Broody heroes are my catnip, so it's no wonder that I picked up this book with high expectations. Charlotte Anne is a newer author, with The Unworthy Duke being her first professional published book, having published one book previously on Wattpad. I have read many books by authors at this stage of their career, and I am thoroughly impressed more often than not. This book was absolutely wonderful, with its colorful characters, unique plot, and a romance that was sweet yet sexy all at once. I started a new job the week I began reading, and I needed some romantic reading to decompress. This book fit the bill and quickly became a "comfort read" for several days.
When her brother turned his bad temper towards her sister, Gwen, Miss Ellen Burney knew she had no choice but to leave and ensure her sister would be safe. Believing separation would allow Ellen to make enough money to eventually bring Gwen, she leaves her in the care of a family friend and sets off to London to work as the paid companion of a dowager marchioness. Upon arrival, she is rudely "welcomed" by the Duke of Woodhal, a relation to the dowager and wholly opposed to the older woman inviting herself to stay with him for the season. Scarred from a fire that took the life of his brother and scorned by a society who believes he's at fault, Calum Callaghan has been in isolation the last four years, rarely leaving his townhouse. Ellen captures his attention immediately, at first for her intrusion into his life but then for the similarities between the two of them. Calum isn't the only one with a traumatic past, and soon he'll have to put his power as a duke to use in order to keep Ellen and her sister safe.
The cast of characters in this book really made the reading experience an enjoyable one, from the gruff yet lovable Duke to the flamboyant and youthful Owen. One of my favorite characteristics about Calum was that he cooks, and it's mentioned several times in the story. There's something about a broody duke who cooks that just makes my heart flutter, maybe because it shows a vulnerable side since dukes aren't known for doing any sort of labor, let alone how to use the kitchen at all. It was adorable how he was protective of his kitchen, and then he would bake a cake that was delicious. It's the little things in this story that will make you fall in love! Owen was a particularly enjoyable character, partially for the comic relief he brought to the drama. He's probably meant to be a side character forever, but I'm hoping he gets his own book at some point. I need more Owen in my life. Ellen was a lovely character as well, especially with her bravery and confidence to manage her difficulties. She had a few moments where I would get frustrated with her choices, but on the whole she was very relatable.
This will definitely not be the last book I read by this author, if she has another book in the works. I loved her writing style and look forward to seeing what she writes next.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**