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The Perfect Duke by Dawn Ireland is a historical romance that takes place in London England in 1787. When Garret, Duke of Kendal discovers that his once betrothed is not dead as he thought, he must make a difficult decision for his future. Raised by a vicar and his wife, Cara has no idea of the circumstances that brought her to her new family, nor that she was betrothed to a man she had met as a child. Garret must now decide whether she is up to his standards of a duchess, and whether together they can end a decades old family feud.
Dawn Ireland very much infuses the story with a fairy tale theme. Each chapter ends with a fairy tale quote relevant to the circumstances of the story and this device is very effective. This theme is weaved throughout the entirety of the story line and is seen especially in Cara's outlook on life and hope for the future. However Ireland brings an aspect of realism to the idea of a fairy tale ending as the characters deal with real problems and obstacles and realize that love alone doesn't make for a perfect marriage. She raises social issues of station and class, and the main characters must overcome these societal pressures in order to be together.
The characters of Cara and Garret are so well written that the reader can't help but fall in love with them both. Cara's optimistic and somewhat naive outlook on life is exactly what Garret needs. Despite feeling overwhelming duty and personal responsibility to uphold his family's name, there is something in Cara that reminds the Duke what is most important in life.
This book is a very enjoyable read, and despite being somewhat predictable, there were still plot twists that I didn't foresee. In any romance novel some degree of predictability is wanted. I always want to know that the main characters will be together in the end as they overcome many trials. This novel did introduce multiple plots that kept the story interesting and also contained a mystery element that I really enjoyed.
I would give this book a 3 out of 4 rating. While it was not perfect, the characters and story line were so enjoyable that I definitely recommend this book. While it doesn't introduce a great deal of new material to the genre it's an easy read that will leave you feeling very satisfied.
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