Thank you to Netgalley and Forever Publishing for providing an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Lord Lysander Blackstone, the stern Duke of Montcroix, has only one interest: increasing his considerable fortune. After a series of betrayals, he keeps his emotions buried deep. Money, after all, can’t break a man’s heart—or make promises it can’t keep. But when his reputation for being heartless jeopardizes a new business deal, he finds himself seeking a most unusual—and alluring—solution…
Once an up-and-coming ballerina, Miss Geneviève Valery is now hopelessly out of work. After refusing to become a wealthy patron’s mistress, Nève was promptly shown the door to the streets. When she accidentally saves the life of a handsome duke, she doubts the encounter will go any better than her last brush with nobility. But instead of propositioning her, Montcroix makes Nève an offer she would be a fool to refuse: act as his fake fiancée in exchange for fortune enough to start over.
Only neither is prepared when very real feelings begin to grow between them. They both stand to win… but only if they’re willing to risk their hearts.
This was a relatively cute historical romance novel. Nève Valery is a French ballerina down on her luck — she absolutely needs to find someone to hire her in a ballet. She needs money, in order to help pay for her ailing sister’s doctor. Lord Lysander Blackstone needs to prove that he’s an upstanding gentleman who’s settling down in order for another lord to sell him his property. Lysander only wants to buy this lord’s property in order to raze it to the ground so he can build his railroad through it. They have a rather hot meet-cute, and well, they come to an arrangement. Nève will pretend to be his fiancé, and Lysander will pay her big bucks.
This was really extremely slow to start for me. Their meet-cute was steamy, but then it cooled way, way down until I was left wondering where exactly the book was going. There was a solid chunk of the book where nothing really happened. Once it picked back up, however, the book picked up some heat again. Nève and Lysander butted heads a lot — Lysander was rather stoic, and I think supposed to have Asperger’s / be on the spectrum. Nève was bright, and bubbly, and hated that Lysander never really showed emotion. They’re at odds until Nève gets a bit more of Lysander’s history, and then, well, things make sense.
Overall, the book was cute. The supporting characters really stole the show when they were on the screen — I’m looking forward to their books, if they get any.
ALWays be my duchess COMES OUT july 12, 2022.
Preorder at your local indie bookstore, or at the following links: