the book cover for One Duke Down by Anna Bennett
  • STAR RATING:  4 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 352 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: January 24th, 2023 
  • PUBLISHER: St. Martin’s Press
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Parental death off screen, kidnapping,
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY:  The Wallflower Series by Lisa Kleypas

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing an ARC copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.


Miss Poppy Summers is determined to keep her family’s fishing business afloat. Her poor widowed father has fallen ill, and her foolhardy brother has moved to London, leaving her precious little time to read or pursue her own dreams. But she’ll do anything for her family, so she cheerfully spends mornings in her rowboat, casting her nets. The very last thing Poppy expects or wants to find tangled in them is a dangerously attractive man. Especially one with a head wound—who’s convinced he’s a duke.

Andrew Keane is the Duke of Hawking, but he’s having the devil of a time convincing his fiery-haired rescuer of that fact. The truth is he came to the seaside resort of Bellehaven Bay to escape his life in London. Unfortunately, someone in Bellehaven wants to kill him—and he intends to find out who. He implores Poppy to tend to his injuries and hide him on her beach, reasoning it will be easier to find his attacker if that man assumes Keane is already dead. She wants no part of the scheme but can’t refuse the generous sum he offers in exchange for food and shelter while he recovers. It’s a mutually beneficial business arrangement…nothing more.

Under Poppy’s care, Keane regains his strength—and a sense of purpose. As they work together to solve the puzzle of his would-be murderer, he’s dazzled by her rapier wit and adventurous spirit; she’s intrigued by his mysterious air and protective streak. Though Poppy’s past gives her every reason to mistrust someone like Keane, the seawalls around her heart crumble in the storm of their passion. But when clues hint at the prime suspect in Keane’s attempted murder, Poppy must decide where her loyalties lie. Torn between the world she’s always known and the one she’s always dreamed of, she’ll need true love for a shot at her fairytale ending.

I love a good historical romance novel. I only started reading them a couple years ago, and while I have read some clunkers, there are way, way more good books than bad out there. I took forever to pick them up because I tended to think the covers were embarrassing or just plain ridiculous looking. Now, I will be the first to happily admit that the reason I wanted to read One Duke Down was because of that absolutely gorgeous cover. How rare is it to see both characters on the cover smiling? Especially on a photo-realistic cover like this one?

Thankfully, One Duke Down lives up to its cover. Keane, the Duke of Hawking, is absolutely head over heels for Poppy, a fisherman’s daughter. They meet in unusual circumstances (when don’t characters in romance novels meet in weird ways??), but it’s easy to see how they click together right away. I love it when a hero is just a total simp for their love, and Keane fits the bill perfectly. He’s willing to stand up for her almost immediately, and once he finds out about certain things in her past, he’s just raring to go beat someone’s head in for her. It’s amazing, it’s perfect, it’s what we want to see in a romance hero.

Poppy is independent, but fiercely loyal to her family. She’s very easy to like, and I loved that she wasn’t willing to bend to The Duke’s needs right away — she got what she wanted and then she decided to help him. She falls for him in a slower manner, but it’s still a joy to read.

Some parts of this book were a little eye-rollingly cringey, but to be quite honest, I’ve come to expect that with romance novels. Overall, though, I really enjoyed this one and do recommend that you pick it up. Poppy and Keane are adorable together, and I wish we got slightly more of an epilogue, honestly. But! No big deal — this one comes in at a solid 4 stars.

ONE DUKE DOWN comes out January 24th, 2023 

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