Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: Various Series by several authors
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Please Note – I did not have time to read all 13 novellas in this collection – so my review is an average rating of the stories I did read.
WOW – this collection is chocked full of novellas from some of the most wonderful HR authors writing today! I sadly did not have time to read all the stories (but I will go back and finish!), but for the money, even if you only get to read a couple – it will be money well spent!
The Difference a Duke Makes by Elizabeth Essex – 4 stars – When Commander Lord Marcus Beecham returns to England after ten years at sea, he never expected to learn that he was now the Duke of Warwick. Marcus is not happy about this turn of events and when his mother presses for him to marry, he escapes to the country. But to make his mother think he is cooperating, he agrees to attend an event at his neighbor. He feels out of place and heads to the library for a reprieve. To his surprise and delight, he is not left alone – Penelope Pease enters – his childhood friend and if the rumors are true, the girl that refused his brother’s marriage proposal. Penelope is happy to see “Beech” and proceeds to tell him of her sordid past with his brother – a past that has lead to her complete and utter ruin. Beech feels comfortable for the first time since returning to England, she doesn’t try to toady up and is not put off by his missing arm, she just treat him like a man and right then and there, he decides that Penelope is the perfect duchess for him – but can he convince her? Sweet story, warmish love scenes, likeable leads and a HEA – but it did feel a bit rushed.
Discovering the Duke by Madeline Martin – 5 stars – Julia Sinclair, the Duchess of Stedton is on her way to a house party, where she will see her husband again for the first time since their very awkward wedding night a few weeks ago. Julia married William after a whirlwind courtship with the hope of finding happiness and to escape her father’s house, but those hopes were shattered when she found a note the morning William rushed away to see his “Maribel” the morning after they wed. She has decided that she cannot live a life as a complacent wife as her mother did and will tell William that she wants to live separate lives. William hated having to rush off the morning after their less than perfect wedding night, he loves Julia, but his father’s horse Maribel was ill and she is the last link he has to his family who all perished in a fire. He expects Julia to be upset – but he is absolutely floored to learn she wants to leave him! He tells her who Maribel is and convinces her to give them a chance to get to know each other before any plans for the future are made. This was a well written, fast paced story with two flawed people, steamy love scenes, a lot of emotion and a very sweet HEA.
How to Ditch a Duke by May McGoldrick – 5 stars – Lady Taylor Fleming is a heiress in her own right who has given up hope of ever finding love. When a carriage accident leads to an encounter with Franz Aurech, the Duke of Bamberg, Taylor is stunned to realize that she is attracted to him. When she later learns that he is penniless, on the hunt for a rich wife and that her father offered her up on a silver platter, she bolts. Franz is not broke and he is very interested in the beautiful, bold woman he met on the road – but he can’t seem to pin her down! As luck (or fate) would have it, he learns that she is hiding out in the highlands with his good friend Dermot McKendry, he wastes no time running her to ground. Taylor wants no part of a marriage to a groom seeking fortune, she has learned more about Bamberg and has convinced herself that he will take her money and leave her to rot in his castle in Bavaria – no thank you! She avoids him at every turn and escapes to visit her dearest friend Lady Millie – only to learn that he will be arriving shortly. Millie encourages her to talk to him and then conspires with Dermot to trap them alone long enough to talk – but their plan goes awry when Millie goes into labor. This was a fantastic short story with two wonderful leads, some misunderstandings, steamy love scenes, love at first sight and MILLIE & DERMOT!!
Duke in Search of a Duchess by Jennifer Ashley – 5 stars – Augustine Ferrand, the Duke of Ashford likes order, he needs order, it is how he copes. So when his children inform him that he is too rigid and needs a wife, he is stunned. When he learns that the children have asked his widowed neighbor Helena Courtland to help him, stunned takes a backseat to anger and horror. He tells Helena in no uncertain terms that he is not in need of a wife and even if he was, he would never ask for her help. Unfazed by his outburst, Helena proceeds to tell him her plan to find him a wife. She also suggests he take a trip to the country and spend sometime with his children. Later he learns that he is not needed in Parliament and decides that he will go to his country seat – mainly to get away from Helena. Helena learns of the trip and makes plans to visit her friend who lives close by his estate – she is more determined than ever to marry him off! Let the battle of the wills commence! This was a great addition to the collection and I loved it – it is well written, well paced, believable and entertaining, with great characters, warm love scenes and a great HEA.
Dear Duke by Anna Harrington – 4.5 stars – This was a cute adaptation of “You’ve Got Mail” Cora Bradley is the daughter of a grist mill owner and John Daniels is the new Duke of Monmouth. John wants to build a canal which will ruin the mill, he offers to buy the mill for far more than it is worth, but is turned down flat by the beautiful but annoying Cora. John struggles with his inheritance, he never expected to be a duke and feels like an imposter, building the canal is important to him, it makes him feel useful and needed – but if he can’t convince Cora to let go of the mill, the entire project will fail. Cora is returning from the duke’s house when she finds an old ring – clearly not a priceless piece, but definitely priceless to the person who lost it – she writes a note and pins it to a tree with the ring – this begins the exchange of notes – John found the note and the ring and replies – they share so much in those notes, everything except their names. When John suggests they meet – she is torn, but goes anyway. He learns who she really is and wonders how they can move forward with the mill problem between them – but help comes from an unexpected source and the reader is treated to a very sweet HEA. This was a cute story, well written and well paced, staying true to the theme, without completely copying it.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me.*