Happy Saturday! Today, I have two book reviews for you – one for a historical romance, and another for a contemporary read. Yours Truly, the Duke is the first in a new series by Amelia Grey, and Noth That Kind of Ever After is a contemporary read. Let’s check them out!
About Yours Truly, the Duke :
Title: Tours Truly, the Duke
Author: Amelia Grey
Series: Say I DO #1
Page Length: 368
Publication Date: March 28, 2023
Publisher: St. Martin’s
Synopsis: Fredericka Hale needs a husband, and fast. She’s been caring for her deceased sister’s three young children, and now a childless cousin has petitioned the court for custody. Fredericka is powerless to stop her, but having a husband might sway the ruling. The last thing Fredericka wants is a hurried-up marriage to a man she doesn’t know—much less love, but she’ll do it for the children. So when the handsome Duke of Wyatthaven shows up with a proposal, she accepts. He’ll help her, and in return, they’ll lead separate lives. But distance cannot keep them from their powerful attraction.
At the top of his game in London, the Duke of Wyatthaven has no interest in marriage. However, if Wyatt doesn’t marry by week’s end, he’ll lose a sizable inheritance from his grandmother. When Wyatt’s solicitor finds Miss Fredericka Hale, Wyatt considers this little hiccup solved. Miss Hale is lovely, and intelligent. Most importantly, she prefers country life to London, so he’s free to continue his life as usual. But when circumstances force Fredericka and the children to show up at the duke’s door, Wyatt can’t deny he’s always been under her spell. Will the duke give up his bachelor lifestyle and give into the fiery passion growing between them?
This is the first book in Amelia Grey’s new series, and it was an ok read for me. The story has a few tropes that I always enjoy, especially the marriage of convenience and the opposites-attract romance. Plus, the kids are adorable! I didn’t love the romance as much as some of the other aspects of the story, like Wyatt’s friend group, and Fredericka’s relationship, and Wyatt’s growing relationship, with the children.
The love story between Wyatt and Fredericka didn’t quite hit the mark for me. They have a lot to overcome, and there were times when they both frustrated me with their miscommunication and failed attempts to understand each other. I almost think they were too different. I found Wyatt to be immature, and it was hard to get invested in his character. Fredericka, on the other hand, was a bit too strict, which made it challenging to connect with her. Fredericka is very disciplined and straight-laced, while Wyatt is a rake and very carefree. He has a lot of growing up to do to fill the role of husband and father, and their parenting philosophies were so different. There were times when they complemented each other well, but the chemistry wasn’t quite there for me. It’s definitely a slow-building and burning, closed-door love story.
About Not That Kind of Ever After:
Title: Not That Kind of Ever After
Author: Luci Adams
Page Length: 400
Publication Date: Feb. 16, 2023
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Synopsis: Fairytale meets feminism in this frothy adventure of one woman’s journey to claim happily ever after in times of serial dating, swiping right, and the quest to find your soulmate.
Bella Marble’s life isn’t what she imagined. Instead of an author, she’s receptionist at a small press. Instead of happily married, she’s single, and her lovey-dovey parents are divorcing. And to top it off, her best friend of twenty-nine years, Ellie Mathews, is moving out and marrying the heinously boring Mark. (He’s not worthy of her. No one could be). Bella feels rudderless, only slightly soothed by time spent with Ellie’s (not hot) brother, (he’s not hot) Marty (okay, he’s hot. But he’s also the aggravating brother she never had—right)?
When Marty recommends Bella stop looking for “the one” and just have fun, Bella finds a new, empowered side of herself. But when she posts a fairy-tale retelling of a disastrous one night stand on a storytelling app, all of a sudden, Bella has become @B.Enchanted. And she’s gone viral.
Now, Bella’s in a fight with Ellie, her new roommates are so, deeply, weird, and the pressure is mounting to find new fairy tales to write about—but she’s got to live them first.
I was looking forward to reading this book, and I liked some parts. It’s funny and entertaining at times, and I like the messages about growth and forgiveness. Some of the friend scenes are fun and charming, and the dialogue and narrative are often comical. However, I didn’t really like any of the main characters, and I felt the story was less of a romance and more a story of a woman trying to find herself. Bella was a hot mess of a protagonist, and I had a hard time getting invested in her story. I could relate to some of her insecurities and fears, but she is incredibly self-absorbed and selfish, and she doesn’t treat her friends well. She acts really immature. I don’t know. I think I’m just the wrong audience for her character because if she were my friend I’d ghost her real fast. One conversation Bella had with Marty was specifically harsh. I hated how insensitive she was and how often she didn’t think before she spoke. It felt like she didn’t really value the people closest to her, and I found her actions and words hard to forgive. Luckily, she has friends that are way nicer than me. I feel like the story was meant to show Bella’s emotional growth, but she didn’t really grow that much. Even her decision to write about her disaterous dates feels petty and mean. I didn’t like Marty that much either. He is charming sometimes and does show Bella that he cares, but some of his other actions are so rude and insensitive. I had to keep reminding myself that these characters were supposed to be in their late twenties because they acted so much younger than that. I like that the story shows them flaws and all, but it feels like their flaws outweigh the good stuff. Overall, this wasn’t a terrible story. It just wasn’t the right fit for me.