Lady Eleanor Lindel gave herself to her first love, Gideon, the Duke of Ashley, only to
have him marry another. Since no eligible duke was available, Eleanor swore she would only
marry a duke, secretly sending a message to Gideon that she would always love him.
Years later, Leopold Dautry, the eligible Duke of Villiers, returns home to discover the
solicitors to whom he sent funds to provide for his six illegitimate children has absconded
with the money. He’s been able to locate three of his offspring, who now live with him, and
seeks the rest. He also seeks a wife who will take care of his children and eventually
introduce them to society.
When Villiers meets Eleanor, he reveals why he seeks a wife, and that he also desires a
son to carry on the title. Eleanor realizes her hope for love with Gideon is fruitless and
accepts his suit, since she also wants children of her own.
But there is another possibility for Leopold: the charming Lisette, the daughter of the
Duke of Gilner, whose oddball notions make many believe she is mad. Though drawn to Eleanor,
whom he learns has a passionate nature, it is apparent to him that Lisette loves children and
might make a better mother for his offspring. Despite the passion Eleanor and Villiers share,
Eleanor believes that he will choose Lisette to be his wife.
After Gideon’s wife dies, he returns to pursue Eleanor. But Eleanor realizes she’s fallen
in love with Villiers and fears that, once again, the man she loves will choose another to wed.
A Duke of Her Own is an outstanding romance, with a solid, believable plot, tense
emotional conflict, humorous dialogue (which had me laughing out loud), and love scenes that
sizzled, especially the balcony scenes. The touching interchanges between Villiers and his
son show that every dark hero has a soft spot in his heart, and Eleanor’s emotional growth
and realization of her love had me rooting for her. While I haven’t read the previous
releases in Eloisa James’ series, I will definitely do so. This poignant, sexy and
engrossing romance stands on its own as an exceptional read.