Avon, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-06-241282-9
Historical Romance, 2016
Edwina Cheltam, the poor thing, is left with nothing after her boring, imbecilic husband died – that man entrusted everything to his brother, who then proceeded to do amazing vanishing tricks with all that money. Meanwhile, Michael, the Duke of Hadlow, needs a secretary. How lucky for him that Edwina can – and I quote – “balance accounts, drive hard bargains with tradesmen, oversee skittish maids, sort out the temperamental discord among upper-class servants, and keep an older husband relatively comfortable in illness.” Of course, she is also well-educated, and the only thing lacking in her life is that she is waiting for a hot well-moneyed man to come show her what it feels like when explosives are set off in her G-spot. Really, have her do all that while wearing stripper gear and I’d imagine that Edwina is written by a guy describing his dream woman.
Meanwhile, Michael feels that everyone and everybody is frivolous. Why would anyone ask him to compliment some flowers when the flowers are butt ugly? Why can’t people just smile and nod when he tells them they suck, because that’s the truth? Michael is such a dreadful snob, but something tells me the author wants him to be some adorable curmudgeon, even if doing so requires some suspension of disbelief. I mean, our hero seems completely ignorant of social norms or niceties for a Duke – he’s more like some socially awkward rhubarb that springs up overnight in a pot or something. Can a duke be this clueless?
Don’t worry, though – Edwina has a gruesome cute daughter who would traipse around like she is overdosed on happy pills, scolding Michael and saying things that are meant to be precocious just to be “cute”. She will draw Michael out of his shell and turn him into a la-la-la father of the year figure.
And, of course, they all live happily ever after.
Why Do Dukes Fall in Love? is essential every single thing one has ever read in these noble dude-shags-the-hot-help stories out there, so there are few surprises to be had here. The thing is, the author chooses to make this a story that is more focused on the internal drama. Normally, this is nice, but because this story is so familiar, I end up feeling like this bored lady, seated by the exit and playing with my phone as I wait for the characters in the story to catch up with me, and my god, they really are taking their time, sigh. While the author has done better this time around in transitioning cute to sexy, so this story isn’t so much like a tale of Care Bears having sex, that creepy daughter thing makes my skin crawl. She’s such a modern version of a stumpy creature popped into a story set in the 19th century.
Anyway, this one is well-written enough to be an easily digestible read – provided that creepy little girl doesn’t give you a heartburn – but it is so determined to be everything that has been done before, I’m hard pressed to come up with a good reason why one should read this one and not those books that have been done before out there. Oh wait, I can think of one reason: maybe if you like creepy little girls hell-bent on being cute, this one may fit the bill?