Always Be My Duchess by Amalie Howard: A Historical Romance Review

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Check out our review of Always Be My Duchess by Amalie Howard, a historical romance retelling of Pretty Woman with a neurodivergent hero

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This post contains affiliate links. That means we receive a small commission at no cost to you from any purchases you make through these links.


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HISTORICAL ROMANCE

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Always Be My Duchess
by Amalie Howard

Taming of the Dukes #1
Released: July 12, 2022
355 Pages | ebook

read this book if you’re in the mood for
  • Pretty Woman, but make it a historical romance
  • Neurodivergent hero
  • Class differences
synopsis

Lysander Blackstone, the Duke of Montcroix, thinks he has life all figured out. He’s completely focused on his business plans and the next great deal. He also does this all while being apparently emotionless (for a variety of reasons, definitely read the trigger warnings at the beginning of the book). But his latest business deal is with someone who wants to see Lysander as more of a family man.

A chance encounter has the once up-and-coming ballerina Geneviève Valery saving Lysander’s life. He sees an opportunity and asks her to act has his fake fiancée in exchange for enough money to let her have a new life. Neither of them is prepared when they start to feel real feelings.

review

First off, Always Be My Duchess is exactly what the blurb pitched it to be: Pretty Woman meets Bridgerton. It’s a fun set up and I think we really got to see Lysander and Nève at their best (and their worst). Their characters are also very well written and we understand all the conflicting emotions they are feeling as the story progresses and they get to know one another better.

Although it is not mentioned in the story itself (but it is in the trigger warnings at the beginning), Lysander clearly has difficulties processing social cues in a way that would be recognized by doctors now – probably on the autism spectrum, but I definitely can’t know for sure! But he was just ridiculed during the time these characters are from. It was sometimes hard to read, but it also felt like an authentic representation of someone who is very high-functioning and powerful in society, but misses some things that other people might notice.

In terms of things I don’t love as much, I struggled a bit with reading about how stuck they both were in their ways. I think they didn’t really try to understand one another. While I can see how their pasts have led to these current difficulties, it still got a bit frustrating for sure. I also think the caretaking type behavior was very one-sided, with Lysander doing all the gestures and Nève just kind of going along with things. I think she could have been a more active participant in moving their relationship forward.

in conclusion

Overall, I did really enjoy Always Be My Duchess it captured my attention well enough that I finished it quite quickly. I think it honestly would have been a great book for me to bring on my next vacation, so I definitely recommend that if you’re interested in this story! I really can’t wait to see what happens with the other ladies in the friend group, since we got some hints about who they might end up with. Hopefully Briar and Lushing are up next!

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Amy R

Thanks for the review.