The opening chapters of Lenora Bell’s For the Duke’s Eyes Only include the discovery of ancient treasure, a nineteenth-century woman wearing a mustache disguise, and a missing Rosetta stone. Sound adventurous enough for you?
This book held me spellbound as I followed India (Indy) and Daniel on their quest to retrieve the missing stone and watched their heated interactions with bated breath (imagine me entranced by their fireworks and mindlessly eating popcorn. Like this.).
For the Duke’s Eyes Only is not a wallflower book—it’s bold from the first pages of the Prologue. Indy and Daniel are betrothed, and they’re also best friends. Both children of dukes, they’re each other’s anchors, and they’re not just accepting of their betrothal, they know that they belong to one another. It just is.
But before the Prologue is over, Daniel has been retrieved by a family friend and Indy’s father reveals that their betrothal is over because Daniel’s father is suspected of high treason. That's not enough to tear them apart, though, and as the Prologue ends, Indy and Daniel have reiterated their commitment to each other, no matter what.
I’m a sucker for a friends to lovers romance, but For the Duke’s Eyes Only isn’t that simple. As difficult as it may be to believe--given how implicitly and explicitly devoted Indy and Daniel are to each other in the Prologue--Daniel betrays Indy when they’re young adults, and in a way she can’t forgive. Now, as adults, Daniel is a boozy womanizer (that sound you hear is my heart breaking); they’re both invested in the archaeological field but have markedly different philosophies; and they're bitter rivals of the other.
Why did the Daniel of Indy's childhood change, and will Indy be able to find that person again? Will the quest to find the Rosetta Stone bring them back together or drive them even farther apart?
I adore Lenora Bell's books. She’s crazy talented and innovative, and she writes books that have plenty of the good stuff we’ve come to associate with long-established voices of the genre but that also feel undeniably fresh. When you crack open one of her books—or tap the screen—you’ll get your Happily Ever After, but you’ll get lots of surprises on the way.
And let’s not forget how funny these books are, and how the eccentric characters captivate. Indy, in particular, is to die for—she’s dramatic and theatrical, determined and adventurous. She has to combat the prevailing attitudes toward women, specifically female archaeologists, and she does so with great aplomb and ingenuity (see earlier reference to a mustachioed woman). She’s pretty much the character a lot of us would love to be in a romance novel and/or real life.
If you’re looking for a sparkling love story that’s heavy on thrills and devotion, look no further than Lenora Bell’s For the Duke’s Eyes Only. You will be amazed.
I received this complimentary ARC from Edelweiss+ , but all opinions included are my own.
Give me that HEA, please.
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