Vesper and Aspen were childhood friends until he rejected her and broke her heart. Now, Vesper focuses on matchmaking other couples while trying to maintain a perfect facade to the world. A facade that Aspen sees as a beautiful covering to a superficial and cold heart.
Aspen has returned to London from his paleontological studies to carry out his ducal duties and finally corral his mother
Despite the years apart, they still know each other better than anyone else.
I have never enjoyed Emma adaptations much, and I did have some issues with Vesper not believing Aspen. She needs to face something uncomfortable, but her first instinct is to deny. But Aspen is flawed too as their rift was partly caused by him not realizing she wore a mask in public. They both only wanted to see surface level and had to learn to look deeper, but as their feelings grew, they cared to.
There's a lot of time in the book with them together figuring out their relationship, with some help from good friends. I enjoyed getting to see them become a team that takes on challenges together.
Thank you to Forever and Netgalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review!
Feat: best friends to enemies to lovers, Emma vibes, ADHD rep, neurodivergent FMC, a not outrageous age difference (rare in historicals) of 23 and 25, arguing as foreplay, pool as foreplay, fuck the sass out of each other, banter during sex is healthy, insults as endearments?,
Never Met a Duke Like You by Amalie Howard is a dual perspective historical rom-com that is an homage to the movie Clueless.
Lady Vesper fancies herself a matchmaker, but she swears off love for herself. The Duke of Greydon, aka the boy next door, is now an archaeologist, but must return to England to revive his family's fortunes.
These characters have clear chemistry and I was really rooting for them. They're childhood best friends/crushes--the literal girl and boy next door--to enemies to lovers. The hero is a hot nerd, which is my kryptonite. The heroine is sex-positive and all spicy scenes have great consent. There's also a fluffy white kitten who likes to cause chaos.
The book itself felt slow to start for me, and overall it was a little on the long side. There's a lot of miscommunication here (that started during Vesper's first season on the ton seven years prior) and that's never one of my favorite tropes. The villain is also a little heavy-handed. But the chemistry between the leads kept me hooked.
Vesper is neurodiverse and has ADHD. It's always so great seeing someone like me in books. Both of our main characters are committed to social activism, the Duke hopes to prevent people from being unjustly committed to asylums and the Lady helps provide food and schools for poor or orphaned children.
Overall I had a fun time with these characters, especially with the little update we got about Lysander and Neve, the main characters of the first book in the series, Always Be My Duchess.
Tropes in this book include: childhood friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, opposites attract
CW: discussion of mental illness, brief mentions of abuse suffered by asylum patients
I loved the ADHD representation in this story. Vesper was fantastic and I loved her from the start. This book had great banter and I loved the regency vibes. Some sad stuff in this book too but it made it feel more real so I didn’t mind.
The description for this book had me at "Clueless meets Bridgerton" but it didn't quite live up to my expectations. I loved Vesper as she navigates the complicated life of a Regency Era Lady. I loved how she's a great matchmaker and never expected or wanted to find a match of her own but somehow found herself deeply in love anyway. But other than the main romance, I didn't really enjoy much else about the book. I wish the villain of the story had been properly punished. The character's lingo was quite modern at times which made it really jarring. Overall I liked but definitely didn't come close to being able to compare to Bridgerton.
Thank you to NetGalley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for providing me a digital reviewer copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.
This was my first Amalie Howard book and I’m hooked! I’ve already started another one of her books.
I loved the fierce main character Vesper, and how kind and caring she was throughout the whole book. I don’t usually like books where the love interests mis communicate, but this story point worked because of the time period and the societal expectations on women. The drama of the book was enough to keep me interested and curious of how it would work out. I definitely saw elements of the movie Clueless which made the book more relatable.
Regency era romances are my kryptonite and this book is no exception! If you love friends to enemies to lovers and back and forth banter, then you will love the story between Vesper and Aspen!
Loved this series. this is new author to me in a genre that i love. it will be a great addition to my tbr shelf.
Never Met a Duke Like You is a great read! I was really entertained, and loved both Lady Vesper (especially her name!) and Gray. There's so many great tropes in this one-- locked in a room, old friends, enemies-to-lovers, second chances... Amalie Howard did a great job of combining these all without making it too busy. The writing is excellent, and the story was really fun and reminiscent of modern and classic books and movies (Clueless, Emma) but still it's own. I loved seeing cameos of Genevieve and Blackstone, and their circle of gal pals!
Never Met a Duke Like You is a really fun story, and I really enjoyed reading it. I'm looking forward to the next book in this series, and I really like the cover and title!!
Never Met a Duke Like You is a much anticipated sequel (for me personally) that follows Lady Vesper and her childhood best friend turned somewhat enemy, Duke Aspen Greydon. After being spurned by Aspen previously, Vesper is determined to have nothing to do with him when they accidentally find themselves shoved together once again. However, the Duke has other plans as he enlists Vesper and her matchmaking skills to help him arrange the perfect engagement for his ward, Judith.
I really enjoyed Never Met a Duke Like You! Vesper and Aspen had fantastic chemistry from the start and it was so satisfying to watch their relationship unfold. I thought that they complemented each other so well and really enjoyed the back and forth between them! I do wish that there had been a bit less miscommunication (or lack of communication) between the two of them, however, it only enhanced the tension!
I also really appreciated that this novel wove in frank discussions of mental health and its treatment in this particular moment in history.
Overall, I’m happy I picked this one up and am excited to see where Amalie Howard takes the series next!
Thank you Netgalley and Forever for this ARC!
- Okay while there were some issues I had with this one, it's getting 5 stars because of how much fun I had reading it!! Amalie Howard knows how to write tension!! And angst!!
- The hot and cold worked so well, especially knowing that this is an Emma/Clueless retelling. That does mean that there's a bit of miscommunication, so if that frustrates you this may be one to skip. That being said, there is nothing better than a dual POV romance where both MCs can't tell if they're furious or in love!
- I love the way Howard brings representation into the Regency time period. Her research and attention to detail is clear, especially in the notes at the end of her book! As someone with ADHD, Vesper was such a fantastic example of what it can look like.
- The tension! The banter! The arguments! "Show me the stars"! I'm screaming!!
Highly recommend if you like a comedic and steamy regency romance! Lady Vesper is a Duke’s daughter, a gorgeous socialite on the surface with a passion for helping children and the poor on the inside. Her childhood nemesis the Duke of Greydon is forced to reconcile his image of her first as an annoyance, then a shallow lady of the ton, before he finally sees she is perfect for him… but is he too late? There’s tons of scheming, steam, and shenanigans. I loved it! This is my first Amalie Howard book so I can confidently say it stands alone! But now I’ve got some backlist to add to my tbr.
This was a fantastic historical romance. I liked the plot and the characters were a lot of fun. Very much recommend this book.
This was the best brothers best friend I have ever read. I loved that it was organic and not something they had to hide. It’s also friends to lovers as they were childhood friends. The growth of the both characters was so entertaining to read as they both learned how much they assumed of the other. Just an incredible read. Amalie is one of the greatest writers in the historical romance genre in my opinion and this book proves it
This wasn’t my favorite but it’s certainly a story I’ll remember. I really disliked the villain and they were too obvious in my opinion that it was a distraction from the romance part. Also, there was very little angst.
Clueless meets Bridgerton in this historical romance about matchmaker Vesper, who finds herself in an agreement to help her childhood friend turned nemesis Greydon find a match for his ward, Judith. Only things don’t go according to plan…
After loving Always Be My Dutchess, I was so excited to read the next book in the series, and it did not disappoint! This was such a fun read that featured strong, independent female characters and also touched on important topics involving mental health.
Thank you Netgalley and Forever Pub for sending me an ARC! Who doesn’t love friends-to-enemies-to lovers?! 💘
True rating: 3.25
As soon as I read Jodi Picoult's blurb ("Clueless meets Bridgerton in this spicy, opposites attract Regency romance...") I knew I had to read this book. This was my first Amalie Howard and I enjoyed it. Historical romance is not my favorite genre, so I don't read it very often, but this one came highly recommended.
I am almost never a fan of plot devices that seem to only exist to keep a couple apart, but I know some readers find the tension absolutely delicious. Those readers will love this story. The romance was solid and the steamy scenes were very well done. While this book was just middle of the road for me specifically, I will definitely recommend it to readers who love historical romance along with the enemies to lovers/opposites attract trope.
Very grateful for the opportunity to read an advance copy. All opinions are my own.
Well, this wasn't my favorite by Amalie Howard. I love her writing style and her books are usually a lot of fun for me to read. This one, I just didn't connect with as much. I love both Emma and Clueless and enjoy the author’s writing so I was looking forward to trying this one. Sadly, this one just didn’t work very well for me because I thought the hero and heroine’s relationship was dragged out too long with them not admitting their love for one another until a lot later in the story.
The author's note at the beginning of the book explains Vesper has what in now known as ADHD. She has trouble controlling her thoughts and staying focused. She delights in playing matchmaker for her friends but not herself. Maybe because of the boy next door? She and Aspen were the best of childhood friends but grew apart as they grew older. When he turned his back on her at her come-out ball she was devastated. Archeologist Aspen is back in town to do his Ducal duty and to find his ward a husband. Another big reason he returned is to uncover the plot his villainous mother used to have his father committed to a lunatic asylum where he died. They meet again when they are unexpectedly locked together in an attic. I enjoyed Vespers character. She learned to show a serene face to the world while inside she is full of self-doubt and insecurity. Aspen has a lot of the same issues. He must never show too much emotion or his mother could use it against him and have him committed like his father. There are some steamy scenes, one involving a dinosaur! It was a very enjoyable book.
Read if you like: enemies to lovers, childhood friends to lovers
Vesper and Aspen meet again when Aspen returns to England too look after his estate. Childhood friends turned enemies, Vesper is vexed to see him again. When they work together to help his ward with her coming out, the two can't deny their attraction for each other.
I loved that the book was inspired by Clueless and I thought the plot was fun! The romance was also super cute and I loved Aspen and Vesper together.
A solid romance. I personally wasn't a big fan of the plot device that kept the two apart, but I know patrons will enjoy it. The sex scenes were very well written.
I will recommend this to patrons who enjoy historical romances and rom-coms.