Not the Duke's Darling: Includes a bonus novella

Not the Duke's Darling: Includes a bonus novella

by Elizabeth Hoyt

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From the New York Times bestselling author of the Maiden Lane series comes the first book in a new series that "marries her irresistibly witty writing style with an intrigue-steeped plot,"(Booklist) perfect for fans of Tessa Dare and Eloisa James.

Freya de Moray is many things: a member of the secret order of Wise Women, the daughter of disgraced nobility, and a chaperone living under an assumed name. What she is not is forgiving. So when the Duke of Harlowe, the man who destroyed her brother and led to the downfall of her family, appears at the country house party she's attending, she does what any Wise Woman would do: she starts planning her revenge.

Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe, is being blackmailed. Intent on keeping his secrets safe, he agrees to attend a house party where he will put an end to this coercion once and for all. Until he recognizes Freya, masquerading among the party revelers, and realizes his troubles have just begun. Freya knows all about his sins-sins he'd much rather forget. But she's also fiery, bold, and sensuous-a temptation he can't resist. When it becomes clear Freya is in grave danger, he'll risk everything to keep her safe. But first, he will have to earn Freya's whatever means necessary.

Features the bonus novella Patience for Christmas from New York Times bestselling author Grace Burrowes!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538763520
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 12/18/2018
Series: Greycourt Series , #1
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 225,141
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-three lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing "mesmerizing." She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.

The winters in Minnesota have been known to be long and cold and Elizabeth is always thrilled to receive reader mail. You can write to her at: P.O. Box 19495, Minneapolis, MN 55419 or email her at:

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Not the Duke's Darling: Includes a bonus novella 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
gaele More than 1 year ago
Childhood friends, a feminist heroine, blackmail, secrets and some dangerous mystery drive this story forward, while introducing a new setting and set of characters. Freya de Mornay is a feminist through and through, with her determination to right the wrongs done to her family, disgraced by the man whom she was friendly with as a child. She’s living a lie right now -with hiding her feminist tendencies that are far more progressive than would be acceptable in society, and she’s hiding behind an alias – the family disgrace would leave her without options to pursue her interests and agenda – and being able to act as a chaperone allows her access to events that her own name would leave her out of. Christopher Renshaw is now the Duke of Harlowe, and is being blackmailed for secrets from his past – spotting Freya, who knows everything about him from his early years – he thinks he may have found the culprit. From an amazing set up, with plenty of questions to be answered and the promise of some truly dangerous machinations for both their physical well-being and the emotional connection between them, the story quickly was mired in multiple subplots that were vaguely concocted and overly simplistic, I never truly felt connected to the relationship as it developed between Freya and Christopher. Additionally, the plethora of name choices from actual to family, fake to real, kept much of the connection that should have been built in a sort of ‘watch and see’ zone: with a constant need to remind myself of who each character is, let alone what other ‘traits’ they attempted (in Freya’s case) to change for their alias. What stood out was Christopher and his own struggles with a PTSD-like set of reactions to varied situations, and his willingness to believe that the Freya of the current day is the same one he knew as a child. He was solidly developed, and utterly honorable, even with secrets, that made him the standout in this story, even with the feminist approach to Freya and her stubborn (and frequently annoying) determination to view everything in an us v them, man v woman mode that just didn’t allow what character was there to develop in ways that would make Christopher’s fascination and admiration plausible. When the climax should have happened and felt more ‘threat’ from the mystery promised, the story fell rather flat and wasn’t helped by the simple feeling race to the end, few red herrings or actual tension just didn’t make that pan out. Yes, they had a connection that felt very one sided and seemed to have Christopher making most of the effort, but I just wasn’t overjoyed with this story or the characters introduced, and don’t see myself continuing the series. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Really enjoyed the new characters introduced in this story. Looking forward to reading the rest of the books once Hoyt available for purchase! I was as engrossed in the characters & their stories as I was in each book in the Maiden Lane Series--definitely promises more good thing to come. Absolutely love it <3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Delightful conversation keeps you turning pages. Not appealing to mystery or suspense lovers but very appealing to lovers of clever repartee, strong character development and a soothing story telling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
def618 More than 1 year ago
Lady Freya de Moray is a member of an ancient secret society of Wise Women who help women escape bad situations. There is also a group called Dunkelders who believe these women are witches and want them burned. So, while in London Freya uses her middle name, Stewart. She is employed as a companion to Lady Holland and her daughters. They attend a house party and a man from her childhood, Christopher Renshaw, Duke of Harlowe, is also there. Christopher and her brother were once good friends and Freya has never forgiven him for something that occurred years ago. Christopher agrees to not use her real name and slowly they began to learn what occurred and why. There is also a mystery about a neighbor, Lord Elliott Randolph’s wife. Is she truly dead and did he kill her? There is a lot going on in this marvelous book and you won’t want to put it down. As Freya and Christopher become close, he tells her “I want a lioness, not a lamb”. HEA! I highly recommend this book and can’t wait for more of this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hoyt has outdone herself with this one. Bring on the next episode asap.
FMABookReviews More than 1 year ago
❝He was a man, both good and bad and everything in between. A man who made her very aware that she was a woman of blood and bone and wants.❞ Confession time ... this is my first, Elizabeth Hoyt book. I know, I KNOW. You don't need to tell me what a fool I've been. Or what I've missed out on, because this book was an EXPERIENCE. It was an adventure. It was a treat. Historical romance has never been my go-to choice for reading, but as I get older, I find I'm enjoying them more. 'Not the Dukes Darling' was a time travel experience that delighted this notice historical romance reader. I love Hoyt's voice, tone and writing style. She tempers her descriptions, providing just enough to paint a picture forcing the reader to envision the backdrop and experience the emotions. ❝For years he'd been exiled from these shores. Had lived in a country with foreign sights and smells and people and he had thought all that time -- thirteen years -- that when he returned to England, his birthplace, everything would be different. That he would be home. Except when he returned it was to a title too grand. To parents dead and friendships destroyed and turned to dust. To grand manors that echoed with his solitary footsteps when he walked through them. England was no longer home. All that he could've built and loved there had been lost as he spent his youth in India. It was too late to find a home now. He did not belong anywhere.❞ That is until Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe found Miss Stewart, Lady Holland's companion, (Freya de Moray). There was something familiar about the beautiful, understated woman that reminded Christopher of his childhood. She pushed him, fought with him, and yet, she excited him. ❝She glowed, a fire, burning brightly, luring him closer, appearing to offer him peace. ❝You drive me mad, little thief,❞ he whispered, and gave in to the constant, terrible temptation. He kissed her.❞ He yearned to have her beauty in his life, for her to set at ease thunderstorm that brewed within him. He wanted her soft lips to only spit hatred at him and her green-gold eyes to gaze only at him. With a guilt-ridden Duke who's being blackmailed and a beautiful, mysterious ladies companion who is not who she seems; 'Not the Dukes Darling', was a wonderful historical adventure with mystery, intrigue, romance, and humor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Exciting tale of a strong independent women accepting a partnership unexpected.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Strong leadimg characters with unique angle and plot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. I am looking forward to the next book in this series.
Hfowler More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth Hoyt's stories are always so enjoyable and filled with strong female leads who aren’t afraid to be independent and go for what they want, even when what they think they want blinds them to their heart's true desires. This story centers around two families that were torn apart by tragedy and 15 years later two members of those families find themselves at a house party together. Christopher doesn’t remember who Freya is and she is quite put out about the fact he doesn’t remember her, even though 15 years ago she was just a 12 year old girl, and he was her grown brother’s best friend. She looks the part of a demure and polite companion, but when she spits vitriol at him every time they talk he can’t help but be drawn in to this curiosity of a woman. When she challenges him to a duel, he gets far more than he planned and from that moment on it is one steam filled moment after another while she tries and solves the mystery of where a neighbor's wife is being held captive. I enjoyed the story. I always enjoyed Hoyt’s take on Regency romance and this one doesn’t disappoint at all. Fun. Entertaining. Lively. Passionate. And full of adventure. I look forward to more.
Candace-LoveyDoveyBooks More than 1 year ago
Freya de Moray wows readers and draws them into her story with excitement and a hint of a troubled past. Not the Duke's Darling, the first of Elizabeth Hoyt's new Greycourt series, introduces a group of childhood friends torn apart by tragedy and the first steps to repair the bonds they once cherished. As a ranking member of The Wise Women, Freya lives her life helping women and children in need. Her mission is to prevent a law that will allow the burning of witches from passing. It does not include reconnecting with her family's enemy, Christopher Renshaw. Now the Duke of Harlowe, Christopher is trying to hold off a blackmailer and protect his late wife's reputation. Freya's appearance brings to light the events that happened at Greycourt, when one of his best friends nearly died. I'm so eager to know what really happened that night, because Freya only relates to the event based on the aftermath and her brother's response. I love that this story presents a tragedy with parts of the truth missing. Everyone involved has a different perspective about what happened and some of them haven't even been introduced yet. That single even helped shaped Freya's view of the world and her decision to work with The Wise Women. I would love to see how other characters, like Messalina and her brother, were affected. The Greycourt series begins with an unconventional courtship and a little danger! This story is perfect for fans of Grace Burrowes or Amelia Grey. *ARC provided in consideration for review*
bookchelle More than 1 year ago
I enjoy historical romances, especially those with a bit of intrigue and mystery. I find that heroines written in this era to be fascinating, mostly because of the obstacles they face within the society and within themselves. It's a testament to these women, in fiction and in reality. Not the Duke's Darling is simply about secrets. With a blight in an unfortunate past, Freya has had to alter her future. She is a chaperone living her life with a false name, a member of the the secretive Wise Women, and disgraced from nobility and the ton. The Duke of Harlowe, Christopher has been threatened with blackmail if he does not pay for those secrets. To keep them safe, he attends a party to end his troubles. And so starts this adventure. I enjoyed Freya, her tenacity, and her gumption. It isn't everyday that I read a story with a secret order composed of Women. This story is filled with secrets, and Freya slowly reveals those secrets one detail at a time. Christopher was fun to get to know. His past certainly increased the intensity of the plot, but I felt there were a few tidbits here and there that didn't need to be largely focused on. I enjoyed the overall plot of secrecy, spies, and scandal, but felt that there was something missing. Compared to Hoyt's other stories, this didn't have the romance that I was used to. And maybe that is unfair of me to say, but it is also something that I had come to expect. The relationship between Freya and Christopher wasn't filled with the heat and passion that I needed. I appreciated the story and the plot. Overall, I enjoyed it, and would continue to read the series. *Thank you to the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.*
Noire More than 1 year ago
Exciting New Series! I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for a fair review review. Not The Duke’s Darling is the first book in what looks to be an awesome new series “The Greycourt Series” by Elizabeth Hoyt. The story is enemies to lovers at its best although our poor tortured hero Christopher Renshaw, Duke of Harrow is not quite sure why the fiery Miss Stewart holds him in such low esteem as he does not recognize her as Freya De Moray younger sister of his childhood friend Ran. Freya’s life changed dramatically at the age of 12, the night Ran was accused of murdering her best friends sister and he was almost beaten to death. She has vowed revenge on the friends who abandoned him that night and struggles against the attraction she feels for Christopher as she has more important things to accomplish such as finding out how the wife of a peer died under mysterious circumstances. The house party she attends in order to solve the mystery is turning out to be quite dangerous to both her heart and her life. Quite Steamy. Published December 18, 2018 #NotTheDukesDarling #ElizabethHoyt #ForeverGrandCentralPublishing #HatchetteBookGroup
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely LOVED this book. I’m a huge Hoyt fan and NOT THE DUKE’S DARLING might be my favorite book so far! Freya is such a kickass heroine and I love that she’s always her own person and that Christopher loves and admires her for that. He’s a worthy hero to Freya’s heroine and strong (and so hot!) without being a macho jerk. This book, and these characters, were both a balm and a joy. And I can’t wait to read more about the Wise Women! S
etoile1996 More than 1 year ago
a new series from elizabeth hoyt is most certainly a gift, so it's appropriate that not the duke's darling has published just before christmas. freya de moray is a wise woman, or rather a *wise woman* part of a sect of women who have dedicated their lives to helping other women in need. as the macha, she provides the organization with vital intelligence to help the people they are charges with protecting. when she encounters christopher, duke of harlowe on a mission, her anger and resentment for the wrongs her family suffered that she lays on his door nearly overwhelms her. he wears her brother's ring, and it's such an outright insult even as he fails to recognize her that she can barely contain her rage. when they cross paths again at a house party she is determined to get her revenge. it takes a while to suss out what happened the night of the greycourt scandal. not the duke's darling actually includes a third point of view, beyond freya and christopher's that actually doesn't clarify anything at all. messilane's story will clearly continue in book two, so why she takes up as much real estate as she does in book one is unclear to me. regardless, i liked her as a character and will happily read on to see where she ends up. so if that was the point, mission accomplished. at first, i found this story to be slow-going. it wasn't until freya and christopher actually begin communicating that i felt like the story found its ground. part of the slow start surely has to do with building this new world of characters and setting up the conflict between the dunkelders and the wise women. but so far i'm not finding it as compelling as the lords of chaos and the ghost of st. giles from the maiden lane series. but i'm willing to give it time, hoyt is so very good at what she does. my other little nitpick is that i could not stop thinking of freya bedwyn from mary balogh's bedwyn series, and how that freya also has a brother named ranulf. it's not like the names of characters in romance books are never repeated, but the bedwyns are so memorable, it's hard to compete with that. **not the duke's darling will publish on december 18, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/grand central publishing (forever) in exchange for my honest review.
Melissa_W More than 1 year ago
With the publication of the final book in her Maiden Lane series last year, I was wondering what Elizabeth Hoyt was going to do next. Maiden Lane started dark and got darker, ending with the destruction of a secret cult that prided itself on the degradation of women and children. Not the Duke's Darling is a solid, fast-moving start to Hoyt’s new series. This is an enemies-to-lovers-with-a-second-chance romance (one of my favorite tropes!) that also dabbles a bit in secret societies (although these two doesn’t go in for sex cults, thank goodness) that pits women and women's knowledge against some wild-eyed witch-hunters. Hoyt starts off with a bang, almost literally, with an undercover Freya rescuing a small child from his nefarious uncle then off to a house-party to investigate the identity of a politician bent on restarting witchcraft trials. Along the way Freya comes across an old friend-now-nemesis the Duke of Harlow (Christopher), who is bent on stymieing a blackmailer and getting Freya to tell him what she's up to (good luck with that). And then there's a murder.... I quite liked Freya as a character but I also really liked how Hoyt dug into questions of how women were treated in marriage - legally - in the 18th century and how Christopher chooses to allow Freya to make up her own mind without getting overly possessive or seducing her into agreement. This not-quite-a-beta-male hero is a welcome relief to a sea of heroes who growl, stalk, and generally act overly possessive. I hope Hoyt gets a bit more into the Wise Women in future books of the series. Plus there’s a cute dog, which is a bit of a requirement in a Hoyt novel anymore.
Sandy-thereadingcafe More than 1 year ago
3.75 stars--NOT THE DUKE’S DARLING is the first instalment in Elizabeth Hoyt’s adult THE GREYCOURT historical, romance series. This is Freya de Moray, and Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe’s story line. Told from several third person perspectives including Freya and Christopher NOT THE DUKE’S DARLING follows the childhood friends /enemies to lovers/ brother’s best friend relationship between Freya de Moray, and Christopher Renshaw. Years earlier Freya’s brother was accused of a heinous crime, and in the ensuing melee was beaten and maimed without benefit of proof. Fast forward to present day wherein Freya will come face to face with her past,a man who stood by and watched as her brother nearly lost his life. Enter Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe, and the man with whom Freya will fall in love. What ensues is the rebuilding relationship between Freya and Christopher, and the potential fall-out as Freya is targeted for her connection to a group known as the Wise Women. Freya de Moray is a titled lady but our heroine prefers to remain in the background as she endeavors to help those who are unable to help themselves. A feminist before her time, Freya’s actions make her a target by the men who hope to destroy anyone who goes against the norm, or in Freya’s case, a strong-willed, stubborn woman who is willing to risk her life to save the life of someone else. Christopher Renshaw returned from exile the Duke of Harlowe but his inability to let go of the past found our hero struggling to make sense of mysterious stranger who despised his presence from the first time they met. Having no recollection of what he had done Christopher would soon come to realize that the woman with murder in her eyes, is someone from his past. Estranged from family and friends, Christopher is desperate to uncover the truth behind Freya’s appearance. The relationship between Freya and Christopher is an enemies to lovers/ best friend’s little sister trope that finds our couple at odds over their future together. Christopher is hoping for his happily ever after but Freya refuses to be bound to any man as a servant or bed mate. Marriage is not out of the question but our heroine prefers her independence over servitude, an independence and strong-will that has placed a target on her back. Christopher considers Freya his equal, and in this, he too, is ahead of the times. The $ex scenes are intimate and passionate without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text. There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters as Elisabeth Hoyt introduces the players and key figures in her Greycourt series. We are introduced to Freya’s former best friend Messalina Greycourt, and her sister Lucretia. Many of the characters have several names, nicknames and titles, as well as the mention of innumerable others, such that there is much confusion throughout the story. NOT THE DUKE’S DARLING is a story of family and betrayal; friendship and loss; second chances and love. The premise is entertaining; the romance is seductive; the characters are strong and sassy. There are a number of sub-plots including secret societies and witch hunting, murder and confinement, blackmail and estrangement, all wrapped up in an historical romance love story
Historical_Romance_Lover More than 1 year ago
I loved Freya and Christopher's story! Freya is working as a chaperone under a fake name, but her real job is working as a Wise Woman. She is to attend a house party where she needs to learn the truth about a woman's death. It could mean the survival of her and the other Wise Women. While there, she runs into an old family friend. He used to be best friend's with her brother, but when tragedy struck, the friendship dissolved. Freya is worried that he will recognize her and blow her cover, luckily he doesn't. Christoper is at the house party to confront a blackmailer. He is intrigued by the chaperone that attends but can't figure out why she can't stand him. As he spends time with her, he is more and more intrigued and determined to learn what he has done to deserve her ire. What will happen when he learns the truth of Freya's identity? I throughly enjoyed this story! I loved all the bantering between the characters and I was often laughing out loud while reading. This was an excellent start to a new series and I can't wait to read the next book!
PegGlover More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars Not The Duke’s Darling is the first book in Elizabeth Hoyt’s exciting new Greycourt Series. Freya de Moray was not who she was portraying herself to be. She was a Wise Woman who was on a mission. Pretending to be a Lady’s companion was a vital part of her plan. Witch-hunting in England had been outlawed for some time, but a particular aristocrat was pushing to bring the practice back. Freya’s mission was to make sure that he didn’t succeed. She was also seeking revenge for her brother’s ruined life. Freya became excited when she spotted the Duke of Harlowe. Her plan was coming together perfectly. Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe was back in London after spending years in India. At the age of eighteen, Christopher had been sent away for disgracing the family name. But, since inheriting the Dukedom, Christopher’s lofty status had been reinstated. Normally the duke was not one to mingle, but since his blackmailer was demanding his presence at Lady Lovejoy’s house party, Christopher went. It was at this party, where he came across Freya; the most intelligent, infuriating, and beautiful woman he’d ever met. He wanted to get to know her. The problem was, however, that Freya, wanted nothing to do with him. In fact, she acted as if she hated him. Not The Duke’s Darling is a wonderful start to Elizabeth Hoyt’s new series. I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline, the dialogue, and the characters. Thank you, Forever (Grand Central Publishing) and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.
McM0mmy-PW More than 1 year ago
Have to admit I enjoyed the story of Freya and Christopher. He really annoyed me about not recognizing her, until I realized he never really interacted with her much due to their ages. I loved how feisty she was! I also really liked the ending! Thank you for the Advanced Readers Copy!
MADreaderMD More than 1 year ago
This is an action-packed and intriguing beginning to the Greycourt series. Secrets, blackmail, murder, spying, and steamy romance--what's not to love! While Freya has spent a good part of her life hating Christopher, he had forgotten about the young sister of his one-time best friend. A great tragedy shook up all their lives, and no one in the de Moray, Renshaw, and Greycourt families was ever the same. When they all end up at a country house party, expect the sparks to fly! While Christopher and Freya face danger from their past and present, they each have to face their greatest fears in order to save each other and to allow love into their hearts. I thought the resolution of Christopher and Freya's story was satisfying and enjoyed the fact that they both respected each other and didn't force the other to see things from their point of view. I will warn you that since this is the first book in a series, there are many characters introduced and several story threads started. Not all of the threads are wrapped up, and there is a cliff-hanger for one of them. But let's be honest, I'm going to read all the books in the series, anyway! I received an ARC from the author.