Never Met a Duke Like You by Amalie Howard

I’ve been waiting for Vesper’s story! She was easily my favorite character from the first book in the series (Always Be my Duchess), but you don’t need to read the first one to enjoy Amalie Howard’s Never Met a Duke Like You.

Lady Vesper is all about propriety on the outside. So much so that she keeps her substantial charitable activities under wraps, as well as any true feelings she might have for Aspen, Duke of Greydon and her best childhood friend turned enemy. She’s strong-willed with a heart of gold and maybe some annoying decisions.

Reeling from his mother’s betrayal and coldheartedness, Aspen gets out of England and onto dinosaur excavations in America. He returns only when he hears mummy dearest wants to have him declared dead to get more control of the dukedom. And he’s determined to find evidence that will make her pay for her heartbreaking actions toward his father (she had him fraudulently committed to an asylum—yikes).

Misunderstandings from their late teens cause Vesper and Aspen to put on armor against each other. Each misjudges the other, but as the story unfolds, they make new discoveries and rely on each other.

Overall, I really liked the book—high points were the development of the relationships, Vesper’s wit and care for others, Aspen’s commitment to finding out the truth about his mother’s fraud, and just the funny dinner scenes and similar events.

Two major low points—(1) the idea that a duke could be committed to an asylum based on the word of his wife and two random doctors is laughable and eye-rolling even for a romance novel, (2) the third-act obstacle was SO DUMB that it almost ruined the book. I would have easily given it a 4+ but I can’t with the end.

Rating: 3.8
Steam: Low to Medium
Themes and Tropes: Childhood Friends, Enemies to Lovers, Villainous Mother, Miscommunication
Pair With: Vesper, a company that sells wine online (or in-person if you’re in Houston).