Cover Image: Cheers to the Duke

Cheers to the Duke

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Member Reviews

An enjoyable quick read for a rainy day. If your a regency purist, this may not be the series for you.  However if you enjoy reading stories of women who think with their own minds, not their husbands - and forge ahead to better themselves and the world - this is charming.
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I really enjoyed this book, and I will admit I was sad when it ended so quickly (as the ebook included excerpts from other books and therefore ended before I expected). The hero, Edward, is sweet and caring, and I really liked his son, Thomas, as well. I am always a sucker for a plot moppet. There are also two dogs. =) 

However, I do think this is a book that should be read after reading the others in the series, as you miss a lot of character development of the heroine, Jo, and her friends without it. This is the third book about a charity for women and their daughters that works as a brewery (hence the Widow's Brew title for the series). In this book, we spend very little time at the brewery and instead attend a house party for the christening of the child of one of the women who used to work there. 

It is a charming story, and it worked for me. But I think you need to already understand Jo's life to see why she is so torn up about the idea of marrying again. 

Content warning for anyone who does not want to read about miscarriage or trouble conceiving. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher.
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This was an enjoyable story of a mature couple. The addition of Thomas the son was a great part to the story. I also liked that the characters from the previous books were a part of the plot. 4 stars
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I really enjoyed Josephine and Edward's story! I enjoyed that this story was different from what I normally read. The H/H got to know one another through their letters and then when they met in person, there was a physical attraction. So while the courting happened fast, because of their history it felt right. This was a great addition to the series!
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Another great entry in this series! I loved Jo and finally getting to see inside her head. I loved her and Edward together. It was great to see couples from the first two books come back and the remaining side characters were great. A very fun read!
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I enjoyed this read and probably finished it in two sittings but could have done one. They had both been hurt in different ways and needed each other, but couldn't see it. Luckily they had those who knew them both who could push them together! It was sweet, had some steamy moments, and my only critique would be that she was just a bit annoying with her nonsense about a conspiracy to take over the home, etc. #netgalley #cheerstotheduke
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3.5 stars

Jo, the widowed Baroness Havenridge and the director of The Benevolent Home for the Maintenance and Support of Spinsters, Widows, and Abandoned Women and the Unfortunate Children – AKA The Home, is attending the christening of her friend and former co-worker, Pen, Lady Darrow.  An invitation that Jo had declined, but that Livy Williams, a former courtesan and new employee at the Home, accepted on her behalf.  Jo is sure that Livy is trying to push her out and take over the management of the home – something that she will never let happen!  But unfortunately, she can’t refuse to attend the christening, as Pen asked her to be her son’s godmother.  She resigns herself to the visit but vows to put Livy in her place once she returns. 

Edward Russell, the new Duke of Grainger, father to Thomas, and widower is also attending the christening as Lord Darrow is one of his closest friends.  Edward is still adjusting to his new position and has decided that it is time to remarry.  He loved his late wife, but he admits that he is lonely and would like to have more children.  He has been supporting the Home for months and has gotten to know Jo through their correspondence, but he is not prepared for the immediate attraction he feels for her when they meet face to face for the first time.  It doesn’t take long for Edward to decide that Jo would be the perfect duchess for him and he sets out to woo her.

Jo’s previous marriage was far from perfect and the whole experience left her with a strong resolve to never remarry.  She also harbors fears about her age and her inability to produce an heir for her late husband, but none of this stops Edward from trying to convince her that she is the one he wants.  Jo won’t commit to marriage, but agrees to an affair – just for the duration of the house party, and vows to keep her heart intact.  Ah, the best-laid plans…

This was a very nicely paced, well-written story with likable characters and cameos from the previous characters.  The book has a lot going for it, great secondary characters, not too much angst, a more mature couple than is usually portrayed, warm love scenes, second chances, and touches on sensitive topics like losing a beloved spouse, infertility, and personal insecurities, before concluding in a very sweet HEA.  I liked this story, but I have to confess that I found the fact that Edward had been lovers with Livy a bit offputting and gave the story an unneeded/unwanted ick factor.  I also felt while I did sympathize with her previous experience with marriage, that Jo was too stubborn for too long and her resistance just made the story drag.  Overall, it was a fun read and I am glad I read it.
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Jo, Lady Havenridge as she is more properly known, is frustrated. Yes, her friends are happy and married but that means that creating the ale that pays for the Home (a place for women and children to live) rests solely on her shoulders. Yes, the Duke of Grainger has proved a steady patron but that's because he's only been nobility for a year. The rest of the people who fund the Home? They might have shorter attention spans. And where would that leave her and all of her charges? 
But her friends are conspiring against her. In fact, everyone is conspiring against her to get her away from the home. And maybe into a new family.
This was a cute story but there was just so much pressure on Jo and Edward. Edward fell in line pretty fast but Jo railed against what appeared to be inevitable. 

Three and a half stars
This book comes out October 5th, 2021
Follows The Merry Viscount
ARC kindly provided by Kensington Books and NetGalley
Opinions are my own
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Jo, Lady Havenridge, runs the The House - the Benevolent Home for the Maintenance and Support of Spinsters, Widows and Abandoned Women and Their Unfortunate Children. A widow who enjoys her independence and isn't interested in marrying again. Edward, Duke of Grainger, is the benefactor of The Home. He is attending the same house party as Jo. They have only corresponded by letters and never met.  Edward is looking for a wife and mother for his son. He  knows the moment he meets Jo he wants her for his wife. Jo is very attracted to Edward, but afraid of marrying again. Instead of marriage what about an affair. Edward is so sweet, sensitive and has a great sense of humor. Just the type of man any woman would want to marry.  How could she turn him down! This book flows at a nice pace. DEFINITELY STEAMY!!!
I VOLUNTARILY READ AND REVIEWED AN ADVANCED COPY OF THE BOOK.
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This checked off everything I look for in a book. Was not disappointed. Really enjoyed this book.  I will read more from this author. Must read. Historical fiction oh yeah.
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Puddleton Manor

The widowed Jo, Lady Havenridge grows hops to make ale to support the Benevolent Home for the Maintenance and Support of Spinsters, Widows, and Abandoned Women and their Unfortunate Children which she sponsors and runs.  Edward Russell, the Duke of Grainger is the owner of the manor and provides most of the money she needs to run the home.  But, she is always looking for ways to economize.

Jo’s friend, Pen, wife of the Earl of Darrow, has invited her to the christening of her newborn son.  Pen, Jo, and another friend, Caro, started the home some years ago.  Jo is hesitant to leave as she worries about the home running smoothly in her absence.  But she learns that the women have accepted the invitation for her, packed her bags, and are sending her off.

When she arrives, she finally meets Edward, the Duke of Grainger and his son, Thomas.  Edward is a widower and Thomas wants a new mother.  Jo is to be the new heir’s godmother and Edward will be his godfather.  All of her friends are rooting for them to become a couple and marry.

This book has typical Sally MacKenzie humor woven all through it.  Her interjections of “Stop!” throughout the book will make you smile.  I liked Edward but wished Jo would grab him fast!  He’s a keeper.  I really loved Thomas and Bear.  Both are great additions to the story.  Enjoy! 

Copy provided by the NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Cheers to the Duke is #3 in the Widow's Brew series, but it may be read as a stand-alone, which was my case. Anyway, I enjoyed reading this book so much that I'm planning to read the first two instalments.
Jo, Lady Havenridge, is forced to have a fortnight break from the Benevolent Home she founded and runs in order to attend the baptism of Pen's son - Pen is one of her  best friends and former partner. On getting there, Jo comes to know that the only single person apart from herself is Edward Russell, Duke of Grainger. On one hand, she is glad to meet him, since they've exchanged letters for a while, being Grainger the Benevolent Home's main supporter. On the other hand, Jo is furious because she realizes that there's a big matchmaking plan to get Jo and the Duke married.
Edward is tired of the Marriage Mart. He doesn't want to marry a young girl, because he wants someone more mature to share his responsibilities as a duke and as a father of a 8-year-old boy. He's been a widower for a long time and misses companionship. He's not against the idea of marrying Jo when he becomes aware of the matchmaking plot, yet he's afraid of not being able to persuad her into marriage. 
I think I liked this book so much is that both Jo and Edward are mature, come from middle class families and have their highs and lows.
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They both need a break....

Jo, a widow, who runs a home for women and girls, is stressed out and is sent to a christening party for two weeks. She's brittle, a bit shrill and harder to warm up to. 

Edward, a widower, a new duke (he was a solicitor) with a son, Thomas, is off the the same christening party. He needs a break from balls, mean debutantes, and wife hinting in general. I really was engaged with Edward. He wants to get married again. He wants a family, a wife and more children and a mother for Thomas. 

I liked that they had both been married before. Edward, at 35 was has worked and lived. 
Jo had married a frivolous man and now has taken on the responsibility for women who lack options.
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Cheers to the Duke by Sally Mackenzie was a delightful read from start to finish. Fans of historical romance will adore this story and its characters! This novel also features a well-written, independent female lead. I highly recommend!

Mood Read: Historical Romance, regency
Overall: 3.5/5
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Jo is a young widow who has started a charity to help women who are in need.    The charity also helps their small daughters.     But, don’t be a woman with a small boy, because you and your son will not be welcome.    That is emphasized frequently in this story.

I read the first two books in the series, and I enjoyed both of them.

In this book, I found it much more difficult to become a fan of Jo.      She has done a great deal of good, but no one else is allowed to help.     Nor is anyone allowed to have a differing opinion about anything.

Jo resents a new woman, Livy, who has joined the group.      Livy is a good manager and wants to help Jo lighten her load.     Jo is having none of it.      She dislikes Livy for the very fact that she wants to help Jo.      There is not a place for anyone except Jo herself to be in charge.

Two women who were formerly at the Home have married well.     Both of them are friends and have moved into new lives which have provided happiness for both.   Now Jo is invited to become the godmother for a new baby boy.      She is invited to a family celebration.   

She does not realize that her friends have both planned to introduce her to a man who would make an ideal husband for her.      Edward was a solicitor and happy at the work.     He is a widower who has a young son, Thomas.   Because of some terrible events, Edward has inherited the title of duke and he has been seeking a wife.      He hopes to find a woman who will be a good mother for Thomas.

Edward is immediately enamored of Jo.      Thomas has become certain that his father needs to marry Jo so they can become a family.

During all this, Jo becomes intimate with Edward, but continues to say over and over that she will not marry him.       She does  not plan to allow anyone else to run the Home that she created.   This went on too long for me.

Ms MacKenzie is a wonderful author.         I have enjoyed nearly all of her books.     She makes me laugh and she creates characters who are delightful to know.

In this book, it was very difficult for me to fall in love with Jo.     I did fall in love with Edward.   He was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word.    But, my favorite character was Thomas.   He is a bright and charming little boy.      He would make any mother or father proud to be his parent. 

Ms MacKenzie entertains me every time I read what she has written.       This book is not one of my favorites but it is by a very talented author.

I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley.     I am voluntarily writing this review and all opinions are completely my own.
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Fun book. Jo, Lady Havenridge, and her two friends Caro and Pen started the Benevolent Home years earlier to help women who had nowhere else to go. The Home partially supports itself by running a brewery and alehouse and partially with the financial support of the Duke of Grainger. Jo corresponds with the Duke regularly. Caro and Pen married and moved on to life with their husbands in the past year, though they are still peripherally involved with the Home. They also remain friends with Jo and support her as best they can. Jo is a bit of a control freak, and with her friends gone, she feels she must do it all herself, despite offers from others to help. It's become so bad that some of the ladies collaborate with Caro and Pen to get Jo to the christening of Pen's son as the boy's godmother. Jo arrives at Darrow to find that Pen and Caro have matchmaking on their minds, with Edward and Jo as their targets.
 
Edward was a solicitor until recently when he unexpectedly inherited the title of Duke of Grainger. The widowed father of a seven-year-old son, Edward wants a mother for Thomas and a wife who can be a partner for him. Attending the ton's ballrooms does nothing to improve his opinion of the nobility, and the available ladies are not what he wants. After a particularly stressful evening, Edward opts for an early arrival at his friend Darrow's home, where he will be the new heir's godfather. He takes Thomas and their dog, Bear, with him.
 
I loved the first meeting between Jo and Edward. Jo encountered Thomas and Bear first and immediately connected with Thomas. He's a very forthright little boy and jumps right into pleading his case for himself and his father, even though he just met her. Edward arrives shortly after. He is immediately smitten by the woman who interacts so easily with Thomas. While Jo is attracted, her first marriage was so terrible that she has no intention of ever marrying again; additionally, she refuses to give up control of the Home. Be that as it may, Jo and Edward quickly discover that they like each other and enjoy spending time together. I liked how Jo found herself relaxing and enjoying her time away, especially with Edward and Thomas, and she irritated me when she kept forcing herself to put the Home first.
 
When Edward and Jo gave into the attraction between them, Edward had high hopes that it would lead Jo to marriage with him. He accepts that he's already fallen in love with her. Jo suspects that she loves him, too, but after her first marriage is wary of trusting the speed of those feelings. I liked how Edward respected her fears and feelings, giving her the time she needed to believe in what they could have together. I loved the ending, as Edward shows up at the Home to plead his case just as Jo receives some unexpected news. Once they get past some insecurity-induced misunderstandings, seeing them finally admit their feelings made a fantastic ending. The epilogue was a terrific wrap-up.
 
This book was a lot of fun to read. The interactions between Jo and Edward ranged from fun and flirty to serious and deeply emotional. Edward's son Thomas stole the show with his sweet care and worry for his father and conviction that Jo was precisely what they needed. The dog, Bear, certainly kept things interesting with his enthusiasm and occasionally awkward interference. I loved the close relationship between Jo, Caro, and Pen, though Caro and Pen may have been a little too enthusiastic in their attempts to get Edward and Jo together. That much pressure tended to make Jo dig in her heels rather than agree that she and Edward were right for each other. The dinner scene was both funny and uncomfortable because of two women who had no filters regarding gossip, Jo, and Edward. One of the funniest scenes was at the end when Livy explained to Jo why she didn't feel good.
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What a hero Edward was! He was so straightforward and honest in what he wanted. Edward had no love for London’s society. He wanted a wife who was older and who would love his son. I did feel a bit frustrated with Jo, but also a little sorry for her, she seemed afraid to enjoy herself and let go. Luckily, she has two very good friends to advise and help her. I just loved young Thomas and of course, Bear. I have purchased the first two books in this series as I would like to read the other stories. I received a copy and have voluntarily reviewed it. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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4.5 Stars
As the founder of the Home for mothers & daughters, Jo, the widowed Lady Havenridge, is determined to be there for the women who need her. But when those same women conspire to accept an invitation on her behalf, she finds herself suddenly on the way to the Earl of Darrow’s home for the christening party of the son of her long time friend and former partner, Pen, now the Countess of Darrow. Guests will include her other former partner, Caro—and Edward Russell, the new Duke of Grainger and the Home’s generous benefactor. Even after a year, the title of “duke” still sits strangely on former solicitor Edward Russell’s shoulders. But the responsibilities of the title are his duty, no matter his less-than-positive opinion of the nobility. When Edward encounters Jo—capable, fun, and utterly irresistible--he’s delighted to find someone he truly connects with. 
This is the third book in the series & whilst its easily read on its own I personally would recommend reading the series in order. I love the name of the Home Jo runs, it’s name always brings a smile to my face. I'm also glad that Jo finds love. Edward & Jo have both been married, have both lost their spouses & are in their mid thirties. They are attracted to each other from their first meeting & are quickly smitten but whilst Edward has moved on Jo is still haunted by her first marriage. I loved how their relationship grew & changed all the time aided & abetted by friends, Edwards son Thomas & a huge dog called Bear. I found this well written book to be heart warming & had me smiling & shedding a tear or two. I loved how the epilogue rounded off the series tying everything up very nicely indeed
My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read
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2 stars

I'm a sucker for a working woman historical romance and the idea that three women would band together to open a brewery/alehouse was novel enough that it drew into the series. After I was approved for this book, I decided I should catch up with the first two books before reading this one.

The first book in the series has the distinction of being the second book that I have rated 1 star. I didn't even bother with the second because I was worried it would make me not want to read this final book in the trilogy.

I say all of that to brief you on the headspace that I was in when I started this book. My expectations were at an ultimate low, but I had enjoyed other books by MacKenzie so I went into this hoping to be surprised.

While Cheers to the Duke had a few interesting moments, the majority of the book was repetitive to the point where I found myself skimming multiple times. Jo and Edward's romance somehow manages to use both the insta-love trope and sex as a replacement for actual relationship building. The most interesting aspect of the book - Jo's career - is barely mentioned and feels thrown in after the fact. On top of that, there is a surprise baby that you see coming a mile away considering that there are probably 10 conversations where our leading lady mentions that her husband couldn't get her pregnant. 

This is my third Sally MacKenzie book and I have to wonder if it is just this series that doesn't do it for me. I enjoyed her novella The Duchess of Love and I look foward to spending some time with that series before forming a final opinion on whether or not this is an author for me.

Thank you to NetGalley and Zebra for an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review!
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This is the first book I have read in the series, but I have always enjoyed the author's writing. I found this romance lighthearted and entertaining with a gentlemanly hero and a woman who is determined to stand on her own two feet. The Dule of Grainger has made no secret of the fact that he is looking for a wife and a mother to his son. However, it is young Thomas who makes himself known to Lady Jo and makes his feelings heard on the subject. As Edward and Jo are thrown together by well-meaning friends, Jo experiences a certain amount of frustration, especially as she has determined to remain single and never again to allow herself to be put under the domination of any man. However, she cannot ignore her attraction towards Edward and also finds herself softening towards his son and his dog. Taking time and patience to win her over, Edward eventually breaks through the barriers, bringing this novel to a happy conclusion. I received a copy of this novel as a gift through NetGalley and this is my honest and voluntary review.
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