A DUKE BY DEFAULT - Alyssa Cole
Harper Collins/Avon Impulse
REVIEWER: Cheryl McNeil | RATING: B+
REVIEW: We first met Portia Hobbs as the best friend of Ledi Smith in the first book of the Reluctant Royals series, A PRINCESS IN THEORY. Portia is used to living life on her own terms and unfortunately has been a disappointment to her family and friends at times. “New” Portia is trying to figure things out and get out of her twin sister’s shadow. She’s also tired of not meeting her parents’ expectations. Tavish McKenzie comes across as a macho Guy who doesn’t want to admit when he needs help. He certainly doesn’t think he needs someone like Portia to help him with his business, apprentice or not. Tav and Portia are both trying to work through the issues they have.
I must admit I had no interest in this topic: sword making in Scotland? How did the Portia that we met in A PRINCESS IN THEORY end up here? “New Portia” takes a leap of Faith to see what she is capable of. Ms. Cole’s writing style makes the reader interested in her theme of the book. I needed help with some of the Scottish terms and thankfully, so did Portia, so Ms. Cole includes plenty of explanations to help the reader out. Ms. Cole includes good metaphors that makes the reader stop and think about the visual, and that makes for an enjoyable reading experience.
Tav spends too much time trying to figure out why he has feelings for Portia. Portia has plenty of daydreams about Tav that don’t match up to how he really is. She’s gotten so used to him being aloof around her that she is shockingly surprised when he does something nice.
As the book goes on, I enjoyed Portia’s and Tav’s flirty banter. When these two finally share a first kiss, the reader knows there is no turning back. It’s really refreshing the way the author shows the stages of their relationship. Once Portia discovers a big secret about Tav, there is a role reversal and he becomes the apprentice as Portia helps him navigate this new world. They gradually become friends, and so much more.
There is a good group of supporting characters. In addition to Ledi, a new friend is introduced, and the stage is set for the next book in the series. Tav’s sister-in-law, Cheryl, is quite the delight. There are good visuals and descriptions of Scotland. I have to mention the way Ms. Cole addresses the issue of ADHD in adults, which is not typically discussed. Certain parts of the book were a bit wordy, but overall, A DUKE BY DEFAULT is a very good continuation of the Reluctant Royals series.
18th October 2018 | firstname.lastname@example.org