Forever My Duke (Unlikely Duchesses, #2)
“I find Miss Fanshawe to be quite charming—for an American.”—The Prince RegentHadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton, needs a bride. He even has the perfect one picked out. That is, until he meets the lovely, free-spirited Natalie Fanshawe. She’s the opposite of what a man of his high rank should desire in a wife—an outspoken American who has never even set foot in a London ballroom.But Natalie doesn’t have time to be swept off her feet by a handsome duke who must be a spoiled scoundrel like every other British lord. And she couldn’t care less about Hadrian’s title. After all, it’s not as if he actually worked to attain his wealth and status. He surely can’t understand what it’s like to be a busy woman, planning to open a school while trying to reunite a six-year-old orphan with his English relatives. Nevertheless, Hadrian launches his campaign to win her heart. Can the utterly delightful American beauty ever find a way to love him…despite his being a duke?

Forever My Duke (Unlikely Duchesses, #2) Details

TitleForever My Duke (Unlikely Duchesses, #2)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseDec 31st, 2019
PublisherSt. Martin's Paperbacks
ISBN-139781250174390
Rating
GenreRomance, Historical Romance, Historical, Adult

Forever My Duke (Unlikely Duchesses, #2) Review

  • Addie H
    January 1, 1970
    NB: ARC review – expected publication 31st December 2019(Tropes: Opposites Attract, Class Difference, Forbidden Love) I found this book to be quite heavy on clichés, and while the sexual attraction and tension is well written, this book brings nothing new to the genre. I found Natalie’s critique of the English aristocracy system to be apt, but unbelievable of its’ time. Her observations are quite vocal, and while I don’t disagree with her, timing and audience is critical. You’re a guest, no one NB: ARC review – expected publication 31st December 2019(Tropes: Opposites Attract, Class Difference, Forbidden Love) I found this book to be quite heavy on clichés, and while the sexual attraction and tension is well written, this book brings nothing new to the genre. I found Natalie’s critique of the English aristocracy system to be apt, but unbelievable of its’ time. Her observations are quite vocal, and while I don’t disagree with her, timing and audience is critical. You’re a guest, no one is forcing you to stick around. Mind your manners.Cue plot obstacle. ***** Unlike the ladies of the ton, Natalie was a free spirit who had no interest in marriage to a man of wealth and power. A man who belonged to the aristocracy that she scorned. *****- Love! What balderdash! He assuaged his irritation by listing his standards for the ideal wife. She must be attractive, of course, and a blueblood of impeccable background. A modest young lady who wasn’t overly chatty. He had no intention of wedding a sharp-tongued shrew. - Here, one’s class depended upon heredity instead of hard work. The concept of possessing such wealth and power by a mere accident of birth disturbed her innate sense of fairness. - Natalie disliked the curtsy. But perhaps the was duke was right, and she ought to embrace the local customs. She certainly didn’t wish to make the girl uncomfortable. Susan had been trained to show deference to those she regarded as her better, as were all English servants. - Wouldn’t his London friends laugh if they knew that after a string of elegant mistresses, he could feel so drawn to a provincial spinster? That he found well-worn flannel to be more titillating than a filmy negligee? That having selected his blue-blooded bride, he lusted instead for an eccentric lively, and outspoken American?- All too soon, he broke the contact, and then she lifted her lashes, a molten silver blaze burned in his eyes. Her heart skipped a beat at that passionate look even as his hands dropped to her shoulders. His tense jam and sudden stiffness of manner contradicted the naked desire on his face. “Natalie,” he said in a gravelly tone, “it’s time for you to go.”- In the midst of it, Natalie knew she would always remember this moment. The captivating pleasure of being clasped to his male for, the dark taste of brandy in his mouth, the shivery excitement of his caresses, all of those impressions were seared into her mind. Knowing that their embrace could not last, she would tuck it away in her heart and hold it there forever. - It was a dispiriting thought. Imprudent though it might be, she wanted to matter to Hadrian. She wanted him to toss and turn at night, dreaming of her. She wanted him to miss her when she departed for America. As much as she herself would miss him….*****- “Society will accept you. I’ll make certain they do.”Smiling wistfully, she shook her head in gentle expiration. “You have it all wrong, Hadrian. It isn’t whether English society will accept me. It’s whether I will accept English society.”2.5 starsI received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jultri
    January 1, 1970
    3.75/5. Well-written with likeable protagonists. Patriotic American, Natalie Fanshawe, does not think highly of the English, especially not the English nobility. And that was even before she lost her close friends to the violent war atrocities committed by English soldiers. And yet, here she is on English soil, accompanying the orphaned child of the friends to unite him with his titled grandfather. Turns out, the task is easier said than done, because the grandfather and his family perfectly 3.75/5. Well-written with likeable protagonists. Patriotic American, Natalie Fanshawe, does not think highly of the English, especially not the English nobility. And that was even before she lost her close friends to the violent war atrocities committed by English soldiers. And yet, here she is on English soil, accompanying the orphaned child of the friends to unite him with his titled grandfather. Turns out, the task is easier said than done, because the grandfather and his family perfectly live up to Natalie's low expectations of the aristocracy by treating both her and the child with disdain and distrust. Enter Hadrian Ames in all his ducal glory. He reluctantly comes to the rescue of this frank woman and the lively little boy while on his way to meet the young lady earmarked to be his wife. As it turns out, the orphan's grandfather is the sire of the potential wife in question and so his compulsive chivalrous nature demands that he accompanies them to their joint destination. Of course, his marital plans get derailed pretty much at first sight of the beautiful Natalie and suddenly the thought of marrying a young and timid debutante is as distasteful as the knowledge that Natalie intends to sail back to America as soon as her promise to her deceased friend has been accomplished. I like both protagonists and the little boy is a cutie. It was amusing that she was revulsed by his incestuous marital intent (the girl was his 2nd cousin) as well as the age difference (11-12 years?). I like her egalitarian attitude and refusal to genuflect or show deference to anyone else and I adore his unwavering support for her beliefs. "You are the equal of any noble. I won't have you acting against your principles."I would have loved for him to start off with being the haughty man, he and his acquaintances all referenced. We just never saw any evidence of this arrogance and snobbishness from him. He was nice and supportive from the start.He set his jaw. "Society will accept you. I'll make certain they do."Smiling wistfully, she shook her head in gentle exasperation. "You have it all wrong, Hadrian. It isn't whether English society will accept me. It's whether I will accept English Society."This was an ARC from NetGallery.
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  • Stacee
    January 1, 1970
    I did like the premise of this one, but sadly, was fairly bored. I liked Natalie and Hadrian well enough. They’re both good people, even if a little bland. I enjoyed her loyalty to Leo and her friend. He never really acted like a Duke, except for the entire part of being 31 looking at a 17 year old to be his bride. Leo absolutely stole everything scene he was in and I also really liked Hadrian’s sister and mother. They brought some levity. Plot wise, it was meh. I never really saw the chemistry I did like the premise of this one, but sadly, was fairly bored. I liked Natalie and Hadrian well enough. They’re both good people, even if a little bland. I enjoyed her loyalty to Leo and her friend. He never really acted like a Duke, except for the entire part of being 31 looking at a 17 year old to be his bride. Leo absolutely stole everything scene he was in and I also really liked Hadrian’s sister and mother. They brought some levity. Plot wise, it was meh. I never really saw the chemistry between them and didn’t care enough about the situation to root for their HEA. There were a lot of odd to me word choices and some of the sex scenes were just plain icky. And I know this is sort of a jumbled mess of a review, but I’ve rewritten it four times, so there’s that. Overall, something kept me reading, but I’m not sure what it was. I doubt I’ll be reading the next book in the series. FYI: there’s a fight scene with between a man and a woman with the intent to rape if she doesn’t comply**Huge thanks to St. Martin’s Press for providing the arc free of charge**
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  • Edwina
    January 1, 1970
    Hardrian Ames the Duke of Clayton is on his way to propose marriage to 18 year old Lady Ellen. He is held over at an Inn because of an Ice Storm. He meets Natalie Fanshawn when her 6 year old charge is hidding in his rooms. Natalie is 26 year Ameican who promised Leo's mother when she was dying to bring Leo back to his family in England. Hardrian and Natalie have an immediate attraction. The story is Okay. Its just didn't have the romantic sparks I like. It didn't ring true to the era. I know Hardrian Ames the Duke of Clayton is on his way to propose marriage to 18 year old Lady Ellen. He is held over at an Inn because of an Ice Storm. He meets Natalie Fanshawn when her 6 year old charge is hidding in his rooms. Natalie is 26 year Ameican who promised Leo's mother when she was dying to bring Leo back to his family in England. Hardrian and Natalie have an immediate attraction. The story is Okay. Its just didn't have the romantic sparks I like. It didn't ring true to the era. I know its just fiction but something was missing. Even with that it was a good story just not great!! ARC KINDLEY PROVIDED BY NETGALLEY FOR AN HONEST REVIEW!!
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  • Jackie
    January 1, 1970
    I won this in a goodreads giveaway. It’s a good book. Typical romance novel nothing overly exciting or unique but a solid book
  • ♥ WishfulMiss ♥
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 3.5 Stars I loved the twist of to this story. I haven't read much by this author but I really enjoyed this historical romance. She gave life to characters that were likable and memorable. It's not often you get a romance with the hero so adamant to pursue his heroine without any ulterior motive other than wanting to get to know her better. Hadrian steps outside the norm by being a determined suitor slowly but surely breaking down Natalie's walls. He fights for a chance to see where Rating: 3.5 Stars I loved the twist of to this story. I haven't read much by this author but I really enjoyed this historical romance. She gave life to characters that were likable and memorable. It's not often you get a romance with the hero so adamant to pursue his heroine without any ulterior motive other than wanting to get to know her better. Hadrian steps outside the norm by being a determined suitor slowly but surely breaking down Natalie's walls. He fights for a chance to see where their attraction can go and doesn't shy away from his own feelings. I really liked that about him and this story. He wanted to break down the barriers between them and win her body, heart and mind. The hero isn't in denial or just in lust (although there is plenty of that brewing between the MCs), he's a smart, direct and open minded. The start to their relationship is different that what's the normal in historical romances and I found it all refreshing. With her cheek flushed from the encounter, she looked the precise opposite of frightful. She made such an adorable picture that a soppy warmth stirred in the region of his chest. It was a feeling so foreign to his customary cool hauteur that it threw him off-kilter. Natalie is an American, so her views are different and nothing is more different than seeing the aristocracy perform around a Duke! I loved seeing her navigate her assumptions after getting to know Hadrian's personality. Seeing her back step and re-evaluate her opinion showed emotional growth and added layers to her character. I could definitely relate to her character but I also loved watching Hadrian befriend and then slowly seduce her!Hadrian is a stern, no-nonsense Duke. He knows his duty and he knows what's expected of him. But he is also progressive and openminded. When he meets Natalie, he is immediately intrigued and the more he's around her, the more he is convinced she is one of a kind. "You're a beautiful woman, inside and out, and should anyone in society dare to scorn you, they will know my wrath." If you want to read about a determined Hero who pursues his hard to convince heroine that they deserve a chance at HEA with each, this book will not disappoint!* * *  ARC provided for an honest review * * *I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. SAFETY INFO: (view spoiler)[Ages : Natalie is 26 and Hadrian is 29.Cheating :None. The betrothal is never made official and no one's feelings are hurt when it's completely taken out of the equation.OM/OW drama : Yes but it's more like an omission to the truth. Before meeting Natalie, Hadrian planned to propose to Lady Ellen because of an understanding between both their fathers. But then he meets Natalie and he decides he'd rather pursue her instead. Not wanting to frighten her away and needing more time to let her see the good in him, he lets her think the betrothal is still a possibility. Not too dramatic or angsty.Separation : None.Push/Pull  : Yes, Natalie has plans that don't include staying in England, let alone falling for a member of the peerage. She takes a while to convince :) Main Pursuer of relationship : HadrianPossible Triggers : family drama, arranged marriage/betrothal.HEA/HFN : Ends on a HEA, no epilogue. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Anita Byars
    January 1, 1970
    OMG!! Sensual and passionate and with an unconventional, intriguing storyline that was utterly captivating. Beautiful writing, intricate characters with scorching chemistry that made FOREVER MY DUKE another winner for me. Deliciously tantalizing that will have you begging for more and weak in the knees. Hadrian Ames the eighth Duke of Clayton, is ready to get married, and put his days of being hunted as society’s biggest matrimonial prize behind him. He has the perfect bride already in mind. His OMG!! Sensual and passionate and with an unconventional, intriguing storyline that was utterly captivating. Beautiful writing, intricate characters with scorching chemistry that made FOREVER MY DUKE another winner for me. Deliciously tantalizing that will have you begging for more and weak in the knees. Hadrian Ames the eighth Duke of Clayton, is ready to get married, and put his days of being hunted as society’s biggest matrimonial prize behind him. He has the perfect bride already in mind. His second cousin, Lady Ellen. She fit his criteria and standards for the ideal wife, she is attractive, a blue-blood of impeccable background, and is not overly chatty. Now he just needs to see how they get along. But on his way to meet with her family and his prospective bride, he is delayed by an ice storm. Forced to take a room at an Inn for the night, where his dinner is interrupted by a little boy who quickly hides under his table. When a woman steps in to the room looking for the little boy, he can’t stop staring at the beautiful, fascinating woman in front of him. When she reaches forward to shake his hand, he felt as giddy as a school boy, meeting his first pretty girl. It made no sense. Natalie Fanshawe has been acting as Leo’s guardian since his parents were killed in a massacre in America. As her best friend was dying she begged her to bring Leo to her family in England. She isn’t sure what type of reception awaits them since she had never received a reply to her letters. But Natalie knew she didn’t like British aristocracy, her whole life her father had told her about the class system in England and she felt it was all just based on the luck of your birth. She was used to equality for all. Hopefully his family would welcome Leo into their home and give him all the love he deserved. But what will happen if they don’t? Is Natalie and Leo destined to go back to America? Or will a new ally give them everything they never knew they wanted? American and English cultures will clash in the parlor as well as the bedroom, when these two come together for the sake of a little boy. Get ready for intense desire, delicious shivers, passionate kisses, tempting touches, as these two opposites captivate and seduce one another. As Natalie a woman of character, warmth, and charm, not to mention great beauty, and Hadrian a enthralling, enticing Duke, that under all his cool hauteur, is really a kind chivalrous gentleman, who can tempt a woman with one smoldering look, fall hard for each other. Because nothing in all the world could be better than Forever with a Duke!“It seemed the both of them had needed to learn that love was the most precious gift of all-and that all else in life paled by comparison.”Complimentary copy received for an honest review.
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  • Debby
    January 1, 1970
    This is my second book I've read by Ms. Olivia Drake and I thought it was okay. "Forever My Duke" started offa bit slow but then it picked up. I thought the Duke of Clayton was a bit pushy but understandably so in order to assist Natalie Fanshawe who is see by her best friend's family as some imposter. The only thing she wants is to return the orphan, Leo to his rightful family. I love Natalie's independent, carefree attitude with regards to the rules of Society. Natalie and Hadrian make a This is my second book I've read by Ms. Olivia Drake and I thought it was okay. "Forever My Duke" started offa bit slow but then it picked up. I thought the Duke of Clayton was a bit pushy but understandably so in order to assist Natalie Fanshawe who is see by her best friend's family as some imposter. The only thing she wants is to return the orphan, Leo to his rightful family. I love Natalie's independent, carefree attitude with regards to the rules of Society. Natalie and Hadrian make a wonderful pair and this story has it share of plots and twists. I found myself wanting at times to wring the necks of quite a few people but glad the story had its HEA in the end. A nice comfy read and I enjoyed it.Thanks very much to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for my fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.3-Stars
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  • Elodie
    January 1, 1970
    Forever My DukeUnlikely DuchessesOlivia Drakehttps://www.facebook.com/Olivia-Drake...Release date 12/31/2019Publisher St Martin’s PaperbackBlurb :Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton, needs a bride. He even has the perfect one picked out. That is, until he meets the lovely, free-spirited Natalie Fanshawe. She’s the opposite of what a man of his high rank should desire in a wife—an outspoken American who has never even set foot in a London ballroom.But Natalie doesn’t have time to be swept off her Forever My DukeUnlikely DuchessesOlivia Drakehttps://www.facebook.com/Olivia-Drake...Release date 12/31/2019Publisher St Martin’s PaperbackBlurb :Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton, needs a bride. He even has the perfect one picked out. That is, until he meets the lovely, free-spirited Natalie Fanshawe. She’s the opposite of what a man of his high rank should desire in a wife—an outspoken American who has never even set foot in a London ballroom.But Natalie doesn’t have time to be swept off her feet by a handsome duke who must be a spoiled scoundrel like every other British lord. And she couldn’t care less about Hadrian’s title. After all, it’s not as if he actually worked to attain his wealth and status. He surely can’t understand what it’s like to be a busy woman, planning to open a school while trying to reunite a six-year-old orphan with his English relatives. Nevertheless, Hadrian launches his campaign to win her heart. Can the utterly delightful American beauty ever find a way to love him…despite his being a duke?My review : Can an American commoner and a english peer find a mutual ground when everything seems to set them apart...This is my first read by Mrs Olivia Drake and once I began my reading, it was quite impossible to put this book down.Sure I have a few reservations but I was quickly engrossed in this story, and needed to see what would come after.The first chapter introduced Hadrian as a haughty person, but how wrong I was.What an arse he appears at the beginning when in fact he is just the result from his upbringing and he could have been much more worse. His requirements for the perfect bride is what was imprinted in him since his childhood, he had known nothing else, and is expected to follow the society’s rules.He might be lofty but never conceited, plus he is kind too. From the very beginning, he shows respect to Natalie, always trying to help her when he could have turned his back to her troubles. At every turn, he is there to support Natalie, his overbearing presence is only due to his breeding. And rather quickly, he sets his cap on winning her over, she a woman who has very few to recommend her. He even fears he might fail.Natalie in fact is the one bearing a grudge against him, she faults him for his birth. While he can’t change it, he tries to show her she can relate on him.She is a strong willed woman, what she went through made her tougher, but she is still a caring woman with dreams to help the weaker and poorer. Her main flaw is she needs time to see beyond the facade. Not every commoner is good nor every peer bad. So when Hadrian realized he has no interest in a perfect bride and is much more enthralled by the very woman who might reject him for his rank, she learns the world is not white nor black.I liked that for a change, the arrogant duke was in fact from the beginning a fair man with a noble heart. He just needed the right woman to open himself and let his true self free. I do love Leo, he is a fun little boy and for once not presented as a precocious child, he acted like a little boy of 6 and was quite a naughty sweetheart.My reservation is during the first part of the story it looked out of character for them to lust so much after one another. I do prefer when there is an attraction which evolves to a slower pace than insta-lust rendering the women knees-weak and the men driven by the brain in between their legs. So I was glad when at a time, when together they were finally able to think straight.Mrs Blake has drawn up a spirited tale of fighting one own biases to comprehend the true power of love.4.5 starsI was granted through Netgalley by the publisher an advance copy, but also purchased my own.Here is my true and unbiased opinion.https://www.facebook.com/429830134272...
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  • Sissy's Romance Book Review
    January 1, 1970
    Forever My Duke by Olivia Drake is book Two in the Unlikely Duchesses series. This is the story of Natalie Fanshawe and Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton. I have read the previous book which helped me to enjoy this one but you can make it a standalone book if you wish to do so. Hadrian is a Duke who is very sought after my mother's for their daughter not to mention the daughters. Hadrian becomes fed up and thinks maybe he should just marry his second cousin who is 18 years old. Hadrian head out Forever My Duke by Olivia Drake is book Two in the Unlikely Duchesses series. This is the story of Natalie Fanshawe and Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton. I have read the previous book which helped me to enjoy this one but you can make it a standalone book if you wish to do so. Hadrian is a Duke who is very sought after my mother's for their daughter not to mention the daughters. Hadrian becomes fed up and thinks maybe he should just marry his second cousin who is 18 years old. Hadrian head out to see her but is stopped by a storm and stays in a 'hotel'. There Hadrian meets Natalie and Leo. Hadrian is take with Natalie immediately but also shocked by her less excited attitude towards his Title. Natalie is an American women around 26 years old who knows what she wants and will go to end of the earth for those she loves. Which leads her to fulfill a dying wish that Natalie takes her charge, Leo to his family home in England. Leo's mother wanted him their so he can have a better life with his English family. But things don't go to easy. First she meets Hadrian who she is attracted to but she has no use for the English men and their titles. Then the family isn't so ready to accept the boy as their which leads her to be in America longer given Hadrian more time with her. Enjoyed their story.
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  • Douglas Meeks
    January 1, 1970
    I really wanted to give this book 4 Stars but this may be the last book I read from this author. They all read like this to me: Great story but drags on and on and then after being dragged through the countryside in a very long but interesting story she finishes it off in less than a chapter with no epilogue.This is not the first time and I felt cheated once again so let me make this a very short review, great story but drones on and on with a heroine you have to work at liking it wraps up in a I really wanted to give this book 4 Stars but this may be the last book I read from this author. They all read like this to me: Great story but drags on and on and then after being dragged through the countryside in a very long but interesting story she finishes it off in less than a chapter with no epilogue.This is not the first time and I felt cheated once again so let me make this a very short review, great story but drones on and on with a heroine you have to work at liking it wraps up in a few pages. I am tired of being cheated, I will stick to the "A" list writers.The story of Hadrian and Natalie could have been 5 Star but once again I am not sure if she just writes until she gets tired of a story then chops it off but been fooled once too often.3 Stars that could have been 5 in more talented hands
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  • Heather andrews
    January 1, 1970
    Hadrian doesn't take hints very well, “you know very well it’s improper for us to be alone in a bedchamber. You’ll have to leave at once.” Hadrian made no move to depart." Hadrian is often times irked by his woman, “I am steadfast, dammit. A regular stick-in-the-mud, remember?” I liked this book, I liked Hadrian.
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  • Cheryl
    January 1, 1970
    Natalie Fanshawe was an American who disliked the nobility, based on her father’s and friend’s experiences. However, she bravely brings Leo, her friends’ son to his grandparents in England. She is very much her own woman. Hadrian Ames, Duke of Clayton is attracted to Natalie but she is the complete opposite to the type of lady he should marry. Hadrian has a harsh upbringing with his guardian. However, they both want the best for Leo. This was an entertaining read with a dangerous event and two Natalie Fanshawe was an American who disliked the nobility, based on her father’s and friend’s experiences. However, she bravely brings Leo, her friends’ son to his grandparents in England. She is very much her own woman. Hadrian Ames, Duke of Clayton is attracted to Natalie but she is the complete opposite to the type of lady he should marry. Hadrian has a harsh upbringing with his guardian. However, they both want the best for Leo. This was an entertaining read with a dangerous event and two people who come to realise who they are meant to be with. I received a copy and have voluntarily reviewed it. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Aimie
    January 1, 1970
    Review Coming Soon.eARC was kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!For this review and more, check out:Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Wattpad
  • Jessica Grogan
    January 1, 1970
    So by 20%, this title had checked off pretty much every romance cliche. Some of these I can handle when they’re alone but when put together it makes for a title I don’t want to read. Those cliches were:-insta-lust. Hadrian is supposed to be this calm, reserved guy. Instead, he is attracted to Natalie the moment he sees her. Which brings up the next cliche:-the hero has only ever been attracted to one type of woman and the heroine is the complete opposite of that (Hadrian even thinks how he’s So by 20%, this title had checked off pretty much every romance cliche. Some of these I can handle when they’re alone but when put together it makes for a title I don’t want to read. Those cliches were:-insta-lust. Hadrian is supposed to be this calm, reserved guy. Instead, he is attracted to Natalie the moment he sees her. Which brings up the next cliche:-the hero has only ever been attracted to one type of woman and the heroine is the complete opposite of that (Hadrian even thinks how he’s always liked dainty women and Natalie is “tall and willowy”)-the hero wants to marry the PERFECT WIFE and doesn’t care about love-this isn’t so much a cliche but I do hate it: Hadrian plans to marry a woman that is not only his second cousin but is also only 17. I don’t care if it was done back then, it’s still yuck to me*I received an eARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • ✰ BJ's Book Blog ✰Janeane ✰
    January 1, 1970
    Copy received via Netgalley for an honest reviewForever My Duke is my first Olivia Drake read, so it is good to say that as this is book 2 in the series, it can be read as a standalone.This story did start out a little slow, however it did pick up the pace after a while.I am a big fan of Natalie - she feels very progressive compared to the other ladies in the story. She won't be bullied, she won't take being insulted, and she couldn't give a stuff about what everyone expects her to do - she does Copy received via Netgalley for an honest reviewForever My Duke is my first Olivia Drake read, so it is good to say that as this is book 2 in the series, it can be read as a standalone.This story did start out a little slow, however it did pick up the pace after a while.I am a big fan of Natalie - she feels very progressive compared to the other ladies in the story. She won't be bullied, she won't take being insulted, and she couldn't give a stuff about what everyone expects her to do - she does it and she owns it.Now, Clayton. I wanted to love him, I really did. However he came across as a bit of a bully, an arrogant ar$e and a bit of a flibbertigibbet. I mean, one minute he was off to propose to one lady, then next he was all about someone else. I did like things that he did for Natalie and her charge for the most part, but still, not so much at times.This book just didn't seem, to me, to fit in with the time period. Something just felt a bit off about it - however this could just be me. So, whilst I did like Forever My Duke, I wasn't exactly blown away by it. I am sure it will be a favourite for many readers, just not for me.
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  • Didi
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars rounded UPOlivia Drake’s second installment to her “Unlikely Duchess” is a lovely romance with a sprinkle of humor that liven up the story. A standalone set in Regency England, FOREVER MY DUKE had Hadrian Ames, Duke of Clayton, butted head with outspoken and free-spirited American Natalie Fenshaw who arrived in England to reunite an orphaned son of her dearest friend with his late mother estranged family. From the first meeting to their not-wooing that shifted to furtive-wooing that 3.5 Stars rounded UPOlivia Drake’s second installment to her “Unlikely Duchess” is a lovely romance with a sprinkle of humor that liven up the story. A standalone set in Regency England, FOREVER MY DUKE had Hadrian Ames, Duke of Clayton, butted head with outspoken and free-spirited American Natalie Fenshaw who arrived in England to reunite an orphaned son of her dearest friend with his late mother estranged family. From the first meeting to their not-wooing that shifted to furtive-wooing that blossomed into proper courting, Hadrian and Natalie’s clash of personalities were fun to follow. I enjoyed the witty repartee between these two strong headed characters, their banter and arguments - even in the throes of passion. The plot might be predictable - what with the number of disagreeable side characters making havoc in the name of self justification. But the highlight for me was six-year-old Leo’s nature who brought merry and mischief in any situation (that got me inclined to rounded up the rating, just because). In term of family drama, this book has it all: one with rigid and unbalanced relationships among family members (the typical society family), the eccentric mashed with uptight one, and the unconditional loving one. Hint: one of them wouldn’t survive the story intact. Natalie’s character was unusually progressive for that time (period) which made her an interesting heroine. And while I got a bit impatient with the initial “we can’t be together” reasoning, it didn’t drag on too long. Of the two in the series so far, I liked this one better than the first one. It’s a good-humored, feel-good story - massacre incident aside - that entertained me (reading) from start to finish. Copy of this book is kindly given by the author/publisher via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Elaine
    January 1, 1970
    Miss Natasha Fanshawe is an intrepid young lady who escaped a massacre in which her best friend and her husband were brutally killed, leaving their six year old son, Leo, an orphan. Natasha promised her dying friend to act as guardian to the young boy and take him to her father, Lord Godwin, at his home in England. En route the lively young lad escapes to hide, taking refuge in the private rooms of Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton. It turns out they are all travelling to the same destination Miss Natasha Fanshawe is an intrepid young lady who escaped a massacre in which her best friend and her husband were brutally killed, leaving their six year old son, Leo, an orphan. Natasha promised her dying friend to act as guardian to the young boy and take him to her father, Lord Godwin, at his home in England. En route the lively young lad escapes to hide, taking refuge in the private rooms of Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton. It turns out they are all travelling to the same destination and fate ensures they travel together. The reception given to Leo by his relatives leaves much to be desired as Lord Godwin refuse to acknowledge his grandson without proof.Natasha has little respect for aristocrats and is determined not to be taken in by Hadrian, even though he seems to believe her and she is definitely attracted to him. As he endeavours to prove her beliefs about the English nobility to be false, he also strives to woo her. Can this unlikely pair prove to be a match? With a conniving mother wanting her daughter to be Hadrian's wife, someone else threatening her and Leo, a Prince to meet and a kidnapping to thwart, this is an action packed regency romance with plenty of twists and turns before they can have their HEA!This is a fun read and great to escape into. It is a story of fulfilling dying wishes, believing in yourself, learning to love and being prepared to follow your heart. It is a lovely story and I'll definitely look out for more in this series and by this author in future.I requested and was gifted a copy of this book via NetGalley and this is my honest review after choosing to read it.
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  • Norah Gibbons
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley to read in exchange for a fair review. Forever My Duke by Olivia Drake is the second book in the Unlikely Duchesses series. It can be read as a standalone. Hadrian Ames, Duke of Clayton is in need of a wife and since there was an agreement between his father and his cousin who served as as his guardian that Hadrian would unite the families by marrying his cousins daughter he is on his way to visit them and to see if he and his young cousin will I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley to read in exchange for a fair review. Forever My Duke by Olivia Drake is the second book in the Unlikely Duchesses series. It can be read as a standalone. Hadrian Ames, Duke of Clayton is in need of a wife and since there was an agreement between his father and his cousin who served as as his guardian that Hadrian would unite the families by marrying his cousins daughter he is on his way to visit them and to see if he and his young cousin will suit. When inclement weather forces him pause his journey at an inn he makes the acquaintance of the lovely American Natalie Fanshawe who has brought her young ward Leo Bellingham to reunite him with his English relatives as his parents are dead. In a twist of fate it turns out that Leo is the son of the cousin that Hadrian grew up with and thought of as a sister. In a lovely friends to lovers story Hadrian soon learns that perhaps the perfect duchess is not what he needs and that his happiness will depend on convincing Natalie to take a chance on a British Lord instead of returning to America. Medium Steam. Publishing Date December 31, 2019 #NetGalley #ForeverMyDuke #OliviaDrake #HistoricalRomance #StMartinsPress #StMartinsPaperbacks #bookstagram @stmartinspress
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  • Caiti (The Romance Mom)
    January 1, 1970
    While I didn't dislike this book it didn't leave a particularly strong impression on me. I liked the 'Sassy American woman takes on the stuffy British Artistocracy' angle because I always enjoy that in an historical romance but I just had a difficult time connecting with these characters and their story.This is a well-written book with some clever and amusing moments, but I think, for me, the romance moved too slowly and didn't burn as hotly as I prefer. Most likely a case of 'just not for me'. While I didn't dislike this book it didn't leave a particularly strong impression on me. I liked the 'Sassy American woman takes on the stuffy British Artistocracy' angle because I always enjoy that in an historical romance but I just had a difficult time connecting with these characters and their story.This is a well-written book with some clever and amusing moments, but I think, for me, the romance moved too slowly and didn't burn as hotly as I prefer. Most likely a case of 'just not for me'.Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy. I voluntarily read and reviewed this book and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Crystal ♥ RBtWBC
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 StarsAn enjoyable tale. Some repetitiveness, pretty predictable, and no connection to the first book in the series, but a nice read. Review to come...
  • Maria
    January 1, 1970
    Passionate and emotionally involving, with the right dose of steam given the historical setting of the book, an enticing story of a duke who has plans to settle down by marrying one of his ranking, unaware of what fate has in store for him. A snobbish aristocrat with his pompous world and an American spunky girl with beliefs of equality. This is such an unusual match but the reader will soon be caught by their growing connection to one another.
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  • Dan Curnutt
    January 1, 1970
    Natalie Fanshawe has a small problem, his name is Leo. Natalie is an American whose best friend was an English Noblewoman. They met on the wild frontier of America. Lady Audrey had given up her title and her family connections to marry a preacher. They then moved to America as Missionaries. But when tragedy struck and both Lady Audrey and her husband were killed little Leo was left without any family in America. Audrey's dying request of Natalie was to take Leo back home to his grandfather so Natalie Fanshawe has a small problem, his name is Leo. Natalie is an American whose best friend was an English Noblewoman. They met on the wild frontier of America. Lady Audrey had given up her title and her family connections to marry a preacher. They then moved to America as Missionaries. But when tragedy struck and both Lady Audrey and her husband were killed little Leo was left without any family in America. Audrey's dying request of Natalie was to take Leo back home to his grandfather so that he could have a secure lifestyle.The Duke of Clayton also has a small problem. He needs to marry and produce an heir to carry on the family name and legacy. He is on his way to seek the hand of a "very young" lady whom he has known since she was just a child. But he isn't sure this is the best match.When the Duke of Clayton meets Natalie Fanshawe he is completely enthralled, smitten, captivated, whatever term you want to use, they all fit. He has never met a woman who has a mind of her own, abhors the British Aristocracy, and is capable of taking care of herself and others. The rest of the story is amazingly written. The love between the two will grow, but neither wants to admit it. The Duke because he doesn't know how to love and Miss Fanshawe because she doesn't want to fall in love with a British Aristocrat. Little Leo almost becomes just a small part of the story, but in fact he is really the central character. He is born into the British Aristocracy but his grandfather doesn't want anything to do with his wayward daughter and especially her orphaned son.What will happen? Will there be a marriage? Will the boy be adopted? Will grandfather come around and love his grandson? Will Natalie and Leo have to return to America and make a living on their own?Enjoy the read!
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  • Reader
    January 1, 1970
    Forever My DukeBy: Olivia Drake3.5 Stars Blurb: Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton, needs a bride. He even has the perfect one picked out. That is, until he meets the lovely, free-spirited Natalie Fanshawe. She’s the opposite of what a man of his high rank should desire in a wife—an outspoken American who has never even set foot in a London ballroom.But Natalie doesn’t have time to be swept off her feet by a handsome duke who must be a spoiled scoundrel like every other British lord. And she Forever My DukeBy: Olivia Drake3.5 Stars ⭐️Blurb: Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton, needs a bride. He even has the perfect one picked out. That is, until he meets the lovely, free-spirited Natalie Fanshawe. She’s the opposite of what a man of his high rank should desire in a wife—an outspoken American who has never even set foot in a London ballroom.But Natalie doesn’t have time to be swept off her feet by a handsome duke who must be a spoiled scoundrel like every other British lord. And she couldn’t care less about Hadrian’s title. After all, it’s not as if he actually worked to attain his wealth and status. He surely can’t understand what it’s like to be a busy woman, planning to open a school while trying to reunite a six-year-old orphan with his English relatives. Nevertheless, Hadrian launches his campaign to win her heart. Can the utterly delightful American beauty ever find a way to love him…despite his being a duke?- H likable? Yes, but Clayton fell into insta attraction/lust with Natalie. It seemed out of character since he was supposed to be reserved, aloof, logical/rational- h likable? No, Natalie was too preachy, martyr, and political for my taste- h virgin? Yes- First time they kiss: 46%- First time they sleep together: 82%- OW/OM drama? Yes, the H is considering marrying someone else- H/h cheat? No- Steamy? No, mild- Did I skip pages? Yes- Big secrets? Yes. Natalie’s English family and Leo’s kidnapping- Did I cry? No - Cliffhanger? No- How it ends: Clayton and Natalie are together. - Recommend? Yes, though not my fav Olivia Drake but decent read. I couldn’t connect with Natalie and I don’t enjoy insta attraction/lust. Thank you to the publisher for providing the ARC.
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  • Susan Peterson
    January 1, 1970
    I was completely entranced by the story of Natalie, a brave American woman accompanying her ward to England, and Hadrian, an English duke. There was much warmth and humor in this book, as well as the conflict that Natalie faces as she embraces a country much different than the one she’d left. There was a bit of action and adventure as well. Hadrian and Natalie are different in so many ways, except for their love for a little boy, and their growing attraction for each other.
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  • Austine (NovelKnight)
    January 1, 1970
    Check out the original review and more on NovelKnight! This book was provided by the publisher (via NetGalley). This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I feel like it's not fair to call a romance novel formulaic and boring when that formula is a part of the genre, butForever My Dukewas too predictable to make it worth a second glance.On the surface, the premise caught my attention. An American (Natalie) coming to England always invites some sort of chaos in a Check out the original review and more on NovelKnight! This book was provided by the publisher (via NetGalley). This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I feel like it's not fair to call a romance novel formulaic and boring when that formula is a part of the genre, but Forever My Duke was too predictable to make it worth a second glance.On the surface, the premise caught my attention. An American (Natalie) coming to England always invites some sort of chaos in a historical romance and I liked Natalie's character well enough, though her consistent stubbornness and complete 180 flip at the end did little to further endear her to me. She became the spokeswoman for rebellious Americans who can't stand the British which got on my nerves, especially when it came up over and over again and her attraction toward a certain English duke (Hadrian) grew.And okay, I don't actually know how dukes act but Hadrian's complete disregard to everything once Natalie showed up seemed out of sorts. And every description of him reiterates the same three physical attributes followed by Natalie's indecisive "I like him but he's English, oh what will I do?!" There just wasn't much to either one of them beyond a few (somewhat extreme) personality traits.As for their romance, I don't mind insta-love when something is done with it but I do tend to dislike insta-love straight to marriage, even if it might have been a socially acceptable thing to do in the time period of the book (like many of the historical romances I read).In this case, Natalie and Hadrian knew each other for mere weeks and their relationship was never really developed beyond having an intense attraction toward each other (more insta-lust than insta-love). As the basis for a marriage, I struggled to see a good reason for it especially as Hadrian was using it as his argument for Natalie to accept his suit and trade everything she knew for a life with him. I liked that Natalie called him on this plan of his and appreciated her desire for him to admit he loved her back but I didn't really believe her love for Hadrian so it all didn't quite ring true for me.As a whole, I found the story a bit boring. It's a quick read, don't get me wrong, but I wasn't really sticking with it most of the time because the characters didn't keep my attention and something just felt... off about the plot. Now, I will give Forever My Duke its due where it comes to Leo, the boy Natalie has taken guardianship of. Any time there's a child character I tend to love or hate how they're written. In this case, Leo was probably my favorite character and the only thing saving this book from a true do-not-recommend label.I might have been able to give it a few points for the story pace too if not for the last 10% when it felt like a mad rush to throw in a final bit of conflict to get Hadrian to "see reason," or however you want to phrase it. This particular twist was really easy to call based on a previous portion of the book, which isn't necessarily bad but combined with the pacing, it made the ending seem superfluous.Overall, I wasn't terribly impressed with Forever My Duke and can't say I'd recommend it to anyone looking for more than a quick romance with little story or character development to support it.For More Bookish Content: Blog || Twitter || Facebook || Bloglovin'
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  • AnnMarie
    January 1, 1970
    Forever and a Duke is the second book in the Unlikely Duchesses series by Olivia Drake. Although part of a series it can be read as a standalone book. If you are anything like me though, you will enjoy this one so much that you will want to go back and read the first book in the series before continuing when the next new books are released.Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton is fed up of the marriage mart, fed up of eager mothers pushing their eligible daughters at him. With that in mind, he Forever and a Duke is the second book in the Unlikely Duchesses series by Olivia Drake. Although part of a series it can be read as a standalone book. If you are anything like me though, you will enjoy this one so much that you will want to go back and read the first book in the series before continuing when the next new books are released.Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton is fed up of the marriage mart, fed up of eager mothers pushing their eligible daughters at him. With that in mind, he thinks the perfect way to stop them and to uphold a family arrangement would be to marry his second cousin, a young woman much younger than himself. He is on his way to visit that cousin, to decide if a marriage would work for them when he meets Natalie.Natalie, an American, has no love for England or the aristocracy. She is in the country to fulfil her promise of taking her charge, Leo, to his Grandfather. Leo's mother was estranged from her father but it was her dying wish that Leo was to be kept safe and given the best start in life by being brought up by family.Practically from the first moment that they met Hadrian was intrigued by Natalie especially as she didn't curtsy to him as his station demanded. She was one to shake hands, to feel and be equal to every person regardless of their station in life. When he realises that the young boy in her care is actually the grandson of the man he is heading off to see he offers them a lift to the estate. From there the story turns to one where Natalie finds herself having to prove Leo is indeed a member of the family. None of the family seems willing to accept him except for Hadrian that is. During the time it takes for investigations to take place a firm bond develops between Hadrian and Leo, and an immense attraction takes place between Hadrian and Natalie. It's one that both try to ignore, but the minute they give in to that first kiss there are veritable fireworks! Can they have a future together when they are from such different backgrounds and both want different things from life? What of Leo, can his identity be proven?This certainly wasn't a quick read, you definitely get your money's worth. When I saw the length of the book I hoped that I wouldn't find it to be full of stuff and nonsense, anything to just pad out the story. I am happy to report that every word, every paragraph was essential to the story. The story was well thought out, the characters believable, the passionate scenes were beautifully written and most importantly for me, there was a happy ending.Do I recommend this book? Yes, I do. It's not for those that fancy a quick read, but if you don't then you should love this story.
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  • Niki
    January 1, 1970
    Tired of being harassed by young ladies and their matchmaking mamas, and believing himself ready for marriage, Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton, has decided it's time he wed. He needs a proper blue-blooded wife and his distant cousin, Lady Ellen, will do nicely. Then he meets brash and irreverent American Natalie Fanshawe on the way to visit his potential intended at the Godwin estate and is captivated. This woman is nothing he wants in a wife and she disdains English society, but her allure is Tired of being harassed by young ladies and their matchmaking mamas, and believing himself ready for marriage, Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton, has decided it's time he wed. He needs a proper blue-blooded wife and his distant cousin, Lady Ellen, will do nicely. Then he meets brash and irreverent American Natalie Fanshawe on the way to visit his potential intended at the Godwin estate and is captivated. This woman is nothing he wants in a wife and she disdains English society, but her allure is undeniable.Natalie has no time for a spoiled English lord and it totally uninterested in titles or unearned wealth and status. She's preoccupied with her plans to open a school back in the United States and with her journey to escort her six year old ward, the now orphaned Leo Bellingham, her best friend's son, to his grandparents, the Earl and Countess of Godwin. Despite the fact that he continuously reminds himself of his need for a blue-blooded wife and Natalie's commoner status, Hadrian finds himself considering a future with her rather than Ellen, though he continues his original courtship ruse, aware of Natalie's disdain for the aristocracy and not wishing to scare her away by revealing himself too soon. Now he just has to convince her to stay with him, despite his lofty title.First off I really did enjoy this book. These two had chemistry, but man was this a slow burn. I liked seeing how Natalie challenged Hadrian and how his views and priorities subtly shifted throughout the book as he opened his eyes to the reality of his narrow world and strict upbringing. Natalie did try my patience quite a bit with her insistence on not accepting help, even though she'd already allowed Hadrian to help her quite a bit; her constant assertions of her need to return to her life in America even though it was made clear she had no family there and only the plan to start a school, a plan which had not yet been set into motion and which she could easily do in England instead. I did appreciate Natalie's unwavering sense of equality and her loyalty to her values, although she sometimes came off as rigid and a bit preachy. It was also annoying how much she judged Hadrian based on the actions of other aristocratic men and not for himself and I appreciated that he called her out for it. I enjoyed the intrigue at the conclusion, even if it was predictable and thought this book well-written, even if it was a bit repetitive at times. Overall, this was a good read and I'll look forward to more installments in the series.I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Michele
    January 1, 1970
    I thoroughly enjoyed Forever My Duke. Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton meets Natalie Fanshawe as they are both traveling to the same place for entirely different reasons. Hadrian is going there to meet a potential bride and Natalie is going there to fulfill her best friend's dying request. As they travel together, they discover that Natalie's best friend was Hadrian's second cousin that he grew up with. He is saddened to hear of her passing but enchanted by her son, Leo. Natalie promised to I thoroughly enjoyed Forever My Duke. Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton meets Natalie Fanshawe as they are both traveling to the same place for entirely different reasons. Hadrian is going there to meet a potential bride and Natalie is going there to fulfill her best friend's dying request. As they travel together, they discover that Natalie's best friend was Hadrian's second cousin that he grew up with. He is saddened to hear of her passing but enchanted by her son, Leo. Natalie promised to bring Leo from America to his mother's family in England.. Hadrian is actually part of that extended family.Hadrian is immediately taken by Natalie and her confidence. Natalie is also drawn to him but refuses to give into it. She dislikes much of England - specifically the class system and all the curtseying. Natalie also knows enough to figure out that the most she could be to the Duke would be a mistress and she's not interested in that. Therefore, she is determined to ignore her attraction. Events continue to bring them together and their affinity for one another continues to grow.Forever My Duke was a heartwarming tale of love - - not only in the romantic sense but also love of a child, of a friend and of your family. "Simply put, you're everything I never knew that I needed."Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press and Ms. Drake for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton, needs a bride. He even has the perfect one picked out, Lady Ellen his cousin & daughter of Lord Godwin who was his guardian. That is, until whilst he’s travelling to Godwin’s home he meets the lovely, free-spirited Natalie Fanshawe. She's the opposite of what a man of his high rank should desire in a wife--an outspoken American who has never even set foot in a London ballroom. Natalie has travelled to England to reunite six-year-old orphan Leo with his Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton, needs a bride. He even has the perfect one picked out, Lady Ellen his cousin & daughter of Lord Godwin who was his guardian. That is, until whilst he’s travelling to Godwin’s home he meets the lovely, free-spirited Natalie Fanshawe. She's the opposite of what a man of his high rank should desire in a wife--an outspoken American who has never even set foot in a London ballroom. Natalie has travelled to England to reunite six-year-old orphan Leo with his English relatives. Leo was the son of her dearest friend Audrey whose dying words were for Natalie to take Leo to his grandparents. Hadrian & Natalie locked horns from their first meeting & continued to do so but there was also an attraction, which grew as they spent more time together. It was a well written book with lots of clichés, the stiff upper lipped aristocrat & the free spirited American, the heir heading towards dissipation & the over strict guardian. I really liked both Hadrian & Natalie but loved Leo who stole every scene he was in & added levity to the book as did Hadrian’s mother. It flowed well & held my interest all the way through. The characters had depth & were well portrayed. I loved how Hadrian changed throughout the book & became a loving caring man.My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read
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