My Dearest Duke by Kristin Vayden
Tracy’s rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
Series: Cambridge Brotherhood, #2
Release Date: November 8, 2022
As a professor of Divinity at Cambridge, Lord Rowles Haywind was happy with his lot in life, but all that changes when his brother is killed along with several others, and Rowles finds himself in a role he isn’t prepared for, the new Duke of Westmore, with not only the responsibilities of the dukedom but also the care of his mother, who is mentally ill and had declined since his brother Robert’s unexpected death. His mother’s care is something he takes seriously and something that worries him, will he be afflicted? Would his children? To be safe, he decides not to marry, but that is before he meets his best friend’s sister, Lady Joan Morgan, and is intrigued, even though he tries his best to keep some distance between them.
Joan is drawn to Rowles, as they not only have an instant intellectual connection but also share a tragic common bond by way of the deaths of their brothers. Joan’s eldest brother died at the same bachelor party as his brother did and her brother Collin “Morgan” became the Earl of Penderdale. Joan and Morgan work for the Home Office, Joan is an expert at detecting forgeries and reading people, but if this ever got out, it would mean scandal and ruin. But as get to know each other and they begin to engage in a lot of deep and theological conversations, she starts to fall for him, and she longs to share her work with him but fears his reaction, and the longer she waits, the harder it is to tell him.
This was not a hit for me, it was a book of missed opportunities, and based on the blurb, I was expecting so much more action and drama, but instead, I got a very sweet, slow-moving story about two people dealing with grief and their journey to healing. This is a slow-burn, no-steam romance with likable characters each with their own issues to overcome. I did notice a lot of reviewers seeming surprised by the Christian undertones in the book, but Rowles was a Professor of Divinity, so I wasn’t really surprised by the references, and I don’t think I would go as far as to label it a “Christian” romance. Overall, the book was not what I was hoping for, it was a slow, and at times boring read. This is the second book in the series, but it could 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.*