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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Book Review: When a Duke Says I Do by Jane Goodger

Book cover of When a Duke Says I Do by Jane Goodger (historical romance novel)
In general, I find stolen birthright plots tedious.  I was pleasantly surprised, therefore, that Jane Goodger's newest romance, When the Duke Says I Do, took the stolen birthright plot and made it fresh and interesting.  Goodger's New England Gilded Age romances (The Perfect Wife,  When There is Hope, etc) have been among my favorite reads, but her Victorian England romances are equally good – and her newest nails the stolen birthright plot at the same time.

Goodreads summary: Miss Elsie Stanhope resided in Nottinghamshire, an area so rich in titled gentlemen, so felicitous for marriage-minded mamas, it was called "the Dukeries." Indeed, Elsie had been betrothed since childhood to the heir of a dukedom. She had no expectation it would be a love match. Still less that she would enter into a shockingly scandalous affair with an altogether different sort of lover. And the very last thing she imagined was that the mysteries of his birth would be unravelled with as many unforeseen twists and turns as the deepest secrets of her heart.

My thoughts: Despite the weighty plot, I found this book a delightfully easy and enjoyable read. Elise and Alexander (her artist/unknown aristocrat lover) are both charming and utterly deserving of a happy ending.  Both have been subject to the whims of their families (him devastatingly so), and Elsie especially is likable for how she has dealt with the blows fate has dealt her.  She's cheery and full of whimsy – if she isn't dashing into the ballroom for a moonlit Mozart sonata, she's hosting idyllic picnics with games and childlike chatter.

The drama of When A Duke Says I Do was predictable but satisfying in the end.  There's a debilitating illness and some devastating miscommunications between the lovers  (easily cleared up, natch) but in the end everything is as it should be.  Does it end a bit too easily, with all the ruffles smoothed out? Perhaps, but that's what made it a perfect holiday read.  Goodger deft plotting and characterization kept the book's resolution light, and I appreciated how quickly the HEA came about.  All in all, this was a very satisfying read, and I'll continue to keep Jane Goodger on my list for historical romances of any type.

Rating: B
Publisher: Zebra Books
Publication Date:  December 5, 2011
Length: 384 pages
Sesnuality: Steamy

Romance Novel Book Reviews by Sarah The Brazen Bookworm

Disclosure: I received this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.


  1. While this one doesn't interest me so much, I would be interested in trying the author since she shakes it up a bit.

    I'm actually thinking of giving up on historical romance in the new year. When I think of my favorite books or characters of the year, they are never in them. In fact, except for a few, I don't even remember them well after a while. They've always been my comfort reads but now I'm wondering if I should branch out.

  2. up on historical romance is a huge deal. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, right? :)


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Romance novel book review