The Sh*t She Didn’t Say!

Some back story; originally Cat and I were supposed to review The Duke I Once Knew together as a buddy review.  She read it first, and wrote herself some notes to help jump start our discussion.  Sadly I wasn’t able to read it, and Cat ended up taking over the blog tour spot writing a wonderful review for Olivia Drake, and St. Martin’s Press.

Duke I Once Knew_Cover

First love is always the sweetest…

For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her parents and her siblings’ children. Now, eager to create a life of her own, Abby seizes upon a position as a governess on a neighboring estate. Unfortunately, her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the notorious rake who once broke her youthful heart. But since he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years, Abby assumes she’ll never have to lay eyes on him ever again.

Then, from out of nowhere, Max appears. He is stunned to come face to face with the girl next door he fell for years ago—before he went away, and she stopped writing to him … even though Abby swears that he is the one who left her without a word. Could it be that this spirited, witty spinster has won Max’s heart all over again—and that they may have a second chance at love?

BUT, she didn’t end up using her notes and, quite frankly, they’re too freaking good to not share!
I absolutely cannot resist!

It’s the shit she didn’t say!

Before continuing, if you want to read this book, please beware that Cat’s notes progress through the story, and while I took out some heavier spoilers, there could be something in there you may not want to read.  If you have no intention of reading this, or your not a historical or romance reader, proceed! 

Cover critique time – let me see here.  K, so I get the artist was going for the ‘passionate rolling around in the study, messy hair, don’t care’ thing … but Abby ends up looking like she’s straight out of the late ‘00 era.  It’s a purposeful messy bun. Wtf is wrong with dude’s nose? The tip is weird. Was chest waxing a thing then, because those are the shiniest pecs I’ve ever seen. I mean, he has a 5 O’Clock shadow on his face, yet his chest is stubble free and f*cking gleaming.

I love that she pointed out the bun.  I still haven’t read this one, but when I requested to read it I remember thinking the cover didn’t look at all historical.  It looks like prom night on 90210.  You know, actors in their 30’s playing teenagers…


Internally, I wished she’d been more of a forceful bitch in response to her siblings.  She kept saying she loved them and was torn, and I just thought ‘F*ck – why? Why would you love people who love you only as much as you can do for them? F*ck them. Run away. Quickly.’

Okay, wow.  This family must be bad…

Transition was rushed. Abby talks about applying for the position and then the next thing we know BOOM she’s there and settled in, all the servants adore her.  We get a quick paragraph about her family’s reaction to her getting the position and leaving, but I really wanted more. I want the spinster girl tells family to f*ck off moment.

Damn, Cat, this family must really suck.  You’re definitely stuck on it.  I hope you get it too!

Clifford is an awful name for a human being.  Fine for a big, red dog, though.

This is the first random thought that made me giggle.  I think this is when she stopped trying to jot down talkable points, and really just started jotting down all her random thoughts.  I love it!

Heavy borrowing from Pride & Prejudice here.  Strand a girl overnight at a gentleman’s house to entice him to marry a her. *yawn*.  

I’ve never read Pride & Prejudice here, but I’d yawn too.  That happens in a LOT of historical romance!  There’s a lot of borrowing from P&P I guess!  (Also, this is a good time to promote Cat’s Pride & Prejudice post!  Go check it out!)

Oh, and ew bonus for the phrase ‘She had only ever known the untutored groping of a boy’. *ewwwwwwwww* The words ‘boy’ and ‘grope’ shouldn’t be in a sentence together.  Hard nope right there.

Ewwwwwww!!  Even reading that line in her notes made me cringe!  No no no!


Ok, so  the ‘Valerie trying to seduce the Duke’ up and vanished like a fart in the wind.

Hahaha – Like a fart in the wind!  Do you think she would have used that phrase originally if she’d known I wanted to turn her notes into a post??  I think she would!

I like Abby. Duke-Dude I care so little about I can’t even remember his actual name without going back to the book to look.  (So to prove a point, I’m not going to do that.  I’m leaving him as Duke-Dude). Honestly, the most fleshed-out character so far is the scheming seductress, Elise.  (See? I remembered her name.) Hell, I even remember his horse’s name: Brimstone. Regency Man-Candies always have super intense names for their horses. Just for flavor, I want to see ‘Viscount Thornhill brought Snowblossom to a halt.’

There is seriously so much goodness in this, I don’t even know where to start!  Do you know how many times I read a romance and can’t remember a characters name??  It may now become a thing where I just start calling them all Duke-Dude!  Also, PLEASE Authors! Please, give us a Viscount Thornhill bringing his horse Snowblossom to a halt.


I can’t think of an ex or a flirtation from my late teen years what I would wistfully connect with after 15 years of separation.  ‘So, yo, remember that time we got stoned and made out in a tree? Seeing you again makes me realize how that meant the world to me, let’s go make babies.’

If you’re not laughing, you’re made of stone.  This random Cat thought actually made me laugh out loud.  She’s SO right!  It’s this type of shit, ‘wistfully connecting after a 15 year separation’, that only works in fiction. It only works in ROMANTIC fiction!  Most of us in the real world would not be having it!

Elise hates cats.  That’s the final straw.  Bitch must die. Denying her HEA is no longer enough.  Death to kitten haters.

DEATH to KITTEN HATERS!  This should be Cat’s blogger bio!

Max!  Duke-Dude’s name is Max!  Only took me to 80% of the book read to finally focus in on it.

I’ll have you know that when I texted to see if she remembered, she did!  After two reads, he finally left an impression on her brain!

Oooo, Clifford (Abby’s brother, not the big red dog, sadly, I’d like him better) is ordering Abby around like a maid and His Grace, Max, Duke-Dude is not impressed.  I sense my moment is coming.

Cat, I love Clifford the big red dog better too.  Also, I love how we’re still calling Max ‘Duke-Dude’.  It’ll stick, I’m sure of it.


Nope. No f*ck offs to any of those who deserved a f*ck off.  BUT – at least I ended up giving a damn about Duke-Dude Max. So that’s nice.

Awww, I ended up caring about Duke-Dude too.  It sucks about the family, but at least you made Duke-Dude-Max pretty endearing.

All in all, Cat ended up enjoying The Duke I Once Knew.  She gave it 4 happy reading stars, and wrote a genuinely positive review you can find here.

I may continue to do this after her reviews, because as good as she is at reviewing, I get such a kick out of her behind the scenes tirades.

What did you think?
Were you as amused by Cat’s random reading thoughts as I was?

About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

6 Responses

Tell me something!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.