A historical romance with a Shakespeare theme, containing quirky characters, love triangles, and magic potions, No Other Duke But You is a romance you will not soon forget! With a large part of the plot centered around a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, it tells a tale of unrequited love and misguided endeavors. I loved how the story felt like a comedy of errors, and ultimately I decided to dub it as follows - A Midsummer Night's Disaster! If you want to read a romantic comedy with a Shakespeare twist, this is the book for you.
Thomas Hobbs, the Duke of Huntley, has loved Lady Delilah Montebank since they were children. His mistake has been letting it go all these years without declaring himself. Now it might be too late. Delilah has been given an ultimatum by her mother - bring a suitor, namely the Duke of Branville, up to scratch, or marry the odious Clarence Hilton, the son of her mother's own suitor. Desperate to avoid such a fate, Delilah enlists the help of her matchmaking friends to capture the duke's attentions. When Thomas gets wind of this, he realizes that things have made a turn for the worse, and his future with his beloved is slipping away fast. He'll have to be cunning and quick to make sure Delilah ends up married to the right person - him.
I will start off by saying how lovely and unique it is that both the hero and heroine are virgins in this story. It's revealed fairly early on, and I liked it. Especially with the amount of time Thomas spent singing Delilah's praises, I was having a hard time believing he ever paid for a prostitute, seduced a widow, or maintained a mistress. It wouldn't have made sense. He was such a sweetheart throughout the story, fighting for Delilah and failing at it miserably for almost the entire book. Delilah was such a ninny at time, but a delightful one! I fell in love with her almost instantly, since animal lovers must stick together. Her shenanigans with the squirrel endeared her to me quickly, and her awful mother made me want to jump inside the pages of the book to defend her. Her generous spirit and kind heart were so evident, and with Thomas being so similar in virtue, their pairing seemed very natural. Which is why it was so frustrating that it took a long time - and I do mean, a l-o-n-g time - for these two to get together in this book. But with all the drama of the various players in the story, you didn't really miss it as a reader. I was glad that their relationship blossomed into romance slowly.
Brava to Valerie Bowman for writing such a splendidly unique book! Highly recommended to historical romance readers and Shakespeare buffs alike.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**