Not the Duke’s Darling is the first book in Elizabeth Hoyt’s new Greycourt series. THE GREYCOURT SERIES is a historical romance series about two families that are torn apart by a scandal that forever changes the course of their lives and legacies.
Not the Duke’s Darling follows Freya de Moray and her quest for revenge against the man she thought ruined her family, the Duke of Harlowe. Disguised as a companion for an aristocratic family, Freya works as a spy for an organization called the Wise Women.
Freya is complicated with a giant chip on her shoulder. She’s also prickly and stubborn to a fault, which made her hard to like at first. But her motivation was understandable and easy to follow. You know exactly why she is the way she is. But her plan was no match for the attraction she felt for the Duke of Harlowe himself. Some readers do not like the idea of a “feminist” heroine because some say it’s anachronistic, which I disagree with. Feminist ideals have existed long before the term was even coined in the early 20th Century. But I digress.
Christopher, the Duke of Harlowe was a fascinating puzzle. He’s a very reticent character and the only time he comes alive is when he’s interacting with Freya. I quite enjoyed their banter, and their romance. These two have been through a lot and they had to overcome their past in order to make their romance work. And despite a not so great start, I enjoyed how their romance developed.
Being that this is the first book in the series, there’s quite a lot of information being revealed in this book. Not all, I think but enough that some of the plot points work while some did not. The Wise Women subplot was a bit underdeveloped for me. I liked the idea of it but the execution left a lot to be desired.
But overall, Not the Duke’s Darling was a solid read. It has the romance I liked with characters that I root for personally. And I’m already looking forward to the next book in the series.