The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake
Series: Unlikely Duchesses #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: December 31, 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
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When two childhood sweethearts find themselves together after years apart, does their romance have a chance to be rekindled now that he’s a duke and she’s a governess? Olivia Drake’s new Unlikely Duchesses series begins with The Duke I Once Knew, where first love is always the sweetest...
For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her parents and her siblings’ children. Now, eager to create a life of her own, Abby seizes upon a position as a governess on a neighboring estate. Unfortunately, her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the notorious rake who once broke her youthful heart. But since he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years, Abby assumes she’ll never have to lay eyes on him ever again. Then, from out of nowhere, Max appears. He is stunned to come face to face with the girl next door he fell for years ago—before he went away, and she stopped writing to him. . .even though Abby swears that he is the one who left her without a word. Could it be that this spirited, witty spinster has won Max’s heart all over again—and that they may have a second chance at love?
Abby and Max were once in love. Abby was 15 and Max just 16 years old. Unfortunately, after the death of Max’s mother, his father took Max and his sister to live in London. It’s been 15 years and Max only came back for a very short time to bury his father. Abby though they’d be together forever but since she wrote multiple times and received no reply she got on with her life.
Abby is the youngest of 5 siblings. They were all older and out of the house by the time she was born and it was her pleasure and duty to take care of her aging parents. She loved them to pieces! Now that they’re gone, her siblings are all gathered to decide who Abby should live with – basically planning her life. Abby isn’t having it. She was happy to take care of her parents but she’s now 30 years old and knows that she’ll never have a husband or family. It hurts that she can’t control that, but there is something she can control – where she lives. She heads to the estate next door and applies for the job of governess to Max’s younger sister, Gwen, and gets the position. She has no fear of Max showing up because he hasn’t been there in 15 years. Of course, he shows up.
Max is on his way to a friends house so that is pugilist champion can have a match with America’s champion. Unfortunately when they arrive at the friend’s estate they discover that all of the servants have the measles. Since Max’s estate is so nearby, they decide to stay there. Max isn’t thrilled to see Abby as he doesn’t have fond memories from 15 years ago. He also wanted to seduce a woman he’d brought with him but he suddenly is only interested in Abby. The pair soon start to talk and discover a few things about their past. The question is, can those revelations make a difference for their future?
While I always find Drake’s books enjoyable, this one wasn’t my favorite. From the moment that the letters are mentioned I knew immediately what had happened. Despite this misunderstanding there wasn’t much angst except on Max’ part. I felt his reasons for not falling in love again were weak, but maybe that’s just me. The story was more to the tune of Max and Abby getting to know one another again and rekindling the love they once shared. It was cute but pretty basic.
Overall a decent read but nothing I haven’t read before.
Rating: 3 out of 5