You know what I love about blog tours? They introduce me to authors I’ve been meaning to read for ages, and then make me fall so in love with their books that I immediately try to check out their entire back catalogue from the library (thankfully, it’s a digital library, so my bookshelves aren’t bowing under all the weight).
This is EXACTLY what happened with Caroline Linden’s newest historical romance. Scroll on for the book info, a juicy excerpt, author information, and of course, my review!
My Once And Future Duke by Caroline Linden
Series The Wagers of Sin
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date February 27, 2018
Avon Romance https://goo.gl/wuBja3
Barnes & Noble https://goo.gl/mYqVmB
Google Play https://goo.gl/4aLVCw
“Why did you propose that wager?”
He leaned forward, elbows on his knees, and looked down at her. His golden hair was rumpled into waves that made her long to smooth it. “Haven’t you guessed?”
She angled her face toward him. “Tell me. I’m no good at guessing.”
He let out his breath, his eyes shadowed, and then he bent and kissed her. His mouth was soft against hers, a gentle hint of a kiss rather than a real one. A soft sound of pleasure hummed in her throat.
The duke lifted his head. For a moment they stared at each other. “Is that all?” Sophie whispered, belatedly realizing how her heart was thudding. “All you want?”
“No.” He traced one finger, as lightly as a feather, down her throat. A shiver rippled over her skin. “Not by a tenth.”
“Show me,” she whispered. “Please.”
This book had all my catnip: forced proximity; grumpy, sexy dukes; sexually experienced heroines with life goals they’re steadily working toward; and strong female friendships. I love that Sophie picks herself up by her metaphorical bootstraps despite life throwing her like 10 curveballs and that she does it with the support of two of her best friends. I also love that Jack’s family life is a little complicated, but he tries to navigate it with an equal amount of respect for his mother and brother, and himself.
I also LOVED the gambling scenes. Linden did such an amazing job setting the scene that it felt like I was there, watching Sophie roll the dice and wow everyone around her with her ‘luck’ (aka extreme maths skills). I just wish that she and Jack could have had sex in one of the lush, velvet-filled rooms in the club, because this book did not have enough sex scenes in it, especially given that the characters were so sexually attracted to each other. Yes, there are some amazing scenes of them at the Duke’s castle, where the forced proximity makes them realise that ‘oh, wait a minute, you’re, like, really really hot?’, but I would have loved even more scenes of them once they got back to London and realised they still couldn’t keep their hands off each other.
The conflict was perfect in this book. Not overly dramatic, fits in perfectly with the characters and plot, and had me biting my nails through the whole thing, even though I knew the HEA was just up ahead.
Other than the dearth of sexytimes, my only real criticism for this book is the lack of explanation of Jack’s relationship with his ex-sweetheart, Portia. Linden never really makes any connection between Portia’s ill-treatment of Jack and Jack’s relationship with Sophie, which seems the only real point of mentioning Portia in the first place. Her effect on Jack’s life is, thereforem unclear.
This book, however, was still pretty great. I’ve been really struggling to find historicals that really draw me in and make me want to keep turning the pages way after the lights have gone out, and this book definitely gave me that. Read it for the insane sexual attraction between the characters, the family drama, the friendships, the strong female heroine- basically, just read it!
Caroline Linden was born a reader, not a writer. She earned a math degree from Harvard University and wrote computer code before discovering that writing fiction was far more fun. Since then, the Boston Red Sox have won the World Series three times, which is not related but still worth mentioning. Her books have been translated into seventeen languages, and have won the NEC-RWA Reader’s Choice Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, the NJRW Golden Leaf Award, and RWA’s RITA Award. She lives in New England.