Title: Duke, Actually
Author: Jenny Holiday
Series: A Princess for Christmas #2
Genre: Holiday Romance
Length: 391 pages
Release Date: November 16, 2021
Recommended for fans of: Hallmark Christmas movies
Content Warnings: alcoholism, emotional abuse to children
USA Today bestselling author Jenny Holiday follows A Princess for Christmas with another delightful contemporary Christmas romance between a playboy baron and a woman who has said goodbye to love.
There’s a royal wedding on, and things are about to get interesting.
Meet the man of honor
Maximillian von Hansburg, Baron of Laudon and heir to the Duke of Aquilla, is not having a merry Christmas. He’s been dumped by a princess, he’s unemployed, and his domineering father has sent him to New York to meet a prospective bride he has no interest in. In the city, he meets Dani Martinez, a smart (and gorgeous) professor he’s determined to befriend before their best friends marry in the Eldovian wedding of the century.
Meet the best woman
Newly single, no-nonsense New Yorker Dani is done with love—she even has a list entitled “Things I Will Never Again Do for a Man”—which is why she hits it off with notorious rake Max. He’s the perfect partner for snow angels in Central Park and deep conversations about the futility of love.
It’s all fun and games until their friendship deepens into attraction and, oops…
Falling in love was never part of the plan.
I loved this follow up to A Princess for Christmas even more than the original. Max, a baron with a playboy reputation, and Dani, an English professor in the midst of a divorce who declares herself “post-men,” strike up an unlikely friendship as their best friends plan for a royal wedding. Their banter and chemistry were top notch, and this book had me cracking up within the first few pages.
This is definitely a slow burn romance, but it’s well worth the wait watching Max and Dani develop a genuine foundation of friendship and trust before they give in to their romantic feelings for each other. The development of their relationship over a year of phone calls, texts, and sporadic visits was so sweet and lovely (and then it takes a very steamy turn).
My only complaint is the inevitable communication breakdown that plagues so many romcoms. Max and Dani had always been so open and honest with each other throughout the book, it didn’t quite sit right when they were suddenly both holding things back.
This was an absolutely magical, delightful, and hilarious holiday romance, and I really loved the inspiration it took from Love, Actually (even though I’m not actually a fan of that movie). Definitely add this to your Christmastime tbr if you haven’t already!