Cover Image: A Duke Too Far

A Duke Too Far

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Member Reviews

A Duke Too Far is the fourth and final book in The Way to a Lord’s Heart.  The series is based on four men the Earl of Macklin thought he might be able to help and after having dinner with the men in London and discussing the death of their loved ones, the earl spends the summer traveling to each man’s estate and playing matchmaker.  
Peter Rathbone, the eccentric Duke of Compton, was struggling to keep his crumbling family’s estate together.  He was surprised when Macklin showed up at his home and even more surprised when Ada Grandison and her companions arrived that same afternoon.  Even though a duke, Peter hadn’t gone to the traditional schools’ other gentlemen went to and had never been a part of Society, so he wasn’t skilled in social graces, but he was glad for their company.  
Ada had discovered Delia at the bottom of the cliff, and she felt certain Delia wanted her to take her discovery to Peter.  Even though Peter doesn’t want anything to do with the mystery once they learn Delia was looking for the family’s hidden treasure, Ada is determined to find the treasure.  She had fallen in love with Peter and knew they needed to find the treasure if they wanted a future together.   
I have enjoyed reading the series but must admit this was not my favorite book in the series.  It did have a good plot with the mystery of the hidden family treasure.  Hopefully we will see the side characters in future books.
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What I liked:
- Strong female friendships
- Ada initiating the intimacy
- Peter being so, so very awkward
- the emphasis on grief and the need of support when mourning
- how relatively tame the romance is. That may sound silly as the romance genre is known for being steamy; however, some people just want so mushy love stories and they shouldn't be denied that.

What I did not care for:
- the lack of empathy, or at least sympathy, for Peter's financial situation. It's in line with the characters I suppose as most of them have not ever been poor, but it was sad that Ada refused to try to understand how much his financial strain bothered him.
- the rather slow pacing of the book. There was not a whole lot of forward momentum keeping me coming back to the story which is partly why it took me so long to finish. On the plus side, when I did come back to the story, there wasnt much I needed to be reminded about.
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Peter Rathbone, Duke of Compton, is flat broke due to mismanagement from a long line of dukes. As the last Compton duke, Peter does everything he can including fixing things in his mansion when he can. He is fighting a losing battle and he has lost hope that he can bring the estate back into the black. When his younger sister Delia dies in a tragic accident, Peter is now alone in the world. A group Delia's friends come to visit and Peter has to stretch his meager budget to accommodate them. Miss Ada Grandison was the one who found Delia at the bottom of a cliff and she has come to hopefully find closure and solve a mysterious puzzle Delia left. Falling in love with the duke wasn't in the plan, but can she understand that love isn't everything when there's no money to live?

I usually love Ms. Ashford's books, but this one was a struggle to get through. I didn't really feel the connection between Peter and Ada. She seems more committed to the "idea" of love than actually trying to understand Peter's reluctance to form an attachment to her. The mystery surrounding the estate's missing treasure was the saving grace for this story. The secondary characters including Ada's aunt helped carry the story.
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The story started out quite funny. The plot line grabbed my attention, but as I got through 48% of the book, it changed to being very bland. I was loot for love and romance between Ada and Peter. Unfortunately I didn’t feel that connection with the characters and it fell flat. 
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In the last book of the series featuring the Earl of Macklin who is assisting a band of grieving young men we find Peter, Duke of Rathbone. He is poor as a church mouse and just as despairing. His finances are in ruins and his sister just died in an accident. Just as he gets a surprise visit from Macklin his home is invaded by four of her friends and their chaperone. They wish to solve the mystery of a missing fortune on the estate that his sister was investigating before her death. Peter is especially drawn to Miss Ada and she to him. But his poverty means he would never be able to offer for her. Or might he be?

Although we’ve seen this trope before and the plot does not offer any surprises it is like settling down with an old friend. The characters are fresh, interesting and sympathetic. The only character in the series not settled is the Earl. We can hope for that last book. 

I would recommend this book to my patrons.
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A DUKE TOO FAR – Jane Ashford
The Way to a Lord's Heart -  Book 4
Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN-10: 1492663441
ISBN-13: 978-1492663447
ASIN: B0821Q372J
April 28, 2020
Historical Romance

Shropshire, England – Early 19th century.

The ramshackle ducal estate of Alberdene near the Welsh border has a long history but is falling into ruin. Peter Rathbone, Duke of Compton, struggles to maintain the estate. He inherited after the recent death of his father which was followed by the accidental death of his younger sister, Delia. Although without much funding, Peter feels he has a duty to Alberdene’s staff, most of whom have served since before he was born. He is surprised by Arthur Shelton’s, the Earl of Macklin, unexpected visit. Macklin had surprisingly invited him to a dinner at White’s in London six months earlier along with three other grieving young men. It is a good thing Alberdene has an excellent cook in Mrs. Anselm. His guest enjoys the meal, but Peter batting an invading bat to the floor with a racket is another thing. Then more company arrives: Delia’s school mates and best friends. 

Ada Grandison found Delia’s body. She is determined to find an answer to the paper she found under Delia’s mattress. Before her death, Delia told Ada she had solved her family’s mystery but said little more about it. Ada’s parents allow her to go to Alberdene to help her cope with her grief over her friend’s death and with the hope she recovers from it. Ada’s and Delia’s other school friends Charlotte, Harriet, and Sarah also come along. Her Aunt Julia accompanies the young women as a chaperone for propriety’s sake.

Used to isolation due to his circumstances, Peter, at twenty-four, hasn’t had visitors and is somewhat socially inept at interactions with young women. He also knows he must fight his attraction to Ada because other than his title, he has nothing to offer her. Ada doesn’t care about his lack of wealth, but her family will object. She knows what she wants. First is to solve Delia’s mystery, the next is Peter. The dilemma is how to accomplish both?

Robin Lee
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Peter Rathbone is an extremely unusual Duke.  Like break-the-mold kind of Duke.  He did not have a traditional upbringing or attend any of the traditional schools.  He feels like he has been fighting against a rising tide of bad luck and problems his entire life.  

Ada Grandison is young (barely 18) and just starting out in life.  She has a core group of friends that she met at finishing school.  They have formed somewhat of an amateur sleuthing group - all with different skills.  They are all also struggling with how to reconcile their lives when they all are "out" in society and marriage and life takes them away from each other.

Ada's friend Delia is Peter's sister.  Delia died while staying with Ada's family after a fall from a cliff.  Both Delia and Peter have been struggling with their grief over the death.  Peter has also been struggling with managing his crumbling estate and is all but bankrupt.  

Ada and her friends, as well as a well-meaning matchmaker Earl descend on Peter's estate.  Ada, who had a crush on Peter, wants to see him again and find out more about what a mysterious document  she found with Delia's possessions is.  

Ada and Peter aren't a spontaneous combustion of a couple - definitely more of a slow burn.  In fact - it was nice to see a girl being the primary pursuer.  Ada definitely is the one to pursue and push Peter for more.  While I enjoyed seeing Ada fight for a relationship and push to be involved.  What I didn't like was how unrealistic she was in the face of everything Peter and her aunt were saying about the possibilities.  Without the deus ex machina at the end, Ada was really facing a situation where love was all they would have.  She had no concept of what being poor would actually mean.  

I also - to be honest - just didn't see the love.  I think Ada was infatuated with Peter and Peter was excited to have someone interested in him.  I saw their relationship more as puppy love, rather than mature lasting love.  Maybe I'm wrong - but still.  I also didn't love Ada's friends. Overall - this is definitely new adult regency (is that a subcategory?) - if you like that, this might 100% work for you.  But it didn't for me.

I did love the Earl and Ada's aunt though - I could have read a whole book about them.

I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, but these opinions are all my own.
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This story had an interesting setting in a gothic like old crumbling castle and a heroine dealing with the sudden death of a friend.  Was a good romance too - not your typical sweetness.
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I had a little struggle getting into this story, but I kept reading and I'm glad I did.  The development of the love between Peter and Ada is lovely. Delia's mystery is well done!  I was happy with the HEA!
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I enjoyed seeing the characters from the past books in this series. Peter is struggling to get over his sister Delia’s death and his cash poor estate. Ada also is struggling to get over her friend Delia’s death. Ada finds a clue to a fortune hidden on the estate and she helps to save the day. I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest review.
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4 stars

I think for optimum enjoyment I should have read some of the other books.  In this way I'd have had a better sense of what was the Earl's motivation and scheme.  I think this book, as well as being a standalone romance for Peter and Ada, also wraps up some loose ends started off in the first books.  It's a sweet romance, only kisses.  There's a mystery and some frustration with the lack of fortune which prevents Peter offering for Ada.   I enjoyed it and would recommend it to others,

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Peter Rathbone is the last heir to a crumbling house. He spends his time wallowing alone, until a group of young women who knew his late sister show up and uncover a secret that may improve his fortunes - and allow him to wed Ada Grandison, who he is beginning to fall in love with.

For a romance novel, this didn't really have much romance. The hero and heroine shared a few kisses and that was apparently enough for them to develop a relationship and decide to get married. That said, the mystery and the treasure hunt was sort of interesting - but it didn't distract me from the underwhelming romantic plot.
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A Duke Too Far, has a tragic past and a treasure hunt that kept me turning page after page. It was hard to put down this book.
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I received an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review 

Really wanted to like this one because it was so different, but I could have used a little more old fashioned romance
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