Jessica McGale is a hustler. She knows her family’s soap business would be an instant success, so when she travels to London as part of her lady’s companion duties (side hustle), she takes the opportunity to find a shop on the exclusive Bond Street to sell her soap.
Everybody loves the soap, but there’s one hitch: there was a fire on the farm, so they don’t have the means to fulfill orders and none of the shops are interested in investing in a business without the certainty of profiting from it.
Jessica hears about a Business Bazaar, wherein wealthy investors listen to pitches and then invest in promising products and ideas. Unfortunately, the bazaar is invitation-only; inventors can’t walk in off the street. So Jessica does what any rational person would do: she pretends to be a wealthy widow interested in investing and formulates a plan to drop subtle hints about McGale Soaps.
That’s where she meets Noel, the Duke of Rotherby, who is instantly smitten with the gorgeous young widow. But Jessica is here for a single purpose and doesn’t have time for romantic entanglements, especially since she’s lying to everyone about who she really is.
So, to answer the question posed by the title, yes—she would lie to the duke!
First of all, can we talk about how Leigh has handed us Regency-era Shark Tank? This is one of the most original concepts I’ve ever seen in historical romance, and it’s amazing. I enjoyed seeing not only an eclectic collection of (period appropriate) innovations, but seeing the ensemble’s reaction to the pitches.
But of course, the Bazaar is merely the background for the romance: Noel likes being told what to do, which is a dynamic we don’t see enough of in historical romance, and needless to say, made the love scenes scorching hot.
Needless to say, it’s not a spoiler to tell you that Jessica and Noel get their happily ever after, but oh my gosh, the work it takes them to get there—such feelings!
I would absolutely recommend Would I Lie to the Duke. I should point out that this is the second book in the Union of Rakes series. This tight-knit group of gentlemen have been friends since their schooldays at Eton, and now they’re all settling down one by one. My Fake Rake, the first book, had some more interaction with the friend group than this book. I don’t see this as a detriment—rather, readers don’t necessarily have to read MFR in order to understand this book. However, fans of the series will appreciate when “the rakes” popped up from time to time. Also, if you haven’t read MFR, you totally should. Meanwhile, having finished this book, I am now eagerly awaiting (no pun intended) Waiting for a Scot Like You, the third book in the series.
I received a copy of this book from Avon/NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.