Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Duke by Janna MacGregor

Reviewed by Jen

This is the fourth book in Janna MacGregor’s Cavensham Heiresses series, and though I did read book three, apparently the threads in this story harken back to the first two installments that I didn’t read. Unlike The Luck of the Bride, which held up very well as a standalone, there is a ton of backstory that’s relevant here. Could I follow along? Yes. But it was obvious I was joining these characters with a story that was already in progress.

Honestly, that part didn’t bother me all that much. I wanted to read this because the blurb promised a redemption story for the male lead, who was a villain in stories past. I love this trope, so I jumped right in. Paul grew up as the best friend of Daphne’s older brother. The prologue sets up their dynamic well, when a teenage Paul saves a baby bird and earns young Daphne’s unending affection. Unfortunately, as the years go on, Paul becomes a rake and a bit of a scoundrel, so she must keep her tender feelings to herself.

One of the ways she does this is by writing in a journal. Not only does she wax on about her fantasies of Paul, she also writes very personal information about her family and her sister’s suicide. That’s why it’s catastrophic when a street urchin steals it, along with her reticule. She chases the boy to a gaming hell, which is where she comes face to face with the duke.

Of course, Paul is taken with her… and he has to conveniently make out with her to hide her identity from a reporter who is there. They end up working together, trying to track down her journal before it can fall in the wrong hands.

The book was…ok for me. Daphne was forgotten by her family, left Home Alone style during Christmas and there was a bit of teeth gnashing about that. She is also working to buy some land to create a home for unwed mothers—and butts heads with Paul who wants the same property to build a hospital. I felt this storyline was meh at best and proved kind of unnecessary to the bigger picture. I guess my biggest problem, though, was that Daphne bordered on TSTL. She kept going back to the gaming hell, knowing full well it could destroy her reputation, even though Paul could go in easily and look for the kid. What could she possibly do that he couldn’t, other than have her identity discovered? I wanted to shake her and roll my eyes at the same time. And speaking of rolling my eyes, Paul’s nickname for her was Moonbeam—or Lady Moonbeam—and he used it ad nauseum. It was so stupid and it just wouldn’t quit!

Paul was fine as a hero.. until his black moment, where his “selflessness” is both needless and contrived. Ugh.

There were parts of the book, particularly those where Daphne helps build Paul up, that I liked well enough. Then he’d call her Moonbeam again and I would want to burn my Kindle.

To be fair, lots of other people loved this book, so your mileage may vary.

Rating: C/C-

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Good, the Bad, and the Duke
by Janna MacGregor
Release Date: November 27, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks

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