Would I Lie to the Duke
Author: Eva Leigh
Series: Union of Rakes, book 2
Publisher: Avon (July 28, 2020)
Mass market paperback, 384 pages
Romance, Historical romance, Adult romance
When an ambitious entrepreneur pretends to be a lady of means, she catches the eye—and heart—of a duke…
Jessica McGale’s family business desperately needs investors, and she’s determined to succeed at any cost. But she knows London’s elite will never look twice at a humble farm girl like herself. Posing as “Lady Whitfield,” however, places her in the orbit of wealthy, powerful people—most notably the Duke of Rotherby. His influence and support could save her company, but Jess never expected the effect he’d have on her.
Society thinks Noel is a notorious, carefree duke who dabbles in investments, but there’s a side to him that only his closest friends see. When he crosses paths with Lady Whitfield at a business bazaar, his world tilts on its axis. She’s brilliant and compelling, and brings him to his knees like no woman has before. Trust is difficult for Noel, but Jess makes him believe anything is possible…
As time ticks down on her Cinderella scheme, the thought of achieving her goal at Noel’s expense breaks Jess’ heart. He doesn’t just want her now, he wants her forever. But will her secret end their future before it begins?
I really LOVED the first book in this series, My Fake Rake, and was super excited to read more about Rotherby, the rakish Duke (or Noel, as we come to know – and love him – as in this book). Also, it’s a mistaken identities trope and something of a Cinderella story, and you know I’m a sucker for both, so I clearly needed this book in my life.
I didn’t love Noel and Jess as a couple as much as Sebastian and Grace in the first book in this series. HOWEVER, My Fake Rake was one of my top 5 favorite books I read in 2019, so it’s a VERY high bar. I love how driven Jess is, and how… NOEL Noel is. There’s really not another word to describe it. Their chemistry is dynamic, and the slow burn of their heat growing is delicious.
I didn’t really like their sort of fledgling dom/sub relationship, though kudos to them being kinky in Ye Olden Times I guess? I guess if you don’t have the internet and modern culture to desensitize you, their sexual relationship was likely quite edgy for the times. It just fell kind of flat for me and I found myself skimming through the sex scenes to get back to the story. Maybe it was just that I’m not used to any kink in historicals? I spent entirely too long trying to figure out why it put me off a bit (besides repeated use of the word “quim,” bleh) and I just can’t pinpoint it. Anyway, the sex scenes didn’t really work for me, but the ENTIRE REST OF THE BOOK DID.
Especially because with every mistaken identity trope, there’s the reveal of who the person really is. Midnight eventually comes and Cinderella goes back to her rags and her reality. But imagine Cinderella had lied about who she was to the prince for days, and that he was more vulnerable and honest and himself with her than he ever was with anyone before, ever. And then suddenly there she is in rags with her carriage just a smashed pumpkin behind her. My heart, it breaks for them both, and Eva Leigh writes this inevitable crash and heartbreak after the fantasy SO wonderfully that it had me sobbing into my Kindle. (And let’s be real, this is a romance so we know it’s going to all end Happily Ever After anyway, so it’s OK to cut loose and cry.)
Would I Like to the Duke is the second book in the Union of Rakes series, but can be read as a stand alone. Holloway and the others of the Union of Rakes make a bit of an appearance, and there are some very minor spoilers for the first book, My Fake Rake. One of the main characters for book three, Waiting for a Scot Like You is Lady Farris, whom I very much came to love in this book – I can’t wait!!