I received this book for free from St. Martin's Paperbacks in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A Duke Like No Other by Valerie Bowman
Also in this series: The Unexpected Duchess, The Right Kind of Rogue
Series: Playful Brides #9
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on May 1, 2018
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Era
Source: St. Martin's Paperbacks
General Mark Grimaldi is devoted to his service for the Crown, risking his life and giving up everything for his career. The political promotion he's always wanted is now within his reach, but he needs to convince his estranged wife to return to England and play the role of happy bride in order for him to get the position.
Nicole Huntington Grimaldi has spent the past ten years in France, not having seen her husband since she left England. But now he's on her doorstep, asking her to return with him, and Nicole sees the opportunity to get something out of this deal. So she agrees, on one condition: she wants a baby.
A Duke Like No Other is a Regency spy caper with Valerie Bowman at her best as husband and wife match wits and may just fall in love in the process.
*May Contain Spoilers*
A Duke Like No Other is the ninth book in the “Playful Brides” series and I have had such a fun time reading this series. I haven’t read all the books yet, but the ones I have read have been so much. This series takes on some twists dealing with mystery, intrigue and solving crimes while finding love along the journey. The voice in Valerie Bowman’s books is simply wonderful and unforgettable. I always get a kick out of her characters and A Duke Like No Other was no different. What I was really impressed with is how the author handled a certain scenario that most of the time bugs the hell out of me, but for some reason it didn’t both me. Probably because you find yourself falling in love with the characters before you realize what drove them apart in the first place.
The story does begin in the present with our hero General Mark Grimaldi, is up for promotion he has been working hard to have his dream realized in a position that very few obtain, where he could really make a difference and have the ear of the King. But his boss needs something from him, wants to see Mark settled happily with his wife. Mark and his wife have been estranged for ten years, with Nicole living in France all of this time. And now he must convince her to come back with him to England to playful the loving wife. When Mark goes in search forNicole, she has a stipulation of her own. At first he assumes she wants a divorce, but no, Nicole is lonely and wants a child. And the only way she could have one legitmately without scandal, would be to have a child with her estranged husband. So they agree, and Nicole goes back to England with Mark.
But when they arrive, terrible news puts a hold on both of their plans. Mark’s cousin has died from a heart attack with suspicions of poison. And when his uncle whose health is getting worse, tells him that he is next in line…Mark is shocked. He promised his father he would never get anywhere in life with his mother’s side of the family’s help and that includes him becoming the next duke, a title he never wanted or desired. He is more than happy to leave it to some other family member or relation, but when he is given a letter from both his grandfather and his mother, he can’t deny his feelings toward his mother or the duty he feels in fulfilling a request she asks of him.
Both Mark and Nicole go to the country house, with all the parties invited who were there the night Mark’s cousin “John” was murdered, to discover the culprit. But there is more going on than meets the eye, and they will need to discover who would really want John dead and it won’t be anyone that they would expect. Mark and Nicole have many unresolved issues to put to rest before they can be together for good, will honesty and trust be the key to bringing them back together or will the secrets of the past drive them even further apart….
I feel as if I’ll never get enough of the taste of you, the feel of you, the beating of your heart…
I had such a fun time with this book despite the flashbacks that we see. I am not always a big fan of flashbacks, sometimes they are nice, but other time I just don’t have that much preference for them. This book we see quite a few flashbacks and you understand it but at the same time you have a urge to skip ahead to the present day which I tend to have the urge whenever I read a book with flashbacks. (I know I am weird LOL ) But this story really appealed to me. I have found I really like Valerie Bowman’s writing voice, I have such a fun time every time I enter into one of her books.
I can’t live without you, I don’t want to. You’re a diamond in a sea of rocks.
Both the characters are written so well in this novel, I adored both Mark and Nicole. Now our heroine, is very unique. She hunts down criminals and brings them to justice working with the Bow Street Runners…yep you heard me—she solves crimes and its pretty awesome. I love how bold and daring she is. But she also is spirited and has a generous heart. Both Mark and Nicole have that in common….justice and doing what is right. I adored seeing the small intimate moments we see admidst the crime solving venture that is going on with them. We learn what drove them apart in the first place and it all boils down to honesty….if they had been honest ten years previous…well they wouldn’t have been estranged. However both Mark and Nicole learn some painful lessons about relationships and marriage and they did learn it thankfully even if it was hard won.
Overall I found this book to be a delightful addition to such a fun series….its a story that will take you on adventures, packed with endearing characters and a love story you can get on board with…..ENTICING!!