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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Review: Her Favorite Duke by Jess Michaels

A friends to lovers romance that carried some heavy consequences was surprisingly what I needed this week!

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: The Passionate Pen
Release Date: June 6, 2017

Simon Greene, Duke of Crestwood has been obsessed with Margaret Rylon for years. There is only one thing standing between them: her fiancĂ©, who also happens to be his best friend. He is desperate not to destroy everything in his life by giving in to his desires, but when Meg and Simon are trapped alone together overnight during a storm, the resulting scandal not only breaks Meg’s existing engagement, but forces Simon to offer for her instead.

Margaret is sorry to have hurt her family and her fiancĂ©, but all she’s ever wanted was Simon. Her determination to make a happy life with him is only heightened when they submit to passions that have long dwelled beneath the surface. But while Simon may give her his body, he withholds his heart out of guilt and fear of what a connection to her may expose.

And if he doesn’t learn to fight for her soon, they both may lose a chance at happiness.

What’s it About? Simon, the Duke of Crestwood has loved his best friend's sister, Margaret Rylon for years but has never had hope of every having her because she's been engaged to Simon's other best friend for just as long as he's loved her. Simon is determined not to let his feelings destroy the friendships that mean the world to him but when he and Meg get caught up in a storm and have to spend the night alone, the scandal breaks Meg's engagement, forces Simon to marry her, and causes a rift in the friendships he depends on most. Meanwhile Meg couldn't be happier to marry Simon, whom she's loved since she was a girl but her marriage isn't the fairytale she had hoped. Simon is distant and tormented by what has lead to their marriage and while Meg is determined to fight to make her marriage the one of her dreams, Simon is equally determined to punish himself for pretty much everything that happened.

Overall reaction to the story? Jess Michaels has been a favorite of mine for a few years now but there's something super special about the 1797 Club series. It isn't just a group of dudes hanging out, it's a true blue brotherhood where the members look to each other for guidance and support. The affection between them balances out their overt masculinity and gives each member that softness their personalities need. Simon is a great example of how his friendships with the other men in the club shaped him and how much he needed them. I enjoyed Her Favorite Duke but it didn't quite meet my expectations on some things. However, I still liked it and look forward to Graham's story!

Describe the hero in five words: Charming. Loyal. Brooding. Quitter. Intelligent.
Did you like him? For the most part.
Why? Simon is the least duke-like character I've ever seen. He's not the dominant alpha type though he is respected and well liked. I liked how loyal he was to his friends and how he wasn't going to deny how important they all were in his life which made him feel even more guilty about wanting Meg. I could appreciate his loyalty, that was Simon's best characteristic but his kicked dog attitude I could have done with a lot less of. Simon wasn't all that much fun or even that interesting for most of the book and I didn't feel like I got to know him outside of his self loathing. Just where was the man that Meg said she fell in love with? The glimpses of who he was weren't enough to show me why Meg fell for him. Simon wasn't a bad character just one that left me kind of scratching my head wondering what kind of man he was.

Describe the heroine in five words: Intelligent. Loving. Selfish. Determined. Stubborn.
Did you like her? Sort of.
Why? I could understand why Meg went along with her arranged engagement for as long as she did, it was arranged by her beloved brother James who thought he was taking care of her by arranging a marriage between her and one of his best friends. However if years hadn't changed her feelings, why didn't she talk to James and her fiance instead of being in some ways happy that a scandal broke her engagement and landed her engaged to Simon instead? Nevermind how Simon felt about the broken friendships that were a result of their engagement, Meg just cared that she was going to marry Simon. I was hoping that she'd care enough for Simon to knock some sense into that whole testosteroned filled club and in a way show her them all that she wasn't going to be blamed for breaking up the group of longtime friends. But she didn't and instead focused on getting Simon to just focus on her and their marriage. That just made her seem really selfish to me. Simon needs his friends to you know and she shouldn't have been okay with him isolating himself in some ways to where he only had her as a friend. It just didn't seem fair. I'm not saying I hated Meg, just that I found her to be a little immature and selfish. She had good moments though but that thing about wanting to make herself the sole focus of Simon's world didn`t sit well with me.

Let’s talk about the romance: Here's where Her Favorite Duke really excelled. The longing and angst between Simon and Meg was so strong I couldn't believe Meg's brother never picked up on it! I loved that they were friends too. Aside from the fact that they were secretly in love with each other, these two felt so natural as friends and definitely natural as lovers.

How about that supporting cast? More members of the 1797 appear and it's a little hard to keep track of them! I definitely want Graham to find love so that hopefully he could stop brooding over the loss of a fiance he didn't love and a friend he did love. I said in my review of the first book (James' book) that I loved the close relationship between characters and of course Meg and her brother have such a good relationship that even when the scandal hit, James stood by Meg and loved her like a good brother should. It was definitely endearing.

Click It or Skip It? Click It. Simon and Meg for all their faults have an interesting story to tell and I loved meeting more members of this rather interesting group of men who have bonded through their pains and their futures as dukes.

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