Once Upon a Duke’s Wish by Lana Williams
Tracy’s rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Series: The Duke’s Lost Treasures, #1
Release Date: May 17, 2022
When Ella Wright’s father passed away, she made the decision to leave Oak Island in Nova Scotia and travel to London with her two sisters in the hope that their estranged grandfather, the Duke of Rothwood, would take them in and help her sisters find good matches. The Duke cut all ties with Ella’s mother when she jilted the Earl of Marbury and ran off with David Wright, a treasure hunter, and a commoner. Ella is not sure of their reception, but with no other options, she and her sisters set out with not much more than the clothes on their backs and their father’s most recent journal.
Leo Stanton, the Earl of Marbury has been friends with the duke for years, as was his father, they were all members of the Royal Geological Society and Leo is an expert in pirate lore. Leo knows that the duke is lonely and has never gotten over the loss of his daughter, so he is surprised to learn that not only has the duke let Ella and her sisters into his home but is asking Leo to help them find their father’s missing journal! At first, Leo wants to refuse, his father deeply loved Ella’s mother and never got over losing her to David Wright which made it impossible for him to be happy, something that trickled down to Leo and his mother, so there is no way he wants to help them, but out of loyalty to the duke he agrees. However, he refuses to let himself fall for Ella, no matter how lovely she is or how much he admires her! But when Ella is in danger, Leo will have to decide if holding on to old hurts is worth missing out on new joy.
This was a very well-written, slow-burning romance story with wonderful characters. The book has a decent mystery, a bit of drama, mild love scenes, great secondary characters, a nice ending, and an epilogue. I did like the story, but honestly, I never really understood the conflict keeping Ella and Leo apart – I understood why her grandfather felt as he did, but Leo’s reason didn’t really seem quite as compelling to me. So overall, this was a nice start to a new series and I will definitely read the next installment and hope that the future books delve a bit more into their father’s search for Captian Kidd’s treasure.
*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.*