The Duke I Once Knew: Unlikely Duchesses

The Duke I Once Knew: Unlikely Duchesses

by Olivia Drake

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250174383
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 12/31/2018
Series: Unlikely Duchesses , #1
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 2,840
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Olivia Drake is a New York Times bestselling author who lives in Texas. Her novels have won critical acclaim and numerous industry awards, including the prestigious RITA. Olivia is the author of Scandal of the Year, Never Trust a Rogue, and If the Slipper Fits among others.
Olivia Drake is the author of Seducing the Heiress, Never Trust a Rogue, and Scandal of the Year. She has been a member of Romance Writers of America since 1981, and her novels have won the Golden Heart Award, Best Historical Romantic Suspense and Best Regency Historical from Romantic Times, and the prestigious RITA award. She lives in Houston, Texas.

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The Duke I Once Knew: Unlikely Duchesses 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
PegGlover 19 days ago
Abby was tired of being taken advantage of. Her siblings were squabbling once again, over where she would live, and who needed her help the most. It would have been nice if they had considered Abby’s feelings in the matter, but they didn’t. So Abby knew it was time for a change. Her family was not happy. Abby was twenty-nine years old and decided that it was time for her to take control over her life. She applied for a governess position at the Duke of Rothwell’s residence. Abby had once known the Duke when he was fifteen years of age. Before he left for London, Max had pledged his love, promised to write, and return home to marry Abby, when he was of age. Abby never stopped loving Max, even though he broke her heart. Max never wrote to Abby or returned home, as promised. In fact, Max hasn’t been back to the Rothwell residence for fifteen years. Abby was shocked to not only find the Duke at home but showering a beautiful woman with inappropriate attention. Just as Abby expected, he was not pleased to see her. He gave Abby one week, to finish out her employment working as his sister’s governess, and then Abby would need to seek work elsewhere. Although being dismissed by Max, was humiliating and stung, Abby was glad to finally, put an end to her romantic fantasies regarding him. That was, however, until Max kissed her. Although Abby was anxious during her last week of employment, she never expected her life to be in mortal danger. The Duke I Once Knew is a well-written historical fiction romance. And, even though I found the book predictable, it was still an entertaining and enjoyable read. Thank you, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.
Sunshine1006 20 days ago
Can you go home again? Max, Lord Rothwell did and found his first love as the governess of his young sister, Gwen. Abigail is tired of everything being decided for her. She is being taken advantage of by her much older siblings. Being pulled different ways to be used as a spinster aunt is getting to be, too much. She is almost thirty, and needs something for herself. She goes to Rothwell Court as a governess to Lady Gwen, not expecting Lord Rothwell to be there.. When he shows up with a woman who may be his mistress and a few of his other London friends, both are surprised to see each other. Max and Abigail had been childhood friends and more. The promise of what they were to each other should have been forgotten years ago, but it comes back with an ache of what could never be. The attraction is still there, but Max has secrets. Will he be able to reveal his most private thoughts? What about his reputation as a rake? I loved this book and the story was more complex than many others I have read. I received this book from Net Galley and St. Martin's Press for a honest review and no compensation otherwise.The opinions expressed are my own.
nelriv 5 days ago
Rcvd an ARC at no cost to author..(netgalley) This title was the Duke I Once Knew and after reading I wondered why she would want to know him again. So we meet Abby who is a doormat and allows her family to do whatever, she in an act of rebellion (yeah shocked me) decides to work as a governess and ends up working for her long lost love's family. At a young age Abby fell in love with Max and promises were made but unfortunately they broke up after some miscommunications and shade from others. Max goes on to become a manwhore literally after professing his love, like really quickly (yeah that's love) anyhoo he comes home years later and discovers that the woman whom he had loved and did him wrong is now working for him and his family and he comes with a mistress in tow. More misunderstanding, judgements all over and honestly I didn't care for any of them, not Abby, not Max and not her family. I wont continue with the rest of the series
BuckeyeAngel 6 days ago
For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her parents and her siblings’ children. Now, eager to create a life of her own, Abby seizes upon a position as a governess on a neighboring estate. Unfortunately, her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the notorious rake who once broke her youthful heart. But since he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years, Abby assumes she’ll never have to lay eyes on him ever again. Then, from out of nowhere, Max appears. He is stunned to come face to face with the girl next door he fell for years ago—before he went away, and she stopped writing to him. . .even though Abby swears that he is the one who left her without a word. Could it be that this spirited, witty spinster has won Max’s heart all over again—and that they may have a second chance at love? I didn’t like this book. Right from the beginning, I was really annoyed with all of the characters and how the story itself was. It just wasn’t for me. **I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
BuckeyeAngel 6 days ago
For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her parents and her siblings’ children. Now, eager to create a life of her own, Abby seizes upon a position as a governess on a neighboring estate. Unfortunately, her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the notorious rake who once broke her youthful heart. But since he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years, Abby assumes she’ll never have to lay eyes on him ever again. Then, from out of nowhere, Max appears. He is stunned to come face to face with the girl next door he fell for years ago—before he went away, and she stopped writing to him. . .even though Abby swears that he is the one who left her without a word. Could it be that this spirited, witty spinster has won Max’s heart all over again—and that they may have a second chance at love? I didn’t like this book. Right from the beginning, I was really annoyed with all of the characters and how the story itself was. It just wasn’t for me. **I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
BooksandBlends 8 days ago
I really wanted to love this one! It had two tropes that I love. Duke needing a governess and second chance romance. However, it didn’t win me over as I hoped. I expected a bit more angst and romance. These two did a dance around each other that could have ended a bit sooner if they would have spoken about the past. Abigail became a pushover in her family by being the youngest and going along with whatever her family wanted her to do. It was good to see her get a backbone and take charge of her life. While she was a bit on the prudish side, I did like her character. Max, Max, Max. There were so many times that I wanted to shake him. He really wanted to make himself believe that he loved his lifestyle as it was without love. However, He knew he loved Abigail. He just kept fighting it. Since it was a first in a series, I’ll round up to three stars. While I wasn’t in love with it, I did enjoy it and will be reading the next book in this series.
MellieReadsALot 9 days ago
I loved this story and the awakening of a previous young-love on a deeper adult level. Taken advantage of by her loving, yet oppressive siblings, Abby grabs at an opportunity to live independently as the governess for the sister of an absentee Duke. Max, the absentee Duke of Rothwell, is stuck bringing a small house party to his ancestral estate despite his attempts to avoid the memories it awakens. Abby and Max are surprised to see each other (and more surprised about the circumstances). Despite the unhappy ending to their teenage fling, they are are drawn to the innocent love they had once shared.
TwistedReader 9 days ago
Historical romances are my guilty pleasure so I jumped on the chance to read The Duke I Once Knew. The synopsis held promise of the type of light and fluffy romantic read that I love losing myself in once in a while. I am a complete sucker for “lost lovers over time”. While I found this book to be a fairly quick and somewhat enjoyable read, I honestly couldn’t wait to get to the end of it. I needed this book to be finished. I couldn’t get enough of the storyline of a second chance romance but I could not stand the characters at all! Any of them! Well, except maybe Goliath. Him I enjoyed. I was expecting Max and his friends to be your typical rogues; flirty, temperamental and just all out impossible to live with. That I was prepared for. What shocked and annoyed me was Abby. I had such high hopes for her at the beginning with her want for independence but all my hopes were just shattered. I understand that women were meant to be seen as obedient and meek during this time period, but come on! I had such respect for this woman holding her ground and speaking her mind but she turned out to be such a doormat, especially when it came to Max, that I just lost interest in her. I also got the impression of a snob from her. I mean, there is being prim and formal and then there is taking it a little too far. Sure, she had her moments where her guard was let down but those were fleeting and far between. I prefer a female lead with more spunk and tenacity than compliance and apologies. I probably could have forgiven Abby her conflicting personality traits had I not been constantly reminded of them. It seemed every page or so was Abby second guessing something, wondering if she had misread something, thinking about how improper her thoughts were or trying to decide how things would have been if something had played out differently. We got a lot of this from Max as well, but I found it more irritating coming from Abby for some reason. I think I had just expected more growth from her character. There was also a lot of repetition throughout the book that made me feel that it could have been done at least 50 pages earlier. During those moments, I found myself skimming a lot because there was no new information, just a lot of facts and thoughts that were unnecessarily repeated. Though I did have some issues with The Duke I Once Knew, I did find the overall story quite enjoyable and the parts that held my interest were very quick to read through. This was my first work by the author and I will keep an eye out for other titles by her. I received this copy from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press to read and provide my own opinions.
Horsebranchjess 10 days ago
The Duke I Once Knew is a second chance at love historical romance. Abigail Linton is quickly approaching her thirtieth birthday and tires of being passed back and forth between her siblings. On the shelf and an aging spinster, Abby gave up her chance at marriage to take care of her aging parents. Now that they are gone, she spends her time playing nursemaid to her nieces and nephews. Abby wants and needs a life of her own, so in a fit of independence she applies and receives a governess job at the neighboring estate of the Duke of Rothwell. Maxwell Bryce, the Duke, and Abby have a past and a shared heartbreak, a youthful love affair that promised to be more until Max ghosted Abby. When Max's party of unscrupulous friends is forced to relocate due to a measles outbreak, Max and Abby find themselves occupying the same residence and butting heads. Max's rakish ways and the past bring the two to a head and the reader is swept along as a leopard might be able to change its spots. Secrets come to light and jealousy rears its ugly head in a quick paced and compelling story of second chances with a sweet HEA. My voluntary, unbiased review is based upon a review copy from Netgalley.
book_junkee 12 days ago
This was a new to me author and I love second chance romances coupled with childhood friends. Sadly, I am wondering if 3 stars is too high. I liked Abby well enough. She wants to be independent and I liked her strength and desire for something of her own. Max is just okay. He was stoic and I never warmed up to him. The scenes between the two of them lacked chemistry. Plot wise, it was meh. Things felt repetitive and rushed {especially when it came to the letters. And while the ending was good, I wanted something a bit more and would have loved to see an epilogue. There were several snide comments about the personalities and fragility of women. I get that it’s the time period, but this seemed fairly excessive. Overall, it was an okay story. I’m not entirely sure why I kept reading it and I’m not sure if I’ll continue the series. **Huge thanks to St. Martin’s Paperbacks for providing the arc free of charge**
thisbibliolife 12 days ago
The Duke I Once Knew delivers a charming second chance romance with recognizable cliches and tropes of the romance genre. It is refreshing to read a historical romance book that doesn't try to anything but a historical romance book. Warning: the heroine is thirty-year-old virgin spinster and the hero is a complete rake. Their first meeting after fifteen years, the hero is getting handsy with his wannabe mistress. But don't let this dissuade you from taking a chance on this book! Once upon a time the hero and heroine formed a teenage love and promised to marry each other when the heroine became of age, but due to some unknown force their letters never reached each other. Now, this type of miscommunication/reasoning for a second chance romance is usually one I stay clear of, but Olivia Drake managed to have the couple confront each other early on about the miscommunication. Despite that, they didn't' fall head over heels in love with each other again. I liked that. They understood that the past was the past and nothing they could do to change it. However, I did find the resolution concerning why they never received each other's letters to be anti-climatic. I was expecting something a bit more dramatic. It made the reasoning for their separation minuscule. The story mainly focused on how the hero and heroine connected again after fifteen years, which was fine by me. I enjoyed seeing how their feelings resurfaced again and bloomed into more mature feelings. The hero especially I think had a lot more growing up to do before he could commit himself to the heroine. He didn't get much character development unlike the heroine which I would have liked more. He didn't take much actions towards his character growth until the end and we only got a glimpse of his past what the heroine inferred about it. Their chemistry was sweet with a little heat. I mostly felt the chemistry and angst from the heroine's POV. What made this book special was the writing style. The author did a wonderful job of balancing out the internal emotions with the story narration. I'm definitely looking forward to reading about the next couple in this series.
Virginiaw 12 days ago
This is a fun romance. I enjoyed the main characters. It was interesting to read about how the fights were handled back then. I really liked Abby and grew to like Max. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
Mermer 13 days ago
A good romantic Historical story. Really liked Abbigail and Max they once cared for each other. Max went away after a tragedy and each thought they forgot about each other and felt hurt. After 15 yrs they were reunited in an employee employer situation and discovered that they still have feeling for each other but have to come to an understanding of what really happen 15 yrs ago. Some very good dialogue,situations,and romance. Enjoy reading. Voluntarily reviewed.
stanhope3234 16 days ago
Second chance romance, where both main characters have resigned themselves to a life alone on their terms. Fifteen years ago Maxwell the Duke of Rothwell and Abigail Linton had what they thought was a romance that would last a lifetime. When Max’s father took he and his sister to London after his wife died, their romance ended even with promises of love letters and marriage. Abby cared for her parents for fifteen years until their death, now with her older siblings fighting for who she must help with next she has decided to apply as governess to Lady Gwendolyn Rothwell. Max has strived to stay away from his boyhood home, but a case of the Measles at his friends home has sent he and is traveling companions to Rothwell Court. This throws him directly in the path of the one person he has no desire to see, Abby. Max did not know his Aunt hires Abby as Gwen’s governess and will see that she is relieved of her post immediately. Max agrees to let Abby stay on until he and his companions leave and to stay out of his way. The more time spent in the company of each other the more they realize they just might of wasted fifteen years and what a lonely life they have lead. And just maybe there’s a fine line between love and hate.
MLH438 17 days ago
The road to happily-ever-after was not easy for Abigail Linton and Maxwell Bryce, who met and fell in love when they were teenagers. Fate separated them, and their letters to each other were waylaid, but that first love remained in their memory. Fast forward 15 years, and Abigail is a 30-year-old spinster who wants to spread her wings after years spent taking care of her now-deceased parents. Even though her family objects, she resolves to take the position of governess to Max's young sister. Max is now the Duke of Rothwell, enjoys quite the rakish reputation in London, and hasn't been home in fifteen years. Fate, in the form of a measles outbreak at his friend's estate, brings him home with a party of friends, just as Abigail has taken up her position. Max and Abigail strike sparks off each other and find their way back together, in spite of past assumptions and the scheming and meddling of Lady Desmond, a widow who is angling to become Max's Duchess. The Duke I Once Knew is the first book in Olivia Drake's Unlikely Duchesses series. It is lovely and well-written, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an enjoyable second-chance romance.. I look forward to other books in the series. I received a copy from the St. Martin's Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
MaBiche 17 days ago
The Duke I Once Knew will delight readers who are fans of historical romance novels that are light, entertaining, and simply about two people falling in love. There's no deep angst, dark deadly secrets, or hardline stance of any kind. Just good story-telling. Sometimes that's what I'm looking for. And it's all right. Abby and Max reunite after fifteen years and the return of their love for each other is utterly believable and quite obviously inevitable. The forces that are trying to keep them apart (misunderstanding about the lost letters, Lady Elise, Max's poor example of a father) are addressed one by one and in a timely manner. I love reading an older heroine in Abby. There are so few of them in historical romance that when I find one, I gravitate towards it right away. It was fine for me to read teenagers when I was younger, but not when I'm middle-aged and can't relate. I also love her taking control of her own life and not letting herself be pushed around anymore. And when she and Max had their intimacy, she proved her strong will once more. I also loved that the characters are flawed, but still sympathetic. Especially Max. It makes the book as close to reality as it could get. If I have minor complaints (villainess with no redeeming factor, some repetition in the PoVs, so many named characters some of whom never got fully developed), they're overshadowed by the positives.
Noire 17 days ago
I received an ARC of this book to read through NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake is the first book in her new series Unlikely Duchesses. Abigail Linton fell in love with Maxwell Bryce when she was 15 years old but then his mother died and his father the Duke took him away to London and despite his promises to write she never heard from him again. She’s spent the last 15 years caring for both of her elderly parents, never getting the chance to have a season of her own and now firmly on the shelf she hears her older brothers and sisters squabbling over who gets to have her live with them as unpaid help in their households. Realizing she is tired of others making decisions about her life without even consulting her she announces that she is going to apply for the position of governess to the current Duke’s younger sister and take charge of her own life. Max, now the Duke of Rothewell and infamous for his rakish ways, counts himself lucky that Abby never replied to the letters he sent as he has no intentions of marrying and suffering the way his father did when his mother died. When plans to stay at a friends country house are thwarted by the household staff suffering from the measles he is forced to return to his estate for the first time since he left so many years ago. He is furious when he finds Abby in residence as his sisters governess and promptly fires her but then relents as he’s brought guests with him and needs someone to be there to add countenance to protect his sisters reputation. Sparks fly but they are both different people from those love struck teens and of course each thinks the other never wrote back to them. Medium Steam. Publishing Date December 31, 2018 #TheDukeIOnceKnew #NetGalley #OliviaDrake #StMartinsPress
Charlotte Pawson 17 days ago
Abby has devoted her life to her parents after her mother had a debilitating fall from her horse. Abby was now approaching her 30th birthday and her parents having passed away the previous year all that awaited her was the expected roll of looking after her family’s young children. Abby needed to escape so took up a position as governess to the Duke of Rothwell sister. You are taken on a delightful journey with Abby realising lost love and becoming a spirited individual who will make her own decisions in life. I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Jolie 18 days ago
I had mentioned in my WWW Wednesday post that I didn’t care for The Duke I Once Knew. When I had posted that, I was about 50% through the book. I wasn’t lying. I didn’t care for the book at that point. I did like the main characters and their storyline. I didn’t like the extra drama. Like I mentioned in that post, I just about lost my eyes because they were rolling so hard. Weirdly enough, I did like the last half of the book. All the drama was pushed to the back-burner and I got to enjoy the book for what it was. Abby and Max rediscovering each other. I thought that Abby gave up a lot in her life. To take care of her parents, Abby gave up any chance of marriage. At 30, she was considered a spinster. And guess what, she was fine with that. What she wasn’t fine with was her brothers and sisters arguing about what to do with her. I didn’t blame her for deciding to go and apply for that governess position. Even though she thought that Max hated her, she still went and became his sister’s governess. I loved how sarcastic Abby was. Her zingers at Max had me laughing. I liked Max even though I thought he was a tool. Who brings a woman he wants to seduces to a house he hasn’t been to in 15 years? Max does. But, for all his faults, he was a good guy. He went out of his way to help Abby when he shouldn’t have. He treated his house servants like family. He was willing to do the right thing by Abby when they had sex by the lake. He made hero status in my eyes with what he did with his wannabe mistress. I cheered when that happened. I loved that this was a second chance romance. I liked seeing Abby and Max rediscover their romance. It was sweet. Second chance romances are some of my favorites to read. I like seeing people rediscover what made them fall in love. Of course, they had obstacles to overcome. Mainly the witch that Max brought home with him. There was sex in this book. But what I liked was that it wasn’t graphic. The author left enough unsaid where I had to use my imagination. What I liked also was that Abby was comfortable enough in her own skin to own what happened. I liked that she didn’t want Max to offer for her because they bumped uglies. She wanted him to offer for her because he loved her. Not because he felt he was honor-bound because he popped her cherry. I couldn’t stand Lady Desmond. She was a despicable human being. She was so jealous of Abby that she was willing to hurt her to take her out of the picture. She was also willing to put Max’s younger sister in situations that young women shouldn’t be in. And with people that they should be around. I was wondering if Max was ever going to come to his senses about her. I was disappointed it took almost the entire book for him to actually do something. I didn’t like the end of the book. It seemed rushed. I didn’t like how Abby jumped to conclusions about Lady Desmond and Max. It went against everything that I had read about their relationship. It also ended suddenly. There was the HEA and then nothing. I was expecting an epilogue or something that showed what happened after the “I love you” was said. Also, seeing that this was book 1 in the Unlikely Duchesses series, I couldn’t pinpoint who the next story was about? Was it Abby’s niece? Or Max’s sister? Again, usually, there is a hint about who the next book is about.
Historical_Romance_Lover 18 days ago
I loved Abigail and Max's story! It was a reunion story, which is always one of my favorites. Tired of always doing things for her older siblings, Abigail is ready to make a life for herself. She becomes the governess for the Duke of Rothwell's sister. Abigail was once in love him, but since he hasn't been to his estate in 15 yrs, there is no chance that she will run into him. Too bad he unexpectedly shows up not a week into her new job. Max hasn't been home since his mother passed away. He sure didn't expect to find his former love working in his home. But Abigail seems angry at him whenever they encounter each other. Since she was the one that cut off all contact with him, he doesn't understand why she is acting the say she is. As they once again get close, they learn that all is not as it seems. Can they recapture the love they once shared? I really enjoyed watching these two come together. My emotions kept going up and down right along with them on this journey back to each other. This was a great start to what I am sure will be another great series by Drake. I'm excited for the next book in the series and can't wait to see what she has in store for us!
AmyHi 18 days ago
Enjoyable story of Abigail, a spinster whose family takes advantage of her, and her first love Max, whom is now a Duke. I am not always a fan of second chance stories but this one worked well.
CarissaR 18 days ago
I really liked this one. It's also my first Olivia Drake book. This story is mainly about 2nd chance romances. The characters are well diverse and the storyline flow very well and at a fast pace. When Max and Abby met again 15 years later, it was during an funny, awkward position lol. Both main characters pasts are also unique especially Abby's (a much younger sibling who takes care of her family and families kids) in that I haven't read before in a historical romance. I just really enjoyed a lot of aspects of this book! I look forward to more of her work.
Hfowler 18 days ago
Fifteen years have passed since Abby saw the Duke of Rothwell, and when she took the governess position at his estate, she never dreamed she would see him again. He had left her life, broke his promise, and never returned. She is tired of being at her family's beck and call and wants finally to do something for herself, so she takes the position as governess to his younger sister.  She is in for a world of surprise when not only does she see him again but she gets trapped in his library while he has an assignation with his mistress. How embarrassing when he finds her trying to crawl out of the room undetected. He never wanted to return to his childhood home, and he certainly never wanted to see the girl he thinks spurned him when he moved away. He has lived a wild life in the 15 years since leaving, and as he is trying to seduce a woman into becoming his next mistress, what he doesn’t expect to find is the girl he once loved and wanted to marry in his employ without his knowledge sneaking around his library. The chemistry between the two was great from the start and their back story added an interesting plot element as they try to come to terms with the fact that his father worked to keep them apart all those years ago.  I enjoyed their story a lot and the plot and conflict worked steadily to keep the story going from start to finish.  There were not a lot of slow moments and I liked the villain being the woman who wanted him for herself. Enjoyable all around and a beautiful love story.
Darlene491 19 days ago
On December 31st Olivia Drake gives us her new book, The Duke I Once Knew. It's going to give you plenty of pleasure on a cold winter day. A fresh pot of coffee, the phone on mute, and you're on your way. Our heroine is Abigale "Abby" Linton. As the whoops child she's a lot younger than her siblings, who all seem to know what's best for her. At almost 30 years old she's decided to take control of her own life. She applies for a governess job at a neighboring estate. She's stoked to be on her own and having a salary. She may be destined for spinsterhood but it'll be on her terms. Our hero is Maxwell Bryce, Duke of Rothwell. His teenage sister is Abby's charge. He hasn't been back to his estate is 15 years. Lots of bad memories there. On the way to a prizefight, his party's plans change and he's forced to take them all to Linton Manor. Boy he's not happy. Seems our couple were an item before Max was taken off to London. They were very serious but fate intervened and crushed their affair of the heart. Of course Max is surprised to see Abby, he doesn't know she was hired. Neither can get past their hurt but can't stay away from each other. This causes a problem within his party and you'll want to savor the cause and effect. Ms Drake gives us young love, old wounds and an attraction that won't be denied. You'll have a good time with this story. As this is a romance there is a happy ending. We'd riot of there wasn't. Receiving a free ARC is a privilege and I certainly enjoy the honor. Being able to share my opinion is a pleasure. Both are free and without obligation. Happy reading. #NetGalley #OliviaDrake #thedukeionceknew #thegreycourtseries
Bibliophagist 19 days ago
Abigail and Max grew up as neighbors. They had a secret friendship until Max's mother died. The day of the funeral Max tells Abigail that they are moving but that when he comes of age, he will be back to marry her. They promise to write one another. But their letters never get to each of them. Abigail thinks that Max moved on and didn't really mean what he promised. Max thinks the same about Abigail. When his father dies, Max becomes the Duke of Rothwell and quite the philanderer. Abigail never married. She takes care of her parents until they die and then is used by her siblings as an unpaid nanny. No one gives consideration to what Abigail may want. Fed up, she takes a position as a governess to Max's younger sister. Max is never at the estate. The position allows Abigail freedom. Until one day a turn of events has Max and his entourage, which includes a widow he plans to have as a lover, turn up at the estate. It's 15 years later. Can the two of them untangle their past? I enjoyed this book. I look forward to reading others by this author.