Miss Virginia Underwood cannot resist rescuing a stray. Her latest find turns out to be a surly, reclusive war hero trying to recover from his wounds in peace. He doesn't want her help—and Virginia definitely doesn't want to fall in love. Not when a future with him would mean returning to the the same haut ton who laughed her out of Town during her very first Season.
Theodore O'Hanlon, Viscount Ormondton, sequestered himself far from London to heal in anonymity. For now, he can be himself. As soon as he returns, he's meant to wed the woman his father selected years before. But when Miss Underwood turns his carefully mapped life upside-down, Theo must decide which battles are truly worth fighting for.
Never Say Duke is one of my absolute favorite books from Erica Ridley.
I pretty much know what I'm getting from an Erica Ridley book: low steam, unique female MCs, and, usually, a very sweet, easy story. Never Say Duke took me by surprise because I really, really liked it, and I had a hard time putting it down.
I adored the female MC. Though it isn't explicitly stated, Virginia Underwood seemed neuro-atypical to me, which was an unexpected pleasure. I love a unique MC, and Virginia's gentle, blunt nature and her quirks made her memorable and special to me. She had great chemistry with Theo, and also great chemistry with Duke, her feisty cat, who made the story even more fun.
I also love an interesting hero, and Theo's injuries, limp, and myriad of facial and bodily scars only increased his appeal for me. I felt very invested in his recovery, and I loved his gruff and grumpy demeanor and seeing how he softened to Virginia over time.
The story had a lot of weight to it, but it was kept light by Duke's (the cat) antics and the delightful banter between the MCs.
There was a little unnecessary drama in the last part of the story, which irritated me, but the author pulled it out in the end. It was a grand romance-y romance ending that all historical romance readers will swoon over.
*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
Enjoy, my friends!