Book Review: The Duke I Once Knew

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Award-winning author Olivia Drake begins her new Unlikely Duchesses series with THE DUKE I ONCE KNEW (St. Martin’s Paperbacks; December 31, 2018). With compelling characters and skillful plot twists, Drake’s latest novel will take your breath away.

duke i once knew_cover

First love is always the sweetest…

For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her parents and her siblings’ children. Now, eager to create a life of her own, Abby seizes upon a position as a governess on a neighboring estate. Unfortunately, her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the notorious rake who once broke her youthful heart. But since he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years, Abby assumes she’ll never have to lay eyes on him ever again.

Then, from out of nowhere, Max appears. He is stunned to come face to face with the girl next door he fell for years ago—before he went away, and she stopped writing to him … even though Abby swears that he is the one who left her without a word. Could it be that this spirited, witty spinster has won Max’s heart all over again—and that they may have a second chance at love?

My Review

Lately I have been so spoiled by the team at St. Martin’s Press! I have received so many wonderful books from them and I have done so little in return. However, this year I plan to remedy that!

“The Duke I Once Knew” is such an amazing work! It has the power to draw the reader into that beautiful England atmosphere when ladies were properly educated and had to abide certain rules. What the author did was to give us a movie in words on pages. Her descriptions, the tone of her writing fit that time perfectly. I loved it and I cannot say it more openly!


 Abigail Linton has been at the beck and call of her family, always there when any of them needed her. She always put her own interests second, because nothing is more important than family. Until one day when she decides to put an end to it and start living her own life instead of living in the shadows for them. She takes a position as a governess for her first and only love’s sister, knowing he, Duke of Rothwell, was out of town, with no intention of returning very soon. Still, life has other plans for our sweet Abby and they are reunited once again. Fifteen years apart has done little to send her feelings into oblivion, but his lack of response at her letters broke her heart. She is not willing to fall down that road, especially taking into account his reputation.

“This is most improper!” the housekeeper scolded. “Master, you cannot mean to be alone with an unmarried lady in her bedchamber.”

“You may wait outside in the passage if you like, and leave the door open a crack. Then you can hear Miss Linton scream in the event that I should take advantage of her weakened state and attempt to ravish her.”

I loved our main characters so much. I loved Abby’s quick mind, her manners, her way of avoiding conflict and always being friendly. She quickly wins the heart of the duke’s sister and also the employees at the manner. Always having a proper behavior, she sets a good example for the young Gwen. As for Max, our duke, he has had to deal with heartbreak as well and for the same reason. Something brought them apart, but can they stay that way? Or will feelings reappear? With envy, enemies and fifteen years between them, Max and Abby will have to learn once again to trust.

Olivia Drake brings us yet another beautiful, beautiful story, with two main characters with an interesting background. The writing style is so fitting and it has an enticing charm to it. I was mesmerized by the world, the chatter, the laughter and society rules. If you are in the mood of a great regency romance, this is the book for you! 5 stars and all my appreciation for the author for this amazing work!

The book is out since 31st of December, so hurry up and grab yourselves a copy and let me know what you think 🙂


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:olivia drake


Olivia Drake is the author of the Cinderella Sisterhood series (Seducing the Heiress, Never Trust a Rogue, Scandal of the Year, If the Slipper Fits, Stroke of Midnight, Abducted by the Prince, Bella and the Beast, His Wicked Wish, and The Scandalous Flirt). She has been a member of Romance Writers of America since 1981, and her novels have won the Golden Heart Award, Best Historical Romantic Suspense and Best Regency Historical from Romantic Times. She has also won the prestigious RITA award. She currently resides in Houston, TX.


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