Monday, November 20, 2017

ARC Review: It's Hard Out Here for a Duke by Maya Rodale

Series:     Cavendishes #4
Pub. Date:Nov. 28, 2017
Publisher:Avon
Length:384 pages
Source:Edelweiss

Take a look at this beautiful cover. I just love the jewel tones, and the model they used to portray our hero is absolutely spot on. This is the fourth (and possibly final) book in the Keeping Up with the Cavendishes series. The stories of the series all take place concurrently, so if you want to read them out of order, I don't think you would have much trouble. 

The hero and main character of this installment is James Cavendish, who has arrived in England from America as the new duke, with his three headstrong sisters in tow. In America, James is a farmer and raises horses, and has no idea how to navigate the bon ton of London. Nor does he really want to. In this story, we see James struggle with duty and desire. The desire for a woman who is unsuitable and the desire to run back home to America continuously tips the scales with James' new duties to the estate, his tenants, and society in general. I liked James' character. I felt that he was honorable and responsible, and I admired him for always putting others before himself. I also cheered for James to do something for his own happiness for a change, instead of being afraid of how his actions may affect his sisters or tenants or the gossips among the ton.

James fell for a most unsuitable heroine, Miss Meredith Green, the dutiable companion to his great aunt and dowager duchess, Josephine. Meredith has grown up on the outskirts of the ton, but has learned to be a lady at Josephine's knee. Strangely enough, until she met James, it doesn't seem that Meredith ever dreamed of more from her life. She was content to be the duchess' companion, and felt grateful to Josephine for taking on the daughter of her former lady's maid. So Meredith is awakened by James, which led to her being somewhat of a wishy washy heroine. She would push him away and reel him in ad nauseum. I found her to be a trying heroine and somewhat of a milksop, and there just wasn't enough of her personality for me to connect to.

The romance between James and Meredith was hot and cold. There were short moments of mild chemistry mixed with longer moments of our characters adulting (i.e. minding their duties and responsibilities). I would have liked to see more chemistry between our couple, and the plot could have used some more action or drama to spice things up a bit.

Overall this was just an okay read for me. There was nothing that really distinguished it from similar storylines that I have read in the past, and I didn't find this book to be as lively as those of the Cavendish sisters. I did enjoy the epilogue and felt that it wrapped the series up quite nicely.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Avon.

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Keeping Up with the Cavendishes