Type: Historical Romance
My Copy: Sent
After her mother’s death, May’s sea captain father sends her halfway around the world to live with his stodgy sister in England. The summer festival in Bath made for a lovely distraction, but now she can’t wait for her father’s return so she can leave this country, its suffocating rules, and one infuriatingly proper nobleman in particular behind.
Because he is the Duke of Radcliffe, William Spencer’s whole life revolves around his duties. He never steps foot outside the bounds of proper behavior, and he expects the same of those around him. With her devil-may-care ways, May vexes him nearly as much as she tempts him, but there’s something about her that he just can’t resist. He knows he’s falling hard for her, but with lives that are worlds apart, will they ever be able to find any common ground?
This is the third in The Prelude to a Kiss series and I absolutely loved it. It will definitely go on a list of one of my favorite books of the year. The hero and heroine are total opposites and the witty conversations they have, not to mention the sexual tension create an amazing story.
May Bradford is unhappily staying with her aunt while her father deals with his grief after her mother died. Her father is a sea captain and she has traveled to various places around the world, living a very different way of life than most young women of England. So when she is dumped (as she calls it) with her aunt who wants her to be a proper lady she feels confined and calls her aunt, The Warden.
The Duke of Radcliffe is visiting the Summer Serenade in Somerset for the last week of the music festival. He takes his position as a duke very seriously and seems extremely aloof and stuffy to most. In reality he does have many responsibilities, yet even his best friend wishes he would let down his guard at times. When he notices a lovely young woman he is smitten but quickly changes his mind when he finds out who she is, and especially after he meets her.
When they continually meet at random times they realize how different they are but the attraction is undeniable and hard to resist.
I adored this book; we revisit Bath during the Summer Serenade Music Festival and the three women who have taken the town by storm with their music. I have loved Mei-Li or May since we first met her, raised differently than other young women, she is definitely trying her aunt’s patience from the start and I was excited to see her find happiness.
May spent most of her life traveling with her parents all over the world. She has a different set of rules and loved spending time aboard a ship going to different places. When her mother dies, her father leaves her with her aunt Victoria, whom she dubs The Warden because of how strict she is, but May does push all her buttons. She is vivacious and loves to have fun, something many in the Ton frown upon.
William on the other hand is the polar opposite of May, he is steady, stuffy and refuses to bend the rules for anything, and he definitely looks down on everyone who lives outside the lines of proper society. He feels the weight of his dukedom in everything he does, from raising his younger brother and sister, to creating mills for people to work. So he does not have room for those that do not adhere to the proper ways of England.
When the two first meet, he is captivated by her beauty but quickly learns who she is and he turns away but fate is against them as they find themselves often crossing paths. They verbally spar with each other from the time they are introduced and they are hilarious together. They do not realize the attraction that is growing between them until it is too late and it can’t be denied, yet she is the one that instigates many of their intimate moments and he backs away. He knows she wants to leave England eventually and does not want to compromise her, but she has no qualms about him. I absolutely died when he takes her to his home (mansion) and she does not compliment him, actually chastises the fact that it is so big, and he feels insulted.
As this is the third book there are several previous characters that have large roles here, yet it can easily be read as a standalone. His friend Gavin is very likable and will be featured in the next book and I am excited to read about his second chance romance. I loved the two children, William’s brother and sister, they are precocious and cute and I also enjoyed the twist at the end featuring his stepmother. May’s two friends are also around quite a bit, and they are happy in their new lives. I highly recommend this fun historical romance full of witty banter, sexual tension and amazing characters.
I give The Duke Can Go to the Devil by 4.5 stars!