It has been a few years since I read a novel length Courtney Milan work. I’ve read a few of her novellas (Her Every Wish, Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure, The Governess Affair) but when Milan surprise published this book I added to my digital bookshelf with a quickness.
The Duke Who Didn’t tells the story of Chloe Fong. She has plans for her life which she is going to manifest through the use of lists and no time for nonsense. Three years ago, she asked her childhood sweetheart to be serious and she hasn’t seen him since. Except now he’s back, in time for the annual Wedgeford Trials. Jeremy Wentworth, going by his psuedonyms Jeremy Yu and Posh Jim, has returned to the tiny village he once visited with the hope of wooing Chloe. He has reasons for his multi-year absence, and having never given Chloe or his other friends his true name, and he is a man on a mission:all he has to do is convince Chloe to make room for a mischievous trickster in her life, then disclose that in all the years they’ve known each other, he’s failed to mention his real name, his title… and the minor fact that he owns her entire village.
In broad strokes Milan is continuing to endeavor to pursue her feminist romance mission but adding even more to the expected tropes of historic romances set in England. Milan is an author on a mission to stop the whitewashing of history, and this book is also obviously a love letter to what makes her happy, and what her own heritage is. While this one wasn’t my favorite of her recent works it is still a wonderfully written work on valuing oneself and creating a space for yourself in the world.