REVIEW: ELIZABETH HOYT ✭ NOT THE DUKE’S DARLINGNot The Duke's Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Greycourt #1
Published by Forever on December 18th 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Forever, Netgalley
Buy on Amazon

Freya de Moray is many things: a member of the secret order of Wise Women, the daughter of disgraced nobility, and a chaperone living under an assumed name. What she is not is forgiving. So when the Duke of Harlowe, the man who destroyed her brother and led to the downfall of her family, appears at the country house party she's attending, she does what any Wise Woman would do: she starts planning her revenge.

Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe, is being blackmailed. Intent on keeping his secrets safe, he agrees to attend a house party where he will put an end to this coercion once and for all. Until he recognizes Freya, masquerading amongst the party revelers, and realizes his troubles have just begun. Freya knows all about his sins—sins he'd much rather forget. But she's also fiery, bold, and sensuous—a temptation he can't resist. When it becomes clear Freya is in grave danger, he'll risk everything to keep her safe. But first, Harlowe will have to earn Freya's trust-by whatever means necessary.

by Elizabeth Hoyt

The majority of books in Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series are my all time favorites so maybe my expectations were too high when I started reading NOT THE DUKE’S DARLING. However, there are several reasons I didn’t enjoy this as much as I was hoping. And here is why:

The heroine is part of a group called Wise Women. They are being mentioned but the explanation what they are comes to light at the 72% mark. Yep, that’s how long you can guess. Some may find this entertaining, but it left this reader confused, especially because the members had special names that didn’t make much sense. Macha was a spy, and the Crow…still not sure about her role…
The solution to the riddle was anti-climactic.

The heroine was a shrew for a loooong while. Look, I don’t mind prickly, spirited heroines and I understood why Freya disliked Christopher – the tragedy that crippled her brother and the role Christopher played in it – but once she fell in love with him the reason didn’t matter anymore, only her independence kept her from committing.

She’d never before met a man outside her family who considered a woman’s being willing to act on her own decisions a good thing.

She knew early on that Christopher wouldn’t cage her in and take away her independence. It just felt like an excuse and at some point I didn’t think Freya deserved Christopher.

The reason for Christopher’s actions that faithful night was never fully explained.

That Christopher stood by while his friend and Freya’s brother was beaten to a pulp and crippled, their friend Julian demanding from Christopher not to interfere, without asking why. His apology “I was weak” doesn’t make him attractive.
. It may be a set up for their friend Julian’s book but if that is the case EH didn’t do this book a favor because how can I root for somebody like that? Miraculously I did, although I could never really forget what he did. I really liked Christopher who had a good heart and actually loved the heroine’s bristling.

“Don’t change. Don’t ever change. I like your prickliness, your scowls, the way you argue with me so fiercely.”

Christopher and Freya’s love was pretty instantaneous. They’d seen one another last when Freya was still a teenager and Christopher on the verge of becoming a man. When they meet again it takes only a couple of days for the hero to decide that he loves Freya and wants to marry her. And while I’m usually not too bothered by insta-love I have to at least feel the connection. Which I didn’t. I didn’t feel very invested in their relationship and it took me way longer to get through this story than it should have.

What saved this book was Elizabeth Hoyt’s beautiful writing and I do hope the next story in this series will be a little more plotted out and we’ll get answers we were denied in NOT THE DUKE’S DARLING.

He looked at Freya’s sleeping face and wished he could cut open his chest and reveal his heart, because he hadn’t the words to tell her what she meant to him.

About Elizabeth Hoyt

Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of historical romance, including reader favorite, The Raven Prince.

Elizabeth was born in New Orleans but grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. She was fortunate to be able to travel extensively as a child, visiting St. Andrews, Scotland; Germany; France; and Belgium. She spent a year in Oxford, England and was a summer exchange student to Kawasaki, Japan.

Elizabeth has a BA in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and, as a result of having no clue what to do with her life thereafter, a career history as a barista, a (terrible) sales clerk, a Wisconsin Revenue Service data entry slave, and an archeological field work grunt. Fortunately, Elizabeth married relatively young and produced two children who kept her busy until her mid-thirties. At about this time, when her youngest was entering Kindergarten, Elizabeth’s mother hinted that perhaps Elizabeth should get a Real Job.

Sadly, Elizabeth was so delusional she thought writing a romance novel might qualify as a Real Job.

But! Five years later, to everyone’s surprise, she actually sold that romance novel (The Raven Prince) and began a rather successful career as a Romance Novelist. This was most fortunate since Elizabeth is singularly unqualified to do anything else but Make Up Stories. Since then Elizabeth has written over twenty books to critical acclaim including three contemporaries under the pen name Julia Harper.

Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with three dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the ever faithful Mr. Hoyt.


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  • Aww sorry you didn’t enjoy it dude. Doesn’t sound like my cup of tea either. Great review tho. Let’s hope the next one’s better❤️

  • Ok, it looks like my last comment did go through so if you get this twice Astrid – sorry!
    I never read historical and really have a hard time getting myself set into the time setting. SO many people are huge fans and pretty much read it all the time. Sorry this one was a disappointment for you… 😔

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