Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: The Seven Curses of London, #11
Release Date: December 17. 2020
Douglas Slade, the Duke of Rothbury has entered into a marriage of convenience with heiress Miss Eleanor Taylor, he needed her fortune and finds her pleasing, but expects that nothing in his well-ordered life will change. He was raised by his grandfather, who drummed into him that the estate always comes first and that his duty is to the dukedom, not himself. He has taken those lessons very seriously, so much so that he is known as the Dour Duke. But what he doesn’t know is that Eleanor has had a tendre for him for quite some time and she hopes that her marriage to Douglas will transform from a business arrangement to a love match.
After a few months of marriage, Eleanor is beginning to lose hope that Douglas will fall in love with her and it has begun to affect her usual cheery personality, she has even heard whispers of people calling her the Dour Duchess. She doesn’t know what to do, Douglas is polite but distant, he barely spends time with her and is always busy with the estate. She is ready to give up when they are invited to a house party at the home of the Duke and Duchess of Burbridge. She is surprised that Douglas agrees to go and hope is rekindled when they have to share a room.
Things are going well and Douglas is actually starting to loosen up a bit, and Eleanor is falling deeper in love. Douglas believes his grandfather might have been wrong and starts to envision a life with Eleanor as his partner – but a conversation with a friend of his father’s reminds him of the consequences of falling in love and causes him to close himself off completely. Eleanor has no idea what changed, but she is heartbroken and decides that she has to give up her dream of a love match. But will Douglas realize his mistake before he loses her forever?
This was a well written, fast-paced novella with really wonderful characters. I just loved this book, Eleanor and Douglas are perfect for each other and I loved watching them come together, the love scenes were a bit spicier than Ms. Williams normally writes (not complaining!) and the conflict was well done and the resolution believable. This is part of a series, but it can read as a standalone with no problems – however, if you have read the entire series, you are in for a real treat as the epilogue features the entire series cast and gives the reader a glimpse into their HEAs!