Review: Say Yes to the Duke by Eloisa James (2020)

The Wildes of Lindow Castle, Book #5

Review of the Wildes of Lindow Castle, Book #4

Heat Factor: They get married at about 70% and have a ton of really polite sex

Character Chemistry: I like the sparring partners thing they have going on. I am not excited about polite sex.

Plot: Shy young lady decides to woo proper vicar away from his terrible fiancée and intrigues the disdainful duke, who is clearly perfect for her, in the process

Overall: I put this book in timeout for a week because I was really worried about the black moment, but I needn’t have been

Have you been following Eloisa James’s Wilde family, readers? James writes some good Georgian romance in a vast sea of Regency romance, so it’s a nice change. 

The Wildes of Lindow Castle is a pretty soft series, even as James uses it to explore some heavy content (stalking, PTSD, anxiety, etc.). For me, soft romance doesn’t typically give me a lot of swoons, so I’ve been enjoying but not super excited about this series. So I was pleasantly surprised when I was drawn into Say Yes to the Duke as I was with James’s older books. Because the hero is an emotionally constipated mathematician duke? Probably. 

Anyway, Viola and Devin are predisposed to avoid each other, but when that becomes impossible due to Viola’s machinations in a different quarter, they’re thrown together. Eventually they can’t keep their hands off each other—even though for a while Viola thinks she’s still in love with the vicar and Devin thinks Viola’s still in love with the vicar—and they’re caught kissing in public twice in one day! I think that might be a new record for getting compromised into marriage. 

All of this was pretty much everything I love in a historical romance. I wasn’t super excited about Viola trying to break up the vicar’s engagement so she could have him herself. I mean, the fiancée was dreadful, so that engagement really should have ended, but also the vicar is just waaaaaay too vanilla. Come on, Viola! But everybody needs a thing, and that was hers. The vicar was nice and safe, and shy, anxious Viola thought she needed that. Devin saw the adventure in her, though, and he was interested. As he should be. 

So why did I put this book in time out for a week? 

Well, Viola, always shy, became extremely, anxiously shy after she interrupted a liaison at a ball when she was fifteen and the man in question started shouting at the woman he was with about trying to trap him into marriage. Before they marry, Viola asks Devin to promise never to shout at her. Devin, whose father used to shout and rage all the time when he was young, has trained himself to take a pause when he gets angry, but he does acknowledge that he loses his temper if he’s particularly surprised. Of course Devin was the man who was shouting during the liaison. 

And I started to worry about the black moment. Obviously this interaction is going to play out in some way. Is Viola going to find out that Devin was the shouting man and become fearful of him? Is Devin going to lose his temper and Viola runs away? What made me most concerned was the uncompromising request that Viola made—that Devin promise never to shout at her—and Devin’s inability to fully guarantee that was possible, even if he was totally willing to ensure that he took every measure to avoid that coming to pass. I couldn’t deal with the setup of an expectation of a sort of inhuman level of self-control. 

I thought about DNFing—I mean, they were getting married, and it’s a romance, so I knew it’d all work out, so did I really need to finish it? But I was at 70% and the library book was coming due, so I decided to soldier on. And I’m really glad I did, because James did such a good job with the way the past stressful interaction came to light and how both of the protagonists dealt with it. 

So this book remains my favorite of the Wildes of Lindow Castle. 

Buy Now: Amazon | Bookshop

Looking for something similar?

Who needs Regency histrom? Give me the Georgians!

Heiresses make things interesting

I swoon for protagonists who HAVE to get married

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s