I have mixed emotions regarding My Dearest Duke. As with the first book in the series, I like the premise, yet I feel the story does not meet its full potential. Rowles is Joan’s brother’s best friend. The two reconnect at Joan’s come-out ball, and these friends slowly evolve into something more. Rowles and Joan harbor secrets that, if they come to life, could change everything.
I loved the characters of Rowles and Joan. Rowles is dealing with his mother, who has a mental illness. Rowles and Joan have suffered significant losses, and together they find solace and love. The different components of the plot worked well; however, when combined, the story seemed disjointed at times. I did not understand Morgan’s reluctance to the match; his motivations did not appear valid.
What did work was the beautiful way Rowles and Joan’s relationship bloomed in the last third of the novel. The couple finds comfort and connection with their burgeoning love. I loved how they were truthful and open-minded with each other.
My Dearest Duke is the second book in The Cambridge Brotherhood series. This book starts with relatable, lovable characters steering their way through grief and love. The first half of the book moved too slowly at times. However, the second half made up for the stilted beginning. Rowles and Joan wholeheartedly deserve their happily ever after. I enjoy the character-driven aspect of these books. Rowles and Joan’s story is heartbreaking at times, but their sweetly romantic tale captured my imagination and heart.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book through Netgalley and the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Release Date: November 8, 2022