When A Duke Says I Do
by Jane GoodgerPublished by: Kensington Books Imprint: Zebra Books Publish Date: December 6, 2011 Genre: Historical Romance/ Victorian Romance Source: ARC provided for review from Author My Rating: Blurb From Goodreads: Miss Elsie Stanhope resided in Nottinghamshire, an area so rich in titled gentlemen, so felicitous for marriage-minded mamas, it was called “the Dukeries.” Indeed, Elsie had been betrothed since childhood to the heir of a dukedom. She had no expectation it would be a love match. Still less that she would enter into a shockingly scandalous affair with an altogether different sort of lover. And the very last thing she imagined was that the mysteries of his birth would be unravelled with as many unforeseen twists and turns as the deepest secrets of her heart.
I love historical romance books, and I love the Victorian England setting because the characters have a set of rules and expectations that intrigues me. The characters have to work around those rules and expectations to discover themselves and to achieve happiness in their lives. When A Duke Says I Do is one of these books where the characters have to navigate the rules of society and challenge long-standing expectations.
The heroine of When A Duke Says I Do is Elsie Stanhope and she is a lonely character with a cheerful, hopeful disposition. She has had heartbreak in her life, but at the same time, she has also been very sheltered. Elsie has been engaged since her infancy to the heir of a Dukedom, but neither Elsie or the future Duke much appreciate having their lives mapped out for them. When Alexander, a shy painter’s assistant, meets and befriends Elsie, their attraction makes Elsie long for a different path in life. Their relationship also makes Alexander want to be more than he is, he longs to be the person he was born to be. When Alexander reveals his true identity, the truth will shake up the lives of two families in completely unexpected ways.
I really enjoyed this story. I felt for Alexander, he has a cruel life and he is a character without a lot of hope. Elsie’s nature is hopeful, and she breaths new life and determination into Alexander. Their relationship slowly develops, they do not have that instant-love attraction, which makes their relationship believable. Both Elsie and Alexander are lonely people, and they understand each other in ways no on else has. Elsie and Alexander are an excellent match, and as their friendship and relationship grew, the more engrossed I became in their story. Because of Alexander’s true identity, the relationship between Alexander and Elsie and the consequences cause quite the scandal and the outcome was very uncertain.
The pacing in When A Duke Says I Do is excellent. I was never bored or confused, and the plot was well developed and well rounded as well. There are multiple points of view, from Alexander’s to Elsie’s, even a few side characters have their own point of view at times.
When A Duke Says I Do is a well-written and charming historical romance read with endearing characters and a heartwarming story.
Historical Romance readers, I recommend When A Duke Says I Do. I very much liked this book, and I am looking forward to reading more from Jane Goodger in the future.