Release Date: May 26, 2020
Series: The Duke’s Den
Heat Level: Hot
Imprint: Avon Books
Nothing Compares to the Duke is the third book in Carlyle’s Duke’s Den series, and like the previous two is a hit! The book can be read as a stand-alone, but I do recommend reading the others to get a better background of what exactly the Duke’s Den and to understand some of the secondary characters, this book does not really go as much into the Den as the previous books did. This book follows the story of Arabella Prescott, the beloved only child of a viscount, and Rhys Forester, the new Duke of Claremont. Bella and Rhys have been childhood friends and used to know each other as well as they knew themselves. Until on the day of her birthday party he broke her heart and Bella vowed to never speak to him again. Bella went on to become one of the most sought after debutantes, but with five rejected proposals and three long seasons under her belt she is ready to live life alone on her own terms. This all comes to a halt when her parents essentially tell her she has to marry or she will be depriving her parents’ of one of their long held dreams to work abroad. Bella decides to take matters into her own hands and approaches Rhys with a proposition.
While Bella has been amassing and rejecting proposals, Rhys was making a name for himself as a rouge with wild parties, dangerous behaviours, and many affairs – all while accumulating wealth through his investments. When he gains his father’s title he learns of all of the debts that come with it, and is forced to go back to his estate to get to the bottom of it all. When Bella approaches him with an offer to be her fake fiancé in exchange for help with his ledgers, he takes the deal. They both need something from the other, what harm could come into it right? Neither of them expected that their old feelings would resurface as quickly as they did, making their deal a little bit more complicated.
I really enjoyed this series and book, Carlyle has a talent for writing historical romance that is still realistic to the time period but also empowering the females in her books. Of the three books in the series, this one was my least favourite – I still enjoyed it, but not as much as the others. I found Bella to be a very strong female who stuck to her beliefs and trusted that she knew what was in her own best interests without succumbing to the pressures of society. I enjoyed the back and forth commentary between Bella and Rhys and loved the sexual tension in the beginning half of the book.
The second half of the book was not as interesting as the first, and I found myself reading just to finish it rather than eagerly looking forward to it. It became very predictable and I just didn’t find that there was really anything to look forward to. I also thought that Rhys’ sudden change of character to go from reckless party boy to a one-woman-man to be a bit quick and unrealistic. I would have liked some more insight into his character and his character development, it just didn’t seem very believable to me. There was a lot more development of Bella outlined in the pages than Rhys.
Overall, I do recommend this book for fans of historical romance, I recommend that you read the first two novels as well.