Dawn with a Duke by Erica Ridley
I’ve read most of the books in this charming series by Erica Ridley, but it doesn’t matter if you haven’t read any of them; you could absolutely pick up here and thoroughly enjoy it, because they’re all standalone. In this one, Lady Isabella, sister of the Duke of Nottingvale, has to interrupt her journey to Cressmouth when her maid and dear friend falls ill. Snowbound in an inn with no maid to help her out, Bella rather desperately asks a gentleman for assistance.
Tailor Calvin MacAlistair has grand plans to launch a line of ready-to-wear fashion for aspiring gentlemen and no time to pamper ladies who can’t manage to undo their own buttons. Except you can’t really leave a lady trapped in a gown, can you? And once they start talking, they discover they rather like each other… and might just be able to help the other one out.
Things go wrong when Bella discovers Calvin is seeking her brother’s patronage, but by then it’s rather too late to guard their hearts. Bella has to decide what she wants out of life, if she’s willing to let her mother and brother dictate the mold she is to fit herself into, or if she is willing to step outside those bounds and follow her heart.
This is an absolutely delightful series and this might be one of my favourites yet. I really enjoyed Bella getting to make her own decision and having agency; while Calvin provided a pathway for her, she was the one who seized it with both hands. Five stars for a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.