Smuggler (and father) Jack Skeffington needs a governess to reign in his ten-year-old twins. Désirée le Duc needs the money to secure her trip home to France — finally — all the faster. Of course, neither of them harbor any feelings for the other.
The Duke’s Bride is the sixth entry in Erica Ridley’s 12 Dukes of Christmas series. The “duke” is rarely ever an actual duke, and this is the first one I’ve read where the duke is a woman (le Duc!). Disclaimer: I’ve only read three of the six, so that might not be an accurate accounting of the series.
Both Jack and Désirée are looking for different things in life. He wants to stay in Cressmouth village, raise his children, and not suffer the potential risk of losing another woman he loves again. Now that the war has ended, she wants to return, with her brothers, to reclaim her ancestral home in France and own her own vineyard. Jack isn’t willing to do anything that will disappoint his children, but as Annie and Fredrick’s opinions change about Désirée, he realizes that he is willing to risk it all.
Like all the 12 Dukes of Christmas books, this is a fast-paced story that doesn’t keep you dangling for long for that happy ending. The epilogue is one of the cutest I’ve seen in a while, probably because the twins are really the glue that brings the book together. I would have been more into The Duke’s Bride had Jack and Désirée’s relationship felt organic instead of its emphasis on an overwhelming attraction, but the characters are all likeable (and at times, a dash too witty) enough to pull me along for the ride.
If you want a heartwarming, family-centric holiday story that you can squeeze into your busy schedule, check out The Duke’s Bride.
The Duke’s Bride is out now and available in both eBook and paperback formats.
I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.