Ten Days with a Duke
Erica Ridley is a prolific writer of Regency Romances. Ten Days with a Duke is book eleven (of twelve) in the series Dukes of Christmas. The first book was released in October of 2018 and the last book will be released just before Christmas 2020. Ms. Ridley’s books tend to be quick, fun, romantic reads and this one is no exception.
The Harpers and the Westons have been enemies for many years – for all of Olive Harpers’ life. Olive and her father run one of the best horse farms in England and she imagines she will continue their legacy for the rest of her life. But then Olive’s father informs her that she is to marry Elijah Weston. Her father wishes to heal the rift between the families and tells a shocked Olive:
I shan’t debate you on the matter. You’re of age, so legally I cannot force you. But marriage to Mr. Weston is the only way you’ll have my shares of the farm.
The next day, Elijah Weston shows up with a marriage license in his pocket. His father has bribed him to do this, but is unaware that Elijah has been in love with Olive for years – ever since he humiliated her after she won a prestigious horse race when they were children. Olive has never forgotten that humiliation and pledges to only consider Elijah’s suit if he can manage to convince her dangerous stud horse, Duke, to let Elijah ride him after ten days on the farm. What follows is a delightful ten days of Elijah (who is terrified of horses) and Olive coming to know each other as adults and finding a way to outsmart their fathers.
Olive and Elijah are a fun couple to root for. Olive is a capable horsewoman and business partner and has mapped out her future as such. She is fair but determined to oust Elijah from her farm. Elijah is a patient suitor, gently persuasive and sweetly romantic, and is willing to let Olive set the rules, hoping that he can slowly win her over. Ms. Ridley often writes ‘regular guy’ heroes and Elijah is another one. He is easy to fall for – there’s none of this brooding darkly while standing around displaying powerful thighs. The town of Cressmouth (where Christmas is celebrated every day) is a lovely backdrop for the story. The entire series takes place here but each book is a distinct story and can be read as a standalone.
I do have a few issues with the story. First, the ending is too unbelievable. There is a reconciliation that is just not possible given what we’ve learned of Elijah’s father. Second, we are never told what caused the rift between the families in the first place. And third, please, please, please Ms. Ridley, do some research on titles in regency England. The title of ‘Marquess’ would never be given as a courtesy title to some commoner. A few minutes of investigation would have made this clear ,and although many readers will not notice this discrepancy, it is worth it to those that will to keep as close to reality as possible!
Regardless of these issues, I found Ten Days with the Duke to be a light-hearted read with witty banter and a romantic spirit. If you are looking for a fun Christmas-themed story, you will do well to pick up this series. But if you are a stickler for accuracy and a super-tight plot, it might be best to pick up something else.
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