Jordan, Sophie. The Duke Buys a Bride. New York: Avon Books, 2018.
Mass Market Paperback | $7.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0062463647 |351 pages | Victorian Romance
I was hesitant about The Duke Buys a Bride for a long time, since compared to the relatively unique plots of the prior two compared to the standard tropes in romance (disregarding that While the Duke Was Sleeping is a retelling of While You Were Sleeping, especially since I haven’t seen that movie), this one was yet another romance with the ever-popular rakish, arrogant duke hero paired with a commoner heroine, a setup I typically avoid whenever possible. But the other elements, like the setup with the bride auction, still had me somewhat intrigued.
And I more or less got what I expected. The duke isn’t the worst hero I’ve read, especially recently, but he is a bit annoying in places, like when, in the aftermath of a passionate interlude with Alyse, he accuses her of “throwing herself at him” and contemplates going to the tavern wench over whoever it was to satisfy his urges (he ultimately is able to resist, but only because of his growing attraction to Alyse and realization that he would forget the random woman soon after being with her). However, I did like that there were those moments that showed his capacity to be a good person as well, like how his sisters served as inspiration of sorts for him to do the honorable thing and rescue Alyse, even if it did have unintended consequences. I did also find myself a bit bothered by the miscommunication between him and Alyse, like how he omitted some general facts about who he was, and it was kind of just brushed aside once it was revealed.
Alyse was mostly likable, being intelligent and determined. And while I did feel like they were an unlikely couple, and saw it quickly veering into the territory of another trope I hate, the philandering rake who is suddenly ablee to resist other women because of the virginal heroine, I felt their relationship felt a bit more authentic than the others, and I did like that ultimately it was him who made the move of declaring his feelings (albeit without actually saying that he loved her right away) by making it clear he was interested in seeing the marriage become real.
All in all, this was a surprisingly enjoyable read, much more so than I thought it would be, although I continue to be aware my tastes can be incredibly specific. I would recommend this to fans of light historical romances, especially those who are huge fans of alpha hero dukes and feisty virgin heroines. This is definitely one of the better ones I’ve read in recent memory.