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The Duke of Azureford isn’t the arrogant, aloof lord his peers perceive him to be. Yes, he’s awkward, but he has a plan to fix it. In order to woo a respectable lady, he must learn how to flirt. The completely inappropriate girl next door would make a perfect instructor, but a terrible duchess. So why can’t he walk away?

Incorrigible hoyden Miss Carole Quincy likes fast carriages, carom billiards, and the beautiful, buttoned-up Duke of Azureford. She’d be delighted to help him out of his shell and into her arms. Who cares if they’re just pretending to flirt? The heady, breath-taking, soul-consuming feeling inside her runaway heart surely can’t be love

200 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 22, 2019

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About the author

Erica Ridley

140 books1,934 followers
Get freebies and 99¢ deals at: https://ridley.vip

Erica Ridley is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of historical romance novels, including THE DUKE HEIST, featuring the Wild Wynchesters. Why seduce a duke the normal way, when you can accidentally kidnap one in an elaborately planned heist?

In the 12 Dukes of Christmas series, enjoy witty, heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. After all, nothing heats up a winter night quite like finding oneself in the arms of a duke!

Two popular series, the Dukes of War and Rogues to Riches, feature roguish peers and dashing war heroes who find love amongst the splendor and madness of Regency England.

When not reading or writing romances, Erica can be found eating couscous in Morocco, zip-lining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle of Budapest.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 255 reviews
Profile Image for Sarah.
519 reviews26 followers
January 17, 2021
'The Duke of Azureford isn’t the arrogant, aloof lord his peers perceive him to be. Yes, he’s awkward, but he has a plan to fix it. In order to woo a respectable lady, he must learn how to flirt. The completely inappropriate girl next door would make a perfect instructor, but a terrible duchess. So why can’t he walk away?

Incorrigible hoyden Miss Carole Quincy likes fast carriages, carom billiards, and the beautiful, buttoned-up Duke of Azureford. She’d be delighted to help him out of his shell and into her arms. Who cares if they’re just pretending to flirt? The heady, breath-taking, soul-consuming feeling inside her runaway heart surely can’t be love…'

3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 stars.

Dukes, Actually is the fifth book in Erica Ridley's novella holiday series, 12 Dukes of Christmas set in the mythical Christmas wonderland of Cressmouth, loveingly know as 'Christmas' to its residents.

This was a sweet story, but felt like it lost focus throughout the novella. There were pages and pages of billards details, which was relevant to the story but I didn't really understand why there was quite so much time dedicated to it instead of progressing the plot more.

I liked that Adam was shy and I liked Carol, but I just wasn't really into this novella. I think I'm going to take a pause on this series until next holiday season.
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,766 reviews590 followers
October 25, 2019
Imagine a shy and introverted Duke and an outgoing, flirtatious young miss striking a bargain to help the socially awkward lord come out of his shell and find an appropriate wife.

DUKES, ACTUALLY by Erica Ridley is another quirky, yet charming tale filled with fun characters, a little romance and, as always, Ms. Ridley’s ability to pull it all together and leave her readers smiling!

I received a complimentary ARC edition from Erica Ridley/WebMotion! This is my honest and voluntary review.

Series: 12 Dukes of Christmas - Book 5
Publisher: WebMotion (October 22, 2019)
Publication Date: October 22, 2019
Genre: Historical Romance
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Edwina " I LoveBooks" "Deb".
1,343 reviews17 followers
October 22, 2019

Adam Duke of Azureford is a rich, handsome and very powerful Duke in Parliment. But he is painfully shy. He decides to go to his cottage in Cressmouth to practice socializing. He will build a billiards room and invite the villiagers to a party.

Carole Quicy had been to a party at the Dukes home 6 months prior where she lost her Sketch book. Now she is trying to retrieve it. She runs into the Duke in his Library while she is searching for her Sketch book. A friendship ensues which leads to a very clean quicky on the couch. One minute Adam is carrying her to the couch next minute its the next day. If you are going to write about sex then write and adequate sex scene.

Carole spends everyday helping Adam log all the book in his library before donating them. Then she helps him design his billiards room. The author spends page after page describing this. Even pages on how to play billiards. I am not interested in reading about how to play billiards or logging in books. Why didn't she spend time on the making love scene or on some romance? The other problem I had with the story is Spinsters. I am sick of reading about old Spinsters getting a HEA. The story feels more Modern Era times then Historical Era times.
Profile Image for Andrea.
903 reviews131 followers
October 29, 2019
These book are like comfort food for me. They're short, lovely, and just leave you happy.

The latest addition to the series features a lovely and confident young woman who hides behind her logic, and a shy, awkward duke-next-door who is rather desperate to come out of his shell. I loved how both helped each other out without noticing it, and it was delightful to see Adam slowly become more open. Cue some cute bickering, and I really couldn't ask for much more.

My favorite moment? Adam trying out pick-up lines on Carole:

He hugged himself and gave an exaggerated shudder. "I must be a Christmas snowflake, because I've fallen for you." She covered her face with her hands. "No. Absolutely not." He pulled her hands from her face and gazed down at her soulfully. "May I borrow an atlas? I keep getting lost in your eyes." "If she has an atlas, she'll hit you with it," Carole said warningly.

*I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Carole Burant.
1,151 reviews28 followers
October 20, 2019
Another delightful novella written by Erica Ridley! I thought this was such a sweet and fun story and the two main characters, Carole and Adam, were very easy to love:) Adam first comes across as very aloof and grumpy but he's actually just the opposite, shyness is stopping him from being able to be himself when around people. Carole, on the other hand, is the opposite, full of life and loved by all who know her. And she's a genius at Billiards, how awesome is that?!!!

I loved seeing how Carole manages to get Adam out of his shell and while helping him build the perfect Billiards room, they grow closer and closer. Circumstances stand in their way, though, and the road to their HEA hits a few bumps. Apart from that, there's lots of humor in the story and I'm still giggling at Adam's come on lines! lol

I was given an ARC of this book via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.
Profile Image for AnnMarie.
1,156 reviews32 followers
October 18, 2019
Dukes, Actually is the fifth book in the 12 Dukes of Christmas series by Erica Ridley. It can easily be read as a standalone book.

The Duke of Azureford is shy, but rather than people realising that they think he is just plain arrogant. It's something that he needs to work on if he is ever going to find someone to marry and have heirs with. Visiting his country home is the perfect opportunity to work on overcoming his shyness. He wants to have a party, which he hopes he will shine at, unlike his last party where he pretty much stayed in the background.

Carole Quincy, Azureford's neighbour, attended that party and whilst there left her sketchbook. A book that would cause all sorts of scandal if were to be found. Whilst trying to get it back she is discovered by him, and despite saying she was looking for a lost earring he seemed quite content to let her look for it amongst his books! Carole definitely isn't backwards in coming forwards and after some interesting interactions between them, Carole convinces Azureford to help him learn to flirt and to let her design his new billiards room which will be the central point of his upcoming party.

There is an immediate attraction between them which builds and builds. Carole knows she can't marry because she needs to look after her depressed father. Azurford can't be the man for her anyway because of their class differences. He would like nothing more than to marry a woman like her, but expectations mean that he has to marry a lady of means, a titled lady. Maybe they could have an affair as long as they both understood that it would lead to nothing. Could they get over each other afterwards and could he go from Carole's loving arms into the arms of the type of woman that he really isn't interested in?

This was such a fabulous feel-good story with some wonderfully funny moments that had me laughing out loud. The budding relationship between not only Azureford and Carole, but his butler and Carole's lady's maid were a delight to read, and the angst when they thought about having no future was palpable. The passionate moments between the main couple were written so beautifully I got goosebumps! All in all, this was, like the others in this series, a wonderful lighthearted read that I definitely recommend!
Profile Image for eyes.2c.
2,434 reviews50 followers
October 20, 2019
Books and billiards, can they lead to love?

Another light romance in Ridley's 12 Dukes of Christmas series. The painfully shy Duke of Azureford covers his natural inclination up with a brusque and severe front. A warm young lady, Miss Carole Quincy, hides the pain she's known since her mother's death.
A lost sketch book and billiards bring them together--as friends. Nothing more as both have responsibilities. Carole undertakes to help Adam to learn to flirt and converse to make his quest for a Duchess easier.
By the time Adam comes to understanding that incorrigible Carole is not only a tour de force, the glue that holds the village together, and more importantly holds his heart, things are coming unstuck.
A charming piece, nicely put together. The main characters are likeable and well drawn. As are the humorous secondary pair.
BTW pleasing title nod to one of my fav. Christmas movies.

A WebMotion ARC via NetGalley
Profile Image for Jen .
2,556 reviews27 followers
December 22, 2019
This was a very good Regency romance novella. There was one issue with the lack of communication, but it wasn't drawn out, so not a huge negative. Also, while the cover is gorgeous, it doesn't match the hair colors of the MCs. It confused me at first when the MCs were described with the opposite hair color, but I just went with it. I know authors have little final say over covers, but it is a pet peeve of mine when the cover doesn't match the contents with specific details like that.

The story was cute, I loved the angst at the end. Also, the fortuneteller bit in the beginning was great, I really enjoyed that and how it was woven through the rest of the story. We have cameos from the first few couples from the first books, which was nice. I think the connection between this female MC and the other couples was much looser than the connection between the first four female characters and I admit I missed it. The next book follows someone who was mentioned in passing in this book, so while there is a connection, it is not as deep as in the first few books. While I enjoy the continuity and I understand that not everyone in the village are bosom friends, it doesn't connect as tightly to the other stories.

While my favorite of the books I have read so far is the last one, this one was also quite good. 4 solid stars. Recommended if you enjoy Regency romance set in a cute little town known as Christmas. Also, other than a few very passionate kisses and an almost encounter on a couch, quite clean.

My thanks to NetGalley and WebMotion for an eARC copy of this book to read and review.
Profile Image for Heike.
653 reviews40 followers
October 27, 2019
This was an extremely cute romance to curl up with on a cold day!

The Duke of Azureford, perceived as aloof while he is only extremely shy, comes to his summer house with the intention to work on his social ineptness in order to find a suitable duchess.
His neighbor, a common lady well loved in town for her sunny character and willingness to help, is not suitable as a wife, but he accepts her help in reforming him.

I loved the characters, their interaction, the development of their relationship, ... everything. One of the best books in the series so far (and, as all of the books, enjoyable as a standalone).
During the story he makes a list of "Required Qualities for my Future Wife", one of them:
Even though she doesn't need me ... still wants me
Swoon worthy!

Clean romance, only kissing, bit of groping, nothing else, another big plus.

Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Elodie’s Reading Corner.
2,499 reviews116 followers
October 17, 2019
Dukes, Actually
12 Dukes of Christmas Series #5
Erica Ridley
Release date 10/22/2019
Publisher Webmotion

Blurb :

The Duke of Azureford isn’t the arrogant, aloof lord his peers perceive him to be. Yes, he’s awkward, but he has a plan to fix it. In order to woo a respectable lady, he must learn how to flirt. The completely inappropriate girl next door would make a perfect instructor, but a terrible duchess. So why can’t he walk away?

Incorrigible hoyden Miss Carole Quincy likes fast carriages, carom billiards, and the beautiful, buttoned-up Duke of Azureford. She’d be delighted to help him out of his shell and into her arms. Who cares if they’re just pretending to flirt? The heady, breath-taking, soul-consuming feeling inside her runaway heart surely can’t be love…

My review :

When a shy duke decides to reshape himself in a more confident version of himself, who’s better to help than his loved by everyone neighbor’s daughter...

Wow it has been close to a full year since I am waiting for this new installment in the Dukes of Christmas series.
What a sweet story it was, both heroes have set their path, him open himself to the other to find his perfect bride, she continue to manage her little environment and take care of her entourage.
Adam is good man whom hides himself from society’s lenses behind a stern aloof composition when in fact he does not know how to fight his own awkwardness and bashfulness.
So in order to change himself he has a special project, which leads him to agree to Carole’s offer.
And the closer they are together, the more it shapes his own requirements for his future duchess.
Carole has devoted her entire life to her father and his household, but her talent to manage everything had been put to use even outside her home as she is a caretaker in the soul.
Upon meeting Adam, she understands his needs and proposes her help to arrange what he has in mind.
Their journey together was a sweet tale with funny moment like the fortunes teller’s scene and the interactions between Adam’s butler and Carole’s Lady’s maid. A cute story of refusing to follow society’s expectations to create their own requisites.
4.5 stars

I was granted an advance copy by the author, and I preordered my own.
Here is my true and unbiased opinion.

Profile Image for Jessica Grogan.
470 reviews20 followers
October 23, 2019
Adam Farland, Duke of Azureford, has been mistaken for an arrogant, aloof lord. What he actually is, however, is a quiet and shy lord. Adam devises a plan guaranteed to help him break out of his shell and find the society bride he needs. Miss Carole Quincy is as outgoing as she is unconventional, and will be the perfect practice for Adam’s flirting. Until that practice starts to feel very real...

I absolutely ADORED this title. Erica Ridley excels at creating heroes and heroines that are more than rakish lords or society ladies. And I love those heroes and heroines. Adam is one of my favorites for this series because I’m a sucker for a shy guy. Even better if people have assumed him to be arrogant because of his shyness. He was a great guy and I think Carole was the best heroine for him. She was fabulous in her own right and I enjoyed reading her emotional journey through the story.

This was not a very plot driven title but I found myself turning page after page regardless. I just could not wait for more moments between Adam and Carole. I was not a huge fan of the billiards games but they didn’t take away from the story at all.

Of course I cannot wait for the next title in this series! This title was well worth waiting a year for!!

*I received an eARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Lori D.
3,634 reviews85 followers
October 23, 2019
Another magical romance by the amazing Erica Ridley! I know when I start to read one of her stories, I will not be moving anytime soon. Plus there may be times I burst out laughing and others when I can only sigh.
Imagine a shy, introverted Duke. One who needs to learn to flirt to attract a potential bride. Then imagine a lady who is totally the opposite to the point of being everything bright and fun.
So begins Carole and her part time next door neighbor, Adam the Duke of Azureford's story!
Carole had been to a dinner party the Duke had given and lost her precious sketchbook. Well precious my not be the word for it... Scandalous is others got hold of it! Trying to find it, with an excuse of a lost earring, she begins to have conversations with him and realizes he is really shy.. That is the reason he hardly talks to anyone! But oh, did I mention how handsome she found him?
All I want to do is tell you the entire story because it was so humorous and truly delightful! I loved these two opposites that really did have one thing in common and who could have possibly know!
Prepare to be thoroughly entertained and smiling like crazy as you turn the pages!!!
1,362 reviews23 followers
June 30, 2021
I really liked this installment of this series of novellas. All the books are relatively straightforward and make me smile. This one felt particularly sweet. Both characters were hiding from something, and both found something in each other and complemented each other well. It was an endearing addition to the series and is probably one of my favourites.

The series isn't groundbreaking, but does generally work when I need a smile.
Profile Image for Vania Nunes.
2,081 reviews45 followers
October 22, 2019
Oh my God! Of all the books in this series, this one has become my favorite.
Azureford and Carole are simply PERFECT together !!!

Adam Farland, the 6th Duke of Azureford, is considered superb, cocky, and in some cases people are afraid of him. All because when he is in any event, he usually stays by himself, gloomy, talking to no one. But the great truth is that he is... SHY!
He simply gets scared in a very crowded place, and doesn't even know how to start a conversation.
On the other hand, his fame in the House of Lords - the Parliament - is that of an articulate guy who always has the best arguments for the laws that will be voted on.
He must reverse this picture of his image if he wants to find a wife and have an heir.
His plan, then, is to take advantage of his time in Cressmouth, his countryhouse, and make some changes.

His huge library will be donated - with the exception of a few books that belonged to his father - to a city location, and he will have a billiard room built instead.
This game allows not only that he can interact with other gentlemen, but also with the ladies who usually stay close watching.
There is, of course, a big problem: He knows nothing about billiards, but the plan itself is very good.
As he was approaching his property, he is challenged by his neighbor, Miss Carole Quincy, the one who has let him have wet dreams since the last time they met.

Carole has a secret. Well, an almost secret. She has a sketchbook, which would be normal among the ladies. But instead of her drawing animals and flowers, she draws... projects.
That's right. Carole has a secret desire to design environments and see them become real, as an architect.
And because of this secret of hers, she got into trouble.

The last time she was at Azureford's house for dinner, she took her small sketchbook and managed to get into one of the rooms and redraw it. But on leaving, someone bumped into her, causing her sketchbook to fly away and fall under furniture. Not wanting to draw attention to the object, she watched as Swinton, the butler, took the sketchbook and thought it was some of the duke's book, put it on the shelf.
Carole went there a long time later to try to get it back, but the shelves was totally different. Instead of the books being color-separated, as before, employees used some other method.

Her notebook was lost!

She needed to find it before someone else caught it and discovered her secret.
In the meantime, Azureford arrives at the house.

Knowing that in a few days the library would be donated - and her sketchbook gone forever - in a panic, Carole offers to help him catalog everything.
She finally finds the sketchbook, and to her despair, the duke notices when she tries to hide it in her purse.

End of the secret.

But a new opportunity has arisen.
Knowing his intention for the room, she offers to help remodel it.

A man in a possession of a fine billiard room is undoubtedly in want of a wife

Turns out Carole was an expert at playing pool. Not that it was common among ladies, but since her mother died when she was eight, Carole's father allowed her daughter to play with him, and taught her all the tricks.
Being good at calculating, she soon learned to make equations so that the white ball was exactly where she wanted it.
Azureford eventually gave in, and as soon as the room was ready (the billiards party would be 1 month from now), Carole teaches him how to play.

And they both flirt.

Adam already had a crush on Carole, but she didn't have the proper behavior to be a duchess, even though she was funny, intelligent, persevering, good daughter, good hostess, beautiful... and so receptive to his kisses.

What a hell! Who made the rules of what a duchess should look like? And then he asks her to marry him.

And she rejects it.

It's all right to want things you can't have. It's all right not to be perfect; to be sad; to be happy. It makes you human, not incomplete

Carole never imagined she would marry.
Her family had several loss tragedies and she didn't want her daughter to suffer the same as her, the same as her mother and grandmother. And seeing her father so overcome with depression since his wife's death didn't help her change her mind either.
But Adam was so wonderful! And he seemed to accept her unconventional side.
After the billiards party, he departs from Cressmouth. For good.

After witnessing for years the kind of marriage his parents had - they didn't even talk with each other at home - Azureford had different plans, and had even made a list for it:

Required Qualities for my Future Wife
⇝Good with children
⇝Must like each other!
⇝Reciprocates feelings
⇝Puts family first
⇝Knows what she wants
⇝Does everything she can to achieve it
⇝Even though she doesn't need me... Still wants me

Now Carole would have to use that same determination to go after who and what she really wanted: Adam and her happiness.

The story is funny, dynamic, different and romantic.
5 stars
Profile Image for Maureen.
331 reviews2 followers
January 1, 2022
Christmas HR novella. Duke of Azureford (Adam) & Noblewoman (Carole Quincy)
find love through a lost journal. He needs help coming out of his shell and she wants to find her journal. She is brilliant at billiards and architecture. Carole is determined to remain a spinster to care for her father who is heartbroken after losing her mother. The Duke (Adam) wants to find a Duchess that he will like and get along with as his own parents married for position and wealth but didn’t like one another. They only had one child. He is brilliant in Parliament but hopeless at socializing. He makes a bargain with his lovely vivacious and energetic next door neighbour Carole to help him with small talk and socializing. She convinces him through her architectural drawings and her expertise in billiards to design and build his billiard room. He starts to kiss her. Soon they are trading kisses as he progresses in billiards. Finally the night before he has a party at his home to practice his skills they spend it together. She offers herself to him but he says no. The next night after the party is over and a success he asks her to marry him but she declines because she doesn’t think she is good enough for him. The next morning she goes back over to tell him how she feels but he is gone. She mopes in bed a few days and it is her father that talks to her and takes her to London for the season. She sees him playing billiards at a house party and they reconnect eventually get married living next door to her father.
Profile Image for Niki (mustreadalltheromance).
1,147 reviews85 followers
October 21, 2019
Adam, the Duke of Azureford, is perceived as cold and aloof by his peers, but really he's just shy and socially awkward. Now he wishes to do his duty to the dukedom by marrying an appropriate bride, but he'll need to make some changes first. He's planning to reinvent himself by transforming his library into a billiards room and practicing his social skills on the people of the town of Cressmouth before trying his luck on the real stage in London. His wildly inappropriate neighbor turns out to be the perfect billiards teacher, but she's make a terrible duchess. Right?

Carole Quincy loves logic and math and has been keeping her household together since her mother's death. She's happy to help loosen up the straight-laced duke and let him practice his flirting on her. She never intends to marry anyway so what could be the harm?

This was another cute Christmas story in the 12 Dukes series. It's a quick feel-good read and I think those are always enjoyable. Although these two harping on about all the reasons they couldn't be together did get a bit old after awhile, especially given that this is a short novella, overall I liked this story and look forward to the next.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Janet.
3,707 reviews30 followers
October 19, 2019
The Duke of Azureford hasn't visited his cottage in Cressmouth for quite some time so next door neighbour Carole Quincy visits to try to find her sketchbook which she left there some months before but someone’s moved all the books around & then Adam the Duke comes back & is going to give the majority of the library to the town. The Duke of Azureford is shy around people but he has a plan to fix it, he’ll convert his library into a billiards room. Carole offers to help Adam catalogue the library & then when she confesses about her sketchbook she helps with the billiard room.
Another feel good heart warming story that often had me chuckling. I really liked both Adam & Carole & how they gradually fell in love. Also how he gained in confidence. I read the book in a sitting, it left me with a warm feeling & I look forward to the rest of the series
My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read
Profile Image for Ami.
5,809 reviews499 followers
August 24, 2021
3.5 stars

Another cute installment in this series - Adam, Duke of Azureford is a shy one (when it comes to friends and potential wives, though). He needs help if he wants to get married. His next door's neighbor, Miss Carole Quincy seems to be the right person to help.

I liked their banter and how they connected, with Carole's love towards geometry and Adam's liking details. They fit together.
Profile Image for iread.
711 reviews8 followers
October 16, 2019
Dukes, Actually is the 5th book in the 12 Dukes of Christmas series by Erica Ridley. Ridley is one of my “go to” authors. Her stories have humor and heart pounding romance. I have especially enjoyed this Christmas series. Each story takes place in a wonderful little town called Cressmouth. In Cressmouth, the inhabitants celebrate Christmas all year round. Ridley has a talent for creating characters of depth and feeling. I loved the heroine Carole Quincy - she is the sunshine in the town. Adam Farland, the sixth Duke of Azureford was a little confusing at times, but I loved his shyness. He was a very relatable character. “He wasn’t holding back now. He was taking, demanding, giving, pleading. Two souls caught in a tug-of-war between we shouldn’t be doing this and I never want to stop.” Bravo Ms. Ridley! I was given a copy of this book.
1,856 reviews17 followers
October 22, 2019
I enjoyed this story in parts, I’m afraid I skipped over the various billiard connotations. I did like that Carole was able to work in what would have been considered a man’s work and that Adam, Duke of Azureford was man enough to recognise her abilities. This was a sweet romance. I received a copy and have voluntarily reviewed it. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**.
1,390 reviews651 followers
May 2, 2022

***4.25 Stars***

Hello great first impression! I love when you find a new to you author that you click with right away.

I REALLY liked this!! This was so fun and sweet. I wish there was a bit more at the end, but isn't that almost always the case with novellas?

This is my first Erica Ridley book, but most definitely NOT the last. I'm off to check out her backlist.
Profile Image for Elaine.
3,269 reviews76 followers
November 5, 2019
Absolutely loved it!
I do love a shy Duke, as well as a bold one. A charming story. Read it when I should have been sleeping. 5☆
Profile Image for Tia.
777 reviews258 followers
July 9, 2020
I enjoyed Carol and the Duke of Azureford's love story. This one was more of a 3.5 read for me. It wasn't a stand out read, but still a great story with cheeky characters. The budding romance between his man and her last was a refreshing addition that I rarely read in historicslr romances.

Quick thoughts
158 reviews24 followers
October 29, 2019
Charming and lighthearted like the previous books in this series, I enjoyed this historical romance. The characters are likeable and easy to root for. I even learned some new things about billiards and Parliament.

It was fun that this a neighbors to lovers plot but there is also a commoner/nobility slant that seriously affects the story.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC from Netgalley.
497 reviews1 follower
October 25, 2019
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own

Dukes, Actually, by Erica Ridley, is available at booksellers on 10-22-19. Book 5, in Ms Ridley's 12 Dukes Of Christmas series, may be the best yet. I became invested in the characters, mostly the hero, and that makes for a pleasant read. Our couple are immensely likeable, although not a contemporary book, their situations are relatable in 2019.

Adam Farland, Duke of Azureford, is an exceedingly shy man. Handsome as any duke ever, smart, sought after in Parliament, he's tongue-tied in social settings. He has a wonderful home in Cressmouth, aka Christmas, and his plan to become New Adam revolves around it. Like so many of us he thinks there must be a list of things to do in order to change. I like list too so I understand Adam. He wants so much out of life but can't get out of his own way. Miss Carole Quincy is a resigned spinster who looks after her emotionally cutoff father. She also runs the house, plays with local children, plans parties, is a BFF to everyone in the village. Anything to keep busy and not feel so abandoned, lost, and alone. As Carole helps Adam with his plan it beings up old feelings of loss, her family, her future family. She so attracted to Adam, he makes her want things again. Adam opens up to Carole and it's a case of opposites attract. In this case they help each other to find the path to healing. My current favorite line is "A man in possession of a fine billiard room is undoubtedly in want of a wife".

I won't go into to much explanation of the plot, that's your treat to enjoy. These two characters deserve an HEA, they try so hard you root for them. I appreciate that Ms Ridley sent me in search of a definition, that's always fun. I now know what a belvedere is. I hope you enjoy Adam and Carole's story as much as I did. Happy reading.

#Netgalley #EricaRidley #Dukes,Actually #12DukesOfChristmas
October 28, 2019
“…the perfect match is two imperfect people who happen to be perfect for each other.”

The Duke of Azureford is determined to step out of his introverted shell and become a new man…a man that can start the new London season looking for a perfect bride to be his Duchess and provide him an heir. Laying out a plan to create a billiards room in his country cottage and practice his socializing skills on the locals, the one thing he didn’t plan on was his feisty and beautiful neighbor, Miss Carole Quincy. Miss Quincy is like a ray of sunshine casting light on his dark shadow. With her help, Azureford knows he will be able to succeed in his plan…but as he spends more time in Carole’s company, he discovers that he may have found everything he ever wanted in a bride within a few steps from his front door.

Carole Quincy is fascinated by her neighbor, the Duke of Azureford. Coming off cold and snobbish, she quickly realizes he’s actually shy and socially awkward. Carole agrees to help him learn the art of billiards, and introduce him to the village residents so he may practice before returning to London to search for a bride. But with each passing day, Carole grows to care more and more for her Duke, who does not seem to mind her own personality quirks. If only she had the qualities and resources to be a Duchess…if only she were free to love him wholeheartedly.

Hidden away in the confines of a country cottage, Adam and Carole become the best of friends who don’t have to pretend to be something they aren’t and grow to love each other just as they are.

Dear Reader, I absolutely loved Erica Ridley’s Dukes, Actually. This story is a sweet romance that warmed my heart and brought a smile to my face with their HEA. Highly recommend this quick read and look forward to future installments to the series!

**I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. **
923 reviews
October 21, 2019
Erica Ridley’s ‘Dukes, Actually’ is the fifth book in the 12 Dukes of Christmas series. Whilst this is a great addition to the series, this is a standalone story. The story follows Adam, the Duke of Azureford, who is incredibly shy, yet loves being around people. He just isn’t sure what to say when they want to talk to him. Consequently, his air of arrogance is well known. Having purchased his home in Christmas, Cressmouth (England), he decides to clear out most of his library so that he can establish a billiards room, in the hope of meeting people and finding a wife. Carole Quincy is his neighbour and at his last party, managed to lose her book containing designs of rooms in Adam’s home. However, before she could retrieve her book, she had to leave, and has since found herself trying to get the book back. In an attempt to find her book, she ends up assisting Adam to sort through his library, to help him donate books to charity and clear the room for his dream billiards room. The more time they spend together, the more Carole and Adam, find themselves comfortable in each other’s company and realising that they have met their perfect match.
This was such a great story with two people, who finds the other so easy to be with. At times, their conversation seemed so modern in their hilarious responses to each other. In many ways, Adam’s confidence flourishing was the highlight of the story. I also enjoyed the exchange and romance between Carole’s lady’s maid and Adam’s butler. Combine all this with descriptive scenery and you have a delightful novella, just in time for Christmas.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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1,597 reviews22 followers
October 21, 2019
Easy to read, lovely storyline, remarkable characters and fun.

Adam is a Duke. Admired by his peers in the House of Lords, but when it comes to social interactions, he is considered to be judgemental and aloof.

Carole is the girl nextdoor who has dedicated her life, looking after her father. She has also sworn to be a spinster. Wishing to remain a spinster doesn't mean that she can't dream and oggle someone from afar.

She has a hidden talent which she intends to keep secret as being a woman this could be scandalous and detrimental to her father's good name. She just happens to have "misplaced" this object in the Duke's library. No matter, he is absent and she is cunning enough to find a way to retrieve this object.

Whilst in persuit of the misplaced object, she meets the reluctant Duke. He is very pleasing to the eyes, but his behaviour leaves a lot to be desired. Once she discovers what the Duke's plans, she offers help. It just so happens that they enjoy each other's company. The thing is that he is looking for "Duchess material" and Carole doesn't behave quite like society dictates. Can he ignore his obligations, and can she look after her father and listen to her heart at the same time?

The interactions between Adam and Carole are interesting. It's good to see how he navigates through his awkwardness with Carole's help. This is a sweet romance. An enjoyable read indeed.

I was kindly issued with an eARC from Netgalley and the views expressed are my personal opinion.
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