Print Length: 401 pages
Publisher:  Forever; Grand Central Publishing (April 26, 2022)

From Goodreads.com:  Ned Wentworth will be forever grateful to the family that plucked him from the streets and gave him a home, even though polite society still whispers years later about his questionable past. Precisely because of Ned’s connections in low places, Lady Rosalind Kinwood approaches him to help her find a lady’s maid who has disappeared.




Rosalind is too opinionated--and too intelligent--and has frequently suffered judgment at the hands of polite society. Despite her family’s disdain for Ned, Rosalind finds he listens to her and respects her. Then too, his kisses are exquisite. As the investigation of the missing maids becomes more dangerous, both Ned and Rosalind will have to risk everything--including their hearts--if they are to share the happily ever after that Mayfair’s matchmakers have begrudged them both.

                                                         *******************

My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

This book was difficult for a number of reasons. 

To begin with, while I will agree with what others have said in that this could technically be read as a standalone, I do not recommend doing so. Heck, I read a lot of the prior novels and while I was familiar with the background characters, there were still so many of them that I was constantly getting them confused. And while I understand the concept of meddling families, I had to agree with Rosalind that there were times when Ned's came across as condescending towards him, even though I'm sure they didn't mean to be that way. On the whole, it made the Duchesses seem less as I remembered them from the prior books and more catty. And while I understand it was the author's intent to make Rosalind's father and brothers as nasty as possible, their behavior was so over the top that I found myself rolling my eyes numerous times and wanting their scenes to be over with as quickly as possible especially due to the fact that they often didn't make much sense to begin with. 

When you look strictly at the relationship between Ned and Rosalind, there were times when I thought they were sweet and could see their connection, and other times when I didn't see that connection as being anything more than platonic. I also had to laugh at the fact that they chose to make love for the first time in a public park (although a secluded area of one, but still). 

The story-line on the whole was a bit too slow for me, with the kidnapping and the romance both taking up entirely too much space on the page. Even when Rosalind was taken, I didn't feel as though there was a sense of urgency or danger (although that could be due in part to the fact that I had a pretty good idea of just who was behind the missing maids anyway). I could also have done with out the surprise revelation where Ned was concerned. It just seemed utterly impossible and I felt took more away from the story than actually added to it. 

However, I will admit that I enjoyed watching the culprits get what was coming to them, and the way Rosalind was able to stand up to them with the backing of Ned and her newfound friends. 

On the whole, I think what didn't work for me in this one with no doubt work for other people and I am sure that fans of this series will enjoy this (I believe final) installment. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

                                                         *******************
                                               
                                             Never A Duke is available from Amazon.com