The Duke Undone by Joanna Lowell
April 6, 2021, by Berkley
Review by Angela
I think the cute, artsy covers have confused me at this point, I just do not know what to expect when I open a book anymore. Joanna Lowell is a new to me author so that was no help either. The Duke Undone is waaaaaay more angsty (like whoa) and filled with dark themes than I expected. This isn’t a bad thing, but between the alcoholism, PTSD, dyslexia, family members being locked away against their will in insane asylums, possible poisonings, and gaslighting/theft by a trusted family friend I started to get a little overwhelmed.
I do want to say that I enjoyed this author’s voice. I really loved the heroine, Lucy, who is a no-nonsense, practical artist, and really enjoyed getting to know her. The hero, Anthony, was charming, and I did like him and the heroine together. But I will be honest when I say that I spent half this book shaking my head in exasperation. Anthony must abide by certain provisions to his father’s will to gain financial independence at his 30th birthday, which is like A MONTH AWAY. One of which is that he stops drinking and keeps from being embroiled in any scandals. Yet, he continuously sneaks out, with the help of his valet, gets roaring drunk, and then climbs up to his bedroom window to sleep it off. He even has alcohol stashed in his greenhouse. Supposedly his butler is in league with the villainous family friend who is currently overseeing the family fortune, yet Anthony never gets caught. I just….
Lucy, whose dad was an alcoholic and ruined her mother’s life, isn’t about to fall in love with someone who drinks to oblivion, yet she does. I mean even the way she meets him and what drew them together was her happening upon him naked, passed out in the street after a night of debauchery. She even thinks he is dead when she first comes upon him. But when I say Anthony is charming, I mean it. I don’t blame her for falling for this guy. His backstory is tragic all the way around, but he still retains his kindness and empathy. He’s funny and he recognizes her talent. He listens to her. Their romance is quite twisty and turny, especially since it’s super hard for her to trust him. Despite all the things that should keep them apart, they have this tremendous chemistry that keeps pulling them back together again.
There is so much going on in this book it’s impossible to give a concise review, but I will say that I did like this couple’s HEA. I do like how this author wrapped up the many, many plot threads. I do hope that readers get updates on this couple as the series progresses and I do plan on continuing on with the series.
Final grade- C+
CW- Alcoholism, PTSD, dyslexia, mentions of war, mentions of suicide and mental illness