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New Release Review! CINDERELLA AND THE DUKE by Lydia Drake

Cinderella and the Duke cover

Cinderella and the Duke
Publisher: Entangled: Amara (December 27, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages

Miss Julia Beaumont has exactly one night to find herself a husband…

The Weatherford Ball is the last chance Julia Beaumont has to escape the clutches of her horrid stepmother. Any potential husband will do–rich, poor, even a reasonably well-groomed walrus. But all of Julia’s matrimonial chances are completely obliterated…thanks to the actions of an infuriating and utterly rakish duke.

Gregory Carter, Duke of Ashworth, would never risk his cherished bachelorhood by flirting with marriage-starved debutantes. But one look at the luscious and refreshingly clever Julia, and he simply can’t resist a stolen kiss–scandal be damned. Then just as things start getting deliciously interesting, the lady flees…leaving only a slipper behind.

And it must have been one dandy of a kiss. Because now Julia has proposed to him. After all, the lady needs a husband, and this roguish duke will certainly do. It’s simply a matter of making him the perfect scandalous offer…

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He was 80 percent crafty ideas, 15 percent smug virility, and 5 percent effortless smolder.

–The Duke of Ashworth, as seen through the eyes of his future duchess. (She missed the 50 percent deluded idjit in him, but to be fair she didn’t know about that part yet…)

Cinderella and the Duke is a fun and sexy fairy-tale inspired historical romance. I enjoyed the ways the author both mirrored and poked gentle fun at the classic story its modeled after, but I liked even more the ways she deviated from the source material–Julia’s relationship with her not-at-all-evil stepsister is one of the best parts of the book. Even her evil stepmother is softened here, and I couldn’t be happier.

Julia and Gregory have wonderful chemistry together, and I especially enjoyed their early banter–some of which inspired the quote up above. Beneath their quick wit, however, lurk more issues than Us Weekly. Gregory’s nightmare parents messed with his head more than should be allowed by law, and Julia’s one and only previous experience with affairs of the heart has left her scarred for life. Will these two ever be able to overcome their fears and let each other in?

Of course they will–eventually. It *is* a romance novel, after all. But OMG it was really hard to be patient with their inability to communicate for a good chunk of the book…

Fortunately, they get their act together eventually and give us a very sweet HEA. Now, if Ms Drake would like to give Susannah, Hunt, and Percy some HEAs too, she won’t hear me complaining…

(But if Gregory’s fan club comes up ever again, she might. That group was not OK. Not. At. All. [full body cringe])

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

About the author:

Lydia Drake is a reader of all things romance and a drinker of all the tea. A New Jersey resident, her favorite activities include taking the train to New York City, scouring used bookstores, spending time with her family, and wrangling her hyperactive cockapoo puppy. She loves talking romance with her fans.

Instagram: the_lydia_drake

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