The next delightful novel in Anna Bennett's Rogues to Lovers series!
"Tantalizing...readers will be swept away." - Publishers Weekly
A FISHERMAN’S DAUGHTER Miss Poppy Summers is determined to keep her family’s fishing business afloat. Her poor widowed father has fallen ill, and her foolhardy brother has moved to London, leaving her precious little time to read or pursue her own dreams. But she’ll do anything for her family, so she cheerfully spends mornings in her rowboat, casting her nets. The very last thing Poppy expects or wants to find tangled in them is a dangerously attractive man. Especially one with a head wound―who’s convinced he’s a duke.
AND A DUKE OUT OF WATER Andrew Keane is the Duke of Hawking, but he’s having the devil of a time convincing his fiery-haired rescuer of that fact. The truth is he came to the seaside resort of Bellehaven Bay to escape his life in London. Unfortunately, someone in Bellehaven wants to kill him―and he intends to find out who. He implores Poppy to tend to his injuries and hide him on her beach, reasoning it will be easier to find his attacker if that man assumes Keane is already dead. She wants no part of the scheme but can’t refuse the generous sum he offers in exchange for food and shelter while he recovers. It’s a mutually beneficial business arrangement…nothing more.
ARE ABOUT TO MAKE WAVES Under Poppy’s care, Keane regains his strength―and a sense of purpose. As they work together to solve the puzzle of his would-be murderer, he’s dazzled by her rapier wit and adventurous spirit; she’s intrigued by his mysterious air and protective streak. Though Poppy’s past gives her every reason to mistrust someone like Keane, the seawalls around her heart crumble in the storm of their passion. But when clues hint at the prime suspect in Keane’s attempted murder, Poppy must decide where her loyalties lie. Torn between the world she’s always known and the one she’s always dreamed of, she’ll need true love for a shot at her fairytale ending.
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.
✨“Have I mentioned how beautiful you look today?”✨
If you love low angst, absolutely SMITTEN from first sight heroes, and multiple sex scenes may present my most recent personality trait book because I SWEAR it’s one of the cutest things I've read in so long. No third act breakup! Mysterious murder attempts! Hiding a duke in a shack on the beach and you're the only one who knows he's there! Making love to said duke in said shack on said beach!
One Duke Down was one of the best books I’ve read this year. From the stunning cover to the charming characters, this book will have you smiling like an absolute fool. You’ll be smiling while idling at red lights, standing in line at the DMV, and at the dentist getting critiqued on your flossing abilities. I already can’t wait for my audiobook reread because it’s going to be even better!
This first read had me so cautious because I thought the low angst was going to be snatched away due to a fight or misunderstanding. I was hiding in the shrubbery, using a mirror to peer around corners because I couldn’t trust that a book could be THAT perfect. But I’m so happy to report that it can, in fact, be that perfect and all that is good in the world.
There were so many quotes that were just utterly romantic and so sweet. Keane and Poppy listened to each other and actually gave the relationship their faith and trust. There were so many opportunities for one to walk away, get scared of change, or believe the worst in the other but they were always so rational about it!!
There was a scene where Poppy expressed how Keane could understand her head but not her heart because they were of different social classes. He took that to heart and really tried to understand her world and what she held dear. At the end of the book, these thoughts come back full circle and he does something so meaningful for her and I truly had to take a moment for myself.
That’s all I’m going to say because I don’t want to spoil anything else but just pay attention to how they communicate and understand each other because this book was written for hopeless romantics and people who want to stare at large bodies of water to feel things.
If you loved Kate Bateman’s most recent series or How to Be a Wallflower by Eloisa James, I think this book was meant for you. Top it all off with his refrain of “have I mentioned how beautiful you look today?” and I lost my entire mind.
*There were around four explicit scenes with a few different locations and positions! He was blindfolded during one scene and there was a glorious bathtub moment. He was down so bad for her and honestly that bumped the spice scale up a notch.
Thanks so much to the publisher for an eARC via NetGalley. All opinions are honest and my own 🧡
This is an entertaining, well-written, steamy, historical romance novel. It has a strong and capable female protagonist, a warm and caring male protagonist, wit, a touch of humor, intrigue, family drama, supportive friends, a beautiful, vividly described setting, a delightful, heart-warming romance, and a happily ever after ending. This is the second entry in Ms. Bennett's fabulous Rogues to Lovers series, and can easily be read and enjoyed as a stand alone. St. Martin's Press, Anna Bennett, and NetGalley kindly provided me with an ARC of this wonderful novel and this is my honest opinion.
A light, cute, fluffy read with very low angst. This was very much a wallpaper Historical romance with hazy world building. Things are easily explained away and details are glossed over with an air of modern that didn't feel right. Stuff was just too casual and breezy. No exact date to the historical time setting is given but cooking on a stove and frying breakfast in a pan? etc. A sheltered fisherman's daughter being so forward and casual about nudity and sex with a Duke and just happens to know how to give a blow job much less knowing what oral sex is? (she once saw it depicted in a book you guys, she's got it covered!). This felt wildly out of place for a character like Poppy. She's just giving up her virginity without thought or hesitation when she's the one who doesn't think he's gonna stick around in her village? Really? And these two are always in endless supply of towels and sitting around naked with zero qualms whether it be the beach or inns (were towels even a thing back then? Were they called towels?). And probably the most feather brained, two-dimensional, idiot villain I think I've ever read in a book. This could have also been cut down by like 70 pages, the last bit was a struggle for me to get through, since nothing of importance happened. Villain was caught, ILYs shared, got Daddy's approval. They are engaged. The end. It felt like the story should have wrapped at the 70% mark but for reasons I don't understand the author felt it necessary to drag the story out more with padded scenes that added nothing to the story.
My thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the eARC. All opinions are my own.
This was a light, fluffy, low-angst read that was a nice chaser after just having read two dark and very angsty historical romances. Personally, I was hoping for more depth to the story; a little more “meat,” but overall the characters were likeable and the plot kept my interest.
What I Loved
• The MCs had a lot of page time together and the story was very relationship focused • I really liked Poppy’s character; she was a woman I would love to hang out with in real life • The setting! Bellehaven Bay, all the time spent on or near the beach, but most especially, Poppy’s secret hideaway:
She’d built the rustic lean-to a couple of years ago in a clearing between two large trees. Using wooden floorboards from old boats, discarded scraps of canvas, and extra pieces of rope, she’d managed to create a surprisingly sturdy shelter. Mother Nature had embellished her refuge with verdant moss, trailing vines, and colorful wildflowers, giving it the charm of an illustration straight out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
Poppy wound her way up the path till she reached the faded blue quilt hanging in the doorway of the shelter, then slipped off her shoes and went inside. She set her lantern on an upside down crate next to a bottle filled with stems of fragrant lavender, sank onto a large pillow, and opened her book. She may not have a closetful of ball gowns or invitations to soirées or box seats at the theater. But she had her refuge, a vivid imagination … and stories.
What I Liked
• Both MCs were charming, and their playful banter was fun • Keane’s slow, steady determination to win Poppy’s love • Keane’s rakish good looks and stray-puppy eyes (Poppy’s thoughts)
What Was Missing
• Chemistry and passion between Poppy and Keane. Didn’t feel it, didn’t see it, and it left me very disappointed. Chemistry in historical romance is my jam, it’s what I live for in the HRs I read, and when it’s missing from a story I feel a little cheated. • Consequently the sexy times were lukewarm at best • It was a story that just sort of skimmed along the surface without much depth and I wanted to be more engaged, more invested in the story.
Miss Poppy Summers is keeping her family’s fishing business afloat, but very last thing she expects to find tangled in her net is a wounded man who claims to be a duke! Andrew Keane, Duke of Hawking, is convinced he was attacked and left for dead. He bargains with Poppy to hide him on her beach while he sends word to his valet and formulates a plan to find the culprit.
This is the second book in the Rogues to Lovers series, which takes place in the seaside resort of Bellehaven Bay. Book one's heroine, Hazel, and her niece-by-marriage, Kitty (who will be book three's heroine), are Poppy's friends and make appearances.
This was a sweet story of the trust that built between Poppy and Keane. Poppy doesn't trust aristocrats due to her past, while Keane is quickly drawn to Poppy's warmth, wit, and adventurous spirit. I liked how they got to know each other through Keane's questions and their quests to find the attacker. There were a few spots where the story felt like it was coming to a close, but then kept going. It almost felt like the reader got to the HEA two thirds of the way through and then got to experience the rest of the plot threads tying together.
Tropes: Class Difference, Working Heroine, Road Trip
* I received an ARC and this is my honest review. #OneDukeDown #NetGalley
it was an absolute delight reading this book. one of the few cases where the vibe of the cover absolutely matches the carefree, fun and flirty vibe of the book!
without spoiling too much of the plot, i can say that both of them were smitten and taken by each other. there is a great deal of good natured banter between poppy and keane and he is just a little bit obsessed with her! he was kind and patient with poppy and i absolutely loved how he never for a second doubted her or pushed her because there was a moment i was scared things were going to go bad, but instead they didn’t.
i always say that historical romance is my happy place and this book is the exact reason why. it has all the things i like most about it and by the end i was feeling so soft and happy.
Overall: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Plot/Storyline: 📖📖📖📖 Feels: 🦋🦋 Emotional Depth: 💔💔💔💔 Sexual Tension: ⚡⚡⚡ Romance: 💞💞💞💞 Sensuality: 💋💋💋 (Bennett’s scenes are a touch on the poetic and emotional side versus explicit) Sex Scene Length: 🍑🍑🍑 Steam Scale (Number of Sex Scenes): 🔥🔥🔥🔥 (some are on the lighter side but I counted them all) Humor: Yes, a bit Perspective: Third person from both hero and heroine
(These are all personal preference on a scale of 1-5 (yours ratings may vary depending what gives you feels and how you prefer you sex scenes written, etc) except the Steam Scale which follows our chart from The Ton and Tartans Book Club )
Should I read in order? You’ll get more enjoyment of the series in order, but I don’t think it’s necessary here. There’s some minor mention of Hazel and her husband, the characters from book 1, and Poppy has some minor page time in that book but nothing you would be missing if you picked this one up alone!
Basic plot: When Poppy finds a man washed up on her beach that thinks he’s a duke, she’s thinking he hit his head a bit too hard. But they strike a bargain and band together to solve a mystery.
Give this a try if you want: - Beach side country setting in England – Get out of London! - Fisherwoman heroine - Duke hero - Bargain – the hero is willing to pay the heroine an obscene amount of money to shelter him and hide his identity while he tries to figure out who attempted to do him in - Masquerade - One bed - The couple working together to solve a bit of a mystery - Low angst - Protective hero that’s all in from the beginning
Ages: - Heroine is 23, didn’’t see hero but would guess late 20s to early 30s
My thoughts: This story has so much sweetness in it and I liked it more than the first book in the series.
Our hero, Keane, is very dependable and protective. He’s all in for the heroine basically upon meeting her and I really loved that aspect to it. I enjoyed the two of them working together to solve the mystery of who is trying to hurt Keane.
But, somehow this book was super low on the feels for me. That might be because I love angst and this was lacking that a bit. It also had some villain activity and I’m just bored with villains. I want only romance all the time. Of course this won’t bother most people and is nothing wrong with the book.
Cute plot, but you really need to suspend reality in order for it to work. You have a fisherman's daughter who is best friends with the wife of an Earl who is also headmistress of a girls school. You also need to believe that Poppy is well read and educated enough to hold the interest of a Duke and that he is so smitten that he falls in love with her and helps her with the fishing. Also, that she is beautiful and hasn't suffered the ravages of the outdoors she is subjected to everyday. I found it difficult to get past a lot of that. If you can, you get a fairly good lite mystery Historical Romance and an excellent narration by Beverley A, Crick.
Miss Poppy Summers is the daughter of a fisherman who has become ill and a brother who has abandoned the family. Her mother had died, and the family has suffered without her. That forces Poppy to do the fisherman's job in order to keep both her and her father alive. But she still finds time to read her books and dream her dreams. 3 1/2-Stars
Fate casts up on the shore of her beach a man who claims to be Andrew Keane, Duke of Hawking. Poppy wasn't born yesterday and has serious doubts about this claim, but it's true. The Duke was attacked and thrown into the sea, but he can't remember why or by whom.
Since Andrew has no idea why he came to be on Poppy's beach, he decides to lay low and offers Poppy an obscene amount of money to hid him until he can figure out who wants him dead. Working together Andrew uses Poppy as his eyes and ears to try and solve the mystery and in other more intimate ways too, making Poppy yearn for a fairy tale ending like those she has read about in the stolen hours with her books.
Another solid romance from Anna Bennett. I didn’t love this one as much as Girls Before Earls, but I still enjoyed Keane and Poppy’s low angst romance. Btw, I would recommend Anna Bennett if you prefer low heat romances or less explicit language in steamy scenes. Looking forward to the next book of the series!
PS The cover might be my favorite thing about this book 😍😍😍
**Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for providing an e-arc in exchange for an honest review**
Poppy Summers is a fisherman's daughter. Her father has been bedridden for a while now and she can't rely on her brother who's always gallivanting who-knows-where. So the young miss take upon herself to go fishing every day. That's how one day, while she's at sea, she end up finding an injured man in one of her net😮.
When he finally recover, Andrew Keane remember that he's the Duke of Hawking and even if he only have a vague memory of the evening before, he knows someone tried to kill him.
"Her shelter was held together by more than pieces of twine and clumps of clairement. She'd fashioned it from secret hopes and precious dreams."
While he recover, Poppy accept to let Keane stay at her little refuge on the beach that she usually use for reading. Together, they'll try to uncover the truth about what happened that night and who wants the Duke gone. As they grow closer, Poppy confide in him her sad and previous experience with the nobility.
It was good to be back in Bellehaven Bay and I had such a blast meeting the characters and following the investigation with them (guessing who the bad guy was from the start didn't dimmed my enjoyment one bit).
One Duke Down is the second book in Anna Bennett’s Rogues to Lovers series following up the first book, Girls Before Earls, which I adored! While this one didn’t live up to my expectations for it, the cover is so much fun (the orange, their smiles) and it is a low-angst historical romance read if you’re wanting that.
Poppy is a fisherman’s daughter determined to keep her family’s fishing business afloat, even if that means cheerfully spending her mornings working. It’s on one of these early mornings that she’s out casting her fishing nets when she finds a man tangled up in them! The handsome stranger finally wakes up, has a head wound, and is claiming to be a Duke. Andrew Keane, Duke of Hawking, was in the seaside resort of Bellehaven Bay to escape his London life when he was attacked and almost-killed. Now he wants Poppy’s help in hiding him out while he tries to discover who intended to harm him. And all this extra time together leads to Keane and Poppy falling for one another along the way.
I thought this had such a fun setup and I loved how Poppy doesn’t believe Keane is a Duke at first. I love a class difference romance and a fisherwoman and aristocrat is one I haven’t read before. We do get some time with these two at the beach hideout, a trip into London, a masquerade ball (she dresses as Artemis, he arrives as Dionysus), and many appearances of her friend Hazel (heroine of book 1). Around the middle the story started to drag for me. It was a little too low-angst for me and the story just felt stagnant. The romance was just easy and kind of lackluster, while the main plot is Keane trying to discover who has it out for him. I still do enjoy this seaside setting and while this book wasn’t my favorite, it had its moments.
“What am I, Keane?” “You are a beam of sunlight. A breath of air. A force of nature.”
Thank you to the publisher (St. Martin’s Press, SMP Romance) for an e-ARC via NetGalley. All thoughts in this review are my own. One Duke Down has a release date of January 24, 2023!
I love a good historical romance and this book did not disappoint! Poppy and Keane’s relationship was super sweet and seeing them team up to solve the mystery of Keane’s attack was a delight. If you enjoy low angst romances and no third act breakup (I mean who doesn’t love that?) then this is the book for you.
This book has: • A meet cute (sort of). He washes up on her beach and she rescues him (this is a reoccurring theme throughout the book and I was HERE for it) • A cinnamon role hero who would do anything to make the heroine happy • Tons of forced proximity • The forbidden romance trope
Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Highlights... - My first from the author. It was written well, but historical accuracy died a swift death. - I loved the premise. - The relationship developed in the nicest way possible. - No drama, no third-act break-up, a villain that nobody took seriously, honest conversations, getting to know one another, the daily questions. All great. - I loved Poppy and Andrew. Lovely people. - Then came the final quarter. So dragged out, so unnecessary, it kind of ruined the fluttery effect the story had going. - For me, it ended at the 70-ish per cent mark.
*Interesting palate cleanser after reading heavy books.
One Duke Down is the second book in Bennett's delightful Rogues to Lovers series. The stories and characters are unique, interesting and highly emotional. Poppy Summers is truly a fisherman's daughter, and now the sole provider for her ill father. She spends her days on the water, hauling in her nets and selling her fish at market. Imagine her shock to find a gorgeous injured male tangled in her nets one morning - one who claims to be a Duke. Right . . . that head wound obviously has made him delusional. Andrew Keane is the Duke of Hawking, and he's having a devil of a time convincing the fiery haired fishing beauty that he's telling the truth. He does, however, convince her to hide him away on her beach allowing him time to heal and figure out who wants him dead. Poppy may not believe him, but she can't turn down the large sum of money he offers her to help him. Never mind the sparks that are flying between the pair. It's just a business arrangement, right?
One Duke Down is an apt title as Keane finds himself questioning his place in life and the way he's lived it as he learns more about Poppy and the hard row she hoes every single day just to put food on the table. As the story unfolds, the pair grow closer and while Poppy may dream of what a life with Keane would be like, she's convinced there's no way she'd ever fit in a Duke's world nor would she be accepted. Keane is determined to gain her trust as he falls head over heels for her. Meantime, they work as a team to determine who tried to kill Keane.
I enjoyed the grit and determination displayed by both Poppy and Keane and the emotional turmoil felt by both as they seek an impossible way forward together. These characters are well developed and believable. While this is the second book in this series, this story stands alone as the author includes all pertinent past information. However, it would be beneficial to read Girls Before Earls as it introduces this charming town and the trio of women who form friendships that will carry them through life. One Duke Down explores family ties and loyalty, love between social classes and earning trust in this charming historical romance and mystery. Highly recommended to fans of historical romance. 3.5 Stars Many thanks to St. Martins Press for an arc of this book. ONE EARL DOWN releases Jan. 24, 2023. My review is posted on my blog Cross My Heart Book Reviews
This was such a great historical romance. I loved Poppy and Keane and their clandestine romance. The story begins as Poppy, a fisherwoman who works hard to provide and care for her father, finds an unconscious, injured man trapped in her fishing net. Little does she know she has caught a duke. When Easton awakes, he is smitten by the woman who rescued him, and concerned that his life might be in danger, he asks Poppy to hide him until he recovers and figures out who targeted him. As the pair works together to uncover the truth, Keane also determines to show Poppy that even though they are from very different worlds and social classes, they have a future together.
Much of the story takes place in the seaside resort of Bellehaven Bay, and like the first book, it sounds like a unique town. If you read Girls Before Earls, you will recognize some of the characters and locations from that story, but several new places are also introduced. My favorite is the secret place where she hid Keane. Here is where they fall in love, and it is a magical and little hiding spot. They have a mix of sweet, fun, and steamy moments there, all of which are lovely and swoon-tastic.
Poppy and Keane are such compelling protagonists! Poppy is a strong and capable woman who works hard to care for her ailing father. She has some strong, negative feelings about the upper class that prevent her from opening her heart to Keane. Though Keane is a duke, he is struggling to find his place in the world. However, the more time he spends in Bellehaven Bay and with Poppy, the more he finds a sense of purpose. I like the emotional depth of each character as they deal with their pasts, their growing feelings for each other, the target on Keane’s back, and Poppy’s reservations about being in Keane’s life and all the obstacles they would face, especially from the judgmental ton. Their story has some strong messages about love, life, prejudice, taking changes, finding adventure, and forgiveness.
Though a lot of trials and tribulations stand in their way, Poppy and Keane have incredible chemistry, and their feelings for each other are undeniable. They have such a wonderful and unconventional love story, and I love that Keane falls first! He is so taken by Poppy, and he does not hide his feelings. It’s pretty swoon-worthy to see him fall so head-over-heels in love with her.
I also enjoyed the mystery surrounding Keane’s attack. It was dramatic, and there were a couple of twists that challenged Keane and Poppy’s relationship. I would definitely recommend One Duke Down to readers who enjoy a low-angst historical romance with great characters and a bit of intrigue.
Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Publishing for providing me a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
Well that was just as sweet as salt water taffy! Oh if a Duke would simply wash up on my shores, I too would hide him in my secret reading spot for no one else to find! I loved these MCs individually and they fit so perfectly together, I couldn’t stop smiling. While part of me wished she put him to work on her boat, I had a ton of fun with the adventures they did have. It’s always a good sign when I want to reach through the book and smash their lips together!
The mystery was straightforward but it was entertaining to go along for the ride through the 3rd act conflict—especially considering it did NOT include a breakup!! Woohoo! However, I thought that the 11th hour villain-driven drama was a bit over the top? I was ready to sail off into the sunset with the happy couple so I wasn’t thrilled with the unnecessary (and almost repetitive) antics by then.
Audio: 👍🏼👍🏼 (really liked) Narrator: Beverley A. Crick
Poppy Summers is struggling to keep her father’s fishing business alive and has no time for much of anything else. She certainly doesn’t want the complication that is sure to come when she finds a man washed up on the beach, tangled in one of her fishing nets. Even more troublesome is the man’s headwound and his assurances that he’s a duke.
Andrew Keane truly is the Duke of Hawking, even if his prickly rescuer doesn’t believe him. He came to the seaside resort town of Bellehaven Bay hoping to escape a potential scandal in London, only to have someone try to kill him. Keane is determined to find out who wants him dead by pretending the blackguard succeeded, but he’ll need Poppy’s help to stay hidden while he investigates. Poppy isn’t interested in the scheme, but she can’t turn down the money he offers to pay for food and the use of her seaside shelter. As Poppy tends Keane’s injuries and they work together to find his enemy, Keane begins to chip away the walls around Poppy’s heart. The connection between them is real, but it leaves Poppy torn between her dreams and her loyalties to her family and their way of life.
I’ll be the first to admit that I was unsure about this book at first. Poppy initially came off as very judgmental and prickly, quick to assume and tiresome in her fatalism. For a while she wouldn’t even tell Keane her name. All that said, this just paved the way for a ton of truly lovely character development for Poppy as she and Keane came to know one another, and their connection grew. I loved seeing how she gradually came to trust and confide in him and he in her. Perhaps the single best part of Poppy’s journey for me was how she followed her heart and decided to trust in Keane and her feelings for him and take a chance on building a real relationship with him despite her fears about the obstacles they were sure to face given the differences in their social stations. Keane’s ardent, steadfast pursuit of Poppy and his patience in convincing her that his feelings for her, and therefore their relationship, were real was utterly charming. After her being so used to taking care of everything and only being able to rely on herself, he showed her that she could lean on him and believe in the connection they had. I loved how he kept reassuring her of his feelings and intentions and in return, she always had faith and never doubted him. These two kept lines of communication open and there was never any unnecessary angst or miscommunication trope deployment and I loved that. Keane’s demonstration of his feelings for Poppy, and in turn, hers for him, made this one of the most romantic, swoonworthy books I’ve read in some time.
The ultimate goal for me in reading romance is to be swept away by a hero who is determined to be with his heroine no matter what and who has those feelings reciprocated by a heroine who is just as set on building a real relationship with him. We truly got that here. Though Keane was the one doing most of the pursuing, Poppy was pursuing him as well in her own, more subtle way, sometimes in ways she didn’t even fully acknowledge to herself. I loved that depth that was established with these two and how their feelings and fears were explored through communication and used to build a solid foundation for their relationship. The pacing of this one did feel just a bit slow at times, but the mystery of who attacked Keane kept things going and I loved that Keane and Poppy were working together to address this external issue. This was a delightfully romantic story with plenty of the swoonworthy dialogue that just melts me, and I loved it.
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view.
After her father's illness, Poppy Summers is left in charge of the family business. Day in, day out, she's up at the crack of dawn to hopefully catch enough fish to keep the family afloat. Finding a half naked man floating in her cove, wrapped in her nets, was not what Poppy expected one morning, and when he awakens, and can't remember what happened, she knows she should help him. But he claims he is Andrew Keane, Duke of Hawking, which is almost too good to be true, right?
I loved this book. The meeting between Poppy and Keane was executed exquisitely, and their every moment together was magical. Both were from very different backgrounds, but they had a connection and a similarity which was easy to see, and their banter was joyous. Because of her history with nobility, Poppy was very wary of trusting Keane, but after discovering he was in fact a duke, and he wanted her to help him discover who attacked him and left him for dead, Poppy could see that not all nobles were cruel. Their interludes in London and at Ascot were so fun, and I loved seeing it clearly when Keane fell for her. Having the hero fall first is always a favourite of mine, and this one was no different. I had guessed at who was the main culprit for Keane's injuries, but a secondary player did surprise me, though that person redeemed themself later on. A great addition to the series, and I'm glad Hazel, Blade and Kitty play a part. Roll on book 3!
The beautiful cover immediately catches the eye, with Poppy and Keane in a field of poppies. Poppy Summers is a fisherwoman caring for her widowed father. To her surprise in her nets she finds an unconscious man. Her first thought is pirate, but no, he claims to be a Duke. Andrew Keane is the Duke of Hawking and he decides to hide out and convalesce in Poppy’s retreat shack. He knows he was attacked and thinks by playing dead for a few days he may be able to sleuth out his attacker.
With Poppy and his trusty valet they investigate a couple of potential enemies. While attending a ball and a horse race they get to spend time learning about each other. Keane is wonderful as he asks his allotted question a day to learn of Poppy and her interests. I find it funny that the book has them investigating freely without much fear of compromise. But Keane is adamant when he actually wants to court her that all must be done properly. The villain is easy to predict early and the mystery is a clever way from the author to have the MCs spend time together.
I love seeing Poppy’s confidence grow in her faith in Keane and his feelings for her. The heat between them is sizzling. This is the second in Bennett’s Rogue’s to Lovers series and I can’t wait for the next adventure.
[ I received a digital arc for an honest review] One Duke Down is the second standalone in the Rogues to Lovers series by author Anna Bennett.
Poppy Summers spends her days on a fishing boat and taking care of her ailing father. One morning, she finds a man washed up on her shores. She wants nothing to do with him, especially when he claims to be the Duke of Hawking. She does not have a good history with those of the upper class. Duke Andrew Keane convinces her to help him lie low while he uncovers who tried to murder him. While going on adventures to help him cross off suspects and long nights talking, Poppy starts to fall for the Duke. She decides to give into her attraction, even though she knows there could never be a future between them. Keane doesn't care about their class differences and is not the man she thinks he is, but will he be able to prove he's committed to building a future for them. "A toast," he said, raising his glass. "To books that aren't boring ..and to kisses that are unforgettable."
I really enjoyed this one much more than the first book in the series. Poppy and Keane are both very entertaining characters. Poppy is a capable, headstrong woman which is always my favorite. She takes care of her family even though her older brother should be pulling his weight. I loved her yearning for adventure and the way she held her own verbally against Keane. She also took charge when it came to their relationship, from the information she gave him about herself to the passion between them. Keane is your classic historical hero that comes across as a rogue but is painted that way by rumors and misunderstanding. He is kind-hearted and would do anything to make Poppy happy. He commits to convincing Poppy of his feelings and their future, and never gives up. "You realize this is madness," she rasped. He shook his head, sending droplets flying. "Madness would be letting you slip away." They collided in a kiss that was primal and fierce, timeless and true.
The story arc was strong from the beginning with Keane washing up on Poppy's shore and continues to entertain with mystery, banter and sleuthing adventures. The intimacy between Poppy and Keane has a slow burn to it that finally ignites when Poppy takes the reigns.
Over all, One Duke Down was a great historical fiction romance by Anna Bennett. A love story between classes filled with mystery, masquerade balls, family, friendship, steam, midnight swims, sand, sea glass and happy endings. I'm excited for Kitty's book and to find out who her nemesis is!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Rating: 4/5 Stars Publishing: January 12, 2023 Series: Rogues to Lovers #2 Pages: 352
I’ve read other books by Anna Bennett which were pretty good reads, however “One Duke Down”, the second in the series was okay. It started off a bit slow in the beginning but picked up as the story went along. I do believe that the H/h chemistry/attraction moved a bit too fast and I would have like a little slow burn to the romance.
What I did like was seeing the heroine, Poppy in a non-traditional role…who would have believed her a fisherwoman who catches Duke Andrew in the process (smiling). Love tropes of social class where the ones who have a leg up really understands the lower classes. There is mystery, romance, and passion between the two characters. I do love a bit of steamy in the historical romances I read, and it was represented in this story. Well-written and very enjoyable. Looking forward to reading the first and taking “considering” off that one in my TBR. Recommend the read.
I really enjoyed this historical romance book because of the likable characters and The Little Mermaid Vibes I got from the storyline.
Poppy is a strong and determined heroine who is working to save her family’s fishing business when she comes across Andrew, the Duke. When Andrew asks for Poppy’s help to hide him away until he figures out who is trying to kill him, she reluctantly agrees. Andrew is the perfect Prince Eric to Poppy’s Princess Ariel.
As Poppy nurses Andrew back to health she grows to believe his fantastic story. The plot gets even more interesting when Poppy and Andrew work together to investigate the mystery of who wants him dead. The couple cannot fight their growing attraction which culminates in a steamy Happily Ever After!
This is my favorite book in the Rogues to Lovers series so far. Plus, just look at that gorgeous cover!
I received a free eARC of this book for review purposes from the publisher; all opinions are my own.
Anna Bennett is always a win for me. When I need to reset, when I need something to kick start reading again, when I need a little comfort - she is there. I am really enjoying this series set in a seaside town that is giving me Sanditon vibes like no other. When Poppy goes to work in place of her father as a fisherman, she never expects to find a duke in her nets. Why was he injured on the beach? Who is out to get him? How come she can't resist him even though he stands for everything she opposes?
While they work through they mystery of his injury, their proximity leads to heat and tension that pays off in the best ways. I loved getting to see other characters from the first book. I enjoyed her family and his people as well. I am very excited for what comes next in this series.
Curse you, enchantingly lovely cover art! *shakes fist at sky*
Yes, I picked up One Duke Down for the cover art. It's a SMILING CLINCH COVER. It's gorgeous. Sue me.
The sweet pose is a good representation of the tone the book is shooting for, but I don't think it made it. Other reviewers found the book light and frothy, but for me, there wasn't nearly enough humor or sweetness to do the job. It just felt flimsy. I tried but was never able to feel the butterflies or invest in these characters finding happiness. It all felt static and thin. It also, frankly, made no sense to me a lot of the time. The character's actions in the first few chapters remain completely baffling to me from both practical and characterization standpoints.
The book also manages to feel stuffy, thanks to its unexpectedly old-fashioned outlook on class and sex.
There was a weird discomfort around portraying the character's feelings/experience with sex. We hear about Keane's *Experience* but his dialogue reveals a strangely conservative and shame-filled view of sex. The book seems unsure if Poppy is a blushing virgin or a world-wise girl who knows her way around a... fishing pole? I guess? Sorry, everything in this book comes with a fishing analogy.
In 2023, I'm not sure I have the patience for a Duke/Working Girl romance where they fret about what people will say and will she fit in at the fancy ball and oh they're just so different. Either the class divide is an issue, or it isn't. If we're buying into the fantasy that class doesn't really matter in this world (it never presents a significant issue for the characters understanding each other, forming a bond, or imagining a future) then why is so much page space devoted to this worry? I guess without this as an insecurity, the couple isn't facing any internal or external obstacles to their happiness...
Thank you to St. Martin's for the advance review copy of this title. No money changed hands for this review and all opinions are my own.
I received a copy of this from NetGalley and this is my freely given opinion.
This is the second book in the series and about the second of the Bellehaven Belles, Poppy Summers, the hard working, proud fisherwoman who is friends with Hazel, the new Countess of Bladenton and headmistress, from book 1. Life has been hard for Poppy, who is the only one working the nets to keep their business going, takes care of her ill, widowed father and their home, while her brother takes off for London. But she is fiercely loyal to her family and close friends, the other Belles, and tries to do the best she can with what she has.
While fishing one day, her net draws up a different catch than the usual cod, a strange man, beaten and unconscious has drifted into her cove. When he rouses, he says he is Andrew Keane, the Duke of Hawking and was attacked when leaving the local pub one night, and thrown into the water. Unfortunately, it was not just a simple robbery, but an attempted murder. Poppy initially disbelieves him, but when he makes her an offer for more money than she would normally make, to allow him to hide in her cove while trying flush out who would want him dead.
Poppy has a distrust of nobility, developed from her own experiences as her mother was born a lady, but fell in love with a simple fisherman and when she chose love, her family disavowed her. Poppy suffered their rejection first hand when seeking help for her mother when she was ill and dying, and never forgot it. This colours her initial relationship with Andrew. But as they get to know each other, they develop a friendship and trust that becomes closer, and there is the underlying attraction they eventually cannot deny, despite being so far apart in status.
Drew has a bit of a roguish reputation, and a few people who would wish him dead, so hiding in the cove as he heals with whoever wanted him murdered thinking they were successful would give him a chance to work on plans to flush them out. He is not overly proud or arrogant, and manages to win Poppy's trust and liking.
This was a sweet story of lovers from different sides of society, and definitely suspends belief, but is rather sweet. Drew has a reputation for being a rogue that as the story goes on seems to be a bit unearned and he is more the mislabeled or wronged party. The murder mystery does end up being a bit predictable, but makes a decent device for allowing Poppy and Drew to have intimate alone time to develop a relationship, that would never have happened in open. The intersection of Poppy's family and Drew's murder attempt was an interesting development.
I liked Drew's earnest outlook and found him to be a sweet character. I wish there was a bit more about his past, since it sounds like his father mistreated him because of his mother's affairs and that created his own lack of confidence in himself and his ability to be a duke, and contributed to other problems in his life. But otherwise, this was fun and sweet romance with a bit of steam.
One Duke Down is a sweet, romantic, totally addictive read. I loved coming back to Anna Bennett’s Bellehaven Bay, this time to see fisherwoman Poppy Summers fall in love with injured duke Andrew Keane.
Poppy is hardworking, kind, and secretly yearns for just a bit more. She loves her family, her friends, Bellehaven Bay, and her secret reading nook, but when her life takes an adventurous turn with a mysterious washed-up man claiming to be a duke it’s for the better. Keane is a wealthy, privileged duke but he’s also a good and kind man. That doesn’t stop someone from trying to kill him, though. Safe in Poppy’s cove and hiding from the world while he tries to figure out who wants to kill him, Keane starts to change. He sees the world through Poppy’s eyes and learns to be better. I loved the small changes they made in each other and how they brought their two worlds together to make one that would suit them both.
Poppy and Keane’s romance is easy to become swept away by. Keane is a romantic, eager to prove himself worthy of Poppy’s trust. Poppy has reason to not trust the nobility, but between her friends and Keane she learns to take a risk for a chance of happiness. I absolutely loved everything about Keane and Poppy’s love story. The two of them fit so well and I adored how it wasn’t just attraction turned to deeper feelings but respect and liking as well. There’s a solid foundation to their romance and Bennett eschews false drama in favor of showing how strong Keane and Poppy are as a couple.
One Duke Down is a historical romance that will make you smile and sigh. I adored it from beginning to end and cannot wait to revisit Poppy and Keane in the future. I love Bennett’s Rogues to Lovers series; the strong friendships between the heroines, the picturesque seaside town, and the love stories that remind me why I love this genre all come together beautifully.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The mystery surrounding Keane and the fun interactions between him and Poppy drew me in right from the start.
Miss Poppy Summers has caught something bigger than a fish this time. The man she rescued claims to be a duke, but Poppy has a hard time believing him. Someone wants him dead and Poppy agrees to shelter him. She also agrees to help him look for his assailant. In Poppy’s world, Keane discovers a whole new side to himself. Poppy herself blooms under his attention and soon she might have to make some difficult choices.
Poppy surprised me. For a young woman raised fairly sheltered in a small town, she sure didn’t hesitate to grab her adventure with both hands. Keane was quiet and unassuming, and he didn’t trust a lot of people. When he got closer to discovering the truth about his attack, he opted to protect Poppy’s choices rather than get his revenge outright.
The identity of Keane’s attacker was cleverly kept in the dark. But once the mystery started unraveling, the shocking revelations just kept coming. I liked that there was more story after Poppy and Keane declared their love for each other. That way we got to see more of them together.
This was a quick read, sweet, and Poppy and Keane both had their worlds expanded beyond their expectations. I can recommend this to anyone who likes steamy historical romance with action. Though it’s part of a series, it stands well on its own.
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a copy. All thought and opinions are my own.