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5 Stars / Historical / Review

Who Wants to Marry a Duke by Sabrina Jeffries

A past kiss with adorably bookish Miss Olivia Norley should be barely a memory for Marlowe Drake, the Duke of Thornstock. After all, there are countless debutantes for a handsome rakehell to charm beyond a young lady whose singular passion is chemistry—of the laboratory type. But Thorn has not forgotten—or forgiven—the shocking blackmail scheme sparked by that single kiss, or the damage caused to both their names. Now Thorn’s half-brother, Grey, has hired the brilliant Miss Norley for her scientific expertise in solving a troubling family mystery. And the once-burned Thorn, suspicious of her true motives, vows to follow her every move…

For Olivia, determining whether arsenic poisoning killed Grey’s father is the pioneering experiment that could make her career—and Thorn’s constant presence is merely a distraction. But someone has explosive plans to derail her search. Soon the most unexpected discovery is the caring nature of the reputed scoundrel beside her—and the electricity it ignites between them…

Title:Who Wants to Marry a Duke
Author:Sabrina Jeffries
Series:Duke Dynasty (Book 3)
Pages:352
Genre(s):Historical
Trope(s):Enemies to Lovers
Point of View:
Location:England
Setting:Regency, 1809
HEA:✔️
Release Date:25th August, 2020
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A hugely enjoyable story

It’s been too long since I picked up a Sabrina Jeffries book – and after finishing this one, I seriously wonder why I haven’t been devouring every single thing she’s written. As such, this is actually the first book of the Duke Dynasty series that I have read, despite it being the 4th story in the series (after Project Duchess, A Perfect Match (in the Seduction on a Snowy Night anthology) and The Bachelor. While the romance element of this book stands alone, there is a larger mystery that appears to be running throughout the series that does not get resolved in this book. I didn’t have any trouble picking up and following that element – despite not having yet read the previous books in the series – but if you need all loose ends tied up between the covers of one book – this perhaps isn’t for you.

This book is about the romance between Olivia and Thorn. The prologue shows an interaction between our pair that happens nine years before the rest of the story – and explains why there might be a bit of animosity and distrust with our couple. Or at least on Thorn’s side, anyway. I admit to being a bit confused about why he was so angry with Olivia – but I’m sure that being a duke, with unmarried ladies flinging themselves at you every hour of the day, would make you a wee bit cynical and suspicious of people’s motives. That said, he does drop the animosity towards Olivia pretty darn quickly!

Despite his flip-flopping emotions, I loved Thorn. He’s basically just a growly, grumpy Duke, stomping all over the place and getting irritated because he can’t help but want the one girl who turned him down. But he’s protective, fierce and accepts and loves Olivia and all her quirks, too. Sometimes he has no idea what she’s talking about, but he loves the passion she has for her subject. That’s love right there.

“…the sex scenes are sizzling and there was enough chemistry (no pun intended) between the pair to keep things heated…”

Olivia is innocent in so many ways, but strong in many ways, too. She’s definitely not the stereotypical chemist that you might expect. She’s not much into society, and finds herself a wee bit awkward (same, girl!) but she’s perfectly capable – none of this ‘can’t even walk without making a fool of yourself’ type of nonsense that you sometimes see when a girl is described as awkward in society. She’s sweet and kind, and determined to prove herself worthy. I really enjoyed her and thought her the perfect partner for Thorn.

There was a little bit of danger and intrigue with regards to whether Thorn’s stepfather has been murdered – and if so, by whom. Someone’s out to stop the investigation before it even starts, which adds some fun to the romance even if it’s just ‘mild peril’. This is the storyline that won’t be resolved until future books, but honestly, it doesn’t feel like we’re left on a godforsaken cliffhanger, so all is good. With that in mind, there’s quite an intricate family tree with Thorn and his siblings, however we get a handy drawing at the front of the book to help us if we’re stuck. I thought that was a cute (and hella useful) idea.

As always with Ms Jeffries, the sex scenes are sizzling and there was enough chemistry (no pun intended) between the pair to keep things heated even when not in those scenes. Although I do wonder at Olivia not knowing what a penis looks like. As a chemist? Wouldn’t you have scene Michelangelo’s David? Maybe not – it just seemed odd to me.

This book reminded me how much I love Sabrina Jeffries and the stories she weaves. This is another 5 star read and I can’t wait to read the previous books in the series and those still to come. Recommended.

Sabrina Jeffries is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 novels and works of short fiction (some written under the pseudonyms Deborah Martin and Deborah Nicholas).

At home in front of a crowd, Jeffries is a sought-after speaker, as evidenced by her 2010 gig as emcee for the National Romance Writers of America’s 30th Anniversary Awards Ceremony.

Whatever time not spent speaking to organizations around the country or writing in a coffee-fueled haze is spent traveling with her husband and adult autistic son or indulging in one of her passions—jigsaw puzzles, chocolate, and music.

With over 9 million books in print in more than 20 languages, the North Carolina author never regrets tossing aside a budding career in academics (she has a Ph.D. in English literature) for the sheer joy of writing fun fiction, and hopes that one day a book of hers will end up saving the world.

She always dreams big.

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