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Debutante Diaries #2

The Duke Is But a Dream

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Once upon a time three young ladies vowed to record their first London seasons…and to fill in the gaps of their finishing school educations. Thus began The Debutante Diaries—and London will never be the same…


Miss Lily Hartley is the anonymous mastermind behind the ton’s latest obsession: The Debutante’s Revenge, a titillating advice column for ladies on the marriage mart. To keep her identity secret, Lily delivers her columns disguised as a chimney sweep—which is all well and good, until she unwittingly lands in the middle of an ugly tavern brawl. Fortunately, the devastatingly handsome Duke of Stonebridge sweeps in to rescue her.Unfortunately, Lily’s dressed as a boy—and holding rather incriminating evidence linking her to the scandalous column. Drat.


When Eric Nash, Duke of Stonebridge, sees a helpless lad receive a nasty blow to the head, he’s outraged. But when he discovers there’s a beautiful woman hiding beneath the chimney sweep’s cap, he’s positively stunned. Nash would happily escort her home, but she’s forgotten her name—leaving him little choice but to take her in himself until he can locate her family. But the closer he gets to finding them, the more he doesn’t want to let her go.


Lily’s trying to figure out exactly who she is…in more ways than one. With so much at stake—her column, her reputation, and even her heart—she needs a plan, and she needs it fast. Before Nash finds her family. Before he learns who she is. Before they fall totally, completely, and utterly inconveniently in love.

Kindle Edition

First published July 30, 2019

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About the author

Anna Bennett

11 books419 followers
Anna Bennett started swiping romances from her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager and decided historicals (with their balls, dukes, and gowns) were the best. So, when she had the chance to spend a semester in London she packed her bags—and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.

Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anna found her way back to writing the stories she loves and won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® for Regency Historical Romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen. Her weaknesses include reality TV, cute shoes, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

Sign up for Anna's newsletter here! http://bit.ly/2dFW5bv

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 333 reviews
July 29, 2019
2 Yea didn't feel the dream stars


I will be giving some spoilers to explain why I don't like the book. Please don't read if you don't want spoilers.

I'm sorry, I tried. I really did, but I didn't like this book at all. I don't want to go into to much details. Especially with the plot, and drop any major spoilers, but I will try to give the reasons why this wasn't my jam. First off I have no clue what the time period is. There is no mention of a date, I just know it's historical. That only bugged me a little, but still it would have been nice to have a time frame. My biggest problem with this book, and it was something I just couldn't overlook at all, was that Lily and Nash didn't act like historical English aristocrats at all. This could have been set in 2019 the way Lily acted. Nash too, but his could be overlooked as men got away with more back then. Without saying to much, Lily gets amnesia. With no memory of who she is, and being a lady of (I'm guessing some time in 1800s, because again no timeline) She after 2 days of knowing the duke, is making out with him, going down on him, and willing to ruin herself, by having sex with a total stranger. She didn't know if she was married. Back in a day when women didn't do that, and even when they did it was with very little knowledge of the act going into it. Not Lily, she was going at it like a seasoned pro.

She didn't have any virginal shyness. She was DTF from the start. It was just too much. Even if she was full of passion, and love for Nash, and decided to go all the way she wouldn't have been so bold. Hello, she only knew him for a couple of days! Yet I'm to believe that a sheltered, young virgin, lady of the ton would be giving a handy, a bj, letting him go down on her, and losing her v card riding him. It was just so far out of the norm from that time-ish period that I couldn't stop rolling my eyes. She was like that the whole book. It was unbelievable. If I can't believe in the love, then I can't connect to the couple. This book was just not for me. I found myself bored, annoyed at the ridiculousness of it all, and I was happy to be done with it. I don't think I will be trying this author again, or at least not in the Historical Romance dept. Sorry.

Profile Image for Debby *BabyDee*.
1,140 reviews58 followers
May 29, 2019
I started reading this book on a business trip and was unsure of how the story was going to progress as Anna Bennett is a new author and I've had some new author's novels go awry. I was surprising wrong with this one and thought the story was very quite nice and good in parts.

Caroline is hit in the head and has amnesia. She eventually has an affair with the Duke of Nash, who appears to be a very nice person and a very protective person. The story has its emotional twists, turns and unexpect events. There were at times some lull moments for me in the story but the plot did not deter from my interest in continuing to read to the end.

For historical romances, I am big on attraction and intimacy...at least a moderate portion of it in the story and Ms. Bennett fulfilled that aspect with the sexy love scenes between the characters. I look forward to other reads by this author and would love to listen to the story via audiobook depending on narrator.

ARC provided by NetGalley and St. Martins Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review.
Profile Image for Barbara Rogers.
1,483 reviews137 followers
July 28, 2019
Series: Debutante Diaries #2
Publication Date: 7/30/19
Number of Pages: 320

3.5 stars rounded up

This was an entertaining read and I enjoyed it. However, in order to enjoy it, I had to totally suspend my beliefs and any knowledge I might have about this period in history. It is a very modern feminist tale that happens to have carriages rather than automobiles. While it is part of a series, this book can be read and enjoyed as a standalone.

Eric Nash, Duke of Stonebridge inherited his title at the age of eighteen when he lost both his father and his twin sister. He’s blamed himself for his part in their deaths for the last five years and is now a very overprotective brother and guardian to his younger sister Danielle, who is now eighteen. Danielle very much wants to live in London and has finally convinced her brother to bring her there, even though the memories in their townhouse and London haunt him. He and Danielle are arguing more and more as his overprotectiveness keeps her from being able to attend entertainments or even having a suitor. He’ll never marry because his heart is cold and he’ll never, ever love anyone – because love brings pain and suffering.

Lily Hartley is a very wealthy debutant. She, along with her sister Fiona (First Earl I See Tonight) and their best friend Sophia is responsible for a weekly column, The Debutant’s Revenge, in the London Hearsay. Lily is the one who actually writes the column – and there is some very modern advice contained therein. The authoress of the column is kept between just the three of them because if their identities got out, it would ruin them and their families. So, when Lily delivers the column to the newspaper, she dresses as a chimney sweep.

When a set of very unusual circumstances occur, Lily ends up in London without her sister or her parents as a chaperone. Lily decides to take advantage of this newfound freedom and explore a bit of London after she drops off the column at the newspaper. She is enjoying seeing the streets from a different perspective and the male clothing affords her the anonymity to walk freely. At least until it starts to rain and she ducks into the Grey Goose to wait out the rain. Of course, trouble finds her and she’s knocked unconscious and loses her memory. Nash, who is also in the pub rescues her and takes her to his home to recuperate.

While she is at Nash’s home, they give her a new name, Caroline, until they can identify her. She quickly becomes attached to Nash’s sister, Delilah, and they become fast friends. She also works her way under Nash’s skin and begins to tear down all of the walls he’s built around his heart.

The story was entertaining and I liked the characters.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Christa.
852 reviews67 followers
May 14, 2019

Lily is a young heiress who writes a scandalous column for the paper - The Debutante’s Revenge .

When her parents go out of town and think she’s staying with her sister, and her sister goes out of town and thinks she’s at home with her parents, Lily gets free reign of town. So she dresses up like a boy and goes to a tavern to see how the other half lives.

When she gets robbed, Nash the duke who was broodily having a pint in the tavern comes to her defense. She gets knocked out in the fight, where Nash discovers that Lily is a girl. He takes her back to his place and when Lily comes to, she has no memory of who she is.

There’s a lot of suspending disbelief in this novel. I think my biggest one was that is not how a duke would behave. I mean, they are all about proprietary and he takes a girl he met dressed up like a boy to meet his sister? If his being a duke had any relevance to the story, fine. But the only purpose it served was to give the title alliteration. If Nash has been a nice guy who wasn’t titled, this would have been a sweet story.

There’s also a lot of modern sensibilities that wouldn’t be accepted. The heroine is unchaperoned for over a week in London, dresses up like a guy without a care for her reputation. She’s also an adopted heiress - unknown parentage was a big big deal back in those days.

I picked up the story because of the amnesia plot line, and that wasn’t too bad. The writing was very good and there weren’t any glaring grammatical errors.

I’d recommend borrowing before buying.
Profile Image for Susan (susayq ~).
2,077 reviews121 followers
May 21, 2019
What a great story! I enjoyed this so much I had to check to see what else I have by Anna Bennett on my TBR and what I had already read by her. I've read a couple by her already and loved them as well. Her writing flows easily and her characters are so lovable.

I loved watching Lily (Caroline) bring Nash out of his shell. I don't want to say too much, just know they are wonderful together :)
Profile Image for Becky.
394 reviews167 followers
November 4, 2019
I don’t have much experience with memory loss books, but the storyline didn’t really work for me in this one — though I found it charming for the most part, it gave me a sense of unease. I suppose this is good because the author has managed to transfer the feelings of the character onto me, but I really didn’t enjoy the particular feelings! I did enjoy the mystery and the intrigue that came with it though, and it definitely got me thinking!

I loved the article that she was the writer of and how it spoke brazenly about relationships and sex, and portrayed the idea that women do not exist purely for men’s entertainment. I really did like that and the quotes at the start of chapters were fantastic. I would honestly read that section of the paper every single day! It was a really welcome element of the book and I really, really appreciated the feminism running through this book. I often approach historical romances with trepidation because I fear that sexism may be at the forefront, but it definitely was not the case with this story — feminism, sex, love, women etc were expressed brilliantly, fantastically and so refreshingly. I found the addition of frank discussion about women finding pleasure in sex particularly great, and loved how all sexist assumptions about sex were debunked in such a funny, clever way. I just loved it!

The writing was fantastic, the pacing was great, and my favourite thing about the novel was The Debutante Diaries! It’s a lot of fun reading these sections and adds so much to the story and gives it a further depth.

I adored the female friendship featured in this, too, and really adored seeing their relationship blossom. I actually felt more chemistry between the male protagonists sister and Lily and didn’t feel much between Lily and Nash, which was extremely disappointing given that they’re at the forefront of the novel.

That being said, I had a fun time reading it! If you want a historical romance sans the sexism, go for this one! It was a massive amount of fun and I can’t wait to read more from this author. I would recommend this to both seasoned romance readers and new ones; I think it’s definitely a winner.
August 27, 2019
Anna Bennett's Debutante Diaries is a rollicking good time!

Lily Hartley is one of London's debutantes, and while she may not be titled, her family is extremely wealthy. When Lily isn't attending soiree's, visiting with her sister and new husband, or dreaming about meeting mister right, she secretly pen's The Debutante Diaries, a column for young women looking for love in London's society. When she find's herself alone and unchaperoned for two weeks, Lily decides to see how the other half (men) live by dressing as a boy and entering a tavern. Her mission of freedom soon turns to folly though when she is robbed and struck on her head, causing her to loose all memory of herself. Enter Eric Nash, the Duke of Stonebridge.
Brooding and melancholy, Nash wants nothing but to reminisce on his failures in peace. His plans are quickly thwarted though when he comes to the defense of a seemingly young boy about to get robbed and beat. Maybe a good brawl is exactly what he needs though. When the boy is knocked unconscious, Nash is shocked to find a young woman instead. A beautiful young woman. Knowing how improper it would be for her to be found out in such a public setting, Nash quickly brings the her to his townhouse to recover.
As Lily tries to recall her past she can't help but become fascinated by the handsome duke that came to her rescue. But what if she is merely a kitchen made instead of a peer? That road can only lead to heartache and Nash has already warned her that he is incapable of love. Can a woman with no past and a man with no future find love in the present?

The Duke Is But a Dream was a sweet romance. While fairly improbable, I liked Lily's forward thinking character. She was ahead of her time in her thinking and her independence. Somewhat naive, yes, but it lead to an entertaining story-line. I also really enjoyed the building of Lily and Nash's romance. There was an attraction, as is understandable with two good-looking people who have charming personalities. But there was also a good amount of getting to know you, and in Lily's case, getting to know herself. Nash had his moments. I appreciated his need to protect his sister, and sympathized with the scars from his past. He was quite bullheaded though, which was frustrating at times. Nash's sister Delilah was a delight. She added lightness and humor to the plot while Lily's identity and that of the The Debutante Diaries added intrigue. There was also the side plot of Lily's true parentage, since she was adopted by the Hartley's as a baby, which gave her character some nice closure at the end.

That all being said, The Duke Is But a Dream was slow moving and not as exciting as the first book in the series, First Earl I See Tonight. Overall, I enjoyed the read though and look forward to the next book in the series. On a side note that I mentioned in my review of the first book; I don't care for how the women in these stories only use the men's surnames when addressing them. It's not as intimate in my mind as if they were to use their given names, such as Eric in this case.


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Profile Image for Elodie’s Reading Corner.
2,446 reviews110 followers
July 30, 2019
I confess I was granted this ARC some days ago but more pressing reads stolen its place in my reading list.
And worst, I even have the previous book in the series and it was forgotten somewhere on my shelves.
Lily with her sister and friend decided to improve in their own way the life of the ton’s debutantes with their wicked column. I liked her boldness, and strength. She is clever and has a level head.

« She wasn’t about to give up her spot among the potted palms for a man who thought women were mere ornaments. »

Nash is a good man, despite his guilt, he thinks only to protect his remaining sister even if his way to show it is quite over the top. And because of past experience, he has decided, Love is surrendering its sanity.

« In his mind, love always led to pain, devotion to disaster. And he didn’t have room in his heart for those messy, unpredictable emotions. Didn’t have room for her. »

I liked the side characters, I was just a bit upset at Nash’s sister, she knows how wounded he was from their family’s history and she repeats the storyline, it was trivial and hurtful.
The book sucked me in, the main characters were very lovable until at some stage of the story , it felt like something was missing.
I enjoyed reading Lily and Nash’s journey but he didn’t appear to behave like a duke, sure if I count well, he is only 23, but I thought a Duke would have acted more “duke-like”.
Plus their week-trip alone was not right, no inn would have accepted them so easily, did I missed something in the story?
In all, it was a lovely story and Mrs Anna Bennet has joined my list of to-read-authors.
4.5 stars
I was provided an advance copy by Netgalley and St Martin’s Press, but I purchased my own copy and I voluntarily give my true and unbiased opinion.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,694 reviews702 followers
July 16, 2019
I was pitched this book and was intrigued at the synopsis. I’ve only read a couple of amnesia stories and I’m never sure how to feel about them.

I liked Lily and Delilah and the other women in this book. They’re all smart and headstrong and striving to make their own decisions. I wasn’t completely sold on Nash. He’s had some tragic things happen and means well, but comes across as an ass more than not.

Plot wise, it was okay. The entire story is mostly fluff and the serious conflict that was implied turned out to be not really a big deal. I felt like the entire story was me being told they loved each other. I didn’t actively see the jump to love — especially with the head injury and this entire story spanning 2 weeks.

Overall, it was a quick read that did entertain me, but I’m left wondering if 3 stars is too high.

**Huge thanks to St. Martin’s Paperbacks for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Simply Love Book Reviews.
6,924 reviews820 followers
July 31, 2019
The Duke is but a Dream is a charming read for the second story in the Debutante Diaries. Lily Hartley, dressed as a boy in order to deliver her advice column, decides to explore while she is out and goes to a pub. Unfortunately, she is caught in a bar brawl and injured. She awakens in her hero’s home only to realize that she has lost her memory. As a guest in the Duke of Stonebridge’s home, she befriends his younger sister Delilah, and they become close confidantes. Nash, the Duke himself, is having a time dealing with his sister Delilah and her entrance into society, and now has a young woman he feels responsible for, who tempts him to want her. Lily picks the name Caroline to call herself while she recovers, and takes risks she probably wouldn’t have if she had her memory. Who knew that she would have to lose her memory in order to find herself.

This story has a number of good points that make it an enjoyable read. It has a grumpy but likable hero, trying to do the right thing but is caught up in the past. A bond forms between the two young women and a true friendship develops. Nash and Caroline/Lily know it might be impossible to be together, not knowing her true identity, but that doesn’t stop some very steamy moments between them. The characters are captivating, the plot is intriguing and with a dash of mystery, this makes a delightful historical romance. The author goes to great length to develop her characters and show them in different lights. Life is complicated and the past has a way of coming around to haunt them, but they must learn to live with it. Nash, Lily and Delilah learn about themselves along this journey and make the best of their situations. The more stories I read from Anna Bennett the more I’m impressed with the care she takes in her stories. It was a thoroughly pleasant read and I can’t wait for the next one in the series.

Review copy provided for a voluntary review.
Profile Image for Jenny.
283 reviews21 followers
May 19, 2019
This book contains several of my favorites—a heroine who is an author/journalist, a grumpy, redeemable hero, and lots of plot development through female friendships and sisterhood. It contains some genuine crazy-sauce elements, like a mysterious origin story, not one, but TWO trips to Gretna Greene, and amnesia! Unfortunately, it also contains one of my least favorite tropes. Nash “can’t possibly love anyone,” least of all Lily, because he’s emotionally stunted (like every other English male in the peerage during the Romance Novel Era).

I say Romance Novel Era, because it’s not exactly clear which historical time period this is set in. If that’s something that annoys you, this might not be a book for you. However, the characters are beautifully developed, the relationship is built in a believable, genuine way, and I am really looking forward to the other characters’ books.

ARC provided by NetGalley and St Martins Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review.
Profile Image for Aly.
2,280 reviews67 followers
August 3, 2019

When Miss Lily Hartley find herself alone while her sister and their parents are out of town, she decide to have a little fun and go explore outside, disguise as a boy... Because you see, Lily is not like every other ladies. She, with the help of her sister and their friend Sophie, is the anonymous authoress of a scandalous column who's first purpose is to educate young debutantes about life and love. So after dropping their last paper, Lily find trouble in a tavern. When she wake up again, after bumping her head too hard and being rescued by the Duke of Stonebridge, Lily doesn't remember who she is. Fortunately, she can count on Nash, the duke, and his sister to help her find answers about who she is.

At 18, Eric Nash lost beloved people and became the caretaker for his 13 years old sister. The cicumstances in which he lost the people he love made him overprotective (which anger Delilah who would like to live her life the way she wants). It's also why he closed his heart to love. When he meet the young lady with memory loss, the attraction is mutual but a life together would never be possible and not because of who she could be. Affection is okay. But not love. Never love. He refuse to fall in love.

The reason for why I can't give an higher rating is simple. Between Nash and Lily, it was insta-love and I'm not a fan of insta-love. Other than that, I like the idea of the Debutante's Revenge and their cheeky columns. And I like the whole "have to lose you to find yourself" moral too. The MC complete each other perfectly. She's more adventurous and he likes to play it safe. But both value compassion and respect.

I'm curious to know what's waiting for the next heroine.
Profile Image for Niki (mustreadalltheromance).
1,126 reviews78 followers
February 8, 2021
Miss Lily Hartley, along with her sister and her best friend, is the writer behind their anonymous and wildly popular advice column, The Debutante's Revenge. To maintain that anonymity Lily dresses as a boy to deliver the completed columns to the paper, which works fine until her bid to enjoy a little freedom lands her in the midst of a tavern brawl.

When Eric Nash, the Duke of Stonebridge, sees a young boy facing three attackers, he steps in to help and is shocked to find that the boy is in fact a woman. When Lily is rendered unconscious in the melee, Nash views himself as partly responsible and brings her to his home to recover.

Unfortunately, when she wakes she has no memory of her family or even her own name, so Nash takes her in and tries to help her remember and find her family. But the more time he spends with Lily, the less he wants her to leave him and return to her life. The two grow extremely close, but after everything he's been through, Nash is convinced he can never love Lily the way she deserves. Too bad Lily has already lost her heart and risked her reputation, not to mention Nash's potential wrath when he learns she is the authoress behind the Debutante's Revenge.

Lily was a true romantic and Nash was gruff and terrified of his feelings, afraid love and devotion could only ever lead to disaster and believing himself incapable of deep emotion. He was really quite sad but Lily was his perfect foil. It was very sweet to see these two both find themselves and find their way to each other. The pacing was great; just when the amnesia started to go on a big long, it was brought to a conclusion and I found the ending quite satisfying. All in all, this was a great read and I look forward to the next one.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Blog link: https://mustreadalltheromance.blogspo...
Profile Image for Judi Easley.
1,381 reviews46 followers
July 29, 2019
The Duke is But a Dream
Debutante Diaries #2
Anna Bennett
St. Martin’s Press, Jul 2019
317 pages, Kindle
Historical romance

The cover is lovely! The cool grayed blue of the background makes it airy and open. The archway in the background is a nice touch as well. But the piece de resistance is the absolutely luscious ivory gown the lovely lady is wearing front and center. Its lace and flounces and train create an almost angel-like appearance. More earthly would be a bridal look, I suppose. This does not at all reflect the actions of the young woman in the book.

It’s always fun to read a historical romance with a rebellious woman who’s ahead of her times and who bends society’s rules a bit. However, Lily Hartley doesn’t just bend the rules, she breaks them and stomps all over them. She’s so far ahead of her times that she might almost be time-traveling from the future! No duke of his time would have allowed his young, impressionable sister anywhere near this unknown person he’d brought home from a pub brawl. Then when she has no memory of who she is or where she comes from. Huh! Her very behavior speaks loud and clear, no matter what his feelings or wants might be. I know we are supposed to suspend belief when we read these books, but this just seemed so unrealistic that I couldn’t enjoy anything but the lovely picture on the cover.

Even before Lily loses her memory, when she and her sister, Fiona are talking: (quote from unedited ARC may not appear in final pub edition)

“Do you ever worry that one of our readers will find herself in trouble because of our advice?”

Lily considered the question. “I suppose that if a reader was caught doing something improper, her reputation could suffer a bit. There are worse fates”

Fiona nodded, thoughtful, “She could be forced to marry a man she doesn’t love.”

“You have a point,” Lily conceded. “But our readers know the column isn’t meant to be taken as gospel. The advice is on the daring side and a bit tongue-in-cheek. Still, truth lies at the heart of all we say. We should not shy away from the truth”

Fiona pulled Lily into an unexpectedly fierce hug. “You’re absolutely right. Someone needs to champion all the shy debutantes and meek wallflowers out there, and I can think of no one better than you.”

Good Lord! Fiona is a newly married sister who draws pictures for the column. Her art is apparently improving the longer she’s married. Lily writes the column from her position of a virgin, unmarried, uncourted, unkissed. There is a third young woman, Sophie, also unmarried, who is involved in the column. These three are giving advice to the wallflowers of society on how to catch a husband! At least Fiona’s married, but she’s only drawing pictures, which the debutantes don’t need to see at this stage of their courting! Debs in history got in trouble being caught in a clutch with any man. They got married very quickly without being asked if this was the one they wanted or not. Her comment that “her reputation could suffer”? Yes, that reputation she talks about was what all those debs worked day and night to keep spotless. Without that, they were nothing in society, whether high society or something more common. So daring advice is probably not what they should be getting from anyone!

As I said, it all just seemed too unrealistic. Sometimes a story will be a little off, but this one is just too out of kilter with its timeframe to work for me. Too bad, because Lily could have been a good rebellious heroine in another time. Sorry that I can’t recommend it.
Profile Image for eyes.2c.
2,368 reviews44 followers
July 30, 2019
A duke intervenes!

A columnist for a young lady's guide to "how-to-survive" for Debutantes, a fight in a tavern, a lad discovered to be a lass, a brooding stranger, memory loss and safety.
Lily Hartley writer of the gossip column The Debutantes Revenge for London Hearsay delivers her latest work, enjoys a moment of exploring life as a scrawny messenger boy, and then disaster strikes.
Eric Nash, Duke of Stonebridge, has fled his house after a fight with his sister, ends up having a drink in a seedy tavern in an even seedier part of London and steps into assist a youth being set upon. Imagine his surprise when that lad turns out to be a lass! And when that lass/lad is knocked unconscious, then suffers loss of memory.
Nash takes her home, calls the doctor and allows Lily to stay until they can discover who she is.
Unfortunately the alarm won't be sounded as Lily's parents think she's staying with her sister Fiona whilst they go to Bath. Meanwhile Fiona thinks Lily has returned to their parents' house whilst she goes on a sudden trip to Scotland with her husband Grey.
It appears Lily, now called Caroline, won't be missed for a couple of weeks.
Of course the sparks fly between Caroline and the Duke. Of course he has other problems that interfere with his willingness to acknowledge his love for her. But of course there is a HEA. The getting there involves a lot of interplay, and a testing of each other, of the chemistry between them. But really, the storyline becomes somewhat predictable, and even the falling into each other's arms with such frequency becomes a tad ho hum.
After all, this young miss is following her own column's advice even if she doesn't know she's the author.
Nash's sister Delilah is a delightful young woman, guarded closely by her brother. Delilah has a mind of her own who shows Caroline / Lily nothing but kindness. The two for a strong bond, and then Delilah follows her heart but unfortunately she's not been made aware of why she should be cautious. That leads to even more problems. All collides when Lily regains her memory and Nash finds out her columnist activities for a publication he detests.
There are parts, like the beginning, I loved but the resolution for me didn't have the same strength.

A St. Martin's Press ARC via NetGalley
Profile Image for Tracy Emro.
1,756 reviews44 followers
July 27, 2019
3.5 stars rounded up

Lily Hartley’s life is turned upside down by what she thought was an opportunity for adventure. Lily along with her sister, Fiona and their friend, Sophie are responsible for the popular column “The Debutante’s Revenge” in the London Hearsay paper – Lily has just settled into her sister’s house for a visit when Fiona’s new husband wants to whisk her away for a romantic trip, Lily insists that Fiona go and then remembers that her parents are also away – she decides to use the time and freedom to do things she would normally never have a chance to do – so dressed as a boy, she delivers her column and sets out to have an adventure. But instead of adventure, she ends up in a tavern brawl and is knocked out cold!!

Eric Nash, the Duke of Stonebridge is at the tavern after a fight with his sister Delilah trying to calm down when he sees the young lad being accosted by thugs, he didn’t come to the tavern for a fight, but maybe it is just what he needs – it isn’t until he realizes the “lad” accidentally gets knocked out that he realizes “he” is a “she” – he takes her back to his home and calls for a doctor – but when she wakes, she has no memory of who she is or why she was dressed as a boy and in the tavern.

Lily becomes Caroline and begins to help Nash and Delilah find some common ground, she also learns of Nash’s greatest pain, the reason he is so protective of Delilah and why he never plans on falling in love. But as they grow closer, Lily wonders if Nash’s heart is available and gives hers without pause, but when Lily’s advice in the column tears the family apart and Nash once again erects walls around his heart, is all lost or will love find a way?

I thought this was a cute story, however, it was a little predictable, formulaic and I thought Lily’s behavior bordered on TSTL on more than one occasion – especially for someone who was so concerned about her “reputation”. But overall it was an entertaining read with great characters, warm love scenes and a HEA. It is the second book in the series, but it can easily be read as a stand alone title.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an uncorrected e-ARC that was provided to me by NetGalley, Edelweiss and the publisher.*
Profile Image for Jen Ryland.
1,450 reviews898 followers
July 14, 2019
This was okay. Amnesia plots are tricky to pull off and there was more contrivance in this than was ideal for me as a reader. Plus there were a LOT of tropes crammed in there: the secret lady columnist, woman disguised as a boy, amnesia, mystery parentage...

I liked Lily and felt bad for her (okay, really bad for her because she was missing for weeks with amnesia and no one seemed to notice.) For me Eric was a little overbearing and hypocritical - he was obsessed with his sister behaving correctly while he was, of course, doing all kinds of things a nobleman shouldn't.

Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review!

Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com! Check out my Bookstagram!
Profile Image for Addie Yoder.
596 reviews44 followers
May 15, 2020
I received the third book in this series as a reviewer and couldn't stop reading. I had to find out how Lily and Fiona's stories played out as soon as I was finished. Lily is such a spunky and fun character. She is brave and confident and I just love her. I deeply enjoyed this story of her memory loss and finding love and who she is through that process. Anna Bennett does such a good job of creating warm characters who have flaws and shows their growth so well. These books have great character development and I just got so attached to them and their stories. This series was just what I needed!
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,292 reviews263 followers
August 12, 2019
The Duke Is But a Dream features a delightful romance and is a fantastic continuation of the Debutante Diaries series.

Miss Lily Hartley is the anonymous author behind The Debutante’s Revenge, an advice column for young ladies that the ton considers scandalous. One night while on her way home after delivering her next column Lily is forced to seek shelter in a tavern to avoid a storm. When a fight breaks out in the tavern Lily, disguised as a boy, is knocked unconscious and rescued by the Duke of Stonebridge. But upon awakening, Lily has no idea who she is or how she came to be in the tavern. As Lily spends time recovering in Nash’s home, the attraction between her and Nash grows stronger every day and soon the pair are at risk of losing their hearts.

Lily is a very clever young woman who believes other young ladies should better prepare themselves for what happens when looking for a match. In the ton’s eyes, Lily’s ideas are considered scandalous or radical as they encourage young women to take control over their own love lives, hence the need for anonymity. I liked getting to see how much the columns meant to Lily and how she simply wanted to help others with her advice.

Nash lost his twin sister and his father in a carriage accident several years prior to the start of the book which is something that still greatly affects him. Nash was very close with his sister and he blames himself for her death. Due to his guilt, Nash is very controlling when it comes to his younger sister which causes some tension between them. While I did understand where Nash was coming from, his overprotectiveness did get frustrating at times.

Lily and Nash’s relationship was wonderful from the start and I found myself really enjoying it despite amnesia storylines not being my favorite. Lily was able to open up and be herself without any of society’s constraints as she had no memory of how a lady was expected to behave. With Nash, she’s able to be open and honest and I loved how playful and sarcastic she could be. The story takes place over a very short amount of time, but I had no issues buying into their relationship as their circumstances made the rapidness of their relationship make sense. Lily and Nash have amazing chemistry and when their relationship progresses physically, it’s very well done.

Overall The Duke Is But a Dream was a very enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to reading more from the author in the future.

**I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
Profile Image for Jypsy .
1,523 reviews76 followers
Want to read
May 13, 2019
The Duke is But a Dream is a charming Regency era story. Lily writes an advice column for young girls. She writes it secretly, of course, and delivers it dressed as a boy. One day, there is an incident, and a handsome Duke, Nash, discovers that Lily is not a boy. Unfortunately, Lily has amnesia at this point. She doesn't remember the advice column. This story has some humor, some romance, and it's a fun read. The characters have good interactions, and you'll want things to work out for them. Everything you would expect in a good historical romance is here. Overall, this is a satisfying read. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
2,335 reviews12 followers
May 9, 2019
This is the second book in the series and I enjoyed it almost as much as the first book. This is Lila's story and she is feeling a little bit lost or lonely since her sister Fiona (first book) found the love of her life..Lila and her sister and friend Sophie write an advice column but can not let it be known that they are the writers or they will be shunned, it was an era where woman really could not voice their opinions and especially if two of them were still not matched..We have disguises, amnesia, brothels and love..Enjoyable!! Grab a copy!

Rcvd an ARC at no cost to author..(netgalley) voluntarily reviewed with my own thoughts and opinions
Profile Image for Sissy's Romance Book Review .
7,642 reviews16 followers
July 30, 2019
The Duke Is But a Dream by Anna Bennett is book Two in the Debutante Diaries Series. This is the story of Eric Nash, Duke of Stonebridge and Lily Hartley. I have read the previous book but feel you can make this a standalone book if you wish to do so. Eric has taken over his title at a early age along with his family responsibilities. Lily is a well off debutante who in secret writes a weekly column called The Debutantes Revenge but she has help with it via her sister and friend. When she finds herself unchaperoned she sneaks out to deliver her column along with exploring the other side of life. There she ends up a victim in a brawl that leads her to meet Eric. Of course she has to protect her name and reputation which leads to Eric wanting to help her.
Enjoyed their story.

July 13, 2019
***I received this book via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review***

This was a cute story. I feel like I say that a lot, but it's how I feel. The characters were nice and the romance was fairly well-paced. It's also an amnesia story line which I've only read once before.

Lily was a likable character and I really liked her writing. Nash was a little brooding, but not annoyingly so. I'm not a huge fan of overprotective big brothers, but he grew a little and you can tell it comes from a place of love. I would've liked a little more development in the romance, but it wasn't too much of an issue. I would have liked some more development in some of the side story lines as well as the friendships.

It was a fast and enjoyable read, but nothing special. It was a little forgettable, but I would read other books in the series because I like the characters.

Originally posted: https://daydreamingthroughbooks.blogs...
Profile Image for Macayla Fryc.
266 reviews16 followers
August 22, 2020
Being in the mood for a cheesy romance that demanded nothing of me mentally or emotionally, I picked this ARC. But boy, it was tough to get through. True to what other reviewers are saying, you have to suspend disbelief in most everything from the way the main characters act to the intuition with which they just "happen" to figure out key plots in the main storyline.
My biggest hurdle was the (so sorry, author) failed delivery of promising scenes. Example: The story starts to heat up when the heroine, dressed as a boy, finds herself facing two drunks ("of muscle and flesh") at a bar. Of course, the brooding handsome stranger hero from the corner steps in to save the supposed "lad" and ushers her out the door. But of course, she doesn't leave. She literally tells him,"I'll help you." Like h--- you will. The hero, winning the fight without even knowing how ruggedly striking he is (eye roll), picks up one of the drunks and literally "tosses" him. The heroine, worthlessly standing there and who of course is in the way, is toppled when the drunk lands on her, and on her way down, she hits her head and thus: amnesia.

I sat there thinking: You had so much potential with a cliche, yet still enjoyable setting, yet you choose to give the heroine amnesia not because she was ruthlessly attacked or was in the middle of some heroic act of saving an innocent, or even was intentionally knocked out. No. You gave her amnesia by way of the hero throwing a drunk man on top of her.

Of course, that cues the rest of the story. The hero doesn't believe himself capable of love, of course. Then there's the "issue" of finding out who the heroine really is. (They literally make a wildly absurd guess on the actual first try, and it turns out to be correct. But that's small potatoes. I mean, don't you automatically guess that any amnesiac you come across is the writer behind a scandalously written, yet anonymous local newspaper column? I know I do.)

Ultimately, the book hardly held my attention, and when, after 2 days of knowing each other, the characters got (unrealistically) wayyy down and dirty, I realized that despite its very innocent cover, the story is a hastily thrown together book in order to provide framework ever-happening sex scenes. #NoooThankYou

Received an advanced reader's copy for review, though it took me so long to read, it's already been out 1+ year.
Profile Image for Shelley.
Author 180 books381 followers
May 21, 2019
Lily writes an advice column for young ladies. She follows her standard procedure and dresses in male clothing to deliver her column to the publisher. Afterward, she decides to stop at a tavern for a meal instead of returning straight home. During a fracas, Lily hits her head. She is rescued by a duke and soon discovers she has amnesia. He takes her to his house, and they spend time trying to learn her true identity.

The amnesia plot was the main enticement for me choosing to read this book. Unfortunately, the rest of the plot disappointed me, and I had problems with historical accuracy.

Firstly, the idea of a titled family adopting a baby left on their doorstep. Given society at the time, I think most lords and ladies would not choose a random baby to take into their family. Secondly, the duke was attracted to Lily, and their relationship developed quickly, but at the same time, he was conscientious about his sister’s reputation. It seemed incongruous that he’d allow a stranger to live in his house while being so overprotective of his sister. I believe that the duke would’ve adhered to the social mores of the time. And thirdly, Lily’s behavior is certainly a lot freer than that of most young women in this era. I doubt an unmarried woman would stay alone in London for two weeks without a chaperone.

This is book two in the series, but it stands alone beautifully. I had no problem with the writing, the characters, or the setting, although it wasn’t clear precisely what period this book was set. The plot threw me a bit, but if a reader is willing to suspense disbelief, you’ll enjoy this solid historical romance.

Received via NetGalley
3 ½ stars
Profile Image for Candy Briggs.
731 reviews11 followers
August 3, 2019
Miss Lily Hartley wrote a column for the London Hearsay for Debutantes. Her sister, Fiona, Sophia, a friend and herself took care of different aspects of it. Her articles came out on Friday and most of the female population read it. She was suppose to stay with her sister because her parents were going to Bath to take the waters and Fiona's husband had come to get her so they could go to Scotland for a vacation. But that would leave Lily alone.
Lily had an accident in a pub and lost her memory. She ended up at Nash's townhouse. Turned out he was the Duke of Stonebridge and lived in the house with his sister Delilah. Since he felt he was the cause of her injury he had brought her to his house to see a Dr. and recuperate.
I loved this story, she was so saucy and independent but she had a head on her shoulders. He had suffered a great loss and felt he could, not love. He lost his twin sister and his father at the same time. He had been devastated and full of guilt.
A well-written tale, full of surprises and a twist or two. The characters were engaging and entertaining, especially the girls. The duke brooded most of the time. Their relationship grew but he would not admit that he loved her and she needed love, wanted love. The book was hard to put down, but I needed sleep, so sleep won. But I still enjoyed the novel. The author did an excellent job of keeping everything together It was easy to read and moved smoothly. It is very sexy and should be read by people over eighteen.
I received this ARC from Net Galley and voluntarily reviewed it.
Profile Image for Maranda.
930 reviews32 followers
June 8, 2019
ANNA BENNETT BRINGS MORE THAN JUST A TYPICAL ROMANCE WITH HER DEBUTANTE DIARIES #2. Lily Hartley is a young women with many things going for her. She has an amazing family and a talent for writing her Advice Column that are matched with her sister's fantastic art work. But.. her life alters when she sustains a head injury that results in amnesia. She does not even know her name! Mystery is complicated when her rescuer is the Duke of Stonebridge. Sparks ignite between the two but how can they commit to love without knowing if her past could include a beau. This can be read a stand-alone but Bennett's writing and characters are so great that I will be seeking out the first in this series. "A copy of this book was provided by St. Martin's Press via NetGalley with no requirements for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion." PICK THIS ONE UP FOR MORE TO LIKE THAN JUST THE MAIN COUPLE!
Profile Image for Alexandria Smith.
171 reviews3 followers
June 27, 2020
This one is just.... bad. The whole time I kept feeling like paragraphs had been left out and it just skipped to the next thing in places where it shouldn’t have.

Also it was so fast paced and so much was packed in that it made everything feel undervalued. Too many tropes, not enough substance.

I just.... I can’t even with this one.
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