One Duke Down
by Anna Bennett
Rogues to Lovers - Book 2
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Release Date: January 24, 2023
Reviewed by PJ
A FISHERMAN’S DAUGHTER
Miss Poppy Summers is determined to keep her family’s fishing business afloat. Her poor widowed father has fallen ill, and her foolhardy brother has moved to London, leaving her precious little time to read or pursue her own dreams. But she’ll do anything for her family, so she cheerfully spends mornings in her rowboat, casting her nets. The very last thing Poppy expects or wants to find tangled in them is a dangerously attractive man. Especially one with a head wound—who’s convinced he’s a duke.
AND A DUKE OUT OF WATER
Buy it for the cover; enjoy it for the story within. This one had me in its net from start to finish. You may think a romance between a duke and a fisherwoman sounds impossible (it does) but Bennett makes it work. These two balance each other so well. They're meant to be and I was right there cheering them on the entire way.
I like that Bennett takes her time with Poppy and Keane, creating a circumstance where they are secluded from the outside world, giving them the time away from prying eyes to slowly transition from paid partners to friends, to much, much more. I love that Keane falls hard, and quickly, making his heart the more vulnerable of the two. It's fun to watch Poppy slowly discover that there is much more to this duke than his scandalous reputation.
Their excursions away from Poppy's small village in pursuit of the truth of the attack on Keane add another layer to their growing relationship, opening Poppy's eyes to the world in which Keane lives and highlighting the many sides of this hardworking young woman. I love them together. There is nothing "surface" about their relationship. The love and trust they build - the confidence that each will always be there for the other, under all circumstances - had me celebrating their happily ever after as if they were dear friends, not characters in a book.
The mystery of who wants Keane dead is a central thread that runs through the book. I figured it out quickly (a hazard of reading too many books?) but still enjoyed the process of watching it all play out on the pages. Knowing the identity of a villain doesn't always mean knowing what will happen and, happily, there were a few unexpected twists along the way that caught me by surprise.
One Duke Down is the second book in Anna Bennett's Rogues to Lovers series, featuring three good friends (Hazel, Poppy, and Kitty) who all live and work in the seaside town of Bellehaven Bay. It stands well on it's own, however meeting Poppy's two friends has me eager to read their stories as well. I've already downloaded book one, Girls Before Earls and am eager to discover what Bennett has in store for Kitty in book three.