Published by Penguin Genres: Historical
Reviewed by Shayna
Three intrepid princesses find themselves targets in a deadly plot against the crown—until their uncle devises a brilliant plan to keep them safe... England, 1888. Quiet and scholarly Princess Emilie has always avoided adventure, until she’s forced to disguise herself as a tutor in the household of the imposing Duke of Ashland, a former soldier disfigured in battle and abandoned by his wife. When chance draws her into a secret liaison with the duke, Emilie can’t resist the opportunity to learn what lies behind his forbidding mask, and find out what adventure really means... The duke never imagines that his son’s tutor and his mysterious golden-haired beauty are one and the same. But when the true identity of his lover is laid bare, Ashland must face the demons in his past in order to safeguard both his lady—and his heart.
Emilie is the quietest of the three princesses of Holstein-Schweinwald-Huhnhof, but beneath the calm façade is a woman who wants more than the staid life of a princess. When her father is murdered and she and her sisters are forced to flee Germany, Emilie gets the adventure she’s always yearned for. Separated from her sisters and disguised as a man, Emilie takes a position as tutor to the Duke of Ashland’s son. Her new position is not without its cost, however, and the price of playing a man is not being able to give into her feelings for her new employer. Ashland bears scars inside and out and the temptation he presents too much for Emilie to resist. It’s a risky game, playing both tutor and seductive stranger, but Emilie succeeds in capturing the duke’s heart. But what will happen when Ashland learns that his mystery woman is not only a member of his household, but a princess being targeted by assassins?
Juliana Gray has constructed a plot worthy of the Bard himself. Disguises, intrigue, danger, and romance fill the pages of How to Tame Your Duke and I, for one, could not be happier.
Emilie is the scholarly middle sister of the three Holstein-Schweinwald-Huhnhof Princesses. All her life she’s been defined by her role as princess, but now that she has a chance to break free, Emilie truly comes into her own. I loved that she was a mix of bluestocking, adventurer, and romantic. She was the perfect match in every way for Ashland. The duke in question is a man who deserves all the happiness that comes his way. He’s honorable and caring, but his time on the battlefield has left him deeply scarred outside and the abandonment of his wife has left its own marks within. He’s a good man, but not fully alive until Emilie comes along, and watching his interaction with Emilie both as his mystery woman and as “Grimsby,” his son’s tutor, was a delight. And speaking of his son, Freddie might just be my favorite character in How to Tame Your Duke. The young lord is a teenager too smart for his own good, which made him a wonderfully entertaining character. Indeed, it’s Freddie who brings the bright spots to How to Tame Your Duke, ensuring there is humor mixed in with the seriousness and suspense.
How to Tame Your Duke is the first book in a trilogy featuring Emilie and her two sisters. Though we don’t see much of Stefanie or Luisa, I’m eager to learn more about them and the fate of the German principality they call home. I finished How to Tame Your Duke a well-satisfied reader, and I can’t wait to read Stefanie’s book, How to Master Your Marquis!