Review of “If the Duke Demands” (Keeping the Carlisles #1) by Anna Harrington

Image belongs to Anna Harrington and Forever/Grand Central Publishing.

Harrington, Anna. If the Duke Demands. New York, Forever, 2017.

(2-ish stars)

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to review this, given the fact that I found myself actually giving up part way through, and to provide a review of a book I did not finish would not be fair. But I found some obvious problems with the part I did read (I got up to the middle of chapter eleven, so around page 230), so I decided I would discuss them.

My initial impression when I saw this book were, “Oh, yay, another duke *eyeroll*.” And while this book is the first in the Carlisle brothers’ series, they are introduced in her last book, How I Married a Marquess, part of her previous series.

That said, some of my complaints about this book are that the major obstacle keeping the hero and heroine apart is nearly identical to that of HIMAM. In that one, Thomas, Marquess of Chesney, is a future duke, and despite his feelings for Josephine Carlisle, he cannot marry her, because, despite the fact that she was adopted by a baron, she isn’t from a noble family by blood. Her adoptive brother, Sebastian, now Duke of Trent, due to actions explained both in that book and this one, can’t marry Miranda, because she’s simply a niece to one of his tenants. Additionally, Miranda basically grew up as their sister.

But in both cases, they end up sleeping together anyway. I can’t recall why I didn’t have issues with HIMAM, but at one point in this book, he talks about how his father was a great man, not a rake like him and his brothers, and it’s pretty obvious that his parents loved each other. Yet, he seems determined to go through with marry a dull society lady, because he thinks it would make his father happy. That just seemed completely implausible to me. I can understand having this motivation if your father was an exacting man who expected perfection all the time, and could be abusive, but I just didn’t like that becoming duke made him such a stick-up-his-ass prick.

And did I mention Miranda is being chaperoned by his mother in town for the Season during the course of this book, and that she is technically his responsibility as well? I am almost grateful for stories where we have fathers and guardians who look out for their daughters’ interests in other books, but it is a shame that Miranda did not have that.

But that’s not to say this is a book I absolutely hated. Despite the fact that I did not finish it, in the parts I did read, I found myself being charmed by the dynamic between the Carlisle family, especially the brothers. The banter early on works really well, but the hero was too much of an asshole, and the heroine, while a strong character initially, just kind of melted into his embrace, despite the fact that she would be ruined, and he CAN’T MARRY HER.