A Most Unusual Duke by Susanna Allen
Tracy’s rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Series: Shapeshifters of the Beau Monde, #2
Release Date: December 28, 2021
When Beatrice, the widow of the Marquess of Castleton sought to secure her independence by blackmailing the Prince Regent of England, things did not go as planned. Not only did she find herself married again, but her reluctant groom is also a Shifter. But unlike her first husband, Arthur Humphries, the Duke of Osborn is not a decrepit old man and neither is he a wolf.
When Arthur’s father was challenged and lost his life to the challenger, Arthur vowed to never claim his position as Alpha in his bear sleuth. But his cousin, Prince George (also a bear Shifter) demands that Arthur do his duty, if not he will make sure that Arthur’s brother and his young family will suffer. With no choice, Arthur agrees to marry Beatrice but insists theirs will be a white marriage. At the prince’s command, they retire to Arthur’s family estate, a place that Arthur hasn’t seen since the night he lost his father. He manages to keep his feelings for the sleuth and his new bride in check, that is until his brother and his family show up, making him long for things he has sworn to never have.
This was a very interesting, well-plotted, thoughtful story about second chances, love, and acceptance. Beatrice and Arthur are wonderful characters, both with painful pasts, yet they haven’t lost themselves to bitterness. I enjoyed watching their slow-burn romance unfold and loved the secondary characters who added lightness and levity to the story. I liked the story, but the reading was slow-going, the author has and utilizes an amazing (if somewhat obscure) vocabulary, which did break the flow for me, as I had to continually stop to look up a word, or foreign language phrase (which were not italicized) to understand the story and many times the author chose to use a very archaic/obscure word instead of a common word, and while I love to learn new words, I don’t need to learn one on just about every page. Overall, it was entertaining to read with a somewhat anti-climatic ending but did manage to set up the next book rather nicely. This is the second book in the series, but it can be read as a standalone title with no issue.
*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.*