A Cosmopolitan Best Romance of 2022
Pretty Woman meets the Bridgertons in this witty, vivacious historical take on 90s romcoms by USA Today bestselling author Amalie Howard.
Lord Lysander Blackstone, the stern Duke of Montcroix, has only one interest: increasing his considerable fortune. After a series of betrayals, he keeps his emotions buried deep. Money, after all, can't break a man's heart—or make promises it can’t keep. But when his reputation for being heartless jeopardizes a new business deal, he finds himself seeking a most unusual—and alluring—solution . . .
Once an up-and-coming ballerina, Miss Geneviève Valery is now hopelessly out of work. After refusing to become a wealthy patron's mistress, Nève was promptly shown the door to the streets. When she accidentally saves the life of a handsome duke, she doubts the encounter will go any better than her last brush with nobility. But instead of propositioning her, Montcroix makes Nève an offer she would be a fool to refuse: act as his fake fiancée in exchange for fortune enough to start over.
Only neither is prepared when very real feelings begin to grow between them. They both stand to win . . . but only if they’re willing to risk their hearts.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
If you’ve ever wanted to see modern rom-com tropes play out in an enchanting period romance, the first book in Amalie Howard’s Taming of the Dukes series will sweep you off your feet. Lysander, the Duke of Montcroix, is icy and detached, which is hurting his business prospects. Geneviève is a feisty ballerina who’s been unfairly tossed onto the streets of Victorian London. When the pair meet, Lysander gets an idea: If he pays Geneviève to play his doting fiancée, it’ll surely soften his reputation. From Lysander’s calculating restraint to Geneviève’s headstrong fearlessness, we adored Howard’s two polar-opposite lead characters. Their chemistry is positively electric (let’s just say you’ll never look at a wooden desk the same way again). Always Be My Duchess is sweet, fun, and very steamy.
Howard (Rules for Heiresses) takes a cue from Pretty Woman in the steamy first Victorian romance of her Taming of the Dukes series. A night of too much revelry leads business minded Lysander Blackstone, Duke of Montcroix, to wander into a seedy London neighborhood, where he winds up with a revolver brandished in his face by street-smart ballerina Nève Valery. When the pair are then set upon by thieves, they work together to evade them, and their meeting ends with Lysander offering Nève 100 pounds if she'll be his escort to an upcoming ball and help him avoid the machinations of society's matchmaking mothers. The ball is a success, and they extend their arrangement: for 5,000 pounds and an introduction to the director of the Lyceum Theater, Nève will act as Lysander's fiancée for the next two months. Nève, the daughter of an English viscount and a French burlesque dancer, makes a convincing impression as the duke's fiancée—and when their attraction becomes more than an act, Lysander must decide whether his hunger for fortune outweighs his desire for a future with Nève. Howard's lyrical writing enlivens her bright, empathetic characters and her sharp eye on their class and cultural disparities only enhances their romance. Readers will be riveted.