ARC Review: A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor

About the Book:

Title: A Duke in Time

Author: Janna MacGregor

Series: The Widow Rules #1

Page Length: 384

Publication Date: June 29, 2021

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Synopsis: Katherine Vareck is in for the shock of her life when she learns upon her husband Meri’s accidental death that he had married two other women. Her entire business, along with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a royal supplier, is everything she’s been working for and now could be destroyed if word leaks about the three wives.

Meri’s far more upstanding brother, Christian, Duke of Randford has no earthly clue how to be of assistance. He spent the better part of his adult years avoiding Meri and the rest of his good-for-nothing family, so to be dragged back into the fold is…problematic. Even more so is the intrepid and beautiful Katherine, whom he cannot be falling for because she’s Meri’s widow. Or can he?

With a textile business to run and a strong friendship forming with Meri’s two other wives, Katherine doesn’t have time for much else. But there’s something about the warm, but compellingly taciturn Christian that draws her to him. When an opportunity to partner in a business venture brings them even closer, they’ll have to face their pasts if they want to share each other’s hearts and futures.

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My Review:

In a patriarchal society where reputation is everything, Katherine knows her name must be above reproach, especially considering the secrets in her past. With a business on the line and other people depending on her, Katherine is determined to fix the messy situation her deceased husband left her and two other wives in. So, when she meets her husband’s brother, the Duke of Randford, she implores him to help.

As a Duke, Christian has much responsibility, especially after he learns that his deceased brother Meri had three wives. He wants nothing to do with his brother’s mess, but his conscience and the beguiling Katherine won’t let him ignore the situation. The lives and reputations of three women are in the balance. As Katherine and Christian try to figure out the mess that Meri left behind, will they give in to their growing feelings for each other? Will secrets from the past ruin their chance at love?

Christian is brave and determined and not one to shirk his responsibilities. He is also compassionate and thoughtful, and he has an amazing green thumb. A war hero and leader, Christian knows the horrors of battle. Like Katherine, Christian wants to use his success and influence to help others. I love that Katherine and Cristian share this desire to help others. They are both generous and compassionate, and they share so many great qualities.

Katherine is strong and fierce, and her kindness and regard for others are admirable. I mean, I don’t think, if I found out my husband married two other women, that I would invite the women to live with me. But Katherine sees women in need and in worse situations than her, and she is compelled to help. She works hard and helps others all while pursuing her own independence. She’s much like Christian in that way. They are both intelligent and strong-willed, and they make a great team.

Though Katherine and Christian didn’t meet under the best circumstances, their feelings for each other quickly grow. They have great chemistry and complement each other well. However, many complications and obstacles stand in their way. Though they had very different upbringings, they both are haunted by the past and things that happened in their childhoods. Some secrets threaten their relationship as well, and it’s interesting to see how their story unfolds and develops.

The story takes place in 1815, and the after-effects of the war are prominent throughout the story. Christian is a war hero committed to helping other veterans who need aid. Homelessness, unemployment, injuries, and PTSD are just some of the topics that are examined in the book. It also highlights the passivity society shows to these war heroes and their plight. I found this aspect of the story really interesting, and I love how Christian and Katherine try to help.

There are interesting commentaries throughout the novel about social classes, morals, and how one’s actions can affect others. Meri’s actions had profound effects on so many people, and his selfishness and thoughtlessness repeatedly put others at risk. In contrast, Katherine and Christian’s actions throughout the story have such positive impacts on the people in their lives. From employing people to offering shelter to creating new business opportunities, this pair defies social norms in the best ways possible. I love the strong messages and how they not only highlight prevalent issues but also add to the character development

I enjoyed this historical romance. It has great characters and great messages, and the love story is wonderful. The story also sets up potential romances in the next books, and I’m excited to learn more about the other two widows. Thanks so much to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and Janna MacGregor for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

  • The romance!
  • The messages and social issues presented.

Favorite Lines:

A man could easily surrender his soul by staring into the deep pools of golden green that shimmered in the light. If that man were lucky, he’d drown in such a vision. What good was a soul anyway when he could find the promise of heaven in her gaze? Such was the power of Katherine Greer.

There are no guarantees that any of us will experience or even find love in this life. But if we’re lucky enough to obtain it, we must protect and nourish it, much like a seedling until it can stand on its own and weather the elements. Love, if allowed to grow, develops deep roots.


This is a great book for readers who enjoy historical romance with great characters and a wonderful love story.

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