Julie Anne Long
Publication Date: February 22, 2011
Series or Standalone: Pennyroyal Green #5
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
What I Did for a Duke is a delicious historical romance. I don’t think I’ve ever described a book as delicious before, but that’s the perfect word for this one. And with every book I read in the Pennyroyal Green series, the more I fall in love with the characters and series as a whole.
After the mysterious death of his wife, Alexander Moncrieffe, Duke of Falconbridge, has become an object of fear, fascination and fantasy in the eyes of the Ton. But one thing everyone knows – you don’t cross him. When Ian Eversea does just that, the Duke knows the perfect revenge way to get revenge: he’ll seduce Ian’s younger sister Genevieve – the only Eversea untouched by scandal. But everything about Genevive surprises him. Behind the quiet, innocent girl is a woman with sharp wit and passion. As the Duke gets to know her, his plans become more complicated as he ends up to helping Genvieve attract the attention of the man who broke her heart, despite the growing feelings developing between them.
Oh boy, this book starts off with a hell of an opener that had me immediately hooked. Hello, Alexander Moncrieffe, the Duke of Falconbridge. From his first appearance on the page, I was fascinated by the Duke. He appears to be a no holds barred type of man – I definitely wouldn’t want to cross him! And yet, he also has a sense of honor and is so much more than he seems. Society has cast him in a certain light, but there is so much more depth to him than meets the eye. And he has SECRET PAIN. Ugh – I love a good male lead with some secret pain and emotional complexity. And to top it all off, he’s a romantic deep down at heart – he’s willing to do anything, including breaking his own heart for those he loves.
Genvieve Eversea was the perfect match for the Duke. She’s so different from most of the Everseas we’ve met (I’m looking at you, Colin and Ian). She’s quick, precise and quiet. People always assume she’s shy because she’s so quiet, but she’s actually incredibly thoughtful and careful in what she says. I appreciated her wit and mind, even if she did come off as incredibly young and naive at times. But honestly, I get it. She’s around 20 and is nursing a broken heart as the man she believed she was in love with for years, her friend Lord Harry Osborne, wants to propose to their other friend Millicent. Her pining for Harry went on a tad too long for my tastes, especially when she had the Duke right in front of her.
Despite Genevieve’s too-long obsession with Harry (who is truly the worst sort of man), I loved the romance in this. First off, the banter! Genvieve and the Duke are two masters of verbal sparring – they can give as good as they get. Their conversations frequently go over the heads of those around them. I loved that as there was so much hidden meaning and emotions in those conversations. Second, the chemistry! I found the chemistry between them amazing, and it led to a lot of sexual tension, and I was dying for them to just kiss already! Also, this book bangs. Seriously. It had more banging than I expected, including a fun little scene involving a mirror. But it was also an incredibly sweet romance. They understood each other on a deeper, more personal level. I loved the little gestures that showed how much they cared and listened to each other. This is also a great age gap romance – it doesn’t feel weird at all, even though there is nearly a 20-year difference between them.
Also, I personally love the setup of this one. The Duke wants to use Genvieve as revenge against Ian but ends up aiding her in a plan to help her attract the attention of Harry by making him jealous. Seriously, so delicious and rife with sexual tension.
My one nitpick with this book is the ending came on very abruptly. I really would have loved one more chapter between the final one and the epilogue, especially as the story didn’t move at such a fast pace. I felt like we were missing one or two scenes of them together as a couple before we moved on to the happily ever after in the epilogue.
What I Did for a Duke is another fantastic addition to the Pennyroyal Green series, and I cannot wait to see what Julie Anne Long has up her sleeve next. I adore her writing style as her characters’ voices jump off the page, and all her books have an element to fun in them, even those that touch on more serious topics. I seriously don’t think you can go wrong with any of her books!