Monday, May 30, 2022

Review: Never a Duke by Grace Burrowes

Never a Duke by Grace Burrowes
Series: Rogues to Riches, Book 7
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Historical Romance 
Never a Duke cover
ISBN: 9781538706985
Source: Publisher
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Ned Wentworth will be forever grateful to the family that plucked him from the streets and gave him a home, even though polite society still whispers years later about his questionable past. Precisely because of Ned’s connections in low places, Lady Rosalind Kinwood approaches him to help her find a lady’s maid who has disappeared.

Rosalind is too opinionated—and too intelligent—and has frequently suffered judgment at the hands of polite society. Despite her family’s disdain for Ned, Rosalind finds he listens to her and respects her. Then too, his kisses are exquisite. As the investigation of the missing maids becomes more dangerous, both Ned and Rosalind will have to risk everything—including their hearts—if they are to share the happily ever after that Mayfair’s matchmakers have begrudged them both.

As a young boy, Ned helped save a duke in prison and was rescued by him in return. Now fully grown, Ned is a Wentworth and a successful banker, but society still gossips about his past. Lady Rosalind Kinwood requests Ned’s aid precisely because he can move between worlds. Her lady’s maid is missing and no one will take her concerns seriously. As the two look into the disappearance it becomes clear that there’s more to it than they expected. And the longer Ned and Rosalind are around each other, the harder it is for both to deny how very well they’re suited. But love isn’t enough to make a match between an earl’s daughter and a former pickpocket…is it?

Ned Wentworth finally gets a happily ever after of his own in Never a Duke. I’ve adored Ned since he was a brave young boy in the first Rogues to Riches book and was delighted that Grace Burrowes gave Ned his own story.

Ned loves the Wentworth family but he holds himself somewhat apart from them. There are bits of his past he won’t talk about and even parts of his life now he keeps separate. He’s successful as a banker but there’s something missing in his life. Rosalind is the catalyst for Ned coming into his own. From the first, he’s drawn to her. Rosalind is an outsider in her home as well, though unlike the Wentworth family, her father and brothers are cutting and cruel. Ned and Rosalind’s romance is soft and sweet. He sees, admires, values, and is attracted to Rosalind for all that she is. She, in turn, is someone he can lean on, can trust with the most vulnerable parts of himself. There are hidden sweet spots to Ned that just made me smile and sigh. He and Rosalind simply fit and I absolutely adored them together. It was easy to get lost in the pages of Never a Duke because I so enjoyed the romance.

To best enjoy this story, I recommend at the very least reading the first Rogues to Riches book, My One and Only Duke, in order to get a sense of the Wentworth family dynamics. As a fan of the series, I really enjoyed seeing Ned find his place in the Wentworth family. The Wentworths tend to shove their way into each other’s problems and for someone quieter and more reserved like Ned it can be a bit much. But he finds his way and I liked how his family grew to understand him better and was able to show their love and support for him in ways that matched Ned’s personality rather than their own.

The case of the missing lady’s maid is what first brings Rosalind and Ned together and it’s an intriguing one. I won’t spoil what happens, so suffice it to say that the mystery only grows and Burrowes takes readers on a journey from Mayfair to the docks and everywhere in between. The resolution was a bit rushed (along with a few other revelations) at the end. The story would have benefitted greatly from an extra couple of chapters to handle the fallout of the mystery and the information that comes to light during the search. I went back and forth on how to rate Never a Duke because I wanted more from the ending. However, since I adored Rosalind and Ned so much and because I found their love story so satisfying, I can safely say that even with the issues I had I still loved this book. I look forward to revisiting Ned and Rosalind in the near future.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.