Review: Last Duke Standing by Julia London
A pretentious pampered princess reunites with a skirt-chasing Scottish Lord. This series is a spin-off in the same world of A Royal Wedding series. Instead of featuring the princes of Alucia, the princesses of the frenemy nation Wesloria are front and center. The first to find a prince consort is Justine. I have to confess, this book starts out shaky for me and I could not stand Justine. She is all kinds of prickly and at times snotty. After enjoying the first series, this new one was almost a DNF for me. I pressed on and realized why I had such difficulty with this story. Warning: This is an enemies-to-lovers theme that I tend to avoid.
The last time Justine interacted with Douglas, she lost to a game and felt humiliated. Douglas, a bit inebriated remembers the game but only remembers how out of touch with reality Justine comes across. Ms. London does not show the best sides of Justine for the first half of this book. Justine seems ill-prepared for Queendom. Her stubbornness in trivial things and doormat attitude when something matters showcase her in the worst of lights. I am not quite sure why Douglas even wants her. Douglas is not a gracious gentleman however, he is an honest and loyal one. I'll take an honest and loyal one over a charming smooth-talking "gentleman" any day.
For at least 70% of the book, I want to smack a little sense into Justine. I want to shake Douglas. I also want to commiserate with Lila the matchmaker. Justine's sister Amelia needs a good spanking: that little attention whore. Justine is all sorts of contradictory and I couldn't quite seem to cheer her on until about 70% into the book. She suddenly grows on me. Her interactions with Douglas become less petty adversarial and more friendly competition. Then it turns into a supportive friendship and I really started to see the real Justine shine through. Douglas brings out the best in Justine and I love it. Douglas possesses all the qualities Justine's numerous advisers want her to find in a husband. He is more than what they want because for him, Justine comes first and he sees all of her, not just to control her. This coming-of-age story is beautifully woven with all the flaws and immaturity one finds in the youth.
This historical romance is recommended for readers who love a little scandal and an enemies-to-lovers theme.
*provided by NetGalley