The Duke Knows Best is a historical romance novel written by Jane Ashford. It is the fifth book in her The Duke’s Sons Regency-era historical romance series. I’ve read a couple of Ashford’s books before, so I was excited about the opportunity to read this one.
Lord Randolph Gresham played a secondary role in his brother Robert’s book, Nothing Like a Duke. I was intrigued by the idea of a vicar as the hero, and initially, I was a little disappointed that Randolph had left his parish for London because it would have been interesting to see him balance his work with his quest for a wife.
Randolph clashes immediately with Miss Verity Sinclair, who dismisses him as a simple country parson. Her father is also in the church, and she is looking for more to life than that. She can scarcely believe her outburst, and is chagrined that she would behave so rudely to a stranger.
Despite this inauspicious beginning, Randolph and Verity are thrown together when they receive an invitation to sing together at one of the Prince Regent’s parties. Perhaps they have more in common than they initially thought!
This was a very sweet book. Randolph and Verity are a well-matched pair. There is some minor controversy regarding an unfortunate incident in Randolph’s parish, but it is nothing too alarming. There’s also an interesting subplot involving Verity’s friend Olivia playing mean-spirited pranks.
I would recommend The Duke Knows Best to fans of historical romance. Readers should know that there are no intimate scenes beyond shared kisses, so this book is very much a “traditional regency” story. Because of this, it might appeal to readers who find more mainstream historical romance too explicit. Ashford’s books are different from what I usually read, but there is a certain charm to them that makes me want to read more of her books. I’m looking forward to more from Ashford in the future!