Wednesday, 6 March 2019

#BookReview: A Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole

A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals #2)A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole

New York City socialite and perpetual hot mess Portia Hobbs is tired of disappointing her family, friends, and—most importantly—herself. An apprenticeship with a struggling swordmaker in Scotland is a chance to use her expertise and discover what she’s capable of. Turns out she excels at aggravating her gruff silver fox boss…when she’s not having inappropriate fantasies about his sexy Scottish burr.

Tavish McKenzie doesn’t need a rich, spoiled American telling him how to run his armory…even if she is infuriatingly good at it. Tav tries to rebuff his apprentice—and his attraction to her—but when Portia accidentally discovers that he’s the secret son of a duke, rough-around-the-edges Tav becomes her newest makeover project.

Forging metal into weapons and armor is one thing, but when desire burns out of control and the media spotlight gets too hot to bear, can a commoner turned duke and his posh apprentice find lasting love?


A Duke By Default picks up where A Princess in Theory left off (sort of). This is the story of Portia Hobbs, who is introduced to us in book 1 as the heroine, Naledi’s, not-so-together best friend.

Portia sets out to reinvent herself and become a better person and friend. She decides to do this as a swordsmith’s apprentice in Scotland. I never got the rationale for this, but it was different, and it fit the person we met in book 1.
Portia and Tav’s first meeting is painfully hilarious and sets the tone for the ‘getting to know’ each other part of the story. Although their attraction to each other is instant, both are unwilling to explore it or different logical reasons.

However, as they soon discover, the body can only resist so much when true love calls. The romance builds slowly but steadily and allows Portia and Tav to grow as characters. This means they don’t jump into bed for a good part of the book, which may be frustrating to some readers.

For its length, the story tries to deal with quite a bit such as ADHD and mental health, which I think was well-done for the most part, but it competed at some points with the romance. I wish there had been more sword making too.

Overall, I thought it as a well-written book. A little less engaging for me than book 1, but still entertaining and worth the read. Some readers may actually prefer this, because it’s a little less fairytale-y, and may, therefore, feel more real.

I read Book 1 first, and it was great to see all my favourite characters from there make an appearance here too. For a lover of series romance that is always a nice bonus.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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