The Devil’s Own Duke
Author: Lenora Bell
Series: Wallflowers vs. Rogues, book 2
Publisher: Avon (September 28, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Romance, Adult Historical Romance (Regency)
Lady Henrietta Prince is far too busy for romance. She’s dedicated her life to turning her family vineyards into a profitable wine venture. But when she shares a kiss at midnight with a handsome stranger, she’s captivated…until he claims to be the distant heir to her father’s earldom.
Ash Ellis is a gambler who lives life on the edge. Now he’s locked his sights on a glittering prize and nothing will stand in his way.
When Henrietta is forced to marry the wickedly seductive scoundrel to keep her beloved vineyards, she vows that Ash will never have her trust, or her love. Even if his kisses are more intoxicating than the finest of wines.
His new bride is certainly beautiful, but biddable? Not so much. Ash will settle for nothing less than Henrietta’s total surrender…but is he the one in danger of losing his heart?
I adore how Lenora Bell weaves bits of fairy tales or pop culture into her books. The Devil’s Own Duke has a generous dollop of gender swapped Cinderella retelling and it was so much fun picking out the little Easter eggs of Cinderella content. Like Ash Ellis, Ash = Cinder, Cinder-Ellis… See? SEE? And he’s got a cat called Lucifer, and his mates are Jax and Gus, haha. Those are the only ones I’m giving you, you’ll have to unearth the other jewels on your own.
The chemistry between Ash and Hetty is really lovely, with just a bit of that enemies-to-lovers spice along with a dash of marriage of convenience. The descriptions of the wines are lush and made me crave a glass of wine, haha. At times the winemaking information got to be fairly heavy, so those who love learning all the technical details about out-of-the-norm hobbies/professions in their romances will appreciate and that and those who don’t, well, probably won’t. They’re easy enough to sort of skim over if you’re not into info-dumping. There were also a couple of cringe-y moments, and the pacing seemed a bit off, which I’m not sure was actually a book problem or a me-trying-to-read-through-a-reading-slump issue – ymmv.
It was interesting that while this is the second book in the Wallflowers vs. Rogues series, it also has several side characters from both the first book in the Wallflowers vs. Rogues series, Love is a Rogue, as well as the characters from Lenora Bell’s most recent School for Dukes series. I REALLY hope book 3 will be about Isobel, because I love a good woman disguised as a man trope!!
This is the second book in the Wallflowers vs. Rogues series, and can be read as a stand-alone with some minor spoilers for both the first book in this series as well as some of the books in her School for Dukes series. FINGERS CROSSED for book 3 to be about Isobel!!
A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.