Christy Carlyle returns to the blog with the second in her Duke’s Den series set in Victorian England and featuring three friends who are scrabbling for recognition and respect befitting their fortunes in
Anything But a Duke
The second book in this series focuses on Aiden, friend to both Nick from A Duke Changes Everything and Rhys, who’s story is yet to be told. These three are rich and determined, if not always ‘palatable’ to the tastemakers in London society. As we learned from Nick’s story, it is more a matter of finding a woman who both intrigues and accepts them, with the ability to rein in their most ‘common’ impulses. And that, in itself makes for an interesting clash of wills between the two. But Aiden, a self-made man with a desire for an aristocratic match and all the trappings that entails. He’s got the riches, his partnership with Nick in the gambling clubs has brought that, but the ‘self-made man of business’ so revered in today’s world was seen by the aristo classes as nothing more than an up-jumped commoner: a merchant and useful only when and if he can be controlled by his desire to be ‘accepted’ into the lofty world of the tonne.
Diana Ashby is from the world Aiden so wants to be a part of, and as a ‘woman of marriageable age’ is the perfect target for his plans. Not being born to a title isn’t too much to ask, if one can marry into the family and thus gain the entrance into those hallowed levels. But she wants no part of marriage or even romance, she has more important things to do. Diana is an inventor, smart, clever, determined and utterly her own woman, unconcerned with the whims and wishes of society and the constraints with which they would bind her. But, perhaps there is a happy middle -she can help Aiden find the entrance to society, and a bride, and she can walk away unscathed and unmet by the altar. He will invest in her ideas: giving her some respectability and cache as an inventor of note, a goal her father never achieved. She agrees to help him and pushes his very distractibility and their obvious compatibility to the side to continue her work.
Oh this was fun – both Aiden and Diana are wonderful together and feel like the perfect match, even as she has no desire to be married. Moments when they are together sparkle, and the burn is there, even as both tend to ignore it as their eyes are on different goals. Much of the book is involving us with a family that Aiden never knew he had, and their struggles and needs push the conflicts and the connection with Diana further along. I do wish more of their relationship and times together in quiet moments were more frequent, but from the start the intrigue between the two, and their obvious match for one another in intelligence and determination is evident and clear. It’s going to take some doing (and plenty of thought) for their connection to come to fruition, but like all of Carlyle’s books, the read is a wonderful one and very entertaining. The usual angst, struggles and distractions appear, without huge swathes of heat and steamy moments on the page, but the underlying burn felt by them both is clearly present and encourages readers to cheer on this couple to a very happy, and quite fitting end.
Title: Anything But a Duke
Author: Christy Carlyle
Series: Duke's Den #2
Also in this series: A Duke Changes Everything, Nothing Compares to the Duke:
Genre: Historical Romance, Setting: Britain, Victorian
Published by: Avon
Published on: 30 April, 2019
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 8 Hours: 15 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Direct from Publisher
Self-made man Aidan Iverson has seen more closed doors in his thirty years than he’s ever cared to count. As a member of the elite Duke’s Den, he has all the money he could possibly need, but the one thing he can’t purchase is true power. If roguish Aidan can’t buy his way into society’s hallowed halls, he’ll resort to a more extreme measure: marriage.
Brought up to be a proper lady, the only thing Diana Ashby desires is to be left alone to the creation of her own devices. But when her dreams are crushed, she must find another way to secure the future of her invention. Knowing his desire to enter her world, Diana strikes a deal to arrange Aidan’s marriage to the perfect lady—as long as that lady isn’t her. She doesn’t need any distractions from her work, particularly of the sinfully handsome variety.
As Diana and Aidan set out to find him an aristocratic match, neither are prepared for the passion that ignites between them or the love they can’t ignore.
In the Duke’s Den, can happiness ever be a winning prospect?
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.