No Other Duke Will Do (Windham Brides #3) by Grace Burrowes
Synopsis: Julian St. David, Duke of Haverford, is barely keeping his head above water in a sea of inherited debts. Though he has a long-term plan to restore the family finances, his sister has a much faster solution: host a house party for London’s single young ladies and find Julian a wealthy bride.
Elizabeth Windham has no interest in marriage, but a recent scandal has forced her hand. As much as she’d rather be reading Shakespeare than husband-hunting, she has to admit she’s impressed by Julian’s protective instincts, broad shoulders, and, of course, his vast library.
As the two spend more time together, their attraction is overwhelming, unexpected… and absolutely impossible. With meddling siblings, the threat of financial ruin, and gossips lurking behind every potted palm, will they find true love or true disaster?
Review: The next Windham adventure takes us to a three-week house party (man sometimes I wish I lived in that era with the Season, house parties that lasted weeks rather than hours, and all other events the aristocracy got up to). We are dealing with Charlotte Windham and Elizabeth Windham, daughter of Tony and Gladys, can’t recall whether they had their own book. They are cousins though to my favorite group of brothers from The Heir, The Soldier, and The Virtuoso. Elizabeth is an on the shelf spinster and she hates that she has to go to this party whose sole purpose is to put marriageable young ladies and bachelors together in hopes that marriage might come about. Julian, the Duke of Havers, really doesn’t want to put on this house party for one it costs too much and he really can’t afford it and two he isn’t looking for a wife. His sister though has set out to get him married. When he meets Elizabeth her frankness and blunt speech about not wanting to marry and that she will not be setting her sights on him is a breath of fresh air. He finds with her he can simply be himself, speak what is on his mind, and not worry about being trapped into a marriage he doesn’t want. She finds him appealing for the same reasons, so they strike up a friendship and in each other’s company can let their guard down. This, of course, leads to frank discussions about wants, past deeds, and opinions. The more time they spend together the more they come to like each other, and when they give in and kiss they come to see the benefits of a sort-of friend with benefits type deal, friends are allowed to kiss friends. Kissing leads to other deeds and love blossoms. The conflict was decent, the villain shows up uninvited and ingratiates himself into the house party. The villain hates Julian and wants to ruin him. Julian owes him a lot of money and when his sister’s engagement is announced he calls in his debts. The story was enjoyable. I did think that Julian fell in love a bit too quickly or realized too soon that he loved her, but that small detail doesn’t detract from the enjoyable read. The different types of characters at the house party and the events that did for entertainment was interesting to watch and made me wonder if this is house the house parties back then progressed. Overall enjoyable story and strong main characters.