Today’s book doesn’t have the most inspiring title; after all, most of the dukes we read about in Regency romance are at least a little bit in need of a wife! However, don’t judge this by its title or rubbish cover – it’s actually a very entertaining story.
Book: A Duke in Need of a Wife by Annie Burrows
Read before: No
Ownership: E-ARC provided by NetGalley free of charge for fair review. All opinions my own.
When I picked this up, I was expecting a few things, but not a Regency version of The Bachelor! Though we start with a sort of meet-cute (as both hero and heroine rush to the aid of an injured woman), and it’s clear from the get-go that these two are meant for each other, that doesn’t stop our hero, Oliver, from arranging a sort of competition to see which of several eligible girls is the best suited to be his wife. Oh, and to be a mother to his illegitimate child. He invites a gaggle of women (and their families, let’s not think him improper!) to a house party for a week, in order to spend time with them and suss out their qualities. Of course, no one is as perfect as Sofia, our heroine, but it’s an extremely fun way to shake up the formula!
The chemistry between the main characters wasn’t the most thrilling, but it’s thrown into high relief by just how dreadful the other women would be for Oliver, even those of them who are nice in their own right. I was reminded a little of Austenland, which is one of my favourite films, as everyone seemed to fall into neat little relationships. The drama, being limited to a country house party, is minimal, but very entertaining if you prefer wars of words to action scenes. Sofia’s something of a fish out of water in the tonnish environment, and it’s fun to see her hold her own, just by being herself.
I really enjoyed this one! It’s a little slow in places, and I could wish that Oliver was a little more forthright about his feelings, but I really enjoy watching society machinations, so it worked for me. I’ve actually got another book by Annie Burrows on my TBR, and I’m looking forward to it now! Four out of five cats.