So first things first, when I learned the title of the next Wilde book was Say Yes to the Duke I thought that surely this would be featuring the Duke we were supposed to be saying No to in the last one, but lo and behold, I was very wrong. Anyway.
Say Yes to the Duke centers around Viola Astley, the Wilde who isn’t a Wilde. The daughter of the Duke of Lindow’s third wife, Viola has never truly felt like a part of the Wilde clan, though she would never say that to her family. She also appears to suffer from extreme social anxiety, which makes any social setting her special version of Hell. That is until she meets the handsome new vicar with nice eyes, Mr. Maslowe. The only problem? Mr. Maslowe’s (fairly horrific) fiancée.
Viola decides to make it her mission to “save” Mr. Maslowe from his upcoming marriage (which she thinks cures her of her anxiety/shyness?) and sets out to show Maslowe what a good vicar’s wife she could be. Unfortunately for Viola, she still has to go to London for her debut and take part in her first season with her sister Joan. It’s there she meets Devin Lucas Augustus Elstan, the Duke of Wynter, who is determined to marry Joan – he wants a Wilde – and could not care less about the stepsister. The one who isn’t a real Wilde. At least, that’s what he thinks – until he meets her.
There were parts of this that worked for me and parts that didn’t. I really enjoyed the banter between Viola and Devin. They had some very sweet moments and some very hot moments. While Viola’s character seemed fully formed – although her anxiety does seem to just disappear at some point in the book – I felt like we were pieces missing from Devin. He’s supposed to be a cold, calculating Duke who doesn’t know how to have friends, but he warms to Viola right away. His journey felt disjointed, like parts were cut from it. I actually really liked Devin, so I would have loved to see more of his transformation!
The plot itself wasn’t terrible, but again it felt like pieces were missing. The secondary romance in it was fun, but there were times I wished it would focus more on Viola and Devin. It was low-angst as well, for those who are looking for that right now. Overall, while I wouldn’t say it was Eloisa James’s best, I still enjoyed it. It probably won’t get a spot on my go-to rereads shelf though!
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in return for an honest review.