Review: A Duke by December

cover-a duke by decemberTitle: A Duke by December
Author: Sabrina Darby
Series: A Year Without a Duke #5
Genre: Regency Romance
Length: Novella
Available: Feb 8th

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Elizabeth Smith is secretly in love with the tall, handsome golden-haired man who rescued her from Arkansas Territory and offered her a new life. Unfortunately, she knows he’ll never see her as anything more than his secretary.

Nathaniel Hughes has spent the majority of his life in America amassing his fortune. When he discovers he is the next Duke of Beckworth, he must reluctantly travel to England, face down his past, and rehabilitate an estate to save those who live on it. But every duke requires a duchess and an heir.

He’ll figure this out somehow with Lizzie, his loyal and capable secretary, at his side. Once at Beckworth, he finds it increasingly difficult to deny a powerful attraction to the woman he has vowed to protect—even from himself. Can he find the strength to choose duty over desire?


Source: ARC via NetGalley

At last, the duke has come home! After four enjoyable novellas detailing the troubles of an estate trying to run without anyone in control, Nathaniel Hughes has been found and returned to England to take up his dukely duties. And for the most part this is an enjoyable end to the series.

I really liked the beginning, with Nate out in the American wilds, coming to the unexpected rescue of a young woman and her black half-brother. In fact, this one chapter glimpse of Nate’s life in America (and Lizzie and John’s), made me wish from the start that this book was so much longer. I’d have loved to have read about their journey into Louisiana and onto New England.

Alas, instead we pick things up eighteen months later when they’ve just arrived in London. Lizzie is his secretary, John is his sort-of ward and Nate’s about to take control of his new lands. And that’s how the book progresses really. Nate is busy working and trying not to feel attracted to Lizzie, Lizzie is trying to figure out where she fits in his life now and wondering if he will ever notice her as a woman, and John quietly slips off into the background.

Because this is short, it skips along without delving too deeply into anything. Yes, Lizzie faces a few issues when Nate unthinkingly places her in the role of mistress of the house, but nothing too serious. The idea of the troubles she would face as a duchess never gets a mention. While Nate seems to adjust from mine and business owner to land owner and powerful duke without any issue at all – especially considering the lack of food thanks to the poor summer. He has a few qualms about his attraction to Lizzie, but never once does he consider what he’d truly be asking of her should she become his duchess. It’s not an issue. Which is kind of refreshing, if entirely naive.

As this is the last in the series, the other books all get a mention, but since nothing that was left unfinished from those books (the thieving ex-land agent and the broken engagement of the first book, the future of the racehorses and so what happens between the stable master and governess in the third) gets tied up in this one, you can probably read it as a standalone without any difficulty. Overall it brings this fun series to an enjoyable end. I do wish it had been a little longer so it could have delved a little deeper, but for a short Regency read it was a good way to pass some time.


A Duke by December is out February 8th!
Visit Sabrina Darby for more details.

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