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The Duke I Once Knew

(Unlikely Duchesses #1)

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  863 ratings  ·  323 reviews
First love is always the sweetest.

For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her aging parents and the children of her siblings. Now, eager to make her own life, she takes a position as governess on the neighboring estate. It shouldn’t matter that her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the infamous rake who once broke her youthful h
Mass Market Paperback, 329 pages
Published December 31st 2018 by St. Martin's Press
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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 ·  863 ratings  ·  323 reviews

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Chris  C - A Midlife Wife
Perfect change of pace and sweet romance. 3.5 stars
This is one book that I had a love/hate relationship with. I loved the theme. Older women in the Regency era definitely were frowned upon when it came time to try and marry. Plus, I love the second chance romance portion too. So sweet!

But I had issues with some of the personality characteristics the author chose to give Abby. Just some of the things that came out of her mouth didn’t sit right. She was bitter that Max was able
Lover of Romance
This review was originally posted on Addicted To RomanceI received this book for free from St. Martin's Paperbacks in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Duke I Once Knew is the first book in the newest series by Olivia Drake. I just love this author because I always know that I can easily get into her books. I was very curious to see how she would handle this book here though. And it was such a great book to read here. I was ...more
Dec 23, 2018 rated it liked it
2.5 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Though she loved her family dearly , she yearned for something more. Something of her own choosing.

First in the Unlikely Duchesses series, we have a heroine wanting to make a change. Abby was the surprise baby, her older siblings were already out of the house as she grew up. She ends up taking care of her older parents, missing a debut in London, a
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
First time read by Olivia Drake. The “Duke I Once Knew” was a very nice read that had me turning pages at certain parts of the story. The pacing of the story was very good, and I thought the HEA could have been done a bit better than what was presented in the story. I did feel that the author rushed the ending a bit to get there but I was glad to see the MC’s finding that they still loved one another.

Abigail “Abby” Linton, approaching her 30th birthday is finding herself slowly becoming the spin
A relatively fast read. Abigail Linton finds herself a spinster nearing the age of 30 after years of devoting herself to the care of her parents (now recently deceased) and assisting her older siblings with their housekeeping and children. She decides in a rare self-serving moment of impulsiveness to take on the position of governess to the sister of the absent Duke of Rothwell in the neighbouring estate. Maxwell Bryce has been absent for 15 years in fact, since the death of his mother when his ...more
The Duke I Once Knew was a quick and easy read with a good supporting cast and a second chance at love romance.

Abigail Linton has spent her life taking care of her aging parents and her siblings’ children. Now that her parents have been gone for a year, Abigail is ready to finally have a life of her own. Against her siblings’ wishes, Abigail takes a governess position on a neighboring estate to care for a duke’s younger sister. Abigail is sure she’ll never see her employer, Maxwell Bryce Duke of
Jan 17, 2021 rated it liked it
Nice story
Lili  Marcus
Full review will be posted a month before this book's out. Lili's Blissful Pages

Due to being so devoted to her family, Abigail Linton reached spinsterhood but she's set to change that. She went to the neighboring estate as a governess which is a perfect job for Abby as she spent most of her life caring for her parents and then her sibling's children. The only problem is her absentee employer is her first love, Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell. It was the man she used to meet in secret when
Susan Kennedy
I enjoyed this romance. It was remembering a past romance and a rekindling after a misunderstanding of lost letters from their past. The main characters, Abigail and Max were both very likable. The story was well written and easy to read.

Abby was a strong woman who wanted to be independent. I enjoyed getting to know her. She was quick to make assumptions, although many of them were wrong. She was kind and humble and I rooted her on. I think she made a great protagonist.

Max was an arrogant rogue
Barbara Rogers
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: iblog, netgalley
Series: Unlikely Duchesses #1
Publication Date: 12/31/18
Number of Pages: 336

I enjoyed this well-written book. It is a lovely second-chances love story with flawed but likable main characters and a ‘perfidious peahen’ of a villain. Overall, I loved the story, but I did think that some of the middle section could have been pared down and that space reallocated to flesh out the end because I thought the end was a little abrupt.

Abigail (Abby) Jane Linton is just weeks away from her thirtieth birthday
Dec 09, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a new to me author and I love second chance romances coupled with childhood friends. Sadly, I am wondering if 3 stars is too high.

I liked Abby well enough. She wants to be independent and I liked her strength and desire for something of her own. Max is just okay. He was stoic and I never warmed up to him. The scenes between the two of them lacked chemistry.

Plot wise, it was meh. Things felt repetitive and rushed {especially when it came to the letters. And while the ending was good, I
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I've been on a very good historical romance streak lately, reading many enjoyable romances and The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake continued the said streak. I loved both Abby and Max, and I loved their relationship and their chemistry. Abby's meddling family drove me crazy and they certainly added some drama to the story. Not to mention some of Rothwell's friends who tried to come between him and Abby. But, of course, this is a romance novel, so Abby and Max got their HEA despite all the inter ...more
Beneath The Covers Blog
Full review can be found HERE -->

*ARC provided for a voluntary honest review.* ~Sonal
Mar 09, 2019 marked it as nope-not-for-me
I can't. (view spoiler) ...more
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Duke I Once Knew will delight readers who are fans of historical romance novels that are light, entertaining, and simply about two people falling in love. There's no deep angst, dark deadly secrets, or hardline stance of any kind. Just good story-telling. Sometimes that's what I'm looking for. And it's all right.

Abby and Max reunite after fifteen years and the return of their love for each other is utterly believable and quite obviously inevitable. The forces that are trying to keep them apa
3.5 stars
Jen Davis
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this first book in Olivia Drake’s Unlikely Duchesses series. This is a second chance at love story between a duke and the girl who grew up as his next-door neighbor. Max and Abby fell in love when they were teenagers, but tragedy tore them apart. When Max‘s mother died, his father took him away to London and they never heard from each other again.

The thing is, this is also a Big Misunderstanding story. Because both Abby and Max wrote to each other. They both hoped for a future together
Kayla Brunson
Nov 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this one! It had two tropes that I love. Duke needing a governess and second chance romance. However, it didn’t win me over as I hoped.

I expected a bit more angst and romance. These two did a dance around each other that could have ended a bit sooner if they would have spoken about the past.

Abigail became a pushover in her family by being the youngest and going along with whatever her family wanted her to do. It was good to see her get a backbone and take charge of her
Pelusa Rivera
Oct 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Rcvd an ARC at no cost to author..(netgalley) This title was the Duke I Once Knew and after reading I wondered why she would want to know him again. So we meet Abby who is a doormat and allows her family to do whatever, she in an act of rebellion (yeah shocked me) decides to work as a governess and ends up working for her long lost love's family. At a young age Abby fell in love with Max and promises were made but unfortunately they broke up after some miscommunications and shade from others. Ma ...more
Sissy's Romance Book Review
4.5 Stars
THE DUKE I ONCE KNEW by Olivia Drake is book One in the Unlikely Duchesses series. This is the story of Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell and Abigail Linton.
Max and Abby were young when they feel in love but Max had to leave with his father and sister. Both making promises to write letters and that he would come back for her. But a misunderstanding from someone wanting them to stay apart kept them apart. Now several years later they are once facing each other. Abby had taken to helpi
Tracy  C
Oct 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I struggled a bit reading this. It was very stiff and formal for me. I know it was historical, but Abby was such an uptight prude I had a hard time believing she was 30. I like my heroine a bit more feisty. And her family was filled with self centered jerks. Max was all right but I felt like he could use some starch to his spine!
Caitlyn Lynch
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: regency-georgian
Part of a charming series called the Cinderella Spinsterhood, The Duke I Once Knew tells the story of a pair of innocent teenagers forced apart by circumstances and denied the comfort even of friendship. Abigail is left behind with her family, needed to be a support to her mother after a disabling fall, while Max is swept off to London with his ducal father.

Fast forward fifteen years and Abigail is trapped in an endless cycle between relatives, needed to be a support to siblings and their child
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lovely second chance story. Abigail and Maxwell were such a joy to read as a couple and as independent characters. They were sweethearts when young but circumstances beyond their control made them part ways. Years later, Abigail is what could be considered long in the tooth. She didn’t even get to enjoy a season because of her love for her aging parents and now that they are dead she’s forced to face her reality of being a spinster with no life of her own. With that in mind, she concocts a plan ...more
Sofia Lazaridou
Dec 31, 2018 rated it liked it
I don't know how I was able to continue reading the book after the first 30%. The story begins with the heroine been treated horribly by her siblings. The whole vibe I was getting when I was reading that scene was that Abby was a burden and each sibling had his own life to live. Abby had some attitude and self esteem which was good, but she didn't get a guy who was good enough for her and made me think that he actually cared for her. Wanna know why? Because we are first introduced to Max when he ...more
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When two childhood sweethearts find themselves together after years apart, does their romance have a chance to be rekindled now that he’s a duke and she’s a governess?
Misunderstandings abound in this lovely second chance romance. Communications between our hero and heroine were misdirected so when neither one heard from the other they rightly or wrongly decided that there was nothing to be pursued.
Now they are grown and he has come into his title as Duke. Far from what they were as childhood swe
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Did you know that Olivia Drake is actually Barbara Dawson Smith? Well, don't feel bad. I didn't know for a long time either. I did know that I liked her writing voice and when I found out who she was, I knew why.

This is the first story in her Unlikely Duchesses series and if all the books in that series come even close to this story, I am going to really love it.

Max and Abigail were such an unlikely duo, and yet I could see the attraction and feel their feelings toward each other evolve with the
Sep 30, 2018 rated it liked it
I received a free copy from Netgalley.

This historical romance is full of misunderstandings and overly dramatic language. While it made the heroine more real, it became irritating. The plot device of her choosing to become a governess and then being hired as one, was flimsy and barely scraped by as believable. I enjoyed the mystery of the letters and what results from it being solved.

An okay story but not one I'm in a hurry to read again.
Susan Peterson
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, first ever by this author. Abby and Max were two very likable, feisty, charming and passionate characters. The scenes between them crackled with tension, attraction, and affection. This book was heartwarming and romantic, tender and steamy. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in this series. I received a copy of this book from Net Galley.
Cocktails and Books
I wanted to like this one more but I found it hard to believe this couple could easily come back from the years they had been separated. She seemed to provincial for the Duke and he to indulgent in his life in London to ever be happy in the country.
Cyndi Becker
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Duke I Once Knew is a delightful introduction to author Olivia Drake and I'm thrilled to find she has a vast catalog from which to explore. But first to share my thoughts on this story about young love, miss communication and missed opportunities between near spinster Abby Linton and the apparent libertine Maxwell Bryce.

When Abby finds herself tired of living the life prescribed by her family, she strikes out on her own to become the governess to the neighboring Duke of Rothwell's young sist
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Shortly after graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in journalism, Olivia Drake sold her first novel two weeks after sending it to a publisher. She now lives in Texas in a cozy cottage with two feisty cats and a photographer husband. Her two daughters have flown the nest, but still come back whenever they want a home-cooked meal!

Olivia Drake is the author of 35 romance novels. He

Other books in the series

Unlikely Duchesses (3 books)
  • Forever My Duke (Unlikely Duchesses, #2)
  • When a Duke Loves a Governess (Unlikely Duchesses, #3)

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