About the Book:
Title: Always Be My Duchess
Author: Amalie Howard
Series: Taming the Dukes #1
Page Length: 368
Publication Date: July 12, 2022
Publisher: Forever Pub.
Synopsis: Lord Lysander Blackstone, the stern Duke of Montcroix, has only one interest: increasing his considerable fortune. After a series of betrayals, he keeps his emotions buried deep. Money, after all, can’t break a man’s heart—or make promises it can’t keep. But when his reputation for being heartless jeopardizes a new business deal, he finds himself seeking a most unusual—and alluring—solution…
Once an up-and-coming ballerina, Miss Geneviève Valery is now hopelessly out of work. After refusing to become a wealthy patron’s mistress, Nève was promptly shown the door to the streets. When she accidentally saves the life of a handsome duke, she doubts the encounter will go any better than her last brush with nobility. But instead of propositioning her, Montcroix makes Nève an offer she would be a fool to refuse: act as his fake fiancée in exchange for fortune enough to start over.
Only neither is prepared when very real feelings begin to grow between them. They both stand to win… but only if they’re willing to risk their hearts.
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Always Be My Duchess has been described as Pretty Woman meets Bridgerton, and that’s a fantastic comparison. The story follows Lord Lysander Blackstone, who hires out-of-work ballerina Genevieve Valery to pose as his fiancée. It’s an offer Neve can’t refuse, as she desperately needs money to care for her sister and ensure a respectable future. Neve and Stone aren’t prepared for the feelings that begin to grow between them, and soon their fake relationship becomes much more than either anticipated.
Stone is a wealthy and influential duke who buries his feelings deep. However, he is super generous, and not the heartless duke everyone thinks he is. Stone isn’t a person who expresses his feelings, and for that, he is often considered empty of compassion. This man has a difficult past filled with abuse, trauma, and loss, and he suffered a lot. His past has very much defined how he deals with his present, and has a lot to do with his closed off emotions and rigidity. I like that Neve helps him let his guard down and open up to others.
Neve is a fantastic protagonist! She’s strong, brave, and independent, and she shows an incredible amount of determination. In many ways, she is the opposite of Stone, especially when it comes to opening up to and befriending others. And I love Neve and Stone and their grumpy-sunshine, fake-dating swoon-tasticness! They have such fantastic chemistry from their very first meeting, and their romance progresses well over the course of the story. Their shared interest in the arts is a wonderful addition to the story, and I love all the ways Stone shows Neve that he cares. Some of his actions are super swoon-worthy and romantic!
I also really liked Neve’s relationship with her new female friends. Her friends are all unique and interesting, and they gregariously welcome Neve into their fold. I love stories that show women supporting women, and the way that these women unequivocally support, help, and encourage each other is fantastic. These women make Neve feel like she belongs, which is something she hasn’t felt in a long time. I also think it says something about Stone’s character, as these women hold him in high regard.
I always enjoy Howard’s romances. The writing is smart, fun, and engaging, the characters are layered and compelling, and the romances are swoon-worthy. I would definitely recommend this book to romance readers and am thankful to NetGalley, Forever Publishing, and the author for providing me with an advanced copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
- The romance.
- The characters.
When one had nothing, one’s word had to mean something.
Beauty, like ballet, has sharp, jagged edges. They both came with a cost, but some things were worth it.
Power could not disappoint. It could not cheat or steal. It laughed in the face of setbacks and reveled in the wake of victory. Power did not care about trivial things like emotion. Power was impervious. Power was control. Lysander scowled. Then why did he feel so goddamned defenseless?
I have it on impeccable authority that a body can’t survive without it’s heart, and you’ve had mine in your keeping since the day we met.
I would most definitely recommend Always Be My Duchess to lovers of historical romance!!