Duchess If You Dare
By Anabelle Byrant
Rating: 3/5 Genre: Historical Romance Publisher: Kensington Books Pub Date: March 30, 2021 I received an e-ARC copy from Kensington Books & NetGalley for a honest review Available: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShop
Duchess If You Dare Synopsis: When Scarlett’s seamstress goes missing she knows something’s afoot. Scarlett knows the world is unkind to women, she has her mother to thank for that. So she starts looking for clues as to the girl’s location leading her to the local brothel. Scarlett soon gets tangled up with the Duke of Aylesford, a man devoted to his position, as he tries to right his brother’s wrongs. They can’t help but to continue to bump into each other as they both become entangled in the mystery of the missing girls. As they search the streets of London they find that their hearts may be missing something too, but there’s no chance that an independent commoner like Scarlett can be with a Duke.
I received a complimentary copy of this books from NetGalley with Kensington Books for an honest and fair review. All thoughts are that of my own. Thank you NetGalley and Kensington Books for a wonderful read!
This book will be published on March 30, 2021! Set your calendars for the release!
The premise of the book is good. I like adventure, forbidden romance, and historical fiction with strong women! However, this book didn’t live up to my expectations. It’s not that it’s bad per se, rather I had wanted more out of it. Scarlett is fiercely independent after growing up on her own in a poor part of London. But you don’t really feel like you know her to sympathize with her. And this was a problem that I found throughout the novel. There’s a lot of say and not a lot of show. Between the growing attraction between Scarlett and Ambrose to Scarlett’s past to Ambrose’s life. I just found the book to be lacking any substantial detail and I wanted more. Additionally, the continuous repetition of the characters could have been cut down more to make the read smoother and more enjoyable.
The plot was really interesting throwing in the abduction mystery aspect and the events around it were fun to read. It was quick paced and the dual view points kept everything moving beautifully. I found myself quickly getting through the novel solely because the plot was interesting, which makes the mystery aspect stand out more. If you take this book as a mystery novel with heavy influences of romance then I think you’re going to enjoy it more than the other way around.
- Plot: Like I stated before, the plot is the strongest part of this book. The twists and turns it takes to solve the disappearance are entertaining! I rather enjoy mystery novels so I found this to be a good read. It plays with similar mystery tropes and kept me guessing the whole way through. I actually was shocked at the outcome in the end. Solid plot!
- Marcus: Yes he’s a secondary character, but he’s who really gets the ball rolling with Ambrose. His relationship with Ambrose was a highlight of the novel. I enjoyed his compelling character arc and desperately want one of the next novels in this series to be about him. I want more!
- Character Development: This is typically what makes or breaks a novel for me and unfortunately this broke this novel. I felt like Scarlett and Ambrose were rather flat characters. They had their set characteristics and while the book said that they changed you don’t experience it. Additionally, I wanted more from their backstory. I get Scarlett has a tragic background, but make me feel it. Tell me more! How did she survive, learn to throw knives, what else does she do? I need to know! And how did Ambrose get to how he was? Tell me about his parents and upbringing! (Also, how in the world is he that ignorant of the world–this would have been great to build on!!). I don’t even understand the Maidens of Mayhem part of the novel even, nothing is really said about it.
- Romance: The romance in the novel felt incredibly forced. It was like all of a sudden they went from not working together to wanting to rip the clothes off of each other. There was little build to the relationship. What I imagine is the “build” acts more like a build to their partnership rather than anything romantic. I would have liked more conversation between Scarlett and Ambrose to create a mutual respect and attraction.
Long Story Short
Do I recommend Duchess If You Dare? Yeah, I do. It’s not going to be my first recommendation for a historical romance, but it does make my list of entertaining books. I do doubt that I would ever read this book again. Likewise, I will probably read the rest of the series as it comes out solely because I want to know about the other maidens of mayhem because there’s not much about them in this book. Also I want to see if Martin makes a comeback because his story arc was my fave.
Are you looking forward to reading Duchess If You Dare? What other historical romances are catching your attention? Let me know. I’ve been in a historical romance kick lately!
If you’re in the mood for more daring women taking down powerful men and not losing their independence have I got a book for you! I would recommend reading Bringing Down the Duke. My review for this novel is here.