Release Date: Jun 30, 2020
Series: Isle of Synne
Heat Level: Warm/Sensual
Publisher: Grand Central
A Good Duke is Hard to Find is the first in a new series from Christina Britton. Leonora escapes to the Isle of Synne after her third failed attempt at marriage. While there visiting friends, she meets Peter Ashford, an expatriate recently returned to England from America and the heir to the Duke of Dane. Peter has reluctantly agreed to remain on the island for a month to honor an old promise to his deceased mother.
The blurb for this book made me want to know more about Leonora from the start. I had expected her to be a bit of a brat and was pleased to see that she was a very sympathetic character. Leonora has felt duty bound to accept all three marriage proposals since her father has arranged them to further his own career in politics. After the latest humiliation he sends her out of London until the rumors die and is told she must marry, or she will be disowned. Peter has come to the Isle a successful man after he escaped England with nothing but the clothes on his back thirteen years ago. The struggle to survive has made him a hard man, and all he wants is to pay back Lady Tesh for her charity to his mother during the last days of her life. Peter has no love lost for the family he has remaining in England and even actively plans to ruin the Duke who refused to assist him before his mother’s death.
At the beginning of the story I was ready to love this book since it checked off so many of my favorite tropes: forced proximity, grumpy one loves the sweet one, a cinnamon roll hero that blushes, family secrets, and a revenge plot. Unfortunately, the pacing of the story was just so tedious that I was forcing myself to finish the book well before the halfway mark. I needed more action, more conflict, I needed answers about why the family turned their back on Peter, and what exactly had happened to Leonora’s first fiancé. But I got none of that.
The second half of the book there is a lot of anger and pining between the two characters. Mostly due to Leonora’s expectations from her father and Peter’s outright refusal to marry. We don’t get any real resolution to either secret until the very last 20% of the book. At which point the author went into hyper drive to info dump all the secrets she had been teasing for the entire book. Since this is a romance, we do get that HEA, but then are forced to read through a sex scene which feels completely useless and an epilogue that really shared no additional information.
Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone unless you love a slow book with a lot of pining, angst, and internal monologues. The promise of family secrets was alluring but never paid off, and romance between Leonora and Peter barely had any heat at all. If you’re looking for a good book that has plenty of familial secrets and intrigue pick up a Lisa Kleypas or Tessa Dare before you pick up this book.