Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Regency Romance Review: The Duke Heist by Erica Ridley

The Duke Heist (The Wild Wynchesters #1) by Erica Ridley
Published: February 9th, 2021

Publisher: Forever

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency Romance)

Heat level: 🔥🔥

# of pages: 352 

My rating: 4 stars

Acquired this book: From the publisher in exchange for honest consideration

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Buy: Amazon Canada || Amazon US || Indigo

Chloe Wynchester is completely forgettable—a curse that gives her the ability to blend into any crowd. When the only father she's ever known makes a dying wish for his adopted family of orphans to recover a missing painting, she's the first one her siblings turn to for stealing it back. No one expects that in doing so, she'll also abduct a handsome duke.

Lawrence Gosling, the Duke of Faircliffe, is tortured by his father's mistakes. To repair his estate's ruined reputation, he must wed a highborn heiress. Yet when he finds himself in a carriage being driven hell-for-leather down the cobblestone streets of London by a beautiful woman who refuses to heed his commands, he fears his heart is hers. But how can he sacrifice his family's legacy to follow true love?

Continuing on with my new-found interest in regency romance, my second foray into the genre was The Duke Heist. In this book, we’re introduced to the eclectic and eccentric Wynchester siblings - a group of orphans who were adopted by a baron. I love stories about found families and strong bonds, and the Wynchesters quickly became one of my new favourite groups of siblings. This book was highly entertaining - it was laugh-out-loud funny, had a swoonworthy romance, and a lot of heart.

Chloe Wynchester is completely forgettable - or at least that's what she thinks. This comes in handy when she needs to slip in and out of situations that require her to become a certain character - like while infiltrating a reading group to steal a painting that once belonged to her family. She’s used to being invisible and even prefers it because it means people can’t get close and she can’t get hurt. But when she accidentally kidnaps a duke, she soon finds herself in a situation she’s never been in before: Lawrence, the Duke of Faircliffe, sees her. Truly sees her. She’s no longer invisible and forgettable, and she finds herself falling for the man she once assumed was a stuck-up, pompous jerk.

This book was so much fun. I spent a good portion of it with a smile on my face and I laughed out loud often. I really felt for and identified with Chloe - feeling invisible and forgettable, longing for connection. It was so heartwarming seeing her with her siblings and watching as she learned just how much they loved, supported, and saw her in ways she never realized. Just like I love books about found families, I also love stories where people find a sense of belonging, and Chloe and Lawrence both found that from each other and from the people already in their lives. As for the romance, I loved Chloe and Lawrence’s chemistry and banter, and found it easy to root for them.

I did find the pacing of this book a bit off at times. What I assumed was the climax happened about three-quarters of the way through and wasn’t actually the climax. Also, for some reason I can’t quite pinpoint, this book often felt like a young adult novel. As I was reading, I’d frequently forget Chloe, her siblings, and Lawrence were in their twenties and thirties rather than in their teens. It’s not a bad thing, but it was a bit strange at times, especially as the romance heated up.

The Duke Heist was a delight. It was exactly the type of fun, entertaining, light-hearted yet pull-at-your-heart-strings romance I’m after these days. I can’t wait for more of the Wynchester siblings (I’m particularly excited for the second book), and I’d love to see this made into a TV series.

Have you read The Duke Heist? Do you have any recommendations for a regency romance newbie like me? Do you enjoy books about found families too and do you have any recs?

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