Published by Forever on December 18, 2018
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Hoyt brings us the first book in her sexy and sensual Greycourt Series!
Freya de Moray is many things: a member of the secret order of Wise Women, the daughter of disgraced nobility, and a chaperone living under an assumed name. What she is not is forgiving. So when the Duke of Harlowe--the man who destroyed her brother and led to the downfall of her family--appears at the country house party she's attending, she does what any Wise Woman would do: she starts planning her revenge.
Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe, is being blackmailed. Intent on keeping his secrets safe, he agrees to attend a house party where he will put an end to this coercion once and for all. Until he recognizes Freya, masquerading amongst the party revelers, and realizes his troubles have just begun. Freya knows all about his sins. Sins he'd much rather forget. But she's also fiery, bold, and sensuous-a temptation he can't resist. When it becomes clear Freya is in grave danger, he'll risk everything to keep her safe. But first, Harlowe will have to earn Freya's trust-by whatever means necessary.
Features a bonus novella from New York Times bestselling author Grace Burrowes!
~~Reviewed by Monique~~
After a fortuitous encounter, Freya de Moray sees the opportunity to get her revenge on Christopher Renshaw, now the Duke of Harlowe. She is to attend a house party at the Lovejoys in her capacity of paid companion and chaperone to Lady Holland and her two daughters, and Christopher will also be there. For the duke, it’s not a pleasurable task: he is being blackmailed and intends to put an end to it at the house party. He hadn’t a clue that the fiery lady’s companion was Freya, his best friend’s little sister. But that
Not the Duke’s Darling is the first instalment in Elizabeth Hoyt’s eagerly anticipated new Georgian romance series, and it does feel like an introduction to the next Hoyt’s new universe. It necessarily establishes the foundation, and judging by the number of characters and subplots, this series could go on for a very, very long time. I found it quite challenging to try to keep up with the numerous characters and to remember who’s what to whom. I kept forgetting who “Jane” was, and I got confused several times with all the gentlemen whose family names all have two syllables as well as the letter “o”. Or maybe I’m the one with a problem! There was so much going on, on so many levels, that I realised around halfway that I had as captivating that Freya had a mission for the WiseWomen – an ancient feminist secret society of women to help women. There was also another subplot regarding the Wise Women that seemed to have been left dangling, or else it entirely escaped my notice –which I doubt.
The revenge/enemies-to-lovers tropes served mostly to bring Christopher and Freya together; I think it could have been dealt with much more swiftly. It seemed their animosity acted as an aphrodisiac because I couldn’t grasp why they were attracted to each other besides lust which seemed brought about mostly by his “blue”, “cerulean” gaze, and her (too oft-mentioned) “green-gold eyes”. I didn’t particularly like either Christopher or Freya; she seemed little more than a feminist, and he was quite mystifying: was he weak, arrogant, cowardly, fearless, violent? I love strong heroines and beta heroes, but here the balance of power felt odd.
Elizabeth Hoyt’s prose flows effortlessly as usual, and her gorgeous descriptions are sparkling and crisp, but I did not find the story as captivating as the beginning suggested, because of all those subplots. While I understood the need to introduce the Greycourts, I’m still wondering if the Holland girls – Regina and Arabella –will figure in future instalments. I must say that Arabella was my favourite character along with Tess, Christopher’s dog – whom we would today call a therapy dog. As I’ve mentioned too many times already, because of the was fifteen subplots, I have no idea who the next book will feature.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.