FOREVER MY DUKE - Olivia Drake
Unlikely Duchesses
St. Martin's Paperbacks
ISBN: 978-1-250-62038-5
December 2019
Historical Romance

England during the Regency Period

Natalie Fanshawe has traveled from the United States with the six-year-old son of her late friends who were killed by rogue British soldiers in the wilderness settlement where they and Natalie lived. Natalie took the words of her late friend seriously as the woman lay dying, to get her son, Leo ,  to her father's family in England. Upon arrival, Natalie and Leo are stranded at a rural inn due to bad weather. Also, at the inn is Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton, who is likewise stranded. 

Hadrian meets Natalie after her charge hides in his room to elude her. They have a brief encounter then, but later, as they're attempting to leave, Leo runs off again, Natalie misses their coach, and Hadrian offers to transport them to the town they are traveling to, which is the same destination as Hadrian is going. He is visiting a cousin, Lord Godwin. Hadrian had previously been linked, as a child, to Godwin's eldest daughter, Audrey, with both fathers expecting marriage between the two. But after Audrey married a local commoner and went off to the United States, it is now expected that Hadrian should wed her younger sister, Lady Ellen. 

During the ride to her destination, Natalie is startled to discover that Hadrian is visiting the same household as she is. She reveals to Hadrian that Leo is Lord Godwin's grandson, Audrey's child. Upon arrival, the Godwins are horrified and in disbelief that Leo is Audrey's son, even though he greatly resembles her. Hadrian defends Natalie and Leo and insists that the Godwins wait until the solicitor from London verifies that Leo is, indeed, their relative. But Natalie is furious at their treatment. She has very little proof due to the fact that all the paperwork was burned in the attack on the settlement. 

Despite knowing very little about Natalie, and quite aware that she resents the age-old traditions of British life, Hadrian is very much attracted to her, and respects her loyalty to his cousin. While waiting for verification from the United States on Leo's parentage, Hadrian moves Leo and Natalie to his home in London where his mother lives. But how can he resist his growing attraction to the lovely American? And just what is she hiding about her own past?

FOREVER MY DUKE has a delightfully different premise with two lead characters who are worlds apart, but the same in many ways. I thoroughly enjoyed secondary characters, including young Leo, and Hadrian's sweet mother. How will all of this play out? Readers will love the story, the people depicted, and the perfect ending.

Jani Brooks