How to Love a Duke in Ten Days is the first book in Kerrigan Byrne’s Devil You Know series. I have been a big fan of her Victorian Rebels series for a few years, so needless to say, I was very excited about the opportunity to read an ARC of this book.
Even if you’ve only read one Byrne book before, you already know that the prologue is intense, and this book is no exception. Content warning: Alexandra, the heroine, is raped by the headmaster of her school, and she ends up killing him in self-defense. Her best friends help her bury the body, and they go on to live their best lives.
Flashforward ten years, and Alexandra is traveling to Castle Redmayne to meet up with her friends for a wedding. She doesn’t realize that it’s going to be *her* wedding, but she finds herself married to Piers- the Terror of Torcliff, an enigmatic duke who has inherited a title he was never supposed to possess.
Alexandra has neglected to tell her friends that she has been receiving “I know what you did last summer” style notes, and that she has been paying for the blackmailer’s silence. But when there’s an escalation to actual physical danger, it seems as though long-buried secrets are coming back to plague Alexandra.
This was a wonderful book. I love feisty heroines, and Alexandra is both spirited and intelligent- she’s an archaeologist with a doctorate, and she has spent most of the last decade out of the country working on ancient sites.
There was one plot element that was slightly problematic, but I understand both characters’ positions and motivations. However, I have never been disappointed by Byrne, so I proceeded with an open mind, and I thought the resolution was perfect.
Alexandra and Piers have excellent chemistry together, and it’s important to note this marks the first time that she has been interested in pursuing a relationship after her previous trauma. For what it’s worth, Piers has a prolific sexual history, but Alexandra is the first person he feels like he can be genuine and vulnerable with.
The mystery was satisfying, and kept me guessing until the big reveal. Granted, the list of suspects wasn’t huge, but I was still surprised by the big reveal- especially since it was more complicated than I expected the climactic moment to be.
I would absolutely recommend How to Love a Duke in Ten Days. This is an excellent beginning to a new series, and I love the way the next book was hinted at in the epilogue. Nobody writes Victorian historical fiction better than Byrne, and for that matter, nobody writes angsty historicals better than her either. I’m already looking forward to the next book, but since that is not arriving until next spring, I am going to have to content myself by re-reading the Victorian Rebels series while I wait.
I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.