Virginia is a delightfully unique heroine! Theo has sequestered himself at his friend's remote guest house, hoping to recover from his crippling war wounds in complete privacy. Virginia has devoted her life to rescuing and rehabbing all sorts of wounded animals, and she sees Theo as just another creature needing her help. Neither one expects that they could develop anything more than a nurse/patient relationship, since Theo is expected to marry the woman his father chose years ago, and Virginia knows there's absolutely no way she'd ever be accepted in Theo's titled life. I love how the author described just enough of Virginia's atypical personality traits to give us an understanding that she'd fall somewhere on the autism spectrum today, without anachronistically giving us an actual label or diagnosis. Theo's tender insight into how to make her comfortable around him was very sweet, and the epitome of gentlemanly behavior. That he would want to shows just how quickly he fell for her, long before he could even admit it to himself. It was refreshing to see Virginia completely accepted for who - and h0w - she is in the charming community of Christmas. Even so, the epilogue was even more satisfying and did much to right the wrongs that she had endured. It's a wonderful romance, and my favorite of this series so far. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.
3 people found this review helpful
Never Say Duke is the fourth book in the 12 Dukes of Christmas regency romance series. I have to say that so far this one is my favorite. This is a very powerful story of two people who have endured great suffering and found each other through it. I love how Ridley even weaves poetry from an author of that time in her book. Matilda Betham ( 1776-1852) was a poetess and portrait painter in England. Ridley incorporates a book of poetry by Betham into this magical tale.The poem “The Heir” is a focal point. “Long kept in exile by paternal pride, He feels no joy beneath this splendid dome; For, till the elder child of promise died, He knew a dearer, though a humbler home.” The hero Theodore O’Hanlon, Major Viscount Ormondton is vulnerable and believable as a character. “She tried not to notice. He was distractingly handsome. The strong jaw, she suspected he shaved himself. Well-defined muscles from riding horses into battle and rolling his chair across thick carpets. He wore no cravat and one leg of his breeches had been sliced to the knee. The state of semi-undress made him seem at once more powerful and more vulnerable.” I especially liked the heroine’s character Virginia Underwood. She is a mixture of strong independent woman and suffering, fearful miss. Virginia is a complex character. I love one of her lines “Scars aren’t evidence of failure,”she said softly. “They are proof of survival.” The romance is sweet and not steamy. I think Ridley has knocked this one out of the park. I am sure I will be reading it again and again.
2 people found this review helpful
Theodore O’Hanlon, Major Viscount Ormondton, has come to Cressmouth, the year-round Christmas Town, to recover in anonymity from the horrible wounds he received in the war. Miss Virginia Underwood has lived in the town’s castle since she escaped the asylum she was sent to by her parents when her social anxiety behavior embarrassed them in the Ton. Theo and Virginia meet when she rescues Duke, her cat, who has come into the cottage through an open window. Virginia loves rescuing and helping injured strays. Upon seeing his wounds, she makes him her next patient. Theo doesn’t want help, but she persists. As they spend time together, they become friends and begin to fall in love. Neither believes anything can come from their attraction. His sense of duty to his title and her abject fear of going back into Society stand firmly in the way of a future together. Or do they? It doesn’t seem possible, but this is Christmas. Never Say Duke is the fourth book in the 12 Dukes of Christmas series. Healing and humor make this a warm sweet story. There are few very nice surprises. The characters are wonderful. Theo is handsome, courageous, honorable, and a little stubborn. Virginia is beautiful inside and out. She is kind and caring, if uncertain and a little fearful. They are both patient and understanding with each other. Swinton, the butler, and Duke, the cat, are the perfect pair to look after our hero and heroine. I loved this story and will try to wait patiently for the next book in this series. I recommend this book and the series to anyone who enjoys a happy story.