Summary from GoodReads:
In the new novel from the bestselling author of The Baron Next Door, May Bradford isn’t afraid to play devil’s advocate when it comes to a duke . . .
After her mother’s death, May’s sea captain father sends her halfway around the world to live with his stodgy sister in England. The summer festival in Bath made for a lovely distraction, but now she can’t wait for her father’s return so she can leave behind this country, its suffocating rules and – in particular – one infuriatingly proper nobleman.
Because he is the Duke of Radcliffe, William Spencer’s whole life revolves around his duties. He never sets foot outside the bounds of proper behavior, and he expects the same of those around him. With her devil-may-care ways, May vexes him nearly as much as she tempts him, but there’s something about her that he just can’t resist. He knows he’s falling hard for her, but with lives that are worlds apart, will they ever be able to find any common ground?
This charming, quick-witted Regency romance is a must for fans of Julia Quinn, Stephanie Laurens and Mary Balogh.
May was a character I loved instantly! She’s smart and snarky and completely out of her element. She is not accustomed to English Society’s stupid rules and regulations about how she can dress and behave and act. She just wants to be back at sea with her father, but she can’t be there now. Until then, she just wants to speak her mind and have fun, but her restricting aunt is having none of that. She is the queen of propriety and is determined to mold May in the image of a respectable English lady. You can guess how well that goes with May’s. Unfortunately for May, her aunt isn’t afraid to dole out punishment if her rules are broken, something May does quite a bit of. Then May meets (and insults!) the Duke of Radcliffe and things get exponentially worse. He is arrogant and stuffy and too handsome for May’s liking.
William Spencer, Duke of Radcliffe was not a hero I fell for quickly. He was too stuffy for my liking. You’re a Duke! Society bends to you, not the other way around. I know it’s a lot of responsibility and there are people depending on you, that’s fine, but live a little! Once you get to know him better, I liked him more. He’s affection for his siblings had a very real impact on my liking of him.
This is my favorite romance scenario, that I hate you…I dislike you…You’re growing on me…I like you…I might just love you type thing. I love watching opinions change as they get to know each other better and better. I love the snark and the arguments and slowly watching their walls crumble. I think when the relationship flows that way, I just feel the characters connections more. Everything they overcome to find that happily ever after just wins my heart every time.
As with the last Erin Knightley book I read, this is smut-free. There is a kiss or two, but there is no deflowering scene. At one point in my life, that would have really bothered me, but these days, I find it to be a refreshing change of pace. So many romance novels this days put too much focus on the sex and when the novel is sex-free, you know that won’t be the case. Don’t get me wrong, I like smut as much as the next romance novel lover, but sometimes it’s nice to focus on a romance that isn’t solely based off the raging hormones!
Can I just take a minute to be thankful that I got a UK edition of the book? This particular cover is so much cuter than it’s US counterpart. The entire series thus far, actually, has much pretty UK covers than the bodice-ripper types the US leans towards. It’s just so much more eye catching, in my opinion.
Anyway, this is a fantastic historical romance read. It has a romance you can really root for with characters you can’t help but sympathize with. It has it’s serious moments as well as many funny ones. The back-and-forth between Radcliffe and May is really priceless. What else could you ask for?
****Thank you to Piatkus for providing me with a physical copy in exchange for an honest review****