A Lady for a Duke* is an absolutely gorgeous, elegantly written, and witty queer historical romance.
When Viola Caroll was presumed dead at Waterloo she took the opportunity to live, at last, as herself. But freedom does not come without a price, and Viola paid for hers with the loss of her wealth, her title, and her closest companion, Justin de Vere, the Duke of Gracewood.
Only when their families reconnect, years after the war, does Viola learn how deep that loss truly was. Shattered without her, Gracewood has retreated so far into grief that Viola barely recognises her old friend in the lonely, brooding man he has become.
As Viola strives to bring Gracewood back to himself, fresh desires give new names to old feelings. Feelings that would have been impossible once and may be impossible still, but which Viola cannot deny. Even if they cost her everything, all over again.
A Lady for a Duke was charming and hilarious, as is to be expected from an Alexis Hall book, but also emotional and healing without ever feeling too overwhelming or dark. Hall did a fantastic job writing an emotional and resonant romance and capturing the pain and grief of the Duke, as well as Viola’s turmoil, while also ensuring that the story never felt too heavy; there was a perfect balance of reflective and poignant moments with sharply funny, witty banter.
The banter was excellent—Hall is truly a king of banter—and this story was so romantic. Where I struggled a bit was with respect to the conflict at the end and the entire situation with Miranda. Without giving away anything, it felt a bit convoluted and ridiculous at moments and seemed to detract from what was otherwise a well-paced and plotted story. That being said, the conflict was still entertaining, albeit distracting, and Hall gets major points for not utilizing the miscommunication trope which is often the go-to.
While A Lady for a Duke is, ultimately, a love story, it is also a story of friendship. Viola and Gracewood’s friendship was lovely and I loved their dynamic, as Gracewood revealed things about himself, opened up to Viola, in a way he hadn’t ever done before.
Some truth of himself, hidden before. He was the joy of my life, Gracewood had told her upon the north tower. Which was nothing he could have said when they had not been strangers. Oh, they had shared secrets, moments of vulnerability when in their cups or when some circumstance had cracked the shell of their youthful confidence. But mainly their closeness was built around common experiences of school and family, age, and position. He was her trust friend, and she had never seen him until now. She almost pitied the people they had once been, that they could be so dear and know so little of each other.
Lovely, charming, swooningly romantic, hilarious—I could go on. Hall continues to be one of my go-to authors and I am so excited that this delivered, after feeling lukewarm about Something Fabulous.
Read This If
- You enjoy more emotional romances
- You are looking for a historical romance with a slightly more modern feel and tone
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ½ / 5
Where to Purchase
*Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This has not impacted my review or opinion in any way; all opinions are my own.
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