Julian St. David, Duke of Haverford, is barely keeping his head above water in a sea of inherited debts. Though he has a long-term plan to restore the family finances, his sister has a much faster solution: host a house party for London's single young ladies and find Julian a wealthy bride.
Elizabeth Windham has no interest in marriage, but a recent scandal has forced her hand. As much as she'd rather be reading Shakespeare than husband-hunting, she has to admit she's impressed by Julian's protective instincts, broad shoulders, and, of course, his vast library.
As the two spend more time together, their attraction is overwhelming, unexpected... and absolutely impossible. With meddling siblings, the threat of financial ruin, and gossips lurking behind every potted palm, will they find true love or true disaster?
Two Windham sisters down and now Elizabeth the oldest faces a country house party with no less than a duke dangled before her. But before her protest that she’s only there for his library is off her lips, Haverford makes it clear that he plans to still be single at the end of his sister’s house party as well. I’ve enjoyed this series about the four sisters, their very different personalities, interests, and the men who pair them. Elizabeth and Julian’s story is no exception.
While reading No Other Duke Will Do in order would make this Windham Brides spin-off series more enjoyable, this particular book works well as a standalone as it doesn’t really build from the story that came before it.
Julian St. David, the Duke of Haverford is in debt up to his eyeballs at no fault of his own so he’s determined to do what he can to reverse poor financial decisions back three generations before he takes a bride. In the meantime, he’s stuck footing the bill for a houseparty he doesn’t want and can’t afford, he has responsibility to help his sister find a loving husband, his younger brother Griffin is simple thus needing his care, and the man who holds his promissory notes invites himself to the party. The man is ready to break under all that he is carrying on his shoulders. I loved his honorable and caring nature from the beginning. He certainly dashes the determined Miss Elizabeth Windham off her feet right when she is wholly focused on her books and remaining single because a handful of bad encounters with men have left her unmoved about taking one more chance that love might exist.
The introduction to the characters and the conflict is early on and then the story takes its time teasing things out building the overall tension of the story arc as well as the romance to the end. I loved the story and particularly Julian and Elizabeth together, but I confess to wanting for things to move it along a bit faster. Part of this is due to a few side stories like Julian’s sister’s own romance, his brother’s romance, and the beginning of a story for Elizabeth’s sister. The main story slowed down as a result. Oddly, I really enjoyed all these plot threads and wouldn’t want to sacrifice any of them so I’m not sure how to resolve that with my impatience over the pace.
All in all, that was a tiny niggle and this story was once again a lovely interlude and an engaging entry in the series. I really liked what I was seeing of Sherborne and Charlotte’s story so I can’t wait for that one to come out. Historical romance lovers who enjoy a gentle pace, a great cast of characters, and a slightly spicy romance should give these a go.
My thanks to Forever for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
New Release #196