The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake
Unlikely Duchesses #1
December 31, 2018
First love is always the sweetest.
For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her aging parents and the children of her siblings. Now, eager to make her own life, she takes a position as governess on the neighboring estate. It shouldn’t matter that her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the infamous rake who once broke her youthful heart. Surely he’s forgotten her, for he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years. At least, that is, until he arrives unexpectedly.
Max is incensed to meet his sister’s new governess. But why does Abby appear just as displeased to see him when it was she who’d rejected him all those years ago? Why is he so drawn to the independent spinster she has become? And why is there a sparkle in her beautiful blue eyes that suggests they might have a second chance at love?
The first book in Olivia Drake’s new series is also the first book I’ve read of this author. I’m a sucker for a second chance romance so reading this blurb had me immediately hitting my request for review button.
This is mostly a sweet, at times frustrating, romance with a pleasant heroine and a hero who I neither loved nor hated. I found Max kind of meh.
When the book opens readers are introduced to Abby and her awful family. I mean for real, they are terrible. She loves them, but after spending her whole life taking care of her parents, and then after their deaths bouncing around from sibling to sibling serving in various capacities within their homes. In a moment of strength she announces that she won’t be passed around anymore and intends to go to work at the neighboring estate as a governess.
The neighboring estate happens to be the home of the Duke of Rothwell, who Abby knows quite well as they were once young and in love. Then Max’s mother died and his father moved him to London and the two lost all contact. Abby had heard of his reputation as a ladies man through the years, and has no desire to actually see him again, but she looks forward to getting away from her family and spending time working as a governess to Max’s younger sister.
Then something happens that forces Max to change his plans and bring his entourage to his childhood home.
While this was a pretty fast read, I can’t say that I was totally in love with either character or enthralled with their relationship with each other. Abby comes across as rather immature at times and I kind of wanted her to stand up to her family a bit more. Max spends most of the book thinking with his penis and allowing his questionable companions to have the run of his estate even while his sister was in residence. He is a cold, at times condescending, man and I just never felt like he fully morphed into the loving partner Abby needed. Their relationship took forever (it felt like anyway) to move along, but their chemistry felt off and I wasn’t fully on board for their HEA.
I may try the next book in the series, or I may try another book on this author’s backlist. I haven’t decided yet.
Final Grade -C