Forever Your Duke by Erica Ridley
With the 12th book in the 12 Dukes of Christmas series, Erica Ridley has absolutely hit this one out of the park. The exceedingly proper Duke of Nottingvale is hosting a Christmas party, and has let it be known that he intends to select a bride. The guest list is full of eligible young ladies, all of whom would be eminently suitable to be his duchess… and one lady who is entirely unsuitable, but he can’t keep away from.
Cynthia Louise Finch is, at thirty, long past concerning herself what anyone thinks of her. She’s firmly on the shelf and has decided she rather likes it there, since she can do anything she likes without fearing incurring anyone’s disapproval. She does care very much about the welfare of her young cousin Gertrude, however, and plans to matchmake Gertrude with Nottingvale to save Gertrude from a much worse fate as planned by her father.
Cynthia Louise is an absolute delight. She’s whimsical, fearless, and loving. Frankly, the only thing I found incredible was that she didn’t already have hordes of swains throwing themselves at her feet. It was no wonder Nottingvale couldn’t resist her; she must have seemed like a neon rainbow blazing into his dull, grey, orderly world. They were fantastic together.
There were several callbacks to other books in the series, and while it must have been tempting to revisit everyone in this, the last of the 12, Ridley didn’t make that mistake, just sprinkling a few references with a gentle hand. She created a lovely world here in Cressmouth, the village where it’s always Christmas and dukes are around every corner (though not always the kind of duke you expect). I’ve been entirely charmed by it and I’d highly recommend the whole series to anyone looking to lose themselves in the spirit of Christmas… the whole year round.
Five stars for a lovely conclusion to a delightful series.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.