Duke Looks Like a Groomsman
Author: Valerie Bowman
Series: The Footmen’s Club, book 2
Publisher: June Third Enterprises (July 28, 2020)
Kindle edition, 250 pages
Romance, Adult romance, Historical romance
He’s posing as a groomsman.
Rhys Sheffield, the Duke of Worthington, has bet his friends an ungodly sum of money that despite his loftiness, he can pass himself off as a servant at the house party of the Season. But when his clever ex-flame arrives and recognizes Rhys in the stables pretending to be a groomsman, she realizes it’s the perfect opportunity to pay him back for breaking off their engagement.
She’s the bride-to-be.
The lovely Lady Julianna Montgomery may be the only young woman at the house party who’s not in the market for a husband. She’s quite happily engaged to a marquess, thank you very much, and scarcely remembers the pain of being callously tossed over by the Duke of Worthington nearly two long years ago—till now.
All bets are off.
Rhys seems to be everywhere, flexing his muscles, laboring in the sun—and Julianna has never found him more appealing. With his signature charm, he persuades her to keep his secret. But when she learns he’s determined to win a bet of honor, she can’t resist playing a game of her own. She’ll spend the next fortnight tempting Rhys at every turn and making him lose his precious wager. Even if it means she must lose her heart in the process…
I sadly didn’t love Duke Looks Like a Groomsman as much as I liked the first book in the series. It’s a lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers, second chances type of trope, which is not my favorite to begin with.
I liked the banter and chemistry between Rhys and Julianna, and was looking forward to reading more about her after the few glimpses I got in the first book. My main problem with this book was the pacing. They would be in a situation where the tension would start to tighten and escalate, and they’d get to the dramatic peak… and then the next chapter would start with one of them lying in bed that night, unable to sleep and thinking back over the day. I don’t want this build up and build up and tension and then someone says something that is just dropping a total bomb. Cut to night time and it turns out someone walked into the room in the next moment and they had to separate. NO. MC1 just dropped a total revelation bomb there! I want to experience MC2’s POV as they’re interrupted and they’re prevented from responding/following up/whatever they wanted to do. What did they feel in that moment? What did they want? What were they thinking? “And then so and so ended up interrupting us and we went out separate ways” is SO UNSATISFYING. And it didn’t just happen once, it happened again and again and AGAIN.
It’s like watching a cake you’re baking rise in the oven, anticipating how fluffy and delicious it’s going to be, how you’ll frost it, and then your five year old comes and stomps too hard next to the oven and the cake falls. Like, sure, it’s still technically a cake, but why even bother at that point? It’s basically ruined. Nobody wants that. STOP MAKING THE CAKE FALL, VALERIE. It just kept jerking me right out of the story and completely sapping all the delicious tension that had managed to build and it was very unsatisfying. The story itself was still good, and they had some great conflicts to overcome and I love a good wallow in self pity, but the repeated skipping to ahead to their sleepless nights just sort of ruined the book for me.
This is the second book in The Footmen’s Club series. All three books in the series run on a concurrent timeline, taking place over the same two weeks at the same house party, with the prologue being the exact same actions/dialogue but from that book’s MC’s POV. You DEFINITELY need to read these in order though, because there are a LOT of spoilers for the first book (The Footman and I) in this second book. Even though I didn’t love this one, I’m still looking forward to the final book in the series (maybe because Bell is my favorite and I am excited to finally get his book!), The Valet Who Loved Me.
A digital ARC of this book was provided by the author for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.