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Blog Tour Stop: A Duke Like No Other by Valerie Bowman

by Valerie Bowman
Series: Playful Brides #9
Genres: Historical Romance
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: May 1st 2018
Source: ARC for review
Rating: ★★★★

First comes love, then comes marriage. Unless it’s the other way around...
General Mark Grimaldi has sacrificed everything for his military career, working his way through the ranks without the benefit of a nobleman’s title. Now, his years of dedication are about to pay off—with an offer for a prestigious promotion to Home Secretary. There’s only one condition: Mark must be married. Aside from the small matter of not actually wanting to be wed, Mark faces another troubling problem: he already has a wife.
Nicole Huntington Grimaldi has spent ten contented years in France without her husband—and without regret. When Mark asks her to return to London and play the part of his beloved wife, she sees her chance. But neither of them is prepared for news that will throw Mark’s future into chaos...nor the undeniable desire they’ve rekindled.
Maybe happily-ever-after can happen the second time around in A Duke Like No Other, the next Regency romance from Valerie Bowman.


A Duke Like No Other is my first Valerie Bowman and it definitely won't be my last. The estranged spouses trope is what intrigued me about this book and I immediately jumped at the chance to review it. 

General Mark Grimaldi has dedicated his whole life to the Crown for years. He is ambitious and ruthlessly so, and he has been eyeing for the Home Secretary position for his whole career. Just when he thought that his longtime service will finally pay off, he is told that the job is his, on one condition: Mark has to be married. 

Well, lucky for him that he is married, isn't it? The only problem: Mark and his wife, Nicole, are separated, and he hasn't seen her in ten years.

Nicole has been living in France for the past ten years quite happily, thank you. When her estranged husband reappears in her life and asks her for a favour, she sees this as a chance to finally get what she's secretly wanted: a baby. 

Both of them think their arrangement is a simple one. Unfortunately, fate has other plans for them.

*cue sirens*

She was dressed for him, for a journey they were about to take together. He had the oddest sense that he was taking her home.

Hmm, Mark Grimaldi, what can I say about Mark Grimaldi? He is definitely my type (no surprises there!). He's intelligent and strong, and he is also one-track minded about his quest to become Home Secretary, a tenacity that I admire. Nicole Huntington Grimaldi is now added to my list of favourite heroines. I love, love, love her sense of independence: here's a woman who has been living alone in a foreign country, working for the War Office, and in her spare time dons breeches, wears her hair down, and rides her horse into the sunset. #goals 

Also did I mention that Nicole used to do a stint with the Bow Street Runners before she married Mark? AN ICON.

Separation aside, I can totally see why Mark and Nicole fell in love with each other and got married. They had chemistry in spades, and a ten-year separation did nothing to lessen that. The attraction between them is intense, even after reuniting. I love that Nicole didn't take any shit from Mark, and gave it as good as she got. They're both smart and eloquent, so the banter between them was full of wit and really fun to read. Valerie wrote awesome dialogues! By the end of the story, I was so invested in Mark and Nicole's reconciling relationship. The HEA was everything I've wanted. 

Overall, A Duke Like No Other is a great read. I went to Goodreads and discovered that it's the ninth book in the series???? Boy I'm going to have a blast starting this series, there are so many books out already.

Also, I'm stoked that Nicole's Bow Street runner friend Daffin Oakleaf and Mark's cousin Regina are going to have their own book called Kiss Me at Christmas, coming out this October. They almost stole the spotlight from Mark and Nicole in this book, so I have high hopes that I will enjoy their book.

Have you read any of the books in this series?
Let me know in the comments!


VALERIE BOWMAN grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got. Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her mini-schnauzer, Huckleberry. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS. She is the author of the Secret Brides and Playful Brides series.

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