After working side by side with her father for years, Nora Langley wants nothing more than to follow in his footsteps and become a doctor – unfortunately it’s the 1860s and women are not allowed to go to medical school. Regardless, when her father passes away, Nora takes his place, helping the citizens of Brambledon and responding to his mail…as her father. When she responds to medical inquiry from a Colonel Constantine Sinclair, she doesn’t think anything of it. She certainly doesn’t think striking up a correspondence with the older man will change her life in any way. That is until he comes looking for her for help (errr-her father’s help), and he’s nothing like she expected.
When Constantine, definitely not old and now the heir to a dukedom determined to do his duty, discovers Nora’s lie he’s furious and convinced he must expose her as a fraud. But when Nora follows him to London to try to help his ailing aunt, he can’t help but want to expose her in completely different ways. Soon distrust turns to respect and dislike dissolves into something a lot like love.
I was super excited for this final installment in the Rogue Files series. I really enjoyed Nora in her sisters’ books, The Duke’s Stolen Bride and The Virgin and The Rogue, and was SO ready for some opposites attract/enemies to lovers romance. And while there was some of that, there was also a lot of strange pacing and a decided lack of connection between Nora and Constantine. Yes, they had their previous correspondence when he thought he was talking to her father, but after Nora gets to London that’s hardly mentioned again. I think a bit of reflection on the conversations and friendship that stemmed from those letters would have done wonders for the actual love story here, which unfortunately fell a bit flat for me.
If you’ve read (and enjoyed) The Virgin and The Rogue, you’ll be happy to hear that the aphrodisiac does make a reappearance in The Duke Effect. Nora and Con’s meet cute is pretty great and I did still enjoy Nora, though I felt that we lost a lot of her spirit as the book progressed.
In the end, I think I wanted to like The Duke Effect a lot more than I actually did.
*Please keep in mind I read this in October 2020. The election is just over 1 week away. My mental state is likely (definitely) not the greatest. I may be harsher than I would in a different time.*
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.