When I read My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh, I thought I had found romance novel perfection. Turns out I was wrong. Eva Leigh outdid even the excellence of the first book in the Union of the Rakes series with Book 2, Would I Lie to the Duke. If you like your historical romance full of intersectional feminism, dismantled tropes, and pop culture references (largely including but not limited to rom-coms and all things ’80s), then this series will blow your mind.
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The summary, from Amazon:
When an ambitious entrepreneur pretends to be a lady of means, she catches the eye—and heart—of a duke…
Jessica McGale’s family business desperately needs investors and she’s determined to succeed at any cost. But she knows London’s elite will never look twice at a humble farm girl like herself. Posing as “Lady Whitfield,” however, places her in the orbit of wealthy, powerful people—most notably the Duke of Rotherby. His influence and support could save her company, but Jess never expected the effect he’d have on her.
Society thinks Noel is a notorious, carefree duke who dabbles in investments, but there’s a side to him that only his closest friends see. When he crosses paths with Lady Whitfield at a business bazaar, his world tilts on its axis. She’s brilliant and compelling, and brings him to his knees like no woman has before. Trust is difficult for Noel, but Jess makes him believe anything is possible. . .
As time ticks down on her Cinderella scheme, the thought of achieving her goal at Noel’s expense breaks Jess’s heart. He doesn’t just want her now, he wants her forever. But will her secret end their future before it begins?
(And don’t forget to check out Book 1 in the series, too.)
The plot has been done before, but this time, there’s a feminist twist. Jess doesn’t want to dress up as a noblewoman just for a night of fun (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Instead, she is looking to secure investors for her family’s business, which is failing as a result of a fire. In doing so, she gets up close and personal with Noel. Noel and Jess meet before she sneaks into the Bazaar, a week-long gathering of business-minded nobility to be courted by businesses seeking investors. They bump into one another on the street, where Jess shows off her knowledge of investment, and the two are immediately drawn to one another for reasons beyond their intelligence. 😉
At the Bazaar, the connection between Jess and Noel is apparent, and the two quickly realize that they have real feelings for one another. However, Jess is in disguise, and Noel has no idea about her true identity. One thing he cannot abide is being lied to or used for his position in society, and the thought of someone he loves doing this to him is especially appalling. Of course, Jess truly does love Noel, but he will be devastated if and when he discovers the truth.
What was really special about this book was the sexual dynamic between Noel and Jess. I don’t think I have ever seen it in fiction before. Noel always is telling people what to do, which grates on Jess, and she calls him out on it. He appreciates that, and they soon find themselves in a sexual relationship where Jess makes the commands and Noel asks for permission. I’ve read books where a man is sexually submissive, but this was just so much more than a little bit of kinky fun. It’s really gentle and loving and still puts Noel in a sort of “alpha male” role, both in bed and in life, while still being sexually submissive. Their relationship is lovely, refreshing, and relatable.
Luckily, our characters only have to go through a few chapters of angst before they find their HEA. This book was everything I didn’t know I wanted and needed from a romance novel. It totally blew my mind and made me think about what is expected in man/woman relationships versus what many of us actually want. Also, the assumed couple for Book 3 promises to be a pairing I really want to see in romance (a woman who I assume is in her 40s+??) – and there’s another possible pairing that is already deliciously angsty.
Finally, a THANK YOU (and a major one at that) to HarperCollins/Avon, Eva Leigh, and NetGalley for hooking me up with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020, and I was more than happy to treat myself to a copy for my birthday. (It will be published one day before I turn 30!) But instead, I was lucky to read it a few months ahead of time! Would I Lie to the Duke by Eva Leigh publishes on July 28, 2020 and it is TOTALLY worth clicking here to pre-order now.
Oh, my goodness. This one was amazing. This series has given me everything I never knew I wanted. Thank you to Eva Leigh, Avon, and NetGalley for hooking me up with a copy in exchange for my honest review, which I will share on bitchbookshelf.com.
P.S. I like to read my romances and prefer nonfiction audiobooks, but different strokes for different folks, right? I love Audible, and if you like audiobooks and romance, I suggest you try the Audible Romance Free Trial. Get unlimited listening free for one month. Who doesn’t like free?