by Caroline Linden
Published on February 27, 2018 by Avon
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Romance
What happens at the infamous Vega Club . . .
Sophie Campbell is determined to be mistress of her own fate. Surviving on her skill at cards, she never risks what she can’t afford to lose. Yet when the Duke of Ware proposes a scandalous wager that’s too extravagant to refuse, she can’t resist. If she wins, she’ll get five thousand pounds, enough to secure her independence forever.
Stays at the Vega Club . . .
Jack Lindeville, Duke of Ware, tells himself he’s at the Vega Club merely to save his reckless brother from losing everything, but he knows it’s a lie. He can’t keep his eyes off Sophie, and to get her he breaks his ironclad rule against gambling. If he wins, he wants her—for a week.
A week with Jack could ruin what’s left of Sophie’s reputation. It might even cost her her heart. But when it comes to love, all bets are off . . .
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This was an. . . interesting book. I can’t quite place why I’m not rating it higher, if I’m being honest, because I ultimately enjoyed it and had it started and finished within a few hours (so clearly something was working).
To start, this book stood out for a couple reasons. The leading lady, Sophie, is not part of the London ton. Not like you would expect in similar books, at least. My Once and Future Duke also centers around gambling. Both things I’ve either seen very rarely (in the case of Sophie’s background) and never (in terms of gambling being such a large focus). I was intrigued which kept me reading for the vast majority of the book.
Then there’s the ridiculousness that is those opening chapters as Jack, a duke and brother of an acquaintance of Sophie’s, throws everything out the window, bets with her, and whisks her away for an entire week just to punish his brother (I promise all of that makes sense in the context of the story). BUT. . . but. . . that’s where things became a bit iffy.
First off, the whole situation where Sophie and Jack are locked up in his house due to his wager as well as the weather seemed a bit too coincidental for me to take to it. Then they start falling for each other beyond the typical lust/chemistry and the combination of the two read as forced. Granted, once they got past that part of the story, I started to like it more but their budding romance never felt genuine so I never fully shipped them.
I liked Sophie the most of the two. She was spunky. Her need for independence really came through to me and the fact that she was doing everything in her power (which there isn’t much a woman could do in her situation) while not compromising her morals was inspiring. I also appreciated that she stuck to those dreams and goals when given the chance to be with Jack because she wasn’t going to settle (nor do I think she should have had to). Sophie made this book interesting.
I never really cared what happened with Jack. He played the stony duke who never let go and changed because of a woman, learning how to open up and love someone else. I’ve seen it time and again. It’s not a bad character trope per say but it’s not interesting either. I’ve read enough brooding dukes to last a lifetime.
My Once and Future Duke is entertaining and certainly has some unusual elements going on that make it worth the read. I’m not sure where the series will go next but I’m curious enough to keep with the series at least for one more book.