Not The Duke's Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Greycourt #1
Genres: Historical, Romance, Adult
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: December 18th 2018
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷
Amazon - The Book Depository

For years now I've been hearing about how great Elizabeth Hoyt's books are. Even though I am a huge fan of historical romance, I think it took me a while to pick up anything from her because I didn't know where to begin. Now that I've read my first book from her, Not the Duke's Darling, well, I'd like to bang my head against a wall. I did not think this book was perfect, but it was enjoyable enough that I will be reading more of this author.

I was intrigued by Not the Duke's Darling in particular because of the secret order of women. It sounded so scandalous but incredibly interesting given the position that women were in at the time this book is set. I think this was what set the book apart for me from other historical romances I've read and it is what will have me picking up more books from this series. Character-wise, I enjoyed Freya quite a bit. She was a well-layered character with a fiery side to her that I enjoyed seeing emerge. The book literally opened up with her fleeing a dangerous situation and that one scene spoke to her bravery. Though we're not given the entire history of what exactly happened to her family early on in the book, enough background was given to understand what fuelled her actions into taking up a position as a companion even though her brother was a duke. She was very headstrong and at times, quite bullheaded. There were occasions when I thought she was entirely too harsh, but it was also easy to understand where she was coming from. All in all, I found her to be a well-rounded character.

Equally likable was the hero of the book, Christopher Renshaw, someone Freya considered to be an enemy for what he did to her brother. Growing up, she had a bit of a crush on him, but that had changed. We learn that Christopher is a widower and someone is blackmailing him with letters that could hurt him and his dead wife's reputation. Which is how he winds up at the same gathering as Freya, who is there to I liked Christopher a lot. There wasn't anything particularly special about him, but he was a genuine and sweet guy, who had been forced into a marriage that he did not want. When Freya stumbled into his carriage, he finally felt a spark after long. Their dynamic and chemistry were great together. The anticipation to their first kiss, in particular, was great. That being said, I felt like their romance felt a bit rushed. I wanted more of the hate-to-love,  more tension, more passion, and more banter. The sex scenes in the book were also not my cup of tea. There were some odd word choices that were used that made the scenes a little cringy.

I am eager to learn more about the secret order of women and Not the Duke's Darling was a good introduction. I only wish I got out of the book what was promised in the summary in terms of the romantic tension.

Can cringey sex scenes take away from your enjoyment of a book?
Let me know in the comments below!

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