Sunday, September 5, 2021

Review: A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor

by Janna MacGregor
Release Date: June 29, 2021
2021 St. Martin's Paperbacks
Kindle Edition; 366 Pages
ISBN: 978-1250761590
ASIN: B08FZ8B348
Audiobook: B08YLDWC75
Genre: Fiction / Historical / Romance
Source: Review copy from publisher
3 / 5 Stars
Katherine Vareck is in for the shock of her life when she learns upon her husband Meri's accidental death that he had married two other women. Her entire business, along with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a royal supplier, is everything she's been working for and now could be destroyed if word leaks about the three wives.

Meri's far more upstanding brother, Christian, Duke of Randford has no earthly clue how to be of assistance. He spent the better part of his adult years avoiding Meri and the rest of his good-for-nothing family, so to be dragged back into the fold is…problematic. Even more so is the intrepid and beautiful Katherine, whom he cannot be falling for because she's Meri's widow. Or can he?
My Thoughts
A Duke in Time is the first book in The Widow Rules series, and I have to say, the first chapter really does open with quite an interesting scene. I thought the concept was intriguing, and I did like the characters for the most part, but remove the trappings of regency England, and you could just as well be reading a contemporary romance.  There is historical leniency in a lot of these romance novels, but I did feel like this one pushed it a bit too far.

I definitely liked Katherine as a main character, even if I thought she was way too modern for this time period.  She was kind-hearted, tough, determined, and loyal, but there were moments where I actually rolled my eyes.  I couldn't help it.  Empowering women is one thing, but convincing them they can do anything they want during this time period is modern thinking, not Regency thinking, and it bothered me when I saw this, not once, but over and over again. No, women could not do whatever they wanted, and telling children they can grow up to be whatever they wanted is definitely not something that would be common during this time period, especially for children who didn't know who their fathers were.  And it completely contradicted the other story line running through this book; women who now desperately needed a husband, or whatever, so they wouldn't be ruined when the truth came out.  
There always has to be this big 'secret' that comes between our lovers, and naturally, this book had one as well.  I did feel like the author was really stretching it here though as I didn't buy it.  And Katherine had a witness, so it just didn't work for me.  When a secret works, it can create some rather interesting dialogues and story lines, and some interesting times for the reader, but when it doesn't, it just seems silly, and I'm sorry, but this one was silly.  I was also frustrated by the whole Meri situation and would have loved to get an answer for what happened there; after reading this book, I just don't understand how Katherine would have married him.  

I didn't mind the plot too much, but I will never be a fan of insta-love.  I have read some of this author's work before and prefer the slower-burn of her other books.  I also thought the duke's introduction didn't match the personality she developed for him later on.  I get that he was confused over his brother's actions and that he didn't want anything to do with him, but he was also a duke and family responsibility is drummed into you from childbirth. He slowly grew on me though, but I'm not really sure I bought completely into their romance.  And while they did have chemistry, it needed to be developed and grown. The steamy sections kind of covered up the lack of relationship growth, but I have to say, the author definitely did a great job discussing the types of linens that were available during this time period during these scenes without taking away from the 'steam'.

A Duke in Time is a well-written romance: the so-called secrets and the issues with Meri made the book a bit tougher to get through than I would have liked, and I just didn't buy into some of the story line and some of the reasons for why the characters behaved the way they did.  I'm not a fan of using miscommunication, or lack of communication, as a plot device, especially for grown adults who are so organized in other facets of their lives.  I did however, lover the other two wives and am looking forward to reading their stories in future books. 


Post a Comment