Anything But A Duke by Christy Carlyle

Anything But a Duke (Duke's Den, #2)My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Duke’s Den #2
Publication Date: 4/30/19
Number of Pages: 368

You will fall instantly in love with Aidan who is a one-third partner in the Duke’s Den. He doesn’t know all of his past, but what he does know about it is poverty, the workhouse, hunger, cold, loneliness, and sorrow. Now, he is as rich as Croesus, he is very successful in business and investing, but he doesn’t have the acceptance he desires in society. He is searching for information on his mother who dropped him and his sister off at a workhouse, then just disappeared and he is also desperately wanting to be on the planning committee for Prince Albert’s grand industrial exhibition. So far, he’s had no success, the aristocracy just doesn’t take him seriously – if they acknowledge him at all. So, to gain the influence he wants, he needs to marry into the aristocracy – the higher the level the better.

Aidan and Miss Diana Ashby had an encounter a year earlier when she saved him from two cutpurses who were out to rob him – and worse. They were immediately attracted to each other, but they left the encounter without introducing themselves and with no expectations they’d ever meet again. Neither of them ever forgot the other and often thought of each other.

Diana was raised to be a proper lady, she learned all of the rules at Bexley Finishing School. She may know all of the rules, but she’s not interested in balls, soirees, strolling the park at the fashionable hour or marriage. What she is interested in is her inventions. Her father was an inventor – not a very successful one, but an inventor none-the-less. The difference between her inventions and her fathers is that hers are practical and useful. With the family coffers near empty, her mother has given her until the end of the month to find an investor for her inventions. Otherwise, she’ll have to enter the marriage mart.

Diana applied to the owners of the Duke’s Den seeking their investment in her invention (what sounds like a vacuum cleaner), but there was an accident just before she went in for her interview and she couldn’t demonstrate. She tells Aidan that it was his fault and that if he’d like to see it work, he can come to her workshop.

A deal is struck. Diana will help Aidan find an aristocratic wife and Aidan will invest in Diana’s invention. It doesn’t take Aidan long to regret that bargain because the woman he really wants is busy introducing him to other prospective brides. He has to manage to convince her that she wants him as much as he wants her.

It is a lovely romance between two people who don’t think they need love. They are perfect for each other. They are both driven and intense and they just complete each other. It is really a lovely romance.

I met some really lovely people in this book and I’d love to know what happens in their lives. I assume this is a trilogy – one book for each of the owners of the Duke’s Den – but after meeting these intriguing people, I’d like to learn more about them. There are Diana’s friends, Lady Sophronia Bales, Miss Grace Grinstead, and Lady Elizabeth Thorndyke as well as Diana’s brother Dominick who deserve their own stories. Maybe they’ll get their own stories or we’ll learn more in the series wrap-up.

I definitely recommend this lovely romance.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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