Hello lovely people! I am back at it with another ARC review. It was supposed to be publication week for Duke, Actually by Jenny Holiday, but due to supply chain issues, publication has been pushed to November 16th. However, I am so excited for this book to hit the shelves just in time for the upcoming holiday season, so here is my review in case you want to be on the look out. As always, I want to take the time to thank NetGalley, Avon, and Harper Voyager Publishing for the advance review copy of this witty heatfelt novel.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Genre: Romance, General Fiction (Adult)

Published: October 26, 2021

Synopsis: Provided by NetGalley

There’s a royal wedding on, and things are about to get interesting.

Meet the man of honor

Maximillian von Hansburg, Baron of Laudon and heir to the Duke of Aquilla, is not having a merry Christmas. He’s been dumped by a princess, he’s unemployed, and his domineering father has sent him to New York to meet a prospective bride he has no interest in. In the city, he meets Dani Martinez, a smart (and gorgeous) professor he’s determined to befriend before their best friends marry in the Eldovian wedding of the century.

Meet the best woman

Newly single, no-nonsense New Yorker 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 the perfect partner for snow angels in Central Park and deep conversations about the futility of love.

It’s all fun and games until their friendship deepens into attraction and, oops…

Falling in love was never part of the plan.

Overall Thoughts:

Duke, Actually gave me all the feels and is probably my favorite friends-to-lovers trope I’ve read so far. I instantly fell in love with Max. Max was my absolute favorite character, he was charming, witty, confident, mature, self-aware, and honestly, the whole Duke thing added to his sex appeal. Dani was also a lovely character, strong, independent, intelligent, and witty, making her red. I liked each character individually, I thought they each had a compelling story, but I loved them together more. The banter between Dani and Max was top-notch. It was clever, sharp and funny. Their chemistry was off the charts; it felt so organic I couldn’t get enough of them. They were delightful characters to read. One of my favorite things about this book was Max and Dani’s mutual respect, boundaries, and understanding of each other’s needs.

Max and Dani were so well written that even as flawed as they were, in my opinion, I found their relationship to be a good picture of what a relationship between two consenting mature adults should be. They each communicated what their needs and their expectations for their friendship/relationship were and respected the boundaries set. I love reading well-rounded romance novels. Still, Max and Dani’s relationship was far from perfect, but their love for each other was so selfless and pure, it lent to such a deep intimacy between them that was refreshing to read. Duke, Actually was such a sweet, heartfelt story with incredibly well-written endearing characters. Duke, Actually is the perfect Holiday read, so be sure to pick up a copy when it comes out November 16, 2021.

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