The Devil’s Own Duke

Avon. (Wallflowers vs. Rogues, Bk. 2). Sept. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9780062993465. pap. $8.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
A sensual waltz with a notorious rogue sets spinster Lady Henrietta Prince on the path to marriage in the enjoyable second book in Bell’s “Wallflowers vs. Rogues” series (after Love Is a Rogue). Hetty is unhappy when she realizes that marrying the gambler Ash Ellis is the only way to save her family’s vineyards, but the pair soon find that their ambitions clash even as their attraction grows. Some of the secrets and circumstances that keep Hetty and Ash apart throughout this Regency romance border on the absurd, but there are also snatches of commentary on early 19th-century working conditions and Hetty briefly struggles with the ethics of one of the sources of her family’s wealth—a subject that is still rarely tackled in historical romance. Excellent chemistry between the romantic leads and a headstrong, intelligent heroine to root for will keep romance fans reading. Fans of the series will look forward to reading about the next bluestocking to get her happily-ever-after.
VERDICT Some much-needed historical context and a steamy, satisfying romance between the two well-written protagonists tempers some of the sillier aspects of this delightful Regency romance.
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