Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: 12 Dukes of Christmas, #12
Release Date: December 18, 2020
Miss Cynthia Louise Finch has long given up hope of marriage, after 6 seasons of playing by the ton’s rules and no offers of marriage, she decided enough is enough and stopped trying to please the ton. In the years that have followed Cynthia Louise has had fun and in the process is no longer considered “eligible parti”. But that has stopped her from being invited to the Duke of Nottingvale’s annual Christmastide House Party. This year, the word is out that the duke will be choosing his bride from the invited guests. Cynthia Louise at the ripe old age of 30 will be chaperoning her cousin Lady Gertrude with the hope that Gertie and the duke will make a match.
Alexander Borland, the Duke of Nottingvale is perfect – literally – he follows all the rules, he is a perfect gentleman and host. And regardless of his personal feelings, he will choose the most suitable lady at his house party to be his duchess. And she won’t be the spinster Cynthia Louise – who is fascinating and fun and completely unsuitable. Why with so many perfect choices he shouldn’t even be giving Cynthia Louise any thought at all. But when she offers to help him choose the best possible bride from all the candidates, he jumps at the chance to spend more time with her. But only to find a bride – that isn’t her and maybe to steal a kiss or two and maybe to break a rule or two – but that is it – because no matter how much he likes her – she won’t do – definitely not – because there is not a chance in hell that this imperfect spinster could ever be his perfect match – right?
This was a well written, sweet novella with a not-so-subtle nod to the ‘Grinch that Stole Christmas’. The story is fun with lots of witty banter, naughty ditties, a heroine who has embraced her inner hoyden and a duke that needs to lighten up, a puppy named Max, skiing, arrow injuries, lots of perfect debutantes, a lame proposal, some kissing and finally a very lovely declaration scene followed by the promise of HEA. Since this is the last book in the series, I do wish there had been a more in-depth epilogue set a bit later and catching the reader up with all the “Dukes of Christmas” – but even without that, this was a sweet, low heat romance with very likable characters and happy ending.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. *