Release Date: Apr 28, 2020
Series: Rogues to Riches
Heat Level: Warm
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
A Duke by Any Other Name is the fourth book in Grace Burrowes‘ Rouges to Riches series. Lady Althea Wentworth is living in relative obscurity in Yorkshire after several failed seasons. She longs to have a husband and a family and decides she needs instruction from someone well received in the Ton. She decides to recruit her reclusive neighbor Nathaniel, Duke of Rothhaven, to educate her on how to manage society. But Nathaniel has a secret he can’t afford to be revealed, dare he assist Althea in her quest?
Althea and her siblings were thrust into society when it was discovered her brother was the last heir to a dukedom. This newfound title as well as their states as “new” money have made Althea the target of bullies and rumors. Nathaniel has spent the several years letting his familial home rot around him as he desperately hid a secret that would ruin his entire family. These two broken souls end up as neighbors and tentative friends, then lovers all while knowing marriage to each other is unlikely.
I must admit I am not usually a fan of books where a character needs the popular or good looking one to assist them in gaining their own popularity. Blame the teen movies of the 90’s for ruining that trope for me. Even though I expected from the blurb to have to endure long scenes of “education”, instead Burrowes gives us an endearing and emotional love story. Between two lost souls and I enjoyed the push/pull of our two main characters much more than I expected.
I am only marking down this book one star because, as Althea is working to break down the reclusive Duke’s walls his secret is revealed. I was surprised at how quickly we as the reader were let in on the secret since it’s so devastating to Nathaniel. It helped to further endear me to Nathaniel’s character, even as it frustrated me. Knowing the secret so soon in the book only further increased the angst for me as I worried how the happily ever after could be delivered.
I was a bit frustrated that much of the last third of the book was spent on conversations with other side characters or in plotting the final resolution. I became frustrated with the society intrigue; however, I think that is mostly due to my preference for action rather than talk. Burrowes tackles subjects of bullying, child abuse, and family responsibilities like a master. Her characters are well developed and endearing. And her resolution of the happily ever after was satisfying for me as a reader.
Overall, I gave this book a 4 because I felt the story was excellent and I enjoyed the honest love story between the main couple. My qualms about the pacing of the end are quite minimal. Fans of Lisa Kleypas’ Hathaway or Ravenel series will enjoy this novel for the strong family bonds. Content warning for descriptions of mental and physical abuse towards adults and children.