Content warnings: Death, emotional abuse, themes of familial control, discussion of racism.
- Who doesn’t love a filthy historical romance anthology to be honest?
- I find them some of the few anthologies that don’t irritate me, it’s like a good taster board for different romance authors to go forth and explore more.
- It’s the best of both worlds, ball gowns and sexual freedom. Marvellous.
“So I am to marry this earl,” she’d said, trying to keep her pulse steady. “Even though we have never met, and he is rumored to be an unrepentant lecher.”
Not that Eleanor minded lechery per se, but she did mind ridiculousness. She did mind inheriting another project.
“And he baptized a horse,” she added, to clarify her point.
Anthologies can be tricky, especially for people who tend to read more long-form fiction, things can feel rushed or unrealistic and all it takes is one stinker to really ruin a reading experience. A lot of it is in the line up and OOH BOY what a line up this one has. Consisting of stories by Sierra Simone, Joanna Shupe, Eva Laigh, Nicola Davidson and Adrianna Herrera, Duke I’d Like To F is a veritable buffet of excellent historical filth. It’s like an excellently written extravaganza of all my favourite tropes. We have cuddling for warmth, sex lessons, gruff dukes swearing off loving ever again, ‘oh no we shouldn’t I am but a lowly governess’…honestly it’s wonderful.
As is always the case with anthologies, it’s hard to review in any form of depth without giving away perhaps too many elements of the story so I’ll try to hit the high points without ruining what I think is definitely a worthwhile read. Substantial too, clocking in at over 500 pages it avoids that pet peeve of mine of rapid fire, incomplete feeling stories – believe me these reach completion. Often several times and sometimes in various positions.
I think what I love most about this anthology is that in each of these stories, the heroine is making her own decisions about her own life. Walking away from marriages where they would be unhappy, seeking education in carnal matters when chances have been denied them by overbearing men, running businesses and pursuing men who interest them. Nary a passive, swooning maiden in sight, these women are each tremendously sexy in their independent strength. It is easy to see why our Dukes worship them, and worship them they most certainly do. And they’re funny and romantic and just make me happy. Romance has been one of my main refuges during the pandemic, sometimes it’s just lovely to open a book and know that there’s happiness inside. The power of happily ever afters cannot be underestimated when things are often so stressful and sad in the real world. If you love historical romances, or romance in general, you’ve probably heard of all of these authors and require no further prompting to read their work. If you’re new to the genre, this is an excellent way to get a feel of whether or not it’s for you! There’s also a SECOND ONE called Rake I’d Like to F… which, needless to say, I have already pre-ordered. And always remember, if my gay ass can read sex scenes with men and go ‘hot damn’ then that is a sexy book and you should read it.