities and if someone saw this? Utter ruin!
Dukes Actually is the fifth of the light and fun standalone 12 Dukes of Christmas series. They are definitely standalone stories, particularly this one, though past characters breeze through and the world building of the series was explained best in book one.
As I said, this was fun. Carole is a single young lady who has never lived outside the beautiful and quaint Christmas village in the far north of England. She has had her chance at debuting in London society, but after her mother passed and her father took it so hard, she remains at home. She doesn’t pine and is the heart of the village in many ways. But, she does have a few hoydenish quirks. She’s killer at billiards and she likes to depict ladies enjoying the same pleasures as men- smoking, drinking, and relaxing at clubs and card games- within the private pages of her sketchbook.
In the effort to recover her sketchbook, she has to get close to the duke when he arrives at his cottage for some time to rest and relax away from his heavy duties in Parliament’s House of Lords. The first time they met, he was tongue-tied and came off as stiff and arrogant. Azureford is painfully shy and she figures this out when she gets close to him. I loved seeing her help him with his plan to get past his shyness all so he can eventually court a worthy lady- who is a lot like Carole, he realizes. If only she weren’t set on never marrying.
I love this holiday romance series of fun pairings and situations and Duke Actually was no exception. Those who want a light, mostly sweet historical romance for the holidays should give Erica Ridley’s series a try.
Kindle freebie on April 4, 2022 (currently $3.99 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble as of writing this post)
Overall rating 4.17 with 961 ratings and 257 reviews
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