Her Favourite Duke (1797 Club #2) by Jess Michaels

This title may be purchased from Amazon.

Simon Greene, Duke of Crestwood has been obsessed with Margaret Rylon for years. There is only one thing standing between them: her fiancé, who also happens to be his best friend. He is desperate not to destroy everything in his life by giving in to his desires, but when Meg and Simon are trapped alone together overnight during a storm, the resulting scandal not only breaks Meg’s existing engagement, but forces Simon to offer for her instead.

Margaret is sorry to have hurt her family and her fiancé, but all she’s ever wanted was Simon. Her determination to make a happy life with him is only heightened

when they submit to passions that have long dwelled beneath the surface. But while Simon may give her his body, he withholds his heart out of guilt and fear of what a connection to her may expose.

And if he doesn’t learn to fight for her soon, they both may lose a chance at happiness.

Rating: D+

I freely admit that I am not averse to a good dose of angst in the romances I read.  Because I know that everything will turn out in the end, it’s a safe way to indulge in a bit of heightened emotion and maybe even to reach for the Kleenex while knowing there’s that safety net of the eventual HEA.  So angst is fine.  Continual misery,  mental self-flagellation and navel-gazing? Not so much.  And that is almost all that this latest book from Jess Michaels offers.  Her Favorite Duke is based on the classic trope of young woman in love with her betrothed’s best friend; young man in love with his best friend’s betrothed, and oh, woe is we, for we can never be together.

Lady Margaret Rylon has been in love with her brother’s friend, Simon Green, Duke of Crestwood, for years.  They are great friends, sharing many interests and a sense of humour, and even though she is only sixteen, and he three years older, she dares to hope that perhaps one day they will be able to make a life together.  Her hopes are dashed, however, when her brother James arranges for her to marry another of his best friends, Graham, Duke of Northfield.

Seven years later – yes, you read that right, SEVEN years later – Meg and Graham are still not married.  I’ve heard of long engagements, but that seems pretty excessive, even though Meg was only sixteen when the betrothal took place.  There are no reasons given that make sense for this, and it’s hard to believe in all that time that neither Meg nor Graham ever wondered why they hadn’t set a date or that Meg’s brother – who obviously cares a great deal for her –  never questioned them or asked them to set one.

But if they had married, then there would be no book – and quite honestly, I think that might have been the better option. Anyway, now we’re in chapter one, James can encourage the pair to set a date, which finally makes things real for Meg.  Her friendship with Simon has become very strained and she is miserable; when she storms off during an outing, Simon can’t let her go alone and goes after her, without taking account of the vagaries of the English weather.

You can read the rest of this review at All About Romance.

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