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A Duke in Need of a Wife

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Oliver, Duke of Theakstone is in need of a wife so he invites several ladies to his home with their families for his review. Sofia, a young lady of character, is also invited but she wants to be loved and has been burned by a young man only in pursuit of her fortune.   Sofia and her fluffy dog fall into scrapes and make friends with the Duke's illegitimate daughter Livie who her father seeks to protect but who is having a rough time of it.  A regency romp of the first order.
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A Duke in Need of a Wife 
by Annie Burrows 

Many Layers to a Good Read
February 12, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition

This was an unexpected read in so many ways. It is hard to say all the things that make it that way. However, I will say this, the author has never disappointed in her writing. Each and every line of the story was layered and had so many emotions. The plot line was a little different in the way of expectation versus the actual reality of what it was. Meaning to this is that I have not read many where a Duke goes looking for a wife that will definitely accept child from outside the marriage. The way it was handled was perhaps a little clumsy at times but all in all the book and the plot kept my attention through out the story. Most of this was due to the talent of the writer. So while I can write that it was not one of her best books it was definitely a good read. One to be enjoyed leisurely on a rainy afternoon or evening. I was given this ARC via NetGalley. All opinions written here are my own and voluntary. Regards, Anna
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What happens when you are invited along with five others to audition for the role of Duchess. Sophie just does not go along with the plan. She keep throwing things in the way while getting the Duke's attention. This is a nice sweet story with a child in the middle of the plot. Sophia and Oliver (the Duke) are a great couple who have to find their HEA in a very short time. Great characters and a nice story line.

I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.
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July 1814

Miss Sofia Underwood, age 22, is attending a fireworks display celebrating peace with France when an explosion sends people scrambling away, trampling over one another.  Sofia is knocked into some bushes, but when she sees a woman ablaze, she runs to help her calling for others to help.  A waiter responds and helps put out the fire.  When the woman says she cannot pay for medical treatment, the waiter offers to pay for her treatment because he is one of people responsible for the fete.  It turns out that he is Oliver, the Duke of Theakstone, and is part of the group sponsoring the fete.

Sofia lives with her aunt and uncle, Lord and Lady Norborough,  She came to live with them when she was small and after the death of her father.  Her mother was from another country and she passed away many years ago.  Her father left her a lot of money, so she is a wealthy heiress.  Sofia has not had a chance to be a part of society as she aunt and uncle have kept her close to home.

The day after the fire, Oliver calls upon Sofia to see how she is faring.  He invites her for a carriage ride and she insists on taking her little dog called Snowball.  Oliver tells her he has decided to look for a wife.  To that end, she is having a house party inviting a number of eligible young ladies and their parents to attend.  Sofia and her aunt and uncle are also invited.

At the party, one young woman has decided she will marry the Duke and tries to assert herself with the other young woman.  As Sofia has had little experience with the ton, she is rather intimidated by it all.  She wants to do nothing more than walk her dog, Snowball.  One day, she comes upon a young girl, Olivia, who is the Duke’s bastard daughter.  She has had a rather harsh upbringing so far and the duke needs a wife to take her in hand and raise her.

As we see Sofia and Oliver interact, Olivier appears to be “hot one minute and cold the next.”  Sometimes he is nice with Sofia and then he’s rude.  I did not like him at all.  He is certainly taken with himself and expects the young women to fall all over him.  Sofia needed a bit more of a backbone as well.  The plot is a good one, and the ending is nice, but sometimes it was difficult to get to that point.

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Some historical Dukes can be so clueless.  Oliver is fighting his attraction to clumsy, wild child Sofia and Sofia does not see herself as Duchess material. She is only at this house party because her Aunt Agnes wanted to hob-nob with the hoy-paloy. But Oliver has a secret child that Sofia accidentally meets. I can recommend this book to historical romance fans who like a good story with only kisses, no sex.
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This book’s title – A Duke in Need of a Wife – tells you pretty much all you need to know going into this story (that’s one thing about Harlequin Historical titles – they don’t generally beat about the bush!).  It’s pretty standard historical romance fare – an aristocratic, coolly controlled hero meets a somewhat downtrodden young woman whose behaviour isn’t quite as it should be and becomes completely smitten with her in spite of his determination to remain aloof.

The story opens at a disastrous moment.  The fireworks display mounted to celebrate the new peace with France has gone badly wrong and the fireworks are going off all over the place, causing the onlookers to panic and a mass stampede as they rush to safety.  One bystander, however, is running in the opposite direction; noticing a woman whose skirt has caught fire, Sofia Underwood rushes to her side to help her, arriving at the same time as one of the waiters.  He tries to get Sofia to leave but she refuses, staying to comfort the injured woman and covering her with her cloak while the waiter goes to fetch a doctor.  Sofia knows she’ll hear no end of complaints from her aunt when she gets home  – how she could have ruined her best cloak by acting so irresponsibly? – but Sofia doesn’t care.  Well – she does, but complaints about her behaviour are par for the course and she’s become accustomed to them.  Life following the drum has ill prepared her for a life among good society.

She is completely puzzled the next day, when the Duke of Theakstone – a man she knows neither in person nor by reputation – comes to call at her aunt and uncle’s house, and is surprised to see that he’s the ‘waiter’ who had helped the injured woman at the fireworks display.  Theakstone is abrupt  and clearly not interested in making small talk; he asks Sofia to accompany him on a ride in his curricle the following afternoon, telling himself it’s because he didn’t like the way her relatives were so dismissive of her the night before, especially in light of her bravery in rushing to help an injured stranger.

The next day, Theakstone is still asking himself what made him extend the invitation, especially as the retiring, subdued Miss Underwood he’d seen in company with her aunt and uncle was nothing like the brave young woman he’d glimpsed on the night of the display.  She’s nothing special, he tells himself; she’s pretty enough, but her manners are a strange mixture of retiring and forward and her tendency to veer away from the subject in conversation frustrates him, yet he’s drawn to her and clearly infatuated, even though he doesn’t realise it.

Still unable to shake off his fascination with Sofia, Theakestone decides to invite her and her guardians to the house party he’s holding at Theakstone Court – to which he’s also invited a number of the most eligible of the year’s crop of debutantes.  His decision to marry is not based simply on his desire to do his duty to the title and set up his nursery, but because he recently discovered the existence of his illegitimate daughter, Olivia (Livvy) and wants to provide her with a home and loving family. He’s therefore on the lookout for a woman who can do more than fulfil her duties as his duchess – he wants one who will be a wife and mother first and a duchess second – which is a refreshing change from all those heroes who express their intentions to wed the most well brought-up, well trained and biddable young ladies because they will be the perfect peeress and hostess.

Sofia is an engaging character, even though she’s somewhat stereotypical; an orphan whose upbringing was irregular because she grew up outside England – and as if that wasn’t bad enough, her mother was a catholic.  After her father’s death, she was passed around relatives until settling with her aunt and uncle; and grateful to have a home – any home – Sofia worked hard to stifle her naturally adventurous, outgoing nature and now is so repressed that she rarely speaks unless spoken to, and only allows her true self to emerge when she’s walking her dog alone in the woods. Theakstone is also a character-type we’ve seen often before; the son of an unfeeling, stentorian father who hasn’t experienced much in the way of love or affection, he doesn’t believe in love for himself and is far more focused on providing it for his daughter.  I appreciated that he was able to see Sofia in a way nobody else did, and how her confidence grew as a result; and it’s clear he loves Livvy and wants the best for her.  On the downside however, he can be cold and off-hand with Sofia to the point of hurting her feelings, and Sofia’s tendency to go off at a tangent made her seem a bit scatter-brained at times.

A Duke in Need of a Wife is a well-written take on a familiar trope featuring interesting, though  flawed characters, and if you enjoy stories featuring an obliviously head-over-heels hero then it might fit the bill.

Grade: C+/3.5 stars
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While a little slow in some places, and a little repetitive in others, on the whole this was a mostly enjoyable read. The interactions between Oliver and Sofia were entertaining, I enjoyed the way she was able to get under her skin without even trying (or really even aware that she was doing it). I do wish there had been some loose ends tied up (for example what did Oliver say to Livvy's governess after he learned the truth, what really happened at the fireworks, etc), just like I wish there was an epilogue of some sort so we could see them in the future. 

The house party was a nice touch, even if it is a bit overdone as a concept. I liked how it gave Oliver and Sofia time to get to know one another, even if the majority of the others were title grabbing harpies. 

Livvy and Snowball definitely stole the scenes when they were on the pages, and I love how both caused Oliver to change his ways (even if just in little ways). 

Overall, I think this story will appeal to those who enjoy historical fiction, and I would read more from this author.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.
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This is my first book by this author and it’s a good story, but slow in places. Sofia’s parents are deceased, and she has spent a good part of her life with her aunt and uncle. They attend a fireworks display and something goes wrong with them. Instead of running away from the explosion, she sees an injured woman and runs to help her. There was also a man helping the woman, but she does not know he is the Duke of Theakstone. He visits them and takes Sofia for a drive. He thinks she was brave to help the hurt woman. She thinks he’s stuffy but is attracted to him. He has recently found his daughter, whose mother is now deceased. He wants to marry so his daughter has a mother, so he invites several single women and their parents to a house party. What happens at the house party is for you to read.
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A Duke In Need of a Wife is a tale of three souls in pain finding a fairy tale ending.
      Oliver, the Duke of Theakstone is dealing with a heartbreaking childhood....only to find out he has a child, of whom  he was unaware.
     Sofia Underwood, orphaned at a young age, shuffled among relatives and made fun of by her cousins, knew exactly how young Livvy felt.
     Add in a house party to find a suitable wife with a few competing debutantes and you have the formula for a feel good historical love story.
    Ms. Burrows' style of  writing leads to a fun literary escape.
    I requested and received a NetGalley ARC.
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This was an engaging read that was hard to put down.  These are characters that you just have to get to know.
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A poorly-written and unconvincing Regency romance. Heiress Sofia Underwood finds herself in the sights of Oliver, Duke of Theakstone, who is looking for a wife to mother his recently discovered illegitimate daughter. In keeping with his generally unlikeable character, the Duke assembles a bevy of young women, including Sofia, to vie for his attention and title.  Sofia doesn’t play the game and so naturally rises to the top; the Duke’s cream in a fairly tepid cup of tea. – Megan Osmond

1 1/2  stars.
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I really enjoyed this! The hero's struggles with his feelings while trying to be practical are well-written, and I enjoyed the relationship between him and the heroine. A good outing from a solid writer.
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Oliver is cool and headstrong. Sophie has fought to control her wild streak. She believes that she will only be loved if she is good. But Oliver sees something in the young woman that rattles at his control and he simply has to get to know her better. I enjoyed seeing Sophie's true nature come out as her confidence grew. 
Thank you, Netgalley!
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