title: Second Duke's the Charm
author: Kate Bateman
publisher: St. Martin's Paperback
publication date: December 26, 2023
peppers: 3 (on this scale)
warnings: on-page death, mean people, someone gets drugged to fall asleep, drunkenness, lechery
summary: Tess's greedy father forced her, at nineteen-years-old, to marry an elderly duke, who died on their wedding night. It takes two years for the solicitors to find the duke's successor, Justin, who realizes that it's to his great social advantage to marry the widowed duchess. They create a contract so that they're in no danger of falling in love.
- marriage of convenience
- meeting while masked
- virgin who pretends to have experience
- rags-to-riches hero
- heroine has a secret career
- grand gesture (that doesn't go as expected)
what I liked:
- I'm not sure if Bateman based her heroine on Sarah MacLean's Hell's Belle's series, but this book has the same fun vibe.
- The way Bateman introduces the tropes but doesn't drag them out.
- The banter between the duke and duchess.
- The side plots and characters (*This is the beginning of a series, so that's a bonus.)
- The book drew me in quickly and moved along without any backtracking.
- Good chemistry.
what I didn’t like: nothing
overall rating: 5 (of 5 stars)