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Release Day Review! THE DIAMOND AND THE DUKE by Christi Caldwell (All the Duke’s Sins #3)

The Diamond and the Duke cover

When a wounded soldier and self-proclaimed “beast” finds unlikely friendship with a headstrong and unconventional beauty, they quickly find themselves weaving a tale as old as time…
Despite a hero’s return to England from the Napoleonic Wars, Wesley Audley isolates from the ton. Deep wounds from the horrors of combat—and the despair of a broken heart—left him scarred. As he struggles to cope and resume his place in Polite Society, Wesley is quick to cut himself off from everyone…except for Ellie Balfour. 
Independent and strong-willed, Ellie has dreams of captaining her own husband-free life and a penchant for meddling in other’s business. She knows befriending Wesley is a risk but Ellie can’t bear to see his heartache. Nor can she seem to silence all the temptingly intimate thoughts his nearness provokes. 
But Ellie is yet to face a battle she can’t win—and Wesley’s heart is worth the fight. If only her campaigns ever went to plan…

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Absolutely lovely! Read this one in a day; I truly couldn’t put it down.

Ellie and Westley’s story is a Beauty and the Beast retelling (mostly in the first half, the second half is more of its own story), which I am always up for, and I especially loved the role that the library played in their budding relationship. Westley had a long, hard journey when he got back from war, and I loved watching how Ellie’s friendship helped him to heal–in more ways than one.

But Westley’s not the only one with a difficult past that is making their future a challenge–Ellie’s been damaged too, even if her scars aren’t as obvious to the casual observer. Convincing her that she can trust a man with her life takes some work; fortunately Westley is up to the challenge. When he realizes what happened to her…? I have no words. And when her siblings also found out? Gah! So. Many. Feelings <3

I can’t stress enough how satisfied I was with how Westley handled things when he figured out what it was the Ellie had been keeping from him–I was so worried it was going to be a long, drawn out situation where he made her feel bad about what she’d done, but that’s not what happened at all and I was so glad. Instead we had just a wonderfully lovely scene, and I was so glad. 🙂

I haven’t had a chance to read the second book in the series yet ( Desperately Seeking a Duchess )–not sure how I missed it? I will be rectifying ASAP!–and though I don’t 100% know all the details about what Ellie did in that book to make her believe that her family was *mad* at her, it really didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this book at all. But still–do yourself a favor and read them all!

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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