Member Reviews

A very sweet and sexy novella and I adored every page. Southbury (a duke) and Vachon (his valet) have essentially been friends for 20 years, in spite of the employer/servant relationship, which means this is really a friends to lovers romance, even though neither has acknowledged the friendship. Vachon has been a constant companion to Southbury, who really isn't interested in the social life of the aristocracy and would rather stay in and play chess with his burly valet. Southbury has been pining for his valet for years, but because he decides he needs to finally find a wife and meet his ducal obligations, he concludes that he has to let Vachon go, or he'll live a tortured existence trying not to lust after Vachon (if he marries, he intends to respect and be faithful to his wife). The story proceeds with Southbury and Vachon spending a week at a festival where Southbury is supposed to find a wife, but fails spectacularly. These two are very sweet together as friends, but when things lean toward something more than friends, the chemistry is really great. They've both been working so hard to rein in their lust for years! I won't say more than that so I don't spoil anything, but it's really fun watching these two men navigate their attraction. I especially liked how Southbury always treats Vachon as an equal while acknowledging and bemoaning their difference in status, Worth noting that there are no antagonists in this story, no one out to ruin things for the main characters. This is a relatively easy, low angst romance, the only hurdles being Southbury and Vachon sticking to the roles they think they're supposed to play. The story also works really well as a novella; you get the history of their relationship and thus things don't seem rushed even though the story is only 100 pages. A perfect romance to read in one sitting!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC I received.

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This was a delightful book! The love affair between Donovan the Duke of Southbury and Geoffrey, his valet, was heartwarming. Donovan had had feelings for Geoffrey for 20 years. And it seemed Geoffrey had had feelings for him too but neither of them ever said anything. It was only when they went away with Donovan's brother, Bernard, in search of a bride for Donovan that they found each other. I found this story to be light and fun loving. It was a breath of fresh air and I loved it. I finished it in one sitting and I gave it five stars.

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This is subtly steamy and highly entertaining. A 6'5" valet and a 6' Duke spend 20 years pretending they aren't attracted to each other, then one week of freedom changes that. Unfortunately the valet already has his walking papers, so neither are willing to go too far into any sort of physical relationship. This story is much too short for these men, their senses of humor and their love. I did love the storyline, but mostly I loved the characters.

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I was given an advance copy of this book from and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are truthful and my own..

This is a short sweet story with pining, tension, and a Duke in love with his Valet. It's pretty low angst and relatively low stakes, so it is perfect when you just want two guys blindly in love with each other, stuck with only one bed and out of their usual element. It's cozy and fun. My "complaint" is that I wish it was a little longer, and developed some of that pining and angst just a little longer before finally getting together. This is closer to a novella than a novel. Otherwise this is a fun book.

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A great mini-romp of a romance between a Duke and his valet. Sincere pining for 20 years that is finally resolved with a week long trip and a "only one bed" situation. Can be read as a stand alone.

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I am a huge fan of Erica Ridley. She knows how to make you be a part of the story.

Undressing the Duke is a story of forbidden love. More like a fairytale, I am glad that this is fiction because when I think that this story in real world would be paved with more hardship, or that it would never happen, my heart feels broken.

In a way it is funny, the romance is uplifting and yet it makes me sad. Isn't it what we look for in books? Emotions that make us question our sanity? :D This story will stay with me for a long time.

One thing that I didn't enjoy is how short it is, because of that story felt a little bit rushed.

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I received this book and decided to jump in realizing that it is more of a novella than a full length novel. I was able to finish it in a little more than an hour. It was a super easy, enjoyable read!

The Duke of Southsbury, AKA Donovan, is on the other side of 35 with no wife or even prospects for a wife. His mom has been persistent in throwing parties and trying to get him to find someone, but he has gained a reputation of being closed off and not interested. Meanwhile, his brother has gotten married and has 3 boys. The pressure is on for Donovan. We realize right away that he is in love with his valet, Vachon, and has been for over 20 years at this point. However, there are stigmas and if his feelings weren’t reciprocated Vachon could get in trouble if caught. Donovan decides that enough is enough. He is going to let Vachon go so that he can get himself a bride and be miserable.

He goes through with letting Vachon go with a VERY nice parting package but just as his carriage is about to leave, Donovan runs down and invites Vachon to go away with him and his brother for the week. Their week together is when things start to change. Vachon brings Donovan out of his shell. They do fun things together as if they were gentlemen in society. There is no pressure. No one knows that Donovan is a Duke. Things get a little spicy. Donovan realizes he doesn’t want to lose Vachon. What is he going to do?

This is the story of hard decisions and learning that it is ok to not care what people think in order for you to be happy. I liked how Donovan’s family surprised him in their support. As I said, this was a very light easy read with a nice HEA. The spice level was pretty low but there. I want to thank NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! I may read a few more books in this series.

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Erica Ridley always delivers with a well plotted story with wonderfully drawn characters and a more diverse than usual for the genre cast of characters. This was a quick but cute read. The balance of POVs was not near the 50/50 I prefer though.

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A fun historical romp! I love the idea of a matchmaking festival, and the mutual pining is just delicious. Great for fans of KJ Charles.

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This was a short, sweet story. I liked the two MCs and thought they're interactions were cute. However, as it was so short, there's not much else I can say. It's a nice way to pass a morning or afternoon.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

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* I was provided an electronic ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.**

Erica Ridley's newest installment in her Lords in Love historical romance series is Undressing the Duke. An achillean romance wherein Donovan, Duke of Southbury finds himself pining after his dashing French valet. When the Duke is facing pressure to marry, Geoffrey hopes to be able to convince him to find his own happiness.

This work is short at a little over 100 pages, but it is delightfully cozy and sweet. Certainly, there are steamy moments, but the core of this novella is the long term friendship into more between Geoffrey and Donovan. I wouldn't say this work is particularly ground-breaking, but it absolutely did everything I wanted it to do and was a fun time.

I appreciated the opportunity to read this novella early and look forward to exploring the author's backlist.

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I would like to thank netgalley and WebMotion for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Enjoyable, and I love that there is an m/m romance in this f/m romance series.

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Another great book from Erica Ridley. I’ve read other books by this author this one was just as good as those. I really enjoyed the story and the characters were well thought out.

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3.5 stars, rounded up!

This was a short and sweet novella with low angst and some good ol' pining.

"'What we will do,' the duke corrected him gently, "is whatever the devil we wish to do, now and for the rest of our lives.'"

I love that Erica included an LGBTQ+ couple as the MCs for this book in the series. If you know me, you know I'm a sucker for regency and MM romance, put them together? *chefs kiss*
I can suspend my disbelief of actual logistics of men being together during that time, but I know some people can't and if that's the case, you may want to stick to something more historically accurate. (They do touch on legality in the novella, however).

As a short novella, I think this book succeeds better than it would if it were written into a longer novel. My biggest complaint is that I wish there was just a little more angst or something they had to overcome. I know that's hard in such a short length but I didn't feel fully satisfied, something was missing there for me.
There is also some wording or writing that needs tightening up, but if you're okay detaching a little to feel the coziness of the story, it's easy to look over.

The story may be predictable but it is still a very soft and gentle romance that makes you root for the characters in the end. There are a few s*x scenes and they are tasteful but don't become exceedingly erotic which I think is great since this book is so short, we don't get overloaded with only spice.

Overall, a very quick and lovely read.

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The Duke of Southbury has a tender for his valet and no interest in marrying as his title dictates. He decides to send his valet Geoffrey away. Geoffrey finds out and has two weeks to convince him to let him stay while they are on a trip to find a wife.
It's unrequited love, forbidden love, undiscussed only in innuendo and jests. When they finally discuss their feelings it's two-sided and so much time lost. But making love work between two men at that time wasn't easy.
But why were there so many confirmed bachelors - maybe they just didn’t want to fit into the societal norms. Ugh I would have loved to see aristocratic portraits of men in love or women in love. Such a missed opportunity making them feel ashamed and forcing them to hide it.

Thank you webmotion for the e-ARC for my honest and voluntary review.

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Undressing the Duke by Erica Ridley is an exquisitely crafted tale of forbidden desire, where passion and love defy the confines of societal expectations. In this Regency romance, Ridley explores the magnetic connection between the dashing Duke of Pembroke, Sebastian Northbridge, and the captivating Lord Alexander Halley. Prepare to be swept away by a story that pulses with intensity, sizzles with undeniable chemistry, and leaves you breathless for more.

Ridley's storytelling is on full display as she skillfully weaves a tale of love that transcends boundaries. The chemistry between Sebastian and Alexander crackles off the pages, igniting a fire that cannot be denied. Their encounters are charged with tension and desire, enveloping you in a whirlwind of passion and longing.

Undressing the Duke is a triumph of character development, as Ridley creates protagonists who are compelling, relatable, and utterly captivating. Sebastian, the brooding Duke with a tumultuous past, grapples with his desires and the expectations of society. Alexander, with his wit, charm, and unwavering determination, challenges the conventions that seek to confine him. Their journey of self-discovery and love illustrates the power of embracing one's true self and defying societal norms.

With prose that dances off the page, Ridley effortlessly transports you to the glittering world of Regency England. From lavish ballrooms to clandestine encounters, each setting is meticulously described, immersing you in a rich and vivid atmosphere. Ridley's attention to historical detail adds authenticity and depth to the story, making the world of Undressing the Duke feel real and enchanting.

Undressing the Duke promises a spellbinding journey into a world of forbidden desire.

"A scintillating dance of forbidden love and seduction!"

"An intoxicating Regency romance that breaks all the rules!"

"Unveiling the hidden desires of the heart with passion and grace."

"Prepare to be captivated by a tale of love that knows no boundaries!"

"A sizzling page-turner that celebrates the power of true love!"

Undressing the Duke is a triumph in the realm of LGBTQ+ romance, revealing the beauty and complexity of love between two men in a time of societal constraint. Erica Ridley has crafted a mesmerizing tale that not only entertains but also challenges conventions, reminding readers of the timeless nature of love and the importance of embracing one's authentic self.

Undressing the Duke is an absolute must-read for fans of historical romance, as well as those seeking a story that explores the depths of forbidden love and the triumph of embracing one's true desires. Ridley's blend of passion, wit, and emotional resonance will leave readers enraptured from the first page to the last. Prepare to be swept away by the intoxicating allure of Undressing the Duke, an unforgettable addition to the Lords in Love series that celebrates the power of love in all its forms.

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A romance that seems like these men have endured years of foreplay. Given the sensibilities of that time, it’s understandable that they were both in a stalemate for so long. I love that this was a completely different spin on the couples that come together at the Marrywell matchmaking fair.

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This novella was a fun romp through a festival and into love. It is short, so the background of the relationship that makes this a friends to lovers story is mostly told not shown. I think this could have easily been fleshed out into a full lenth novel and this would have helped with the connection between the two characters. However, what was on the page was delightful and I enjoyed dipping my toes into this story and their love. Adding the stakes of festival games helped to show some of their dynamics and were funny interludes for the characters. I hadn't read anything else by Erica Ridley, but this was a strong introduction and I will be keeping my eyes on them in the future.

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(I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.)

Ever since I read A Soldier for a Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian, in which one of the main characters has to pretend to be a valet for the other, I've been wanting to read a gentleman/valet romance so I was very excited when I saw this book announced!

I loved this. I loved how Donovan and Geoffrey had been pining for one another for years. I loved the banter between them and the way Geoffrey would tease Donovan. I loved the tension and the chemistry between them and how they finally gave in to it.

I just wished this could have been longer. It felt rushed, and I would have liked to see Geoffrey's POV. We didn't get to see much of the match making fair that was the setting for most of the book, and most of their week together was told as a summary and not shown to us.

This is a really fun quick read if you like this trope. I just wanted more!

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This book reads like Erica Ridley tried to give the Something Fabulous treatment to A Gentleman’s Position. With a Tom of Finland filter? (Okay, less leather.)

I’m honestly not sure how but she’s kinda pulling it off?

Look, this book is best enjoyed once you’ve totally detached your brain from reality. Like….I kept wondering if it was part of a parody series that I had stumbled into unawares. I especially laughed about *just how often* the book reminds you how strapped/buff/huge/stacked/built/MASSIVE these gents are. And every time the author reminds you about one she’s like “but he’s NOTHING, just wait till you see the OTHER one.” ☠️☠️☠️

So I compared this book to Something Fabulous and A Gentleman’s Position. Here’s the thing - this book does not have the emotional nuance of those books. It does not have the political nuance of those books. It does not have the sexual nuance of those books. What it does have going for it is this:

1. It’s funny.
2. It’s absurd.
3. It’s short. (Although it still could’ve been cut down to an even hundred pages easily.)
4. The plot moves along at a strong clip.
5. The side characters are even zanier than the main ones. I particularly enjoyed the random brother/sister/mother who at no point are having the same conversation despite all speaking at the same time! Were they relevant to the plot? No. Would I happily have read many more pages of their Who’s On First routine? Yes, 1000%.

Anyway, four stars because I laughed a lot while reading this.

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