Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: Desperately Seeking Duke, #2
Release Date: June 29, 2021
After years of serving in the army to support his family, Andrew “Drew” St. James’ life takes an unexpected turn when he learns that he is the heir presumptive to his distant cousin the Duke of Carlyle. The Duke is an invalid and has been for years, but when his younger brother dies, his mother, the duchess, has her solicitor, Mr. Edwards to find the duke’s heirs. The duchess wants Andrew to move to England and learn about the dukedom, but gives him six months to get his affairs in order and asks that since he plans to go to Scotland to see his family, Mr. Edwards asks that he inspect Stormont Palace, one of the duke’s estates in Scotland that they might want to sell. Drew agrees to everything and even suggests that when he returns, he would like the duchess to help him find a wife, someone who would be the perfect duchess.
He returns home and spends his first night with his friends, they go out for dinner and that is when he meets and dances with an amazing woman. They share a moment and she kisses him before leaving him stunned and smitten. The next day Drew learns that his mystery woman is his sister’s dear, widowed friend. He knows Ilsa Ramsay is not duchess material, but he cannot stop thinking about her. He spends time with her and begins to wonder if he will be able to walk away. In an effort to decide, he invites her to join his family when they visit Stormont Palace.
Ilsa thought she was done with marriage, after marrying the man her father chose and enduring a cold marriage and then a horrific scandal when her husband was killed in a duel, she thinks she will be happier as a widow. But meeting Drew makes her wonder if maybe marriage with the right man could bring the joy she has been trying to find. The time they spend at Stormont Palace confirms their feelings and when they return he makes it clear that he wants to court her. But their return to Edinburgh is plagued with one problem after another, problems Ilsa is sure will destroy any chance for HEA.
This was a well-written, interesting, nicely paced read. I loved Drew, he was such a great hero, and even though he was not perfect, he gave his all for those he loved. The book held my attention from the first page to the last, it was filled with wonderful characters, a little bit of mystery, some warm love scenes, a couple of surprising twists, including a whammy at the end that may change everything for our lovers as they start their HEA. There was also the hint of a secondary romance featuring Drew’s sister Agnes and his friend Felix that will be followed up in the novella: How the Scot was Won which is releasing a week after this book!! I enjoyed this book and am happy to recommend it, and while it is the second book in the series, it could easily be read as a standalone title.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.