Eva Leigh's latest historical romance asks "Would I Lie to the Duke?" and the answer is yes, yes Jess would. But it's for a good cause and everything works out, so perhaps we can forgive Jess and forgive the author for all the 80's earworms.
Jess is working as a lady's companion and needs to find an investor to save her family's floundering farm and soapmaking operation which was ruined in a fire. When her injured employer takes some time to recuperate in the country and leaves Jess in London for a few weeks, Jess pretends to be a wealthy widow and finagles her way into what is essentially an extended investors' conference. Noel, the titular duke, first meets Jess on Bond Street when she butts into a conversation to dispense some investment advice. He is immediately struck by her intelligence and when he sees her again at the "business bazaar" he is determined to start an affair. I appreciated that Noel was passionate about ethical investment and there's even mention of where sugar comes from and ethical consumption.
While I found My Fake Rake to be laugh-out-loud funny, Would I Lie to the Duke is sexier and more romantic. Noel doesn't have a tortured past, social awkwardness or any of the other classic hero trappings, but he's a genuinely good, fun-loving man who falls hard. There's a dash of femdom in this romance, with lots of Noel asking to be bossed around and reveling it just as Jess does. In some ways, Leigh gives Jess the better character arc and flips the more common Regency romance gender dynamics. Her readers expect this from her by now, but it's still refreshing.
Would I Lie to the Duke is second in this Breakfast Club inspired series and I look forward to the next installment and to the fourth and fifth men in the Union of the Rakes to get their HEA with each other.
Readers who want more nerdy heroines but outside of the shy bluestocking (soap)mold will enjoy this romance.
Suzanne received a digital copy of this book from the publisher for review and purchased her own.
Content Warnings: maybe none?