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How to Catch a Duke

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A fake engagement and plenty of charm keep the pages turning in this delightful Regency romance. "I have come to ask you to kill me, my lord." Miss Abigail Abbott desperately needs to disappear, and the only person she trusts to help her do that is Lord Stephen Wentworth, heir to the Duke of Walden. Stephen is brilliant, charming, and—when he needs to be—absolutely ruthless. A fake engagement and plenty of charm keep the pages turning in this delightful Regency romance. "I have come to ask you to kill me, my lord." Miss Abigail Abbott desperately needs to disappear, and the only person she trusts to help her do that is Lord Stephen Wentworth, heir to the Duke of Walden. Stephen is brilliant, charming, and—when he needs to be—absolutely ruthless. So ruthless, that, he proposes marriage instead of a pretense of murder, to keep Abigail safe. Stephen knows that Abigail has the dignity and determination of a duchess and the courage of a lioness. When she accepts his courtship of convenience, he also discovers she kisses like his most intimate wish come true. For Abigail, their arrangement is a sham to escape her dangerous enemies. For Stephen, it's his last, best hope to share a lifetime with the lady of his dreams—if he can convince her his love is real.


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A fake engagement and plenty of charm keep the pages turning in this delightful Regency romance. "I have come to ask you to kill me, my lord." Miss Abigail Abbott desperately needs to disappear, and the only person she trusts to help her do that is Lord Stephen Wentworth, heir to the Duke of Walden. Stephen is brilliant, charming, and—when he needs to be—absolutely ruthless. A fake engagement and plenty of charm keep the pages turning in this delightful Regency romance. "I have come to ask you to kill me, my lord." Miss Abigail Abbott desperately needs to disappear, and the only person she trusts to help her do that is Lord Stephen Wentworth, heir to the Duke of Walden. Stephen is brilliant, charming, and—when he needs to be—absolutely ruthless. So ruthless, that, he proposes marriage instead of a pretense of murder, to keep Abigail safe. Stephen knows that Abigail has the dignity and determination of a duchess and the courage of a lioness. When she accepts his courtship of convenience, he also discovers she kisses like his most intimate wish come true. For Abigail, their arrangement is a sham to escape her dangerous enemies. For Stephen, it's his last, best hope to share a lifetime with the lady of his dreams—if he can convince her his love is real.

30 review for How to Catch a Duke

  1. 5 out of 5

    WhiskeyintheJar

    I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. If you've been a reader of Burrowes' Rogues to Riches series, then you've been anticipating the younger brother Lord Stephen Wentworth's book. The Wentworth family went from living hand-to-mouth to the older brother Quinn (My One and Only Duke) being saved from the gallows and inheriting a dukedom. Their hard knock life has them not quite fitting in with the ar I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. If you've been a reader of Burrowes' Rogues to Riches series, then you've been anticipating the younger brother Lord Stephen Wentworth's book. The Wentworth family went from living hand-to-mouth to the older brother Quinn (My One and Only Duke) being saved from the gallows and inheriting a dukedom. Their hard knock life has them not quite fitting in with the aristocracy and each sibling's story has reflected that while still placing them in privileged positions. I would suggest not jumping into the series at this book as you'd miss a lot of the Wentworth family dynamic and that directly affects the hows and whys of Stephen's character; you'd be missing a lot of the foundation for this story. “I have come to ask you to murder me, my lord.” Miss Abigail Abbott is a character that we meet in the previous book, Stephen's sister Constance's story (The Truth About Dukes). Abigail is an inquiry agent, a sort of private investigator. Having meet Stephen through Constance (they had some crackling tension in the previous book), Abigail thinks he's the perfect person to help her. She thinks there was a failed attempt to poison her and a failed kidnapping of her person. Abigail thinks it's a Lord Stapleton behind the attempts and it's due to some letters his now deceased son wrote Abigail when she was the son's mistress (she didn't know he was married). I'm not sure I ever completely bought into Abigail's idea that she needed to fake her own death to escape Lord Stapleton but it provided a fantastic first line to start the book off and gave a reason for Abigail to be in Stephen's company. The conundrum of his mental processes, charm juxtaposed with calculation, fascinated Abigail. She was counting on his calculating mind to keep her physically safe, while the charm imperiled her heart. I've read a good amount of Burrowes' stories and they typically have what I call a babbling brook pace and feel, gradual and gentle. I thought the tempo was different in this one, it felt more like ping pong action. I'd be reading a scene, engaged, and then the scene would cut and the next paragraph would show the characters at a later date thinking back to the scene I had been engaged in but cut out from. It worked for me at times and didn't at others as I thought I was missing out on some scene emotions; instead we get the emotions from inner thoughts from the characters. I'm not sure if my anticipating the babbling brook from Burrowes made this ping pong tempo feel off or if the tempo was off. Abigail dearest, we all need a little kissing, cuddling, and cavorting. Proving that to you shall be my fondest challenge. The mystery thread of why Lord Stapleton wanted the letters from Abigail felt thin for a a lot of the story. It takes until the end and revealing of why, for it to make sense but even then I'm not sure the journey we take to get there was supported for three hundred pages. Stephen and Abigail have good byplay but I did think for where I thought they were in their journey to come together that their first bedroom scene came a bit quick, even though it was around 50%. These two definitely have a connection, Abigail doubts her appeal because of her height and size and Stephen doubts his appeal because of his limp (his father broke his leg when he was a child) and vulnerabilities created because of these insecurities brings these two together. They're sweet with a little zip because of Stephen's kind but not always nice and Abigail's calling him on his not always nice but not letting him hide his kindness. Stephen Wentworth was stealing her heart, and she was helpless to prevent his larceny. Neither of Stephen's sisters make an appearance, which I did miss and I thought Duncan and Stephen should have had some alone scenes but there was a great breakthrough understanding between Stephen and his brother Quinn. With the ping pong tempo I talked about though, we get the brothers revealing and talking about some things but then after, granted, they do hug, we jump to Quinn with his wife and he has an emotional moment I wish could have been more with Stephen. The Wentworth's are a family that could have overwhelmed Stephen and Abigail's book but I love their dynamic all together that I could have stood for more of them. She wanted to curl up in his arms and wake up in a world where nobody got in a lather about old letters, and a common inquiry agent could fall in love with a ducal heir. Stephen was a character that I could read a series on him alone and Abigail had her own deep background, I could also read more about her, but importantly, she did match him. The mystery plot with the letters and how Abigail wanted to fake her own death, which leads to a fake engagement trope, even though these two pretty much admit their feelings are real from the beginning but thinking nothing can come of it, was a little weaker and you'll mostly go along because it keeps our two characters together. I also thought the author created a story that was open about all the bed-hopping that was going on during this time, the extramartial affairs and Stephen's bisexuality. It also looks like we are getting a Ned Wentworth book (boy Quinn adopted) and I am thrilled, especially after his appearances in this. There's always something comforting about visiting a Burrowes' world and family, How to Catch a Duke, will give you those feels.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Caz

    I've given this a B- at AAR, so that's 3.5 stars rounded up. How to Catch a Duke is the sixth and final book in Grace Burrowes’  Rogues to Riches  series about the members of the Wentworth family.  The first book – My One and Only Duke– saw a ducal title conferred upon Quinton Wentworth, a wealthy banker from extremely humble origins who grew up doing whatever jobs he could find in order to provide for his younger siblings, and subsequent books have followed the various family members as they’ I've given this a B- at AAR, so that's 3.5 stars rounded up. How to Catch a Duke is the sixth and final book in Grace Burrowes’  Rogues to Riches  series about the members of the Wentworth family.  The first book – My One and Only Duke– saw a ducal title conferred upon Quinton Wentworth, a wealthy banker from extremely humble origins who grew up doing whatever jobs he could find in order to provide for his younger siblings, and subsequent books have followed the various family members as they’ve each found their HEAs.  The hero of How to Catch a Duke is Stephen, Quinn’s younger brother and heir whom we first met as a brilliant, mercurial teen whose insight and often biting wit was shadowed by melancholy, and whose frustrations over his disability – his abusive father smashed Stephen’s knee when he was a child and he needs a cane (sometimes two) to walk – came through strongly.  Ten years later, Stephen is still brilliant and mercurial; he’s also charming, loyal, generous and quite ruthless when he wants to be and hasn’t let his physical limitations stop him from shagging his way across the continent or from ‘dallying’ extensively in England with a variety of willing partners. When this book opens, Stephen receives a visit from Miss Abigail Abbott, the enquiry agent who recently did some work for his sister Constance (The Truth About Dukes).  In a dramatic opening, Abigail tells Stephen that she has “come to ask you to murder me, my lord.”  – which is, of course, not what she means at all; what she wants is to disappear while she attempts to find out why someone – a marquess no less – is out to do her harm.  Abigail is cagey, but Stephen – being Stephen – quickly works out who it is and promptly offers to kill him instead. The next morning over breakfast, Abigail explains that Lord Stapleton believes her to be in possession of some letters he wants returned – which she is unable to do as she no longer has them.  She refuses to answer Stephen’s questions as to the identity of the writer and recipient of the letters, simply saying that the marquess is not entitled to them and is clearly prepared to go to any lengths to get them.  Stephen recognises that Abigail – whom he already admires for her spirit and no-nonsense attitude (and lusts after for her other attributes) – is genuinely scared, and suggests that instead of faking her death, they should pretend to be engaged and that she should go to stay under Quinn’s protection at Walden House while they work out how to retrieve the letters or get Stapleton to stop hounding her – and preferably both. I’m generally a fan of Grace Burrowes’ novels, although I’ve long since given up trying to keep up with them all! I enjoy her quirky writing style and the strong familial connections she creates in her stories, and although I haven’t read all the books in this series, I’ve read enough of them to be able to know who most of the characters are and how they relate to one another – so this isn’t the place to start with the Wentworths! But with all that said, I had a number of issues with the book that mean I can’t grade it more highly. The plot is stretched thin and moves very slowly until well into the second half, and I didn’t feel a great deal of chemistry between Stephen and Abigail, who become lovers very quickly, before they really know each other. And while I applaud Ms. Burrowes for writing a couple who talk frankly about sex and their past relationships, I found it hard to believe a young unmarried woman – even one who had had a lover – would have felt comfortable discussing such things with a man she didn’t know all that well. Then there’s the fact that Stephen makes no bones about the fact that he’s had intimate relationships with a few men as well as women, and Abigail takes that in her stride, too (as, it seems, do other members of the family). On the one hand, it’s great to see such a supportive, non-judgmental reaction, but on the other, their easy, unconcerned acceptance seemed too modern. The best thing about the book is undoubtedly Stephen, probably the most complex and damaged character of all the Wentworths. He’s living with a terrible secret as well as a disability that has caused many to see him as ‘less than’ and has spent most of his life compensating for it in one way and another; not just in his legendary prowess between the sheets, but in many other ways, too, channelling what had been, in youth, self-destructive impulses into creative ones. The other thing I really liked was the new and greater understanding that develops between him and Quinn. Although Stephen had no wish to feel it, he couldn’t help resenting Quinn for being able to do things he couldn’t and for being able to escape their father’s cruelties, and Quinn has seen Stephen as somewhat spoiled, and self-indulgent, and has even been jealous of his intelligence. There’s never been any question that they’d do anything for each other, but they’ve always been a bit wary of each other, too, and I was pleased to see those misunderstandings finally laid to rest. There’s a large-ish secondary cast of Wentworth siblings and in-laws I enjoyed re-visting, the villain of the piece is suitably nasty (although no match for Stephen), and the author skilfully weaves a realistic look at the plight of the less fortunate into the background of the story – whether it’s the soldiers returning from war to find there was no work and no help for them, or children, forced to work from the age of six as climbing boys or in mines and factories. I liked many things about How to Catch a Duke, but unfortunately, the romance isn’t at the top of the list. I’ve been intrigued by Stephen since he first appeared in the book one, so I had high hopes for his book and I really wanted to like it more than I did, but even so, it’s certainly worth a qualified recommendation.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn Hudson

    In the past I have enjoyed Grace Burrows' books. This one was a bit - tedious - and had tossed in aspects that really did not serve to enhance the story and seemed added in for some reason. The hero was limited in movement and had to use canes but that made him interesting and different. The heroine was a non-typical woman of the time (she worked as an inquiry agent) and this story reflected a growing trend of making a Regency historical as modern and contemporary as possible. The added on aspect In the past I have enjoyed Grace Burrows' books. This one was a bit - tedious - and had tossed in aspects that really did not serve to enhance the story and seemed added in for some reason. The hero was limited in movement and had to use canes but that made him interesting and different. The heroine was a non-typical woman of the time (she worked as an inquiry agent) and this story reflected a growing trend of making a Regency historical as modern and contemporary as possible. The added on aspects had a feel as if someone said, "Let's be really trendy and add some kinky sex!" Chains, whips, and the like have all been mentioned in other books and by other authors but in this the hero softly admits to having had sexual encounters with both men and women. At one point, he contemplates the potential one ex-female and one ex-male partner - who are marrying - may compare his sexual prowess and skills. None of this - by the way - actually contributes to the storyline. This was one book that left me disappointed - it had none of the things a historical of the Regency period has come to represent. No witty dialogue, no tension of human action against social constraints, no guilt, no sense of honor on the line, and people too much like the people at the local club of today to actually be people of another time period. Overall I found the story slow, lacking energy, and almost thrown together.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brandi Day

    I didn't think Grace Burrowes could write a novel that wasn't worth 5 stars. She always has well-developed characters, an interesting story, and beautiful prose. In this book, she maintained the prose, but everything else was lacking. Even the story was weak from the initial premiss. In this series with the Wentworths, I have found the characters less endearing in each consecutive book. In this one, however, I found them unpalatable. It seems Ms. Burrowes is on a crusade to give her characters a I didn't think Grace Burrowes could write a novel that wasn't worth 5 stars. She always has well-developed characters, an interesting story, and beautiful prose. In this book, she maintained the prose, but everything else was lacking. Even the story was weak from the initial premiss. In this series with the Wentworths, I have found the characters less endearing in each consecutive book. In this one, however, I found them unpalatable. It seems Ms. Burrowes is on a crusade to give her characters as many flaws and vices as possible and then dare the reader to be upset with them while the other characters blandly accept them as if it is of no moment at all. Murder, adultery, generally excessive philandering -- all perfectly understandable, no reason to judge. While that may be legitimate with some sins of the past (or present), I found it distasteful and, eventually, dirty when the hero of the novel admitted to having dallied with other men in his youth and then one of those other men ended up as a key character in the story. When he casually commented that both his former male and former female lover who were now lovers themselves could compare his prowess, I think the book far exceeded any standards of propriety or good taste. This is not the appropriate genre for that. I am grieved that the author chose to go in this direction as it added absolutely nothing to the character's development or the plot. As with so many things in our culture today, it was simply a means of normalizing homosexual behavior. This is not her first foray down this path, but it was her most unsettling, perhaps because it was done so boldly and in a way that detracted rather than in any way added to the story. I finished the book because I have too much respect for the author to not give the book a fair review, but it was in no way comparable to her early work. I have found each successive book of hers recently to be less enticing than the one before. It is a huge disappointment for me as she is truly one of my all-time favorite authors.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carey’s Reviews

    2-2.5 Stars! Not a fan of this one. I think I missed something. I was very confused while reading this one. I’d say you COULD read it as a standalone but I wouldn’t recommend it. If you’ve read the previous books in series, the ‘Rogues to Riches’ series (this is book #6 in said series), you’d most likely enjoy this book more than I did. Other than feeling I missed the first few chapters, I also felt like an idiot because I had to Google the definition of a fair amount of ‘big words’. I understand 2-2.5 Stars! Not a fan of this one. I think I missed something. I was very confused while reading this one. I’d say you COULD read it as a standalone but I wouldn’t recommend it. If you’ve read the previous books in series, the ‘Rogues to Riches’ series (this is book #6 in said series), you’d most likely enjoy this book more than I did. Other than feeling I missed the first few chapters, I also felt like an idiot because I had to Google the definition of a fair amount of ‘big words’. I understand that some of it was simply using historically correct language but I’d prefer the author ‘dumb it down’. Confusing, the feeling of missing the beginning of the story, sesquipedalian - long worded (yes, I looked up a ‘big word’ & hopefully used it correctly!), anti-climatic ending with main characters I wasn’t interested in & they had absolutely zero sexual chemistry and/or romance. That sums this book up. However I did enjoy the surprise revelation at the end. *I received this book at no charge from NetGalley & I voluntarily left this review.*

  6. 4 out of 5

    Hannah B.

    ✨Hey Stephen I could give you twenty* reasons why I loved this book . . .✨ 1. I’m not sure if I’ve ever read a book with a guy that’s more all-in than Stephen was with Abigail. 2. This man was such a cinnamon scented, icing glazed roll of compassion and tenderness. 3. Abigail said what she meant and understood what she wanted. 4. I’m simply so intrigued as to how authors can fit so much ~everything~ into such small books. 5. Perfectly woven romance and mystery; the intrigue was there from page one ✨Hey Stephen I could give you twenty* reasons why I loved this book . . .✨ 1. I’m not sure if I’ve ever read a book with a guy that’s more all-in than Stephen was with Abigail. 2. This man was such a cinnamon scented, icing glazed roll of compassion and tenderness. 3. Abigail said what she meant and understood what she wanted. 4. I’m simply so intrigued as to how authors can fit so much ~everything~ into such small books. 5. Perfectly woven romance and mystery; the intrigue was there from page one and it was all beautifully wrapped up with the kind of wrapping paper you can’t bear to throw away. 6. There’s also another adorable romance subplot. 7. The cameos of his family are in-depth and lovely and desperately make me want to read the other books in the series. 8. A truly shocking, good, dramatic ending that folds the corners and taped up all the edges; it also had great pacing and wasn’t rushed. 9. There was no obligatory fight scene; the overall drama took care of the tension in a refreshing and entertaining way. 10. At a few points the level of drama reach soap opera levels in the most delicious way. 11. Stephen was seriously dessert. 12. Whenever he said naughty I imagined it in the voice of Hugh Grant. 13. The heart put into this book was sincerely incredible. 14. Reminded me a lot of how Erica Ridley just stirred in so many sweet, enticing, and raw emotions. 15. The chemistry between the main couple was so sparky. 16. Stephen was honest and just so so in love (in case I didn’t make it clear before). 17. The perspective wasn’t just limited to the main couple, there were a few chapters from side characters that added yet another velvety layer. 18. One explicit sex scene and a few other entanglements that explored their heat and passion in such a warm way. 19. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 20. 🌶🌶🌶.75/5 *I’m aware the song says 50 but that’s a loooooot *This lovely book was provided by the lovely publisher but all opinions are honest and my own

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kathreadya

    HOW TO CATCH A DUKE by @grace burrows was a fantastic romance, I loved Abigail and Stephen's relationship! They both have inscurities that they helps each other deal with, and it brought a real caring to their relationship. But also, snark and steam is abundant!! I also enjoyed the mystery of who is going after Abigail and why she wants to fake her death, though it didn't fully answer all the questions I had. Still, really enjoyed this historical romance! And it made me want to read the rest of HOW TO CATCH A DUKE by @grace burrows was a fantastic romance, I loved Abigail and Stephen's relationship! They both have inscurities that they helps each other deal with, and it brought a real caring to their relationship. But also, snark and steam is abundant!! I also enjoyed the mystery of who is going after Abigail and why she wants to fake her death, though it didn't fully answer all the questions I had. Still, really enjoyed this historical romance! And it made me want to read the rest of the books in this series! Thank you Read Forever Publishing for this book in exchange for an honest review

  8. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Uuuuuugh, I’m not going to bother with a review. I’ll let Stephan do it for me with his tidy plot summary: “For God’s sake, Abigail. (view spoiler)[I have slept with both Harmonia and her current swain. He has slept with both the lady and myself. Champlain got you with child, but he could not impregnate his wife. I managed that feat handily enough, and now you and I… (hide spoiler)] the situation is ludicrous.” Uuuuuugh, I’m not going to bother with a review. I’ll let Stephan do it for me with his tidy plot summary: “For God’s sake, Abigail. (view spoiler)[I have slept with both Harmonia and her current swain. He has slept with both the lady and myself. Champlain got you with child, but he could not impregnate his wife. I managed that feat handily enough, and now you and I… (hide spoiler)] the situation is ludicrous.”

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Reviewed for Wit and Sin The brilliant and enigmatic Lord Stephen Wentworth has met his match in a no-nonsense inquiry agent. I was looking forward to seeing what kind of woman Grace Burrowes would pair Stephen with and she did not disappoint. How to Catch a Duke is an engaging read thanks to its two well-drawn, unique leads and the refreshing openness that characterizes their romance. Abigail Abbott is exhausted and at the end of her rope when she goes to Stephen for help. Someone is afte Reviewed for Wit and Sin The brilliant and enigmatic Lord Stephen Wentworth has met his match in a no-nonsense inquiry agent. I was looking forward to seeing what kind of woman Grace Burrowes would pair Stephen with and she did not disappoint. How to Catch a Duke is an engaging read thanks to its two well-drawn, unique leads and the refreshing openness that characterizes their romance. Abigail Abbott is exhausted and at the end of her rope when she goes to Stephen for help. Someone is after old letters for reasons she cannot understand. But she won’t continue to put her household in danger so her last resort is to go to Stephen for help faking her own death. Except for as clever as Abigail is, Stephen is far more conniving and isn’t about to let the most intriguing woman he’s ever met vanish. He convinces her to agree to a fake courtship; his family is untouchable and thus the protection will extend to her while they figure out why someone is after the letters. Abigail knows there’s no way a match between her and a duke’s heir could ever be made real. But Stephen is a Wentworth. And Wentworths never let anything like society’s silly opinions stand in their way. Abigail and Stephen make a great match. Stephen has a big heart and he loves deeply, but he also has a devious mind and would likely have gone down the wrong path at a young age if his cousin hadn’t taken him in hand and redirected his energies. Abigail is a straight-talking inquiry agent who cuts right through the façade Stephen wears and sees him for all that he is. I loved their frank talks and the banter between them. I also really loved that both of them are vulnerable. Abigail is statuesque and comments from others about her looks have made her a bit self-conscious. And Stephen, whose knee was smashed and didn’t heal properly is incredibly self-conscious about his scars, the use of his canes, and his fear of humiliation. I loved that each of them saw the other for the gorgeous person they were. Neither dismissed the other’s vulnerabilities but they made it clear how they saw them and helped build their confidence. They truly fell for each other in a fairly low drama way and their support for one another gave their romance a rock-solid feel. The mystery of who is after Abigail and why is interesting and played out in a mostly satisfying manner. More importantly, the mystery served to draw Abigail and Stephen together and I was most invested in the love story. And it wouldn’t be a Rogues to Riches novel without at least a few additional Wentworths playing a role and I enjoyed visiting with Quinn, Jane, Duncan, Matilda, and Ned. If you’re new to the series, Burrowes avoids spoilers so you can easily start with How to Catch a Duke and pick up on the family dynamics. All in all, I greatly enjoyed How to Catch a Duke . The Wentworth family is refreshingly different from the norm and any outing with them is guaranteed to be entertaining. FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Emmi

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was really loving this book, right up until a scene near the end. It was a Duke and I situation, in which the heroine decided that she wanted the hero to come inside her, and the hero didn't want to, and she knew that, but she prevented him from withdrawing anyway. While the hero in this book apparently wasn't traumatized as the hero in The Duke and I was, the fact remains that ANYONE CAN WITHDRAW CONSENT AT ANY POINT DURING SEX. And once consent has been withdrawn, IT IS NEVER OKAY TO DISREGARD THAT AND FORCE I was really loving this book, right up until a scene near the end. It was a Duke and I situation, in which the heroine decided that she wanted the hero to come inside her, and the hero didn't want to, and she knew that, but she prevented him from withdrawing anyway. While the hero in this book apparently wasn't traumatized as the hero in The Duke and I was, the fact remains that ANYONE CAN WITHDRAW CONSENT AT ANY POINT DURING SEX. And once consent has been withdrawn, IT IS NEVER OKAY TO DISREGARD THAT AND FORCE ANY UNWANTED SEXUAL ACT. I don't know why we even have to keep going over this. I was really loving that the hero was perfectly comfortable with the fact that he had sexual experiences with a man. He wasn't ashamed and nobody who knew shamed him for it. He and the other man remained friends! This is really progressive for a historical romance, since they tend to ignore that people throughout history have explored the spectrum of sexuality. But all that progress was bulldozed by the dubious consent toward the end, and it really spoiled a book that I thought was otherwise lovely. It turned a heroine who I thought was pretty honorable into someone who would selfishly force her wants onto her partner. And, by the way, this partner had limited mobility and was thus vulnerable in any situation in which someone, including the tall, stout heroine who had shown she was strong enough to physically support his body, could overtake him. This is just not okay. Why are we still doing this.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Andrea (Hammock and Read)

    Out of this series this was my least favorite and took a bit for me to get into and enjoy. Stephen we know a lot about and can't wait for his chance especially when its with Miss Abigail Abbott who we meet before their story. But this just was flat from the start, I don't know if it was the flow, no chemistry when there should have been or what. But I'm a bit bummed about it... I liked that it tried to add in some bisexual aspects to it but that also felt a little too forced, as well. There are Out of this series this was my least favorite and took a bit for me to get into and enjoy. Stephen we know a lot about and can't wait for his chance especially when its with Miss Abigail Abbott who we meet before their story. But this just was flat from the start, I don't know if it was the flow, no chemistry when there should have been or what. But I'm a bit bummed about it... I liked that it tried to add in some bisexual aspects to it but that also felt a little too forced, as well. There are a lot of Stephen's past lovers in the book so maybe that is why it feels like the chemistry is off between the two. I don't know it just felt off the whole book compared to the rest of the series, also like the author just gave up but that is just my feelings... 3 stars

  12. 5 out of 5

    Megzy

    2.5 stars

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen

    I have enjoyed the Wentworth stories and was really looking forward to Stephen’s tale, especially when I discovered it would feature Abigail Abbott. I loved that first line - so intriguing! I may have gotten my hopes up too high, though, because this fell a bit flat for me. It felt too much like the same story as other Burrowes’ tales, like the MCs are just resigned to not being able to stay together, to not being a permanent couple. It’s worked for me before but has now gotten to be an old danc I have enjoyed the Wentworth stories and was really looking forward to Stephen’s tale, especially when I discovered it would feature Abigail Abbott. I loved that first line - so intriguing! I may have gotten my hopes up too high, though, because this fell a bit flat for me. It felt too much like the same story as other Burrowes’ tales, like the MCs are just resigned to not being able to stay together, to not being a permanent couple. It’s worked for me before but has now gotten to be an old dance. Could we also please stop referring to Abigail as a Quaker - she’s not. Get over it. I enjoyed the inside look into Stephen, his emotion and vulnerability, as well as his relationship with older brother Quinn, but again, overall it fell somewhat flat for me. Total bummer. Adult content

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Unpalatable The characters were not enjoyable. Them together was unbelievable. The things the H confessed, that she took in barely a misstep stride are not the author's finest attempt at reality. I suppose at least the h had her own skeletons. I feel like the author ruined the Lord Stephen from the previous books. Unpalatable The characters were not enjoyable. Them together was unbelievable. The things the H confessed, that she took in barely a misstep stride are not the author's finest attempt at reality. I suppose at least the h had her own skeletons. I feel like the author ruined the Lord Stephen from the previous books.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I have read a lot of romances in different genres. I read this book all the way through but I had to give it three stars because when I read a book about a man and a woman falling in love I don’t like the character being bisexual I really feel that that need for that to be in the book kind of ruined the character for me of Stephen. It was dumb and it was weird because he was talking about how her old lovers and new lovers comparing him in bed when they met and I thought that was really stupid.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I adore the Wentworth family. I have to admit I jumped into this series at book 4 (this being book 6) and I HAVE TO go back and read the first 3! . This book offers a woman who takes a wrong done to her and creates her own way in life, a hero born to the gutters, beaten and maimed, to a future Duke, an unconventional family, and unsuspecting villains. . It was a love story of course, but it was also a book filled with strength, resilience, and loyalty. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amatullah A G

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I’m stuck between giving it a 2.5 or 3 stars 😬 “I have come to ask you to murder me, my lord” “For you to resort to sixteenth-century legislation for your obfuscations means, my dear, that you are very rattled indeed” “I am not afraid. I am vexed past all bearing.” “She hadn’t blushed in years, but less than a day under Lord Stephen’s roof, and she was as pink as a blooming carnation.” “let’s just hear your brilliant plan for thwarting Stapleton’s mischief.” “Kiss me.” Her scowl was thunderous. “That I’m stuck between giving it a 2.5 or 3 stars 😬 “I have come to ask you to murder me, my lord” “For you to resort to sixteenth-century legislation for your obfuscations means, my dear, that you are very rattled indeed” “I am not afraid. I am vexed past all bearing.” “She hadn’t blushed in years, but less than a day under Lord Stephen’s roof, and she was as pink as a blooming carnation.” “let’s just hear your brilliant plan for thwarting Stapleton’s mischief.” “Kiss me.” Her scowl was thunderous. “That is not a plan, my lord. That doesn’t even qualify as a jest.” “Kiss me as if you’re stealing a moment with the woman you love. Make it convincing so I’ll know what to expect should such a performance ever be needful.” “He cradled her cheek in his palm and pressed her face gently to his chest. “You are enthralling to kiss, and God preserve me from convention in any but the most traditional endeavors.” “Abigail dearest, we all need a little kissing, cuddling, and cavorting. Proving that to you shall be my fondest challenge.” “You are attracted to me?” she asked. “Need you make it a question?” “The test had been not of his ability to appear the doting swain, but of her willingness to appear doted upon—by him” “The precious resource I seek to preserve by putting your person at a slight distance from my own is my sanity, you daft female. I slept exactly not at all last night, and I haven’t had such a close acquaintance with my own right hand since I was sixteen years old.” “Why haven’t you married, my lord? You are in line for a dukedom, you are a gun nabob, and not hard to look upon. Surely if one of us is behindhand matrimonially, you are.” “You spoke of an engagement, my lord. Why would a duke’s heir choose a Yorkshire nobody for his duchess?” “If Miss Abbott inspires you to such humility, she is surely the stuff duchesses are made of. Mind you don’t muck this up, Stephen. The right duchess only comes along once in a fellow’s life.” “You drive me witless. I can’t bear—” She fused her mouth to his, and all over again, Stephen was awash in desire and madness. “I dreamed of you,” he said. “You breathed on me and I went up in flames.” In the last reaches of his thinking mind, where reason despaired and mischief rejoiced, Stephen knew that nothing could come of his attraction to Abigail Abbott. “You are so wonderfully bold,” he whispered, “and I am so hopelessly willing. I can keep you safe from Stapleton, and Quinn and Jane will keep you safe from me.” “The whole kiss had progressed without Stephen once worrying about his balance.” “What smacked him as abruptly as landing on hard cobbles was the reality that he would die for this woman. He would lay down his life to keep her safe, and, more than that, he would kill for her too.” “Stephen remained awake, mentally sifting through the puzzle of how to convince Abigail Abbott to become his duchess. His truly, forever, one and only duchess.” “By the time they reached his town house, they’d had two arguments and four kissing spells, and he was even more hopelessly in love.” “I want you. I want you until I am insensate with longing, until you haunt my dreams and preoccupy my waking thoughts.” “Stephen Wentworth was stealing her heart, and she was helpless to prevent his larceny” “make certain that all of society knows I am passionately smitten with you, and that I will take mortal umbrage at any who seek to do you harm.” “I will give these letters to Lord Stephen,” Abigail said, “because he of all people has a right to hold over this household any and all evidence relating to your son’s conception. When did you plan on telling Stephen you bore him a child?” “I want your cravat,” Abigail said, sniffing the silk. “I want it as a token of today.” “You may have both the neckcloth and the man who wore it,” Stephen said” “I love you, and I don’t care if the whole rubbishing park knows it.” Abigail sat back down.” “You are that child’s father, and I will not stand between you and a chance to finish the raising of him. The boy has no stepfather, Stapleton sees him as some sort of hereditary prize, and Harmonia will reconcile herself to the terrible burden of being your duchess the moment you show her the Walden jewels. Besides, you would make a wonderful papa.” “Will you do me the unfathomably great honor of becoming my wife, the answer to my every prayer, and the fulfillment of my dearest dreams?” “Yes, I will marry you. Yes and yes, and yes.”

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rose Blue

    As reviewed at Roses Are Blue: https://wp.me/p3QRh4-1u6 Stephen Wentworth is the brother of, and heir to, The Duke of Walden. This is a far cry from their childhood, which was a life of near starvation and abuse from a drunken lout of a father. This same father even intentionally crippled Stephen, thinking that he would appear more sympathetic as he was sent out on the streets to beg. Now nearing thirty, Stephen has all the wealth he needs, and his father is long dead. He has to walk with a cane, As reviewed at Roses Are Blue: https://wp.me/p3QRh4-1u6 Stephen Wentworth is the brother of, and heir to, The Duke of Walden. This is a far cry from their childhood, which was a life of near starvation and abuse from a drunken lout of a father. This same father even intentionally crippled Stephen, thinking that he would appear more sympathetic as he was sent out on the streets to beg. Now nearing thirty, Stephen has all the wealth he needs, and his father is long dead. He has to walk with a cane, sometimes two, sometimes the pain incapacitates him for days. Stephen’s lifelong anger over his condition has caused him to take a liberal sexual path, constantly seeking pleasure, and becoming quite proficient as a lover. Abigail Abbott has the unusual career of being an investigative agent, a vocation not common for women at the time. When she finds herself the prey of the schemes of a titled lord, she seeks the help of Stephen, who she knows from helping his sister with a case. Though she wants Stephen to make it appear she died, he insists on fighting Marquess Stapleton, the villain, openly. He suggests they fake a courtship, giving society the impression that Abigail is under the protection of the Wentworth family, including the duke. Truth be told, Stephen has been attracted to Abigail from the moment he met her, and is eager to aid her, as well as spend more time with her. I’ve followed this Rogues-to-Riches series from the beginning, and I really loved the character of the Duke of Walden, but I became more intrigued with each glimpse of his complicated brother, Stephen, and anxiously looked forward to his story. I’ve always been “hero-centric” in my reading, meaning I’m more interested in the male lead, and I ended up with mixed feelings about Stephen. First of all, the good – he’s brilliant, he’s charming, he’s generous, and he wants no one’s pity. He also has a dark side. As a child, he made a soul wrenching decision which left a stain on his soul. His anger with his own physical limitation has caused him to irrationally resent his brother. He also chose a path of sexual exploration which did not discriminate based on marital status or sex. Despite his jadedness, I believe that he truly fell for Abigail, quickly and deeply. Abigail, too, has a past, though it’s very tame compared to Stephen’s. I appreciated their willingness to be accepting of each other without judgment, though their attitudes seemed very modern. Some of Stephen’s past affairs, as well as many of his comments about bondage and spanking seemed jarring, and almost gratuitous, as I don’t feel they really were pertinent. Still, a lovely genuine romance develops between the couple, one that is strong enough for them both to put aside their doubts and plan a future together. One of the most emotional moments for me was a touching meeting between Stephen and the duke, where they finally have a long overdue conversation and embrace. There is an event which unfolds near the end that I really didn’t see coming, one that explains why the Marquess had Abigail in his sights. I finished HOW TO CATCH A DUKE hoping that Stephen had it within himself to keep his promise of faithfulness and that he and Abigail truly have a happy ever after. I recommend this book for fans of Grace Burrowes, as I am, with the caveat to be prepared for a different, somewhat grittier story.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Katy

    Rating: 4 stars What I Liked: This was an interesting book and I enjoyed a lot about it. The plot was very different and had a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, and overall the writing is lovely. The author has a really nice turn of phrase and some of the book is genuinely funny - the banter between all the different characters works really well. I liked both the main characters, mainly because they both felt very different as main characters of a romance novel. Abigail was an intere Rating: 4 stars What I Liked: This was an interesting book and I enjoyed a lot about it. The plot was very different and had a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, and overall the writing is lovely. The author has a really nice turn of phrase and some of the book is genuinely funny - the banter between all the different characters works really well. I liked both the main characters, mainly because they both felt very different as main characters of a romance novel. Abigail was an interesting heroine; I enjoyed her capability and boldness. In Stephen, I liked the combination of him being gentle and considerate but also quite sly and dangerous in his own way and the scenes of him with children were adorable. I liked how both of them managed the situations they found themselves in too, and that being a personality trait they shared - it was quite clever and satisfying. I also liked how Stephen’s disability was treated in the book and that it was considered at most points of the story. (view spoiler)[I also liked how the story depicted Stephen’s sexuality - I liked that it was just a part of his character. (hide spoiler)] Their relationship worked really well for me, their dynamic was unusual and I enjoyed how open they were with each other about their pasts and desires for the future. Their chemistry was good, and they seemed to genuinely really like each other very early on. They had some really sweet moments together (view spoiler)[such as when she told him about her child - that part was so lovely and tender (hide spoiler)] and also some hot ones (view spoiler)[I really liked their first kiss scene and how it built up to the actual kiss; their first time having sex was good, too, as it felt more realistic and I liked that Stephen’s knee figured into it. I liked the sense of nervousness and wonder that came with that scene - that Stephen was the more experienced but uncertain in the face of Abigail’s boldness. Also - I do like a historical romance where the woman takes the lead in that regard. (hide spoiler)] Also, I really liked the scenes involving Betty. (view spoiler)[I know a lot of historical romance fans do not like mentions of mistresses, but I thought the two scenes between Stephen and Betty were very endearing and touching. (hide spoiler)] What I Didn’t: This isn’t a particularly long book, but it felt long. Whilst the writing is good, there’s a floweriness to it sometimes that made it feel quite dense to read, and even though the plot itself was actually quite simple, for some reason I found parts of it hard to follow. As a result I thought the book overall was quite slow and I almost DNF near the start because I was finding it hard to get into. Overall: I enjoyed a lot about this book - I liked that both the main characters felt very different to the usual heroine and hero in a historical romance and I thought there were some really sweet bits in it, but the pacing of it felt very slow and made it feel a lot longer than it actually was. Would I Recommend It?: Yes, if you want a historical romance with a fake relationship, a bit of suspense, and main characters with a difference. Would I Read Something By The Author Again?: Yes. Content Warnings: (view spoiler)[Alcoholism, child abuse (view spoiler)[physical, mentions of intention to sell children to a brothel (hide spoiler)] , stillbirth / miscarriage (in past), murder, animal injury (off page). (hide spoiler)]

  20. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Rogers

    Series: Rogues to Riches #6 Publication Date: 4//13/21 Number of Pages: 368 ** 3.5 Stars ** Grace Burrowes writing is always excellent and I always enjoy her stories. I have read almost everything she’s written, and I think this may be my least favorite. That may be because I have been waiting for Stephen’s story since the beginning of the series and it just wasn’t what I’d imagined for him. Then, add to that the cavalier way the story treated bisexuality during a time when it could get you HANGED, Series: Rogues to Riches #6 Publication Date: 4//13/21 Number of Pages: 368 ** 3.5 Stars ** Grace Burrowes writing is always excellent and I always enjoy her stories. I have read almost everything she’s written, and I think this may be my least favorite. That may be because I have been waiting for Stephen’s story since the beginning of the series and it just wasn’t what I’d imagined for him. Then, add to that the cavalier way the story treated bisexuality during a time when it could get you HANGED, it just didn’t sit well. It wasn’t that I minded the bisexuality – it was that nobody thought anything about it – nobody was careful about mentioning it – and everybody seemed to be bisexual. I’m pretty sure that if I lived during that time and I was bisexual, I would most definitely NOT be discussing it with anyone – much less everyone. Because I wouldn’t care to be hanged. Also, I think bisexuality was just gratuitous to be politically correct. It added nothing to the story and didn’t move the plot along in any way. As I mentioned above, we’ve met Stephen before, but we have also met Abigail Abbott before as well. Abigail Abbott is the plain-speaking, Quakerish, no-nonsense inquiry agent who helped the family earlier in another book. Stephen and Abigail met then, so he was pleased to see her when she showed up at his residence until she asked him to murder her. Oh! My Goodness! But, she didn’t actually want him to murder her – she just wanted him to help her disappear and for it to appear she had died. Someone is pursuing her – and she doesn’t know what lengths they’ll go to to get what they want from her. She knows WHO is after her and he’s a rich and powerful peer. She just doesn’t understand WHY exactly. She knows a lot more than she’ll tell Stephen, he doesn’t need to know all of that – he just needs to help her die. Stephen, of course, has no intention of helping her die – pretend or otherwise. Since his family is powerful and they all outrank the peer who is causing the problem, he offers an alternative. He will court her – and she will stay in his brother’s home where she’ll be well protected. Unlike some other reviewers, I actually liked Abigail for Stephen. She was no-nonsense, she was plain-spoken and direct, his disability didn’t bother her at all and she was able to physically offset his disability when needed. I wasn’t a big fan of her big ‘sacrifice’ at the end because it didn’t seem, to me, to go along with her no-nonsense, plain-spoken personality. Overall, I enjoyed the story, but I don’t think I’d read it a second time. I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Niki (mustreadalltheromance)

    4.5 stars rounded up. Since she’s begun experiencing threatening attacks visited upon her household, Miss Abigail Abbott has become desperate and determined that disappearing is the best course of action. There is only one person she trusts to help her, Lord Stephen Wentworth, a genius inventor, and heir to the powerful Duke of Walden. Stephen is shrewd and personable but utterly ruthless when need be, and he has the perfect solution to her problem: he’ll keep Abigail safe by making her his prete 4.5 stars rounded up. Since she’s begun experiencing threatening attacks visited upon her household, Miss Abigail Abbott has become desperate and determined that disappearing is the best course of action. There is only one person she trusts to help her, Lord Stephen Wentworth, a genius inventor, and heir to the powerful Duke of Walden. Stephen is shrewd and personable but utterly ruthless when need be, and he has the perfect solution to her problem: he’ll keep Abigail safe by making her his pretend fiancé. Stephen finds himself in awe of Abigail’s strength and resourcefulness. As their faux courtship progresses, Stephen soon finds contentment he never expected in her arms, but for Abigail the engagement is still a mere pretense, even if her feelings are becoming real. For Stephen, every bit of his time spent with Abigail is real and his future happiness depends on his ability to convince her of the veracity of his feelings and that only she could ever become his duchess. This is such a beautifully written book. The banter amongst all the Wentworths really, but especially between Stephen and Abigail, was excellent. These characters and the struggles they faced and the pain they felt made for a strong juxtaposition of the gritty against such exquisitely detailed writing. I loved the development of the relationship between Stephen and Quinn as well as the unfailing loyalty the family displayed toward its own. Stephen suffered more than many of even his closest family members ever realized, which made his confiding in Abigail stronger. Two fiercely independent main characters learned they could ask for help and lean on each other physically, emotionally, in every way that mattered, and that was beautiful. I thought the final melodrama may prove too much for me, but it was handled with grace and aplomb by the author and her characters and wound up being satisfying for all. I loved that Stephen and Abigail were for the most part bluntly honest with each other and faced challenges together. I could’ve done without the early scene between Stephen and his mistress but it was in no way cheating at that point and it did contribute to the plot a bit so I can deal with it. I enjoyed this story and the writing and found it a nice wrap-up of the series. I look forward to this author’s next work. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Blog link: https://mustreadalltheromance.blogspo...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mid-LifeGoddessBooks

    Ms. Burrowes has another fabulous regency romance with lots of twists and turns and a sweet romance between a reluctant future duke and a commoner private investigator. This is a slow burn while the two main characters get to know each other and both fascinate and flirt with each other. We have met both Abigail and Stephen in Burrowes’ The Truth about Dukes. But you absolutely do not need to have read that book or the series to enjoy this new adventure. Abigail is in fear of her life from another Ms. Burrowes has another fabulous regency romance with lots of twists and turns and a sweet romance between a reluctant future duke and a commoner private investigator. This is a slow burn while the two main characters get to know each other and both fascinate and flirt with each other. We have met both Abigail and Stephen in Burrowes’ The Truth about Dukes. But you absolutely do not need to have read that book or the series to enjoy this new adventure. Abigail is in fear of her life from another member of the ton and seeks out the assistance the future duke Stephen Wentworth to help her “disappear”. Abigail is sure that a Lord Stapleton is pursuing her demise since she holds letters that could ruin the reputation of his son and father of his beloved grandson. While I was a little exasperated with the value of these letters throughout the story – in the end we learn the true need to get rid of them by Lord Stapleton. Ms. Abigail is a strong heroine in that she is sure of her position and really has made her own way. Stephen had a poor childhood including an abusive father that resulted in a disability that is prominent in the story. The fact that Abigail never even reflects on the disability in her attraction to Stephen is really refreshing. Stephen is enthralled with Abigail from the beginning of the story and her aloofness only makes him more interested in her. The back and forth banter between these two is the best part of this romance. He is quite hilarious and super straightforward in his dialog with Abigail. I find that our author Grace Burrowes has the most fantastic regency verbiage that is so intellectually stimulating and lends to an interesting read. Instead of “disappearing” Ms. Abigail, Stephen offers a fake engagement which ultimately leads to some sexy times as they have a “let’s have fun while we can” attitude. We all know that will lead to the “they can’t live without each other” HEA. How to Catch a Duke is a warm, light-hearted, adventure packed story that will keep you sitting on the edge of your seat. I could not put this down and just loved everything about the story and the characters’ twisting interactions. The author is so good at providing a world of family loyalty and humorous, complex, and smart characters that keeps you not wanting the story to end. Bravo Ms. Burrowes! I was given an ARC of this story by the publisher and NetGalley for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jessica (the naptime writer)

    Thanks to Forever Pub & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own. 2.5 ⭐️ Witty, restrained & yet still sexy, the books I’ve read from Grace Burrowes’s Rogues to Riches series have been a joy to read. But I’m sad to say that How to Catch a Duke doesn’t work for me on a couple different levels. On the surface I love the dynamic set up between Abigail Abbott, capable & no-nonsense professional inquiry agent, & urbane & charming Stephen Wentworth. Having met in a previous bo Thanks to Forever Pub & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own. 2.5 ⭐️ Witty, restrained & yet still sexy, the books I’ve read from Grace Burrowes’s Rogues to Riches series have been a joy to read. But I’m sad to say that How to Catch a Duke doesn’t work for me on a couple different levels. On the surface I love the dynamic set up between Abigail Abbott, capable & no-nonsense professional inquiry agent, & urbane & charming Stephen Wentworth. Having met in a previous book, Abigail re-enters Stephen’s life by asking him to kill her so she can essentially fake her own death & avoid the very real attempts someone is making to harm her. Instead, Stephen decides to help her figure out who the threat is & why & he’ll do that while pretending to be engaged to our heroine. Like the other Grace Burrowes books I’ve read this one has shining banter. I often feel like I’m watching an episode of Downtown Abbey when reading her books; so much feels placid but there are strong currents underneath. Brava to Burrowes for including a hero & heroine who talk frankly about past relationships & sexual interests, & for how the heroine erodes the hero’s suaveness and makes a place that’s comfortable for him to be himself. Also on the emotional front, the way that the Wentworth brothers start to see one another differently as a result of their intended others is moving. But I have a problem with how Stephen’s mistress is included in this one. He goes to visit her after his initial meeting with Abigail, which could be okay for me depending on the timing of how things start with Abigail...only in this book’s case soon after leaving his mistress Stephen kisses Abigail (it’s only a let’s-kiss-so-we-can-test-looking-like-a-real-couple kiss but still...) & he ends up wanting her to see how much she arouses him. Only hours after leaving the mistress he slept with. In the beginning of this scene he even thinks to himself how frequently he is aroused soon after breaking things off with a mistress...which makes me doubt the authenticity of his feelings for Abigail. I briefly wondered, would he be this way with any available woman? In general the pacing & timing of the end of his relationship with his mistress & the beginning of his with Abigail bothers me, especially when things continue to move so quickly with Abigail *and* he goes back to see his mistress for info later in the romance. I want it to be a clean break between “relationships” & it doesn’t entirely feel that way. Second, there’s a scene here where I feel like consent is somewhat dubious; where, essentially, Stephen’s language & the narrator’s description suggests that he does not want to do/is not prepared to do something sexually, and she ignores what he says. Immediately afterwards, he seems satisfied by how things happened, but the episode makes me feel uncomfortable. I really wanted to love this one: Stephen has been a series favorite for me. But I’m sorry to say that How to Catch a Duke disappointed.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Viper Spaulding

    Absolute perfection! When a book's opening line has the heroine saying to the hero, “I have come to ask you to murder me, my lord.” You know you're going to be in for a wild ride! Once again, I'm swept away by the exquisite literary experience of a Grace Burrowes romance. This author truly is gifted with words, a lexicographer's dream who deftly arranges just the right expression to fit the story, the historical timeframe, and the gravitas of the emotions being conveyed. For that alone, her books Absolute perfection! When a book's opening line has the heroine saying to the hero, “I have come to ask you to murder me, my lord.” You know you're going to be in for a wild ride! Once again, I'm swept away by the exquisite literary experience of a Grace Burrowes romance. This author truly is gifted with words, a lexicographer's dream who deftly arranges just the right expression to fit the story, the historical timeframe, and the gravitas of the emotions being conveyed. For that alone, her books are a joy to read. The story itself is more than worthy of the effort. Stephen is the last single Wentworth, a man with more than enough cause to be a selfish reprobate who can't help being kind, generous, and loyal. Abigail seeks his help to extricate herself from a situation involving a member of the peerage who is seeking to do her harm, but as she and Stephen get deeper into the secrets underlying the subterfuge, they also fall deeper into each other's hearts. Abigail is a simple woman of inordinate intelligence and more than a few insecurities. Stephen is certainly her intellectual match, and while he has his own demons to battle, insecurity isn't really one of them. Their carefully-orchestrated dance around their mutual attraction reveals so much about their hearts and their histories, and I was amazed at the many intersections their lives had shared even before they knew each other. And just when it looks like ALL the secrets have been laid bare, the author drops the biggest secret imaginable! One that I didn't see coming at all, though in hindsight the author certainly left enough hints to support its plausibility. I was truly stunned, and couldn't wait to figure out how they were going to salvage their HEA from this. Of course their HEA was triumphant and in perfect harmony with the characters' true natures. The way this played out was in perfect step with everything Abigail and Stephen had built into their relationship right from the start, and I absolutely loved these two all the more for how well they work together. If you love historical romance, you owe it to yourself to read this and every book by Grace Burrowes. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Krystal

    Sadly, this story just didn't work for me on a lot of levels. To begin with, while there was definitely an attraction between our two leads, it seemed more like a platonic sort of relationship for me rather than romantic. Added to that when Stephen casually mentions that he had a sexual relationship with both an ex, and her new husband (and how they might discuss his sexual prowess between them), Abigail just accepts it without question or comment, something that most definitely would not have h Sadly, this story just didn't work for me on a lot of levels. To begin with, while there was definitely an attraction between our two leads, it seemed more like a platonic sort of relationship for me rather than romantic. Added to that when Stephen casually mentions that he had a sexual relationship with both an ex, and her new husband (and how they might discuss his sexual prowess between them), Abigail just accepts it without question or comment, something that most definitely would not have happened during that time period. I could have overlooked that, had the rest of the story seemed to be filled with other things like it. Things that did absolutely nothing to move the plot forward. Even the culmination of who was after her and why fell flat for me. It seemed as though parts of this story were rushed, and cobbled together to try and make sense which simply leads to things feeling more disjointed than anything else. For example, how did Stapleton not know of the role that his daughter-in-law played in him getting (or not getting) what he wanted? How did no one realize the secret Harmonia kept when it took Abigail less than ten seconds to figure it out? However, I will say that these characters were definitely not your typical historical romance characters, Stephen had a bad knee forcing him to use canes in order to walk, and Abigail was not only nearly as tall as him, but able to support his weight when needed to take some of the pain away (not to mention she worked as an inquiry agent). These things made them stand out from other novels of the same time period. All things considered, the things that didn't work for me with this one will no doubt work for other reasons. Take what I've said into consideration, but not let that stop you from reading this if it sounds like something you will enjoy. DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Haley

    The plot and characters were not the problem-- there were certainly some tidbits that I did enjoy about the characters themselves, particularly together. However, more often then not I found them just okay and the whole plot more then suspect. Now obviously when you read a romance novel there are trope that you just have to believe and you should easily be able to because that's what you are signing up for and likely enjoy, in this case, the situation was just so unbelievable that I didn't buy i The plot and characters were not the problem-- there were certainly some tidbits that I did enjoy about the characters themselves, particularly together. However, more often then not I found them just okay and the whole plot more then suspect. Now obviously when you read a romance novel there are trope that you just have to believe and you should easily be able to because that's what you are signing up for and likely enjoy, in this case, the situation was just so unbelievable that I didn't buy into it-- it didn't make any sense until the last bit and even then it was a stretch. I mostly enjoyed Stephen's character and his relationship with Abby (she's okay)-- his insecurities, personality, and all in mentality with his relationship with Abby were my main enjoyment of the novel. Where the book really lost me is the style, and I can safely say that the writing was such a turn off that I will likely never read another Grace Burrowes book again. Within 50 pages I had already come to the conclusion that the writing was tedious at best, as well as pretentious. It is so meandering and I kept waiting for more. On more than one occasion in those 50 pages I thought that the author had clearly used a thesaurus to look up the most pretentious and unrecognizable word to say something. Typically words that a person doesn't know can be inferred based on context-- in this case, the words were so ridiculous I had no clue what they could possibly mean. There could be some argument that a novel with individuals of the upper class would use such words (but with these words...I doubt it)...but these characters weren't born into the upper class and lived most of their life not of that class...hmmm. Then there is just the fact that for readers its just a turn off and the author should consider that. Within 50 pages I started to skim at best...that should say something. 1.5 stars just for characters and a plot that while is ridiculous is at times fun.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Julie - One Book More

    This is an interesting historical romance that follows Abigail, a successful inquiry agent, and Stephen, the heir to the Duke of Walden. Abigail needs Stephen to protect her from a threatening and dangerous marquess and wants help faking her own death, but Stephen has another idea. By faking their engagement, Stephen can keep Abigail safe. Plus, this allows him to spend a bit more time with the intriguing and intelligent woman. However, will Stephen’s plan keep danger at bay, or will the secrets This is an interesting historical romance that follows Abigail, a successful inquiry agent, and Stephen, the heir to the Duke of Walden. Abigail needs Stephen to protect her from a threatening and dangerous marquess and wants help faking her own death, but Stephen has another idea. By faking their engagement, Stephen can keep Abigail safe. Plus, this allows him to spend a bit more time with the intriguing and intelligent woman. However, will Stephen’s plan keep danger at bay, or will the secrets of the past ruin the possibility of a future? Though this is a slower-paced historical romance, the characters and romance are lovely. Abigail and Stephen are compelling characters. As the story unfolds, you realize that events and relationships from the past have defined their present. They are both smart and quick-witted, but they hesitate to give in to their feelings because of their past traumas and fears. From their first conversation, their chemistry is obvious, and I love how easily they talk to, work with, and begin to trust each other. I also like that their relationship is built on respect. Abigail and Stephen both think very highly of each other, and from there, love blossoms. Stephen does everything he can to protect Abigail, and he is ruthless, cunning, and so charming when he wants to be. They prove over and over again that they are a well-matched pair. Both are loyal and brave and a bit ahead of their time, and they complement each other beautifully. This is a good story for readers who enjoy historical romance, but I would suggest reading the first four books in the series to further understand the characters and context. This story will appeal to readers who enjoy the fake relationship/engagement trope. Thanks so much to NetGalley, the author, and Forever Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    I have read and enjoyed Grace Burrowes in the past, and this one had a lot of things I liked. I particularly like the two main characters, their banter and their willingness to have frank discussions about their past relationships. They both were "outsiders" in society, or at least on the fringes of good society, and in many ways that was a point of bonding for them. I appreciated the heroine being a tall, sturdy sort. It's not something that I see come up in historicals often. And I like an int I have read and enjoyed Grace Burrowes in the past, and this one had a lot of things I liked. I particularly like the two main characters, their banter and their willingness to have frank discussions about their past relationships. They both were "outsiders" in society, or at least on the fringes of good society, and in many ways that was a point of bonding for them. I appreciated the heroine being a tall, sturdy sort. It's not something that I see come up in historicals often. And I like an intelligent, smooth rake hero but with a secret soft core. If you've never read Grace Burrowes, I find her writing to be very steady and almost "old school" but her plot and characters are interesting enough to not be boring or too sedate. Then there were things I didn't like so much - this I can't really hold against the author, but I definitely jumped into this series in book 6. And clearly there was a lot that went on before this story that had a hand here. It was fine for me to pick it up at this point, but you would likely get more out of it having read the previous books. There was also some things that bothered me. Definitely "fat" self-talk from one of the previous heroines who just had a baby. Are we really still doing this in 2021?? So many reasons this bothered me. And also Abigail certainly engaged in a dubcon moment. Very similar to the one in Julia Quinn's The Duke and I, except despite the protesting in the moment, the hero seemed cool with it after. This still did not sit well with me. Both of these things kind of took a really good story and tainted it for me. They are small moments in the scheme of the story, but really left me feeling conflicted about the book overall, and neither of them were really necessary to the story.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne

    Finally Stephen's story. He has always interested me from the 1st time he was introduced in the series. This book is one of those cases where you get a lot more out of it if you have read the previous books in the series. It's been approximately 10 years (based on the ages of Jane & Quinn's children) since the beginning of the series until the time of this book. Just knowing his character from the periphery of the other books I can see a definite progression of his character. That's why I like G Finally Stephen's story. He has always interested me from the 1st time he was introduced in the series. This book is one of those cases where you get a lot more out of it if you have read the previous books in the series. It's been approximately 10 years (based on the ages of Jane & Quinn's children) since the beginning of the series until the time of this book. Just knowing his character from the periphery of the other books I can see a definite progression of his character. That's why I like Grace Burrowes writing style. Her characters wander in and out of her books & you see family members & friends in multiple stages of their life even before & after the book that features that character & the romance involved. Sometimes you read a book & characters make these seemingly sudden changes in character. Well maybe they had already slowly started thinking about making some life changes & meeting the right man/woman was the final impetuous to fully make those changes. However, it is hard to convey all that backstory within a single book. Her stories feel more like how it happens in real life. So I guess you can get from all of that I liked the book. Maybe later when I have time I'll do a more in depth review of some of the thing I specifically liked & yes even disliked. Grace Burrowes is human & has a different way of seeing things than I do, so even though I overall enjoy her books sometimes there are a *very few* things that I don't like. That's ok as long there are more good things about the book than bad. Usually it's just some things that I feel personally & isn't really something the author wrote or the style of writing. Also, frankly even the best of writers can have a bad day :-)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Millie

    So, I have mixed feelings about this book. I liked it and I think it did some things well but other issues kept me from fully enjoying it. First of all, I loved the premise, I loved Stephen and Abigail together, and the mysterious storyline of why someone is trying to hurt Abigail was interesting. Abigail is tall and I think big boned (I could be wrong but that's how I imagined her), which makes her stand out from other women- plus she doesn't act "ladylike" according to society standard. But St So, I have mixed feelings about this book. I liked it and I think it did some things well but other issues kept me from fully enjoying it. First of all, I loved the premise, I loved Stephen and Abigail together, and the mysterious storyline of why someone is trying to hurt Abigail was interesting. Abigail is tall and I think big boned (I could be wrong but that's how I imagined her), which makes her stand out from other women- plus she doesn't act "ladylike" according to society standard. But Stephen likes her just the way she is and she's physically a great match for him because he has a bad knee that requires a cane or two when he walks. Her stature helps when he stumbles, and I love that he doesn't get embarrassed when she catches him. Their smarts and wit match each other well, as well as their sexual appetite. Stephen and Abigail had each been through some sh*t in life and when they open up to one another, each is accepting and loving. So bottom line, I loved them. Stephen opening up about his bisexuality was refreshing and the way this ended was messy and realistic while still being happy and hopeful. Now, what brought down the rating for me was the writing and the side characters. The writing was a little different but not unenjoyable- after reading a few more of Grace Burrowes' books, I would probably get used to it. But I did not enjoy the various points of view, I feel that they were one too many. Lady Champlain's romantic relationship with Andy needed a little more development. And I was a little lost with Stephen's family dynamics, I think I would have benefitted from reading the previous books in this series before this one. But I'm interested and want to read more of Burrowes' books.

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