Barbara’s rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Series: Desperately Seeking Duke #3
Publication Date: 4/26/22
Period: Georgian – 1787
Number of Pages: 384
*** UPDATE: I just learned the author will be writing “A Giant Series Epilogue” (her words) that will release within a couple of weeks of the publication of this book. The author is currently taking questions and suggestions for what to include in that epilogue. So, while that doesn’t make the conclusion of this book any more satisfying, it does give us the opportunity to see what happens and get the answers we are craving. I’m leaving my review as I originally published it because publishing a new book doesn’t change what I thought of this book. However, it does offer us the opportunity to get our grand wrap-up in another book. *****
Well – what can I say? I absolutely loved the romance between Will and Philippa and would have rated it 5-stars, but I don’t think I’ve ever read a more dissatisfying series ending. The wrap-up was just suddenly there and then it was just as suddenly gone and left me wanting more information, more interactions, more completion. For me, that wrap-up was a 2-star at best. I think the book either needed at least two more chapters OR a super-long epilogue.
The Prologue was the polar opposite of the Epilogue. It was a wonderfully heartwarming story of the meeting between the Duchess of Carlyle and 3-year-old Philippa Noor un-nisa Kirkpatrick. I hadn’t previously been a fan of the Duchess, but as I read that scene – and then learned more of the family’s history throughout the book, I did warm up to her a bit.
Philippa’s mother was Indian and her father, a Colonel, was English. Her parents met, fell in love, and defied everyone so they could marry. After the death of her mother, Philippa’s father meets, falls in love with, and marries the daughter of the Duchess of Carlyle. After the deaths of her stepmother and her father, Philippa is raised as the beloved granddaughter at Carlyle Castle. Philippa is everything you could want in a heroine – she’s sweet, considerate, caring, intelligent, realistic, wise – and a bit sly at managing the Duchess.
William (Will) Montclair and his brother Jack have arrived in London at the behest of their father, to set up a branch of Montclair and Sons (a merchant shipping company). Will was in charge of getting the business going, but he really didn’t want to be. Will really wanted to be out of the business because he didn’t enjoy it – and his brother Jack did, so why not let Jack be the one in charge. After all, their father was all the way across the ocean in Boston. When an opportunity presents itself, he takes it. Jack is in charge of setting up a London branch for their shipping company and Will is off on a new adventure as a steward for a large estate. What can go wrong with that scenario?
Everyone at the estate quickly falls in love with Will – well, everyone except the Duchess. She takes an instant dislike to him and would gladly dismiss him. How dare he challenge her, argue with her, tell her she was wrong? But, her son finds him delightfully entertaining and thoroughly enjoys Will’s company. Since the duchess will do absolutely anything for her son, Will stays employed.
The growth in the relationship between Will and Philippa is delightful to see and I could thoroughly believe the attraction and the relationship. I also loved that it was all pretty much angst-free. So – kudos for the delightful romance.
However, the romance isn’t the entire book and the rest of it left much to be desired. I had more questions at the end than I did at the beginning. For instance – two mysterious French characters are introduced and then they just disappear. They aren’t mentioned again, so what happened to them and their scheme? Do we really have a new heir for the duchy? How about the new heir’s relationship with the duchess? In my humble opinion, the secret should have been revealed a bit earlier and then the subsequent chapters could have dealt with the aftermath, re-establishing relationships, etc. – OR – add a couple of additional chapters. At any rate – the end was just too abrupt, too incomplete, and I just felt a bit cheated.
I do recommend the read because the romance is lovely, but don’t expect to end the series feeling good about the whole thing.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.