About the Book:
Title: Never Met a Duke Like You
Author: Amalie Howard
Series: Taming of the Dukes #2
Page Length: 384
Publication Date: Nov. 14, 2023
Publisher: Forever Pub.
Synopsis: Lady Vesper Lyndhurst is beautiful, clever, and popular. Afforded every luxury as a duke’s daughter, she fills her days with friends, intrigues, and a self-professed knack for matchmaking. She may have sworn off love for herself, but she is rather excellent at arranging it.
Faced with an insolvent estate, the Duke of Greydon has no choice but to return to England in a final attempt to revive his family’s fortunes. He’s been gone for years, happy to have escaped his mother and the petty circles of the ton. To his dismay, not much has changed, including the beautiful and vexing heiress next door.
But when an accident of fate traps the friends-turned-enemies in an attic together, the explosive attraction between them becomes impossible to ignore and even harder to resist. They are total opposites and their lives don’t align in the slightest, but fate, the ultimate matchmaker, appears to have other plans . . .
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Described as Clueless meets Bridgerton, Never Met a Duke Like You is the second book in Amalie Howard’s Taming of the Dukes historical romance series. It follows Vesper, a neurodivergent matchmaker, and Aspen, a paleontologist forced to return to England and take his rightful place as Duke. Friends when they were children, they are now estranged until a mishap forces the pair together.
There’s a lot to love in this new addition to the series. The writing style and pacing are great, and the characters are layered and interesting. Vesper is such a fabulous protagonist, and Aspen is the grump to her sunshine. I also liked many of the secondary characters, especially Vesper’s brother and father and some of Vesper’s friends. And I can’t forget Cat, the lovable feline who wins everyone’s heart by the end of the book. So cute!
I was a little disappointed about a couple of things. First, the antagonist’s punishment felt anti-climactic. I was definitely hoping for more repercussions than what the person received. Second, her friends didn’t seem as supportive of Vesper as she’s been for them, though it was understandable under the circumstances.
Vesper and Aspen are the kind of couple that is totally in love, and everyone but them knows it. That aspect of the love story is comical. I also generally enjoyed their banter. They have so much chemistry, and their teasing and antagonizing, which is filled with sexual innuendos, is great. However, I didn’t like how Vesper and Aspen spoke to each other at times. They seemed to enjoy riling each other up, which was great, but I felt they sometimes took it to the extreme and became personally insulting. They have strong enemies-to-lovers vibes, but there were times when both went too far in their hurtful barbs. Childhood friends turned enemies, the reasons for their estrangement hurt both of them, and pride and fear of rejection definitely get in the way, but I like how they slowly find their way back to each other.
At times, Aspen frustrated me when he unfairly judged Vesper, especially knowing how much his rejection years ago scarred her. However, I think his past, most especially the vile actions of his mother, skewed his feelings toward love, vulnerability, and influential women. This made some of his hurtful comments and actions more forgivable, as did his more tender and loving moments. This is not a closed-door romance, and all of that back and forth leads to some emotionally charged and spicy scenes!
There are also some strong messages about neurodiversity, the awful treatment of institutionalized people, and the ease with which one could institutionalize another during this time. Be sure to check out the author’s note to learn more about the research that went into writing about these topics.
Overall, this was a decent read, though I have to admit, I preferred the first book in the series. That being said, I will continue the series, as I’m eager to see which characters will find romance next. Special thanks to NetGalley and Forever Publishing for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
- The messages.
- Parts of the romance.
“We’re all misfts in our own ways. What matters is whether we find a way to accept who we are, flaws and all.”
- enemies to lovers
- forced proximity
- he falls first
- Clueless retelling