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Anything But a Duke

Anything But a Duke

by Christy Carlyle

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  • ISBN 9780062854001
  • English

Anything But a Duke

by Christy Carlyle

Self-made man Aidan Iverson has seen more closed doors in his thirty years than he’s ever cared to count. As a member of the elite Duke’s Den, he has all the money he could possibly need but the one thing he can’t purchase is true power. If roguish Aidan can’t buy his way into society’s hallowed halls, he’ll resort to a more extreme measure: marriage. Brought up to be a proper lady, the only thing Diana Ashby desires is to be left alone to the creation of her own devices. But when her dreams are crushed, she must find another way to secure the future of her invention. Knowing his desire to enter her world, Diana strikes a deal to arrange Aidan’s marriage to the perfect lady—as long as that lady isn’t her. She doesn’t need any distractions from her work, particularly of the sinfully handsome variety. As Diana and Aidan set out to find him an aristocratic match, neither are prepared for the passion that ignites between them or the love they can’t ignore. In the Duke’s Den, can happiness ever be a winning prospect?

Review & Comments

  • Monique D

    Aidan Iverson had met Miss Diana Ashby a year ago when she had saved his hide. He hadn't known then who she was, but it took only a moment to recognise the lady who is asking for investors for her invention. Diana is passionate about her work, she wants to succeed, and her family desperately needs the money. Her mother doesn't quite approve, and she agreed to Diana's endeavour on one condition: if Diana fails to secure backers, she will need to marry a wealthy man. Aidan is a businessman, and coming from nothing, he will never have enough money, but two things matter more to him: find his mother and sister, and hopefully know who his father was. He also needs to establish himself in Society if he is to have access to places that, in spite of his wealth, remain closed to him. Diana, while a commoner, has aristocratic friends who need rich husbands. So Aidan and Diana shake on it. If only they could forget about that one impulsive kiss... In ANYTHING BUT A DUKE, Christy Carlyle displays all the qualities that have made her a favourite author of mine. Unlike Huntley, I can't say that Aidan had made such a strong impression on me in the first installment of The Duke's Den, but Ms. Carlyle certainly rose to the occasion to present us with a wonderful hero. Although he does have a temper, Aidan is well-mannered, kind, and most appreciative of Diana's talents. I love that the romance was unhurried, and evolved organically, respecting the constraints of the Victorian era. There is no lack of chemistry between Aidan and Diana, but it resides in meaningful looks, straightforward exchanges, light touches; everything that I find truly romantic. Aidan and Diana also enjoy a first class supporting cast: Diana's rogue of a brother, Dominick (I loved him!); her friends Grace, and Ladies Elizabeth and Sophronia; and let's not forget the irresistible Huntley! I loved Diana's persistence; she is determined to succeed, but not pushy or unduly reckless. And Aidan was enchanting; he is everything I look for in a hero; he surprised me in the best way. I also loved how his search for his family was handled; it was present but did not overshadow the romance. ANYTHING BUT A DUKE is a superbly well balanced story, evenly paced, and chock full of pertinent and entertaining historical details. The writing flows effortlessly as the author lets the characters act and speak for themselves. The first sex scene, I'm afraid, brought my rating down a little bit. It's beautifully done, but I felt Aidan and especially Diana behaved somewhat out of character. We know how it will end, but at that point, they didn't. There was also an issue with one of Diana's friends that was left dangling, or I maybe I missed something...As much as I nearly swoon every time I look at the spectacular cover by the inimitable Jon Paul Ferrara, you can safely judge this book by its cover, because I feel it represents perfectly the tone of the book, and reflects the beautiful romance within. I give 4 1/2 stars.

    May 8, 2019
  • Traci B

    This is the second book in The Duke’s Den series but it can be read as a standalone. I haven’t read the first book yet but will definitely have to after reading this book. Diana and Aiden are great characters and were so easy to fall in love with. They had a deal where Diana was going to help Aiden find a noble wife and he was going to help find an investor for her invention. I loved the story line; it was so interesting to read how their perspective of life changed as they fell in love. They were both strong and intelligent people that thought they didn’t want love. This was such a great book to read. The mystery of Aiden’s family and the interesting thoughts of Diana made is such an easy book to read! I can’t wait to read the story for Huntley and Dominick (hopefully). I would highly recommend this book. I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. .

    May 12, 2019
  • Norah G

    I received an ARC of this book to read through Edelweiss+ in exchange for a fair review. Anything But a Duke by Christy Carlyle is the second book in her Duke’s Den series. This one could be read as a stand-alone, but I did enjoy reading the first one and recommend it. Aiden Iverson is a self made man, abandoned in a workhouse as a child he has become a successful business man who provides funding to inventors. He and Diana first meet when he is attacked by a couple of thugs and she comes running to his rescue umbrella in hand. Diana Ashby has no interest in marriage, she likes in make things that are useful and has hopes of saving her family from ruin with one of her inventions. She seeks financing from Aiden and offers to help him find a blue-blooded bride in exchange for his help, however they have a chemistry between them that cannot be denied no matter how much they try to be practical. I very much enjoyed this story. Medium Steam Publishing Date April 30, 2019 #Edelweissplus #AnythingButADuke #ChristyCarlyle #HarperCollinsCanada #AvonImpulse.

    May 1, 2019
  • Joana V

    I received an eARC at no cost from the author, in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. Thank you. 3.75* I love books with self-made heroes/heroines. And this book has both! It was interesting to see how Diana worked hard to not lose focus, and to present her work in the best way. I really like the kind of story that is about “deals” to find a husband/wife for the opposite character. And this is that kind of book. It’s always amusing to see them trying to find someone for each other, but thinking/acting like they could never be the one for each other. And when they realize they are a match, and that any obstacles that might come their way can be dealt with, as long as they are together, then the story unfolds and we have our happy ending. Aidan tries to help Diana with her inventions, and she tries to help him get the right bride. Of course, his definition of “the right bride” changes throughout the book, as he finds himself more and more in love with the woman that rescued him – literally. This was the first book I’ve read written by this author, and it was a pleasant surprise. I shall be reading more for sure.

    April 30, 2019
  • Barbara R

    You will fall instantly in love with Aidan who is a one-third partner in the Duke’s Den. He doesn’t know all of his past, but what he does know about it is poverty, the workhouse, hunger, cold, loneliness, and sorrow. Now, he is as rich as Croesus, he is very successful in business and investing, but he doesn’t have the acceptance he desires in society. He is searching for information on his mother who dropped him and his sister off at a workhouse, then just disappeared and he is also desperately wanting to be on the planning committee for Prince Albert’s grand industrial exhibition. So far, he’s had no success, the aristocracy just doesn’t take him seriously – if they acknowledge him at all. So, to gain the influence he wants, he needs to marry into the aristocracy – the higher the level the better. Aidan and Miss Diana Ashby had an encounter a year earlier when she saved him from two cutpurses who were out to rob him – and worse. They were immediately attracted to each other, but they left the encounter without introducing themselves and with no expectations they’d ever meet again. Neither of them ever forgot the other and often thought of each other. Diana was raised to be a proper lady, she learned all of the rules at Bexley Finishing School. She may know all of the rules, but she’s not interested in balls, soirees, strolling the park at the fashionable hour or marriage. What she is interested in is her inventions. Her father was an inventor – not a very successful one, but an inventor none-the-less. The difference between her inventions and her fathers is that hers are practical and useful. With the family coffers near empty, her mother has given her until the end of the month to find an investor for her inventions. Otherwise, she’ll have to enter the marriage mart. Diana applied to the owners of the Duke’s Den seeking their investment in her invention (what sounds like a vacuum cleaner), but there was an accident just before she went in for her interview and she couldn’t demonstrate. She tells Aidan that it was his fault and that if he’d like to see it work, he can come to her workshop. A deal is struck. Diana will help Aidan find an aristocratic wife and Aidan will invest in Diana’s invention. It doesn’t take Aidan long to regret that bargain because the woman he really wants is busy introducing him to other prospective brides. He has to manage to convince her that she wants him as much as he wants her. It is a lovely romance between two people who don’t think they need love. They are perfect for each other. They are both driven and intense and they just complete each other. It is really a lovely romance. I met some really lovely people in this book and I’d love to know what happens in their lives. I assume this is a trilogy – one book for each of the owners of the Duke’s Den – but after meeting these intriguing people, I’d like to learn more about them. There are Diana’s friends, Lady Sophronia Bales, Miss Grace Grinstead, and Lady Elizabeth Thorndyke as well as Diana’s brother Dominick who deserve their own stories. Maybe they’ll get their own stories or we’ll learn more in the series wrap-up. I definitely recommend this lovely romance. I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

    May 1, 2019

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