Duke Looks Like a Groomsman
Duke Looks Like a Groomsman is the second title in Valerie Bowman’s The Footmen’s Club series. I liked this story well enough, but preferred book one, The Footman and I.
Rhys Sheffield, Duke of Worthington, was once well on his way to falling in love with Lady Julianna Montgomery until he was forced to temporarily leave the country in order to help his friend who just happens to be a spy. When he is unable to return, he hastily writes to Julianna telling her to move on. Heartbroken and no longer caring about anything else, she allows herself to be persuaded to become engaged to someone else. Rhys has been told his entire life that he’ll be wanted only for his title, so he assumed that’s all Julianna wanted, too.
Two years later, Rhys and his friends make a bet to see which of them can fool the guests at an upcoming house party for the longest period of time by pretending to be servants; Rhys decides to pose as a groom (I’m confused by the use of the term “groomsman” since that’s typically a man who stands up with a groom at his wedding). Of course, Julianna recognizes Rhys almost immediately even though the Duke Looks Like a Groomsman. (*wink*) She agrees to keep his secret so she can torture him for abandoning her. They spend more and more time together and each realizes the other person isn’t who they assumed them to be.
I am not a fan of second chance romances because they almost always fall into the trap of both hero and heroine thinking the same repetitive thoughts of regret throughout the narrative. I was afraid this book would dissolve into that same pattern but happily, it didn’t.
I’m not at all saying those thoughts of regret aren’t there, because they are, but they’re at the beginning while the story is still being set up. Unlike a lot of romances that feature this trope, the plot doesn’t hinge solely on the hero and heroine not having a simple discussion to clear up their issues. Rhys and Julianna have that discussion, but it isn’t at the end.
In the previous book in the series, the heroine didn’t realize the true identity of the hero until near the end, and I much preferred the way that story played out. It was so much fun watching Lucas, the hero of The Footman and I, forget he was supposed to be a footman and not a member of the nobility as he interacted with Frances, his heroine. In Duke Looks Like a Groomsman, that element isn’t present because Julianna knows who Rhys is from the start. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the few flashbacks in the story, although they didn’t take away from the tale enough to keep me from enjoying it.
While second chance romances are not really my thing, Duke Looks Like a Groomsman did not fall into the trap of being full of overdone reminiscences and no real growth of the characters. The hero and heroine worked through those issues fairly early on and it made for a pleasant read.