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Monday, January 15, 2018

Review: The Duke of Nothing by Jess Michaels

Angsty and romantic, just like I like it!

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: January 16, 2018

Baldwin Undercross, Duke of Sheffield, has a secret he’s keeping from almost everyone he knows and loves. He is destitute, thanks to gambling by his late father and his own bad decisions. There is only one option now, marry for money and do it soon. An opportunity presents itself when a rich American woman arrives in Society hunting for a title in trade for a huge dowry.

Helena Monroe is the companion to her entitled cousin and she is miserable. But once she encounters Baldwin on a terrace, her time in England starts to look up. She quickly realizes he believes she is her cousin and everything starts to fall apart.

Baldwin is now torn between a future that will save his family legacy and one with a woman he is growing increasingly attached to. Will he choose safety or passion, obligation or love?



What’s it About? Because of his late father's gambling and his own poor choices, Baldwin Undercross, Duke of Sheffield is destitute. Desperate to save his family and keep his friends from finding out, he decides he must marry for money and a rich American heiress seems like the perfect solution. Except he finds himself drawn to the heiress' destitute cousin Helena instead. Helena for her part is miserable serving as her spoiled cousin's companion but she has no choice. Complicating matters is her growing attraction to Baldwin. As the time for a decision gets closer, Baldwin is torn between marrying for money, or marrying for love.

Overall reaction to the story? The Duke of Nothing was a pleasant surprise, the hero wasn't emotionally stunted, the heroine had a different kind of strength. The setting was more isolated this time around but at the same time it seemed like there was always someone else around Baldwin and Helena. Baldwin also had the benefit of growing up with a loving mother and doting sister whereas previous characters didn't so it did have an impact on the way the story felt to me. It as different altogether. I enjoyed the angst ridden emotions between the two and as always with this series, I loved the scenes with Baldwin and his friends because there's so much love between them along with some good natured teasing.

Describe the hero in five words: Selfless. Caring. Loyal. Protective. Charming.
Did you like him? Yes!
Why? Baldwin is genuine in his love for his family. He readily shows affection towards them and his friends and that changed the tone of the book for me. Too often a hero is emotionally shut off because you know, he has a title and all that jazz but not him. He teased his sister and mother and was comfortable telling them he loved them. He also wasn't planning to marry money because of his title but because he wanted to spare his family the shame of being destitute and being the subject of nasty gossip. That love for his family caused him no small amount of angst once he started falling for Helena but he was caught in a difficult situation, basically having to choose between his family's happiness and his own.

Describe the heroine in five words: Shy. Accepting. Kind. Lonely. Smart.
Did you like her? Yes.
Why? Helena didn't particularly stand out to me at first. It's not that she wasn't a good person but with past heroines like Emma, Meg, Adelaide, and Charlotte, it was easy for Helena to be lost among them. About 1/3 of the way through though it finally hit me, Helena's gentle accepting personality was what made her special. With all the chaos surrounding Baldwin's financial situation, the last thing anyone needed was a loud, demanding woman. Helena didn't push, didn't nag, and she didn't give him ultimatums. She wasn't a pushover either though, she just picked her battles and a more subtle method of fighting them. She loved whole heartedly and unconditionally which was what made Baldwin see how much he needed someone like her by his side. No matter what anyone said, no one could shake Helena's faith in him or in her new friends.


Let’s talk about the romance: The Duke of Nothing had a lot of angst in it but it served to make the romance much more satisfying in my opinion. Baldwin and Helena are brought together right when Baldwin is almost convinced he could make a marriage of convenience work. These two characters don't have anything to offer but themselves (No I don't count Baldwin's title since he is on the verge of becoming impoverished) and Jess Michaels capitalizes on that to build a real connection between the two and infuse it with a lot of longing and passion. Baldwin and Helena are almost desperate to squeeze a lifetime of love into the few stolen moments they have before Baldwin forces himself to marry someone else. Their romance may seem a bit on the fast side but the way it was portrayed worked for me and I didn't doubt their feelings for one another. There was just a special connection between them.


How about that supporting cast? Baldwin's mother is such a warm and generous woman and even though she knows that Baldwin needs to marry for money she isn't happy about it. She wants her children to marry for love but she understands the situation they are in. Baldwin's sister was deliriously happy in her recent marriage to Baldwin's friend and of course the rest of Baldwin's close friends are always one of the best parts of this series. I can't say that enough times.

Click It or Skip It? Click it. I've had such a good time with each book in this series so far and it was nice to meet a hero that was so affectionate towards his family.

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