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Friday, October 25, 2013

ARC Review: Never Desire a Duke by Lily Dalton

Christmas stories are inevitably sentimental. They almost always have themes of redemption and renewal, as we would expect. Never Desire a Duke is no exception. There are many themes here that have been done and done again. Yet they were done very well in this sweet story of forgiveness and renewed love. Lily Dalton feels like a natural storyteller to me. Her writing flowed smoothly and the dialogue was fresh and genuine.

The Duke and Duchess of Claxton’s marriage is completely derailed. It got off to a wonderful start. Then Lady Sophia, pregnant with their first child, discovers a note from one of Vane’s paramours. Rushing to leave him, she falls and loses the baby. Vane (who has actually given up his womanizing ways) is crushed by the loss of the baby and by Sophia’s grief. He feels inadequate to deal with the emotional upheaval and leaves England for about a year. Now he is back to try to mend the fences. Sophia is ready for a legal separation, but first she wants to have a baby. They become snowbound at one of his small estates just before Christmas and are forced to confront their issues.

In some ways Never Desire a Duke is like dozens of other Christmas romances. It had a carload of plot devices that have been used again and again: the big misunderstanding, the good-marriage-gone-bad plot, snowbound at Christmas, the former lover, the misguided younger brother, the I-want-a-baby-but-not-you trope. So this should add up to a really trite book, right? Wrong. Dalton makes these tired devices fresh by offering new twists. Yes, there is plenty of misunderstanding, but they do talk about it. Even though they are snowbound they are far from completely alone; there is a great deal of humorous interaction with the townspeople, friends and relatives. The former lover seems evil, but we gradually see another side of her. Add it all together and you have a sweet little delight of a Christmas story with the requisite sentimental sobber ending. It was a pleasure to read and I recommend it.

**ARC provided by NetGalley**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository |


  1. Lovely review! Some of my favorite books are the sentimental christmas themed stories. So I will have to keep this one on mind for this season.