Book Review: My Dearest Duke by Kristin Vayden

About the Book:

Title: My Dearest Duke

Author: Kristin Vayden

Series: The Cambridge Brotherhood

Page Length: 312

Publication Date: Oct. 25, 2022

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Synopsis: A reluctant duke who’d rather be writing scholarly papers
A lady with a unique and scandalous secret
The tempting chemistry between them they can no longer deny
And a truth that will either set them free or tear them apart…

Lord Rowles Haywind has always shied away from the spotlight of his brother’s dukedom, worried it would bring too much attention to the family secret. His mother suffers from mental illness, and he dreads that he may turn out to have it to, or worse, that any children he may have will inherit her disability. Now that the title of Duke belongs to him, he has more responsibility than he ever dreamed of. He needs help, but he’s not sure he can trust anyone enough. Until he reconnects with Lady Joan Morgan…

Lady Joan’s penetrating insights reassure Rowles as no one ever has. But she has a secret of her own that would cause a terrible scandal. She longs to tell Rowles the truth about her work for the war office, but she’s afraid it’ll ruin the connection they’ve kindled. But the longer she waits to tell him, the worse the outcome could be for them both once the truth is out…

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon

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My Review:

My Dearest Duke is the second book in The Cambridge Brotherhood series. One thing I liked about the story is the variety of intellectual discussions between the protagonists, Rowles and Joan. Their conversations about women’s rights, politics, philosophy, and more are interesting and show the growing spark between the pair. I like how they intellectually challenge and engage each other and how they connect over their interests and past tragedies. Both have suffered tremendous losses, and they seem to understand each other even more because of their similar feelings and experiences. Their clean romance is one of the highlights of the story.

Another relationship I enjoyed was between Joan and her brother. Though he is a bit overprotective at times, Morgan has his sister’s best interest at heart. He is a good man and a loyal brother, but I didn’t really understand why he was so opposed to a relationship between Rowles and Joan other than the fact that there was a history of mental health issues in Rowles’s family.

Reading about the cruelty often inflicted upon people with mental health issues is always so eye-opening. In the story, Rowles’s mother has a mental illness, and so little is known and done about it that she becomes confined with little treatment. Rowles worries for his mother, himself, and the possibility of his children inheriting, which prevents him from acting on his feelings. Ignorance and prejudice, especially in regard to mental health make his mother, and him by extension, the gossip for the ton.

The story was a bit slow for me, and though I did like the intrigue as Joan and Morgan worked as agents for the government, I feel like the story could have ended way sooner than it did. Even with the undercover operations, and nefarious plots underfoot, the story dragged, and it could have wrapped up sooner than it was. I also wasn’t a fan of the religious aspects of the story and probably wouldn’t have picked it up if I had known religion was going to have a big role in the story. I feel like this should have been categorized as a Christian romance.

Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.



Favorite Parts:

  • The romance.
  • The philosophical discussions.

Favorite Lines:

Is it better to create a small change for society, or a monumental change for one person?

He might not be the best man. But perhaps, his love might be the best love.

A person could be crushed under the weight of it all. Yet maybe that was the unfortunate secret: A person never really broke; they bent till they had nothing left.


I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy clean, historical Christian romance.

5 thoughts on “Book Review: My Dearest Duke by Kristin Vayden

  1. Great review, Julie. It sounds like a book I would enjoy, but I don’t understand why authors keep going when a story could be ended satisfactorily.

  2. I liked the book, however, does the proof reader actually read it ? On page 21 the heroine has moss green eyes , but, on page 146 , her eyes are gray. A small detail , yet, noticeable .

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