Dreaming of a Duke Like You
by Sara Bennett
Release Date: October 10, 2023
Reviewed by PJ
Raised in a foundling home and now proprietor of a successful club, Gabriel Cadieux hasn’t ever been welcomed by polite society. But when he discovers he’s the legitimate heir to a dukedom, he must make a choice: accept the debt-ridden title and the trappings of the peerage who shunned him or decline and leave his six rebellious half sisters to fend for themselves. As much as he hates the idea, Gabriel can’t abandon his siblings, even if it means making a deal with the most frustrating—and aggravatingly beautiful—woman he’s ever met.
Vivienne Tremeer storms into Cadieux’s club with one thing on her mind: get the loathsome owner to discharge her brother’s gambling debts. So when Gabriel offers her a trade—if she’ll teach his wild sisters the ways of the ton, he’ll clear the notes—she has no choice but to accept. But with her reputation already on a knife’s edge, falling for the duke could cause the scandal of the season.
I really enjoyed this book. It's my first by Sara Bennett and it left me eager to read more, hopefully featuring secondary characters from Dreaming of a Duke Like You.
Do you enjoy grumpy-sunshine romance? Rags to riches heroes? Fish out of water tropes? Slow-burn chemistry? A flock of younger sisters you didn't know existed? Bennett offers up all that and more in this new historical romance. I love a self-made man and Gabriel is certainly that. He's the ruler of his gambling club world, at home there, in charge, and immensely successful. But give him a dukedom he doesn't want, responsibilities he didn't ask for, and a grandmother he has every reason to despise and our uber-confident business owner is suddenly out of his element. It exposes his vulnerable side and I do love a confident man with a vulnerable core. Enter our heroine, the woman he doesn't want to want but can't seem to resist and the only one with the ability - and willingness - to help teach his half-feral half-sisters how to navigate society. Okay, not so much willingness but if doing this gets her scapegrace brother's debt to Gabriel's club wiped clean then she's all in, even if Gabriel's presence makes her heart race and her libido flutter. This should be fun.
I love how Gabriel and Vivienne go toe to toe, how she challenges him, and how the chemistry between them grows with every encounter. The relationship between Vivienne and Gabriel's sisters gave me Sister Maria vibes, especially the closeness that develops between Vivienne and the oldest sister, Olivia. That is second only to the melt-my-heart adorableness of youngest sister, Edwina. She captured Gabriel's heart and mine too. I also enjoyed Vivienne's complicated but loving relationship with her brother (four younger brothers: I understand) as well as her cousin. I'd like to see more of both of them in future books.
I do hope this is the beginning of a series. There are several secondary characters who interest me, such as Gabriel's two best friends. Together since childhood in the orphanage, these men already have me wanting to know more about them and, hopefully, their journeys to love. There are a few loose threads left hanging (Vivienne's step-father for one) that I'm hoping will be taken care of in a future book. The lack of comeuppance for both the step-father and Gabriel's grandmother were the only drawbacks for me in what was otherwise a very enjoyable book. I'll definitely be back for the next one.