Saturday, January 16, 2021

The Worst Duke in the World (The Penhallow Dynasty, #5) by Lisa Berne

Title:  The Worst Duke in the World

Classification: Adult Fiction

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: The Penhallow Dynasty, #5

 Publisher : Avon (January 12, 2021)

Format: Paperback; 416 pages

ISBN-10 : 006285237X

ISBN-13 : 978-0062852373

Author's Website:

Notes:  I received an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Please note that as I read an ARC, any quotes listed are subject to change, they will need to be checked and verified against the final version.

Jane Kent was looking for a life line. All her known relatives were gone--passing from one various ailment after another. After exhausting all her options she was grasping at straws and felt they were all slipping through her hands. As she'd been packing up the house where she and her Great-grandmother had resided, she came across a letter hidden in an old, crumbling chapbook. A letter that might help her find the missing link in her family tree. A link that could find her the one things she needed the most--family. So with a whisper of a prayer, she packed up her meager belongings and made the trip from Nantwich to Somerset County, England. If this didn't pan out she had only three pounds and  a sixpence to her name. As she stood on the porch of an intimidating vast old house, gazing with considerable uneasiness at the massive door of dark knotted wood and the polished knocker which was just a little above her eye-level she knocked and awaited her fate. Little did she know her life was about to change in ways she'd never imagine.

Anthony, the Duke of Radcliffe is a widower with one son. His sister has deemed it necessary for him to marry again to produce a spare to his heir. She believes it's his duty to make sure the long illustrious  line of the dukedom lives on. He, however, has no plans to do so. He'd done his duty once and as far as he was concerned those long and dreadful five years of marriage had extracted more than its fair share of duty from him. If that, according to his sister, made him the "worst duke in the world," then so be it. When he meets his neighbor's great-granddaughter, Ms. Kent, however, he starts to wonder... what if? 

This was the fifth book in The Penhallow Dynasty series. If you haven't read the rest of the series, don't worry. You won't feel lost. Jane is linked to the Penshallows in a rather direct, yet roundabout way. You don't need to know the previous characters or stories to get into this one. It stands completely on its own.

This was a sweet and lovely romance which slowly builds from a budding friendship into something much more. Jane was raised outside London society, and does not feel she's missed much except for the knowing of her grandfather's half of the family. She's the type who'd rather frolic around the countryside in sensible boots than dance the night away at a society ball dressed to the nines. She's also very good at reading people and smarter than most would think despite her lack of a proper education. When her great-grandmother decides to play matchmaker, Jane decides she wants it all, as well she should, and won't settle for anything less than love.

Anthony is not your typical run of the mill type of duke. He was raised to be a second son and was bedridden for several years as a child. He's a bit shy, awkward, and self conscious around others and, truth be told, doesn't really care for polite society. When his eldest brother passed, he wasn't prepared to step into his shoes. His father, however, demanded it. Now, with his father gone, Anthony is determined to live life on his own terms. Marriage isn't part of his plan, but when he meets Jane he starts to warm to the idea of partnering himself with her. He needs, however, to work through a lot of emotional baggage, if that is even possible, before he can fully commit to anyone. 

Overall, I gave this novel 4 out of 5 roses. I loved that while Jane was out of her element, she managed to hold her own with the ton, and knew her self worth. I liked how she made Anthony a better version of himself, and I adored the scenes which included Wakefield, the duke's son. There was a ton of humor as well as a nod or two to other books. See if you can find the 'Charlotte's Web' reference. With all the craziness and madness going on in the world, this was just the book I needed. The romance in it simmered for a while before coming to a slow boil. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a FAN rating--the temperature in the room seems to have suddenly gone up a couple of degrees and a fan would be nice. This one left me with a grin on my face and a smile in my heart. 

Order of The Penhallow Dynasty series:
(The below links will transport you to Amazon. Please note these are affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost for you.)

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