One Night With a Duke
One Night with a Duke is the tenth book in Erica Ridley’s 12 Dukes of Christmas series set in the village of Cressmouth, more commonly known as Christmas because they celebrate the holiday year round. The series features full time villagers and tourists, and in this instalment, our heroine is Angelica Parker, the local jeweller, while the hero Jonathan MacLean is a Scot visiting on business. Jonathan never visits the same place twice but Angelica has ties to the village that keep her there, so they must figure out a compromise in order to be together.
Seven years prior to the events in the story, Angelica was given the opportunity to own her own shop in Cressmouth and jumped on it – but there was a catch. That catch was that she would be unable to leave Cressmouth for any reason for those seven years. After that time however, the shop is hers free and clear. That’s fine with her because she has no time to do anything but work, and certainly no time to spend with her large, boisterous family. And then Jonathan MacLean (and no, he’s not the titular duke; in fact the only duke in the story is very peripheral to it) enters her shop for the first time and turns her world upside down.
Jonathan hates Christmas and is only reluctantly in Cressmouth so he and his business partner Calvin (from the previous book) can pitch an idea to the Duke of Nottingvale. When a snowstorm means Calvin is unable to meet him there, Jonathan begins exploring the village to pass the time, and happens upon Angelica’s shop. Before long he finds himself returning there every day to read to her as she works. As their feelings for each other grow, Angelica must decide if some things are more important than work, and Jonathan must decide if he’s finally found a home.
Oh, how good it always feels to be back in Christmas!! Erica Ridley has done an excellent job of world building so whether it’s been a month or year since I read the last title in the series, I have no problem jumping right back in. And it’s always a delight to visit the different villagers.
In this case, our heroine is a local businesswoman. I loved her strength and her determination to make it on her own, especially since she had to work so much harder, not just as a woman but also as a Black woman. I found her point of view to be fascinating. At times she can be too focused, but Jonathan’s almost bubbly personality pulls her out of that focus so she can enjoy herself, too. In that, he’s the perfect hero for her. Jonathan is a nice change from the typical brooding or too serious heroes often found in historical romance.
The main conflict is interesting and one faced by real couples. Yes, it’s solved fairly easily with a conversation, but since it wasn’t a conversation that could’ve happened at the beginning of the story, I was still intrigued to learn how they would solve the problem.
I am going to be so sad to see this series end. It has been such a delight to get to know the residents and visitors of Cressmouth and with a strong heroine and fun-loving hero, One Night with a Duke was no exception.