Book Review

Book Review: Duke, Actually (A Princess for Christmas #2) by Jenny Holiday

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Jenny Holiay
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: November 16th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


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.

Maximillian von Hansburg, Baron of Laudon and heir to the Duke of Aquilla, is trapped. Under pressure from his domineering father, he must marry a suitable bride before he inherits a title that feels like a prison sentence. In New York to meet a prospective wife, he ditches his responsibilities and appears on Dani Martinez’s doorstep. He’s been intrigued by the no-nonsense professor since he met her at the Eldovian royal wedding and is determined to befriend her.

Newly single 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 trying to escape relationships, and she’s resolved to avoid them at all costs. All they want from each other is friendship and a distraction from their messy lives.

As their bond begins to deepen, so does their attraction, until they end up in bed together. Falling in love was never part of the plan—Max’s family doesn’t see Dani as a perfect match, even as his heart tells him she’s the one, and Dani isn’t sure she can make it in Max’s world. Can they find the courage to live they life they desire, even if it means risking everything? 


Pleasantly happy with this one. I had some mixed feeling over A Princess for Christmas, but holiday romances call my name every year and I couldn’t skip this one. Luckily enough, it’s my new favorite of the two.

I loved the slow build between Dani and Max. The texts, phone calls, chance meetings and forced proximity moments gave them plenty of chances to turn acquaintances into lovers. I liked this that this took over a year and there were many sides to both Dani and Max’s backgrounds. They leaned on each other in the tough times and found a connection as friends before making that last leap. I thought it might hit friends with benefits territory (which I don’t personally love), but it didn’t. The progression was perfectly suited for the book.

Max was so tender and passionate. I loved watching him reconnect with his brother and coming into his own as responsibility was thrown his way. He was incredibly sweet and respectful of Dani and all of the things he did for her had me smiling. I adored Dani as well and loved that this was a dual-POV. My favorite for romances!

I didn’t like the running away trope towards the end, but the rest of the book was stellar enough that I kept my rating. It was a great vibe of Hallmark after dark and plenty of Christmastime cheer too.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: alcoholic & abusive father, loss of a parent (on page), divorce

Instagram || Goodreads

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