ARC Review: Duke, Actually by Jenny Holiday

Happy Saturday y’all! I read my first Christmas book of the year (Duke, Actually), and y’all it was so cute! Thank you so much to Avon and Netgalley for letting me read an eARC of it! This book came out on November 16, so make sure you go grab it as soon as you’ve read my review!

Duke, Actually 4/5 Stars

Summary from Goodreads:

USA Today bestselling author Jenny Holiday follows A Princess for Christmas with another delightful contemporary Christmas romance between a playboy baron and a woman who has said goodbye to love.

Maximillian von Hansburg, Baron of Laudon and heir to the Duke of Aquilla, is trapped. Under pressure from his domineering father, he must marry a suitable bride before he inherits a title that feels like a prison sentence. In New York to meet a prospective wife, he ditches his responsibilities and appears on Dani Martinez’s doorstep. He’s been intrigued by the no-nonsense professor since he met her at the Eldovian royal wedding and is determined to befriend her.

Newly single Dani is done with love—she even has a list entitled “Things I Will Never Again Do for a Man”—which is why she hits it off with notorious rake Max. He’s trying to escape relationships, and she’s resolved to avoid them at all costs. All they want from each other is friendship and a distraction from their messy lives.

As their bond begins to deepen, so does their attraction, until they end up in bed together. Falling in love was never part of the plan—Max’s family doesn’t see Dani as a perfect match, even as his heart tells him she’s the one, and Dani isn’t sure she can make it in Max’s world. Can they find the courage to live they life they desire, even if it means risking everything?

I love the vibe of Christmas romances and this one had it in spades. Was it 100% set during Christmas? No, but Max and Dani’s journey started and ended during Christmas, so I think it totally counts. I loved both Dani and Max as main characters (and I especially loved Max the dog). Dani’s ex was the worst- I hated Vince- and I felt so bad for poor Berkeley. I loved how even though so much of the book was focused on Dani and Max working towards making their lives what they wanted and becoming friends, their romance didn’t seem out of place or forced or anything. Nor did it feel like it was moving too fast- which I loved. This book also touched on deeper issues such as abuse by a parent and alcohol addiction, so just a heads up if those are triggers for you. I thought they were handled really well, but I also have not been impacted by either of them, so I’m not the best judge of that. Pacing wise, I really liked the speed at which the book moved. I just wanted to keep reading more of Max and Dani’s story. Plus, part of it is set in New York, and New York is magical to me (especially at Christmas time), so I loved those aspects of the book as well. All in all, I definitely enjoyed Duke, Actually and I think y’all should for sure read it!

3 thoughts on “ARC Review: Duke, Actually by Jenny Holiday

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