Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.
Oh this one hurts. I wanted to love this book so much. But I was really bored throughout my reading. The good stuff, author McAvoy has the period language down to a tee. I honestly thought I was reading a Jane Austen novel at times. McAvoy also has done research into the period of England at the time and that was most appreciated. But I felt like I got dumped into this book mid-series. I was so surprised that it’s the first book. And the lead character Aphrodite bored me to tears. I was more interested in her family and her mother and father honestly. The Duke in the title, is Evander Eagleman who is also bland as anything. I just wanted there to be more there there. Instead the book just goes on a very long [extremely long] explanation of every little thing to the point you just don’t care about the central romance.
“Aphrodite and the Duke” follows Aphrodite Du Bell who has been absent from London after Duke Everely, Evander Eagleman, did not propose to her like she thought he always would. Dealing with the embarrassment of him announcing his wedding, she goes back to the countryside until her mother calls her to London. It’s her younger sister’s debut, and her mother is determined for Aphrodite to make a match as well since it may cause their family scandal that the eldest is still unwed. Being back in the ton has Aphrodite recalling how much she hates it, and it seems that the Duke is everywhere now that he is widowed. The book follows the two of them as Evander does his best to “win” back Aphrodite.
So I loved the fact that McAvoy had Aphrodite be a biracial character. Her father is white, her mother is Black. The book even points out how the children look different and one sister has white skin and blonde hair (got to love genetics). And I love that no one turns a hair about it frankly. It also baffled me that you would read regency romance and people of color were not a thing, unless they were “savages” attacking or something. Yes, I did read a lot of medieval romance set during the time of the Crusades.
That said, everything else felt flat for me. I didn’t get why Aphrodite was ever into the Duke. The conservations they had did not make me think, yes, this is the man for you. It just felt very very dull after a while. The book also switched points of view too much. We get Aphrodite, her parents, her brother, Evander, etc. I have no idea why McAvoy didn’t just have the points of view by Aphrodite and the Duke. It felt random especially because the others don’t really pop up again after a while so I wondered at the point.
I do love that McAvoy took the time to write this book in the time/place that it takes place. But I do think that is why so many readers struggled with it. It gets very boring. Bless, I never did finish Sense and Sensibility because I was bored to tears by it in written form. The flow was pretty awful too. It just felt like nothing was happening for a good portion of the book.
The setting of the Regency era were good, but some reviewers picked up errors in things I didn’t even note.
The ending was fine, but it just felt like this book didn’t know if it wanted to be a second chance romance or what. We go into drama, thriller, etc. It just felt very off.
I read this for Cannonball Read 14, bingo square:
- New: New book, new author, new-to-you author, new-to-you genre. Did you know “new” is one of the most common words in a book title?
- This is the first time I have read this author, so it fits the new square. Definitely not a new genre for me though.