I really enjoyed Devon’s The Spinster and the Rake, so I am ~shook~ to say she outdid herself with Much Ado About Dukes. This title absolutely blew me away with its awesome feminist storyline and memorable romance.

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The summary, from Amazon:

Shakespeare meets Bridgerton in this witty and lively marriage-of-inconvenience romance.

As far as William Easton—the Duke of Blackheath—is concerned, love can go to the devil. Why would a man need passion when he has wealth, a stately home, and work to occupy his mind? But no one warned him that a fiery and frustratingly strong-willed activist like Lady Beatrice Haven could find a way to get under his skin…and that he might enjoy it.

Lady Beatrice is determined to never marry. Ever. She would much rather fight for the rights of women and provoke the darkly handsome Duke of Blackheath, even if he does claim to be forward-thinking. After all, dukes—even gorgeous ones—are the enemy. So why does she feel such enjoyment from their heated exchanges?

But everything changes when Beatrice finds herself suddenly without fortune, a husband, or even a home. Now her future depends on the very man who sets her blood boiling. Because in order to protect his esteemed rival, the Duke of Blackheath has asked for Beatrice’s hand, inviting his once-enemy into his home…and his bed.

Each book in the Never a Wallflower series is STANDALONE:
* The Spinster and the Rake
* Much Ado About Dukes
* The Duke’s Secret Cinderella

Buy Much Ado About Dukes here.

Beatrice is a feminist. She is independently wealthy, though her uncle controls her fortune at the moment. She uses her wealth to help women and fund organizations fighting for women’s rights. She is as involved in politics as a woman of her time is allowed to be, and expect not like like Will, a duke who will be related to her through marriage once her cousin Maggie marries his little brother Kit. But once she meets Will, the two become quick friends – with a spark, of course. Will is an excellent example of an ally – always willing to listen, lift up the voices of the marginalized, take advice from those whose causes he cares about, and adapt his opinions. But there’s one opinion Will is not willing to budge on. He thinks emotions, especially love, are dangerous after his mother left his family for love and was unable to maintain a relationship with her children as a result.

Despite this, when Beatrice’s uncle makes a poor investment and she loses her fortune as a result, Will proposes to his friend. Beatrice never wanted to marry, but knows poverty isn’t an option and that in order to keep funding the causes she believes in, she needs money. People rely on her. She doesn’t like that Will does not want or plan to fall in love with her, but agrees to their marriage of convenience anyway. Of course, falling in love is inevitable. But their relationship is tested once Will is forced to deal with the pain that comes with big emotions. As a result of losing her money, Maggie starts to question her relationships with men, including Kit, and calls off her own wedding. Will is unable to protect his brother from heartbreak. When Beatrice refuses to accept anything other than love from her partner, his brothers help him see that love – between family, between friends, and between romantic partners – is a beautiful emotion everyone deserves to experience.

Wow, what a book! The romance was lovely, but the storyline really hit home for me. This was the perfect example of how to be a good ally, and how to defeat patriarchal beliefs that hold men back when it comes to making important emotional connections. It was a clear 5 star read for me!

Book Club Questions

  1. Is this an enemies to lovers or friends to lovers romance? Neither? Both? Explain.
  2. Explain the relationship dynamic between Will and Beatrice.
  3. Why does Beatrice never plan to marry? What makes her change her mind?
  4. Will believes he avoids emotion, but is that really the case?
  5. Why is emotion, especially love, an important part of life?
  6. How is Will a good ally?

Interested? Buy Much Ado About Dukes.
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