Tracy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Duke Hunt, #1
Release Date: July 27, 2021
Imogen Bates first met Peregrine “Perry” Butler, the heir to the Duke of Penning when she was just eight years old and her father became the Vicar to Shropshire, their encounter ended with Imogen being pushed into the lake by Perry’s little sister, laughed at by Perry, and left in tears. Subsequent meetings over the years were not much better, culminating in their final encounter when she was fifteen and attending his eighteenth birthday party, where she overheard him and his friends talking about her and was crushed to hear Perry insult her, later when he found her, she was finally able to give him a piece of her mind and left – but her hatred for Perry festered.
Ten years later Perry’s perfect life comes crashing down when it comes out that his parents were not actually married when he was born and therefore, he is not the duke! Now with no title, no money, and no home, he has moved into the dower house with his mother and is hunting for an heiress to marry. But someone is determined to stymie his attempts at courting by spreading lies about him. At first, he is bewildered why the ladies who were once eager for his attentions are now treating him like he has the plague and then he learns why and confronts Imogen. Their confrontation ends in a kiss that leaves them both shocked and wanting more.
But even a toe-curling kiss is not enough to stop Imogen’s quest to keep Perry from finding a rich bride, and she spreads a rumor that is sure to keep the brides at bay. When Perry learns of it, he knows there is only one person that would broadcast such a lie and seeks her out to put an end to her interference once and for all. But instead of giving her a set down – he shows her what he could bring to a marriage and then finds himself wondering if marriage to an heiress is really the answer to his problems or if he could take his life in a new direction, one that includes Imogen. He then sets out to forge a new path and win Imogen. It would appear that he has succeeded when he learns the truth about his downfall and once again his life comes crashing down, but this time is worse because this time his heart is broken.
This was a well-written, fast-paced story that utilizes the enemies-to-lovers trope to perfection. The story has lies, secrets, witty banter, steamyish love scenes, heartache, a wonderful hero, a surprising revelation, and finally a sigh-inducing HEA complete with an epilogue. I will be honest, I had a really hard time liking Imogen, I understood her dislike, but to do the things she did because he hurt her feelings when they were children, made her seem petty and spiteful and very hard to sympathize with and I don’t feel like she really redeemed herself. But in the end, I loved the book and even though I wanted more for Perry, I was happy with the final outcome. This is the first book in a new series and I am happy to recommend this title and will certainly be looking forward to reading the next installment!
*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.*