The Duke Knows Best by Jane Ashford

The Duke Knows Best (The Duke's Sons, #5)The Duke Knows Best by Jane Ashford

Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Duke’s Sons #5
Publication Date: 12/5/17

This book was a delightful surprise. I saw several three-star reviews and wondered if I was going to agree or disagree with them. I also noticed that the author is compared to Georgette Heyer – and I’m not a fan of hers. So, imagine my delight when I thoroughly enjoyed the book!

I would love to meet the Gresham family and learn more about them because they are a delightfully loving and supportive family. This is the fifth book in the series and I have not read the others, but I don’t feel that I missed anything or that I had to read them to understand this book. I’m thinking I’ll now go back and read the other books because I came to admire the brothers featured in them.

Verity Sinclair is the daughter of the Dean of Chester Cathedral. She’s lived her entire life longing for adventure and travel. She’s had offers of marriage, but she’s declined them all because she doesn’t want to spend the remainder of her life in the same rut she has been living in. So, she finally convinces her mother to take her to London for a season. Varity is determined to find a husband who is an adventurer and will take her on his adventures. She definitely does not want a country vicar for a husband. Verity comes across as very bitchy for much of the book, but I really think she is just fearful and therefore defensive. She is afraid she’ll end up living a constrained life. She gets herself into some adventures and a bit of trouble before she finally realizes that there are all sorts of adventures and some can be found right at home. I did finally come to like and admire her very much.

Lord Randolph Gresham is a vicar and the son of a Duke. He’s intelligent, compassionate, caring, tall and handsome – and one of five rambunctious brothers. He’s decided that it is time to marry. He loves his work in the church, but he is lonely and wants a life partner. Since he is moving from one parish to another and has some free time between them, and it is the season in London, he decides to attend and find a wife.

Imagine this tall, handsome man who draws admiring glances as he crosses any room, being introduced to a lovely young lady at a ton event. The first words out of her mouth are “I could never abide life in a country parish.” That was quickly followed by, “I would find the limited society unendurable.” Then “The isolation makes people narrow-minded.” Followed by “And quite behind the times, antiquated, even.” All of that was said before he had managed to utter a word. Let us just say, their first meeting wasn’t an auspicious one.

The lovely part of the story is watching them being thrown together time after time in circumstances beyond their control. They learn to trust each other and they learn that they have a lot in common – especially a deep abiding love of music – and a talent for performing it. I love watching Verity learn and grow. She learns that she still wants adventure – but – maybe adventure isn’t where and what she thought it was.

I loved Randolph’s mother and she offered some advice to Verity that I think we all need to remember in our everyday lives and relationships. She said, “I believe unsaid words pile up and push people farther and farther apart. Until, eventually, they become a wall. The forms of life may look the same, but inside all is . . . distance.”

I liked that most of the side stories had resolutions – with the different couples getting together for their own HEA’s. What I did not like and deeply wish had been different, is that Olivia suffered absolutely no consequences for her horrible actions. She is really an unkind, manipulative, vengeful, and uncaring person and I never did understand Verity remaining friends with her. I could see the initial attraction of the friendship, but once Verity began to see into the kind of person Olivia was, I can’t see how Verity could remain friends. Verity and Randolph set most of Olivia’s mischief to rights, but Olivia didn’t pay any price at all. That just left it feeling unfinished.

Please check out my reviews at:
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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

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