Ten Rules for Marrying a Duke
by Michelle McLean
Publisher: Entangled: Scandalous
Release Date: February 14, 2022
Reviewed by PJ
Bookish Arabella Bromley never gave a fig for society's rules - until her sister ran off with a man below her station. Now Arabella is desperate to restore her family's ruined reputation to favor amongst the ton. She'll have to marry quickly and well. But in order to carry off her plan, Arabella needs a duke...and she has just the rakish fellow in mind.
The Duke of Whittsley has an ungentlemanly tendency to disregard the rules. Unfortunately, a sense of mischief doesn't excuse a high-ranking noble from family duty - especially where it concerns producing a son. And that's where he can't quite resist Arabella's distinctly outrageous plan: if he saves her family, she'll give him an heir.
Now the deal's been struck. They have one year to achieve their goals and ten iron-clad rules to keep them on track. Like long, scorching kisses and ensuring they're both exquisitely satisfied. And the only thing that could ruin their plan is the one thing they never planned on: love.
This book is like a warm hug tucked between bookends of witty charm and laugh-out-loud humor. I don't think I stopped smiling the entire time I was reading. I'd never read Michelle McLean before this but after finishing Ten Rules for Marrying a Duke, I want to read everything she's ever written.
McLean plunges the reader straight into the story with a "meet cute" that immediately captured my interest, followed by a proposition (proposal?) that sealed the deal. I was captivated within the first few pages and knew I would not be putting this book down anytime soon.
Silas and Arabella fairly leaped from the pages. These two were so wonderfully developed, with quirks and flaws and good hearts beneath it all. They have such a great dynamic with Arabella charging so delightfully and unexpectedly into Silas's life and taking him by surprise at every turn. Silas, in return, turns all of Arabella's notions on their head, in the best possible way. I loved their rules. The scene where they concoct them - with Arabella's good friend acting as skeptical scribe - is hilarious and watching them do their best to adhere to them (when they aren't breaking them) is an absolute delight. They are both so sure of what they want from life - love is not on the list - but sparkle so sweetly as they finally discover the joys of opening their hearts (following the requisite misunderstanding and a bit of angst).
Their chemistry is off the charts and the steam they generate is creative, explosive, and a bundle of fun. What these two can get up to in a carriage, behind a leafy tree, and in dark corners of a ballroom kept me gloriously entertained and grinning from ear to ear.
The secondary cast of characters are also richly depicted, adding humor and emotion to the overall story. I like that everyone was given a happy ending while at the same time not downplaying the bumpy road ahead for those who ran afoul of society's strictures.
If you're a fan of Tessa Dare or Julia Quinn, this book should be right up your reading alley. Like books by both of the afore-mentioned authors, I have no doubt Ten Rules for Marrying A Duke will be a book I turn to more than once when needing an uplifting dose of laughter, sizzle, fun antics, and joyful happily ever after.