All in With the Duke: A Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pros

  • Trope game is tight
  • Character chemistry
  • Excellent Writing flow/pace
  • Easy to get immersed

Cons

  • Weak ending
  • Predictable

Recommended for

Lovers of Regency Romances and Grumpy Lords falling in love with men beneath their station.

Warning: As this is an erotic book, I may occasionally refer to erotic acts.

If you’ve read any Regency Romances, you’ll likely recognize the formula of All in With the Duke by Ava March. Grumpy Lord + Disgraced/downtrodden pretty boy = love and class-related dilemmas in the way of that love.

I’m not sure I really need to say more to summarize. If I sound a little salty, it’s not the book’s fault. Regency romances about downtrodden men and their grumpy lordish love interests are a valid sub-subgenre of historical m/m romance, and there’s obviously a market for them, and they can be hella good.

My saltiness is about how many regency romances of the same formula I stumble across in my historical romance travels.

Despite how frustrated I am with them, I did enjoy this book. All in With the Duke is about a prostitute, Tristan Walsh, who envies the female prostitutes for even having the chance at becoming a mistress. He feels his futures is bleak, as there is not even that hope for a male prostitute, even less so for him, who for he is bound to his life and his madam by circumstance and a shitload of gambling debts.

Then one day, Mr. Grumpy Lord stares broodingly into his eyes, and strikes up a whirlwind of events that ultimately lead to Tristan becoming Mr. Grumpy Lord’s kept man on his country estate where they bang. A lot. And mis-communicate. A more lot.

So, I’m trying not to sound too critical here, because this isn’t meant to be a criticism, but this story is a bit of a cookie cutter Regency Romance. It fits the mold, and even though it doesn’t exactly bring anything fresh to the table, it does what it aims to do fairly well. There were a few times in the first half of the book where I had stopped and wondered if I’d read this book before. I didn’t.

All in With the Duke didn’t sweep me away and keep me guessing, but it did make me care about the characters and keep me turning pages because I was enjoying my time with them.

I know. My praise in this review is on the tepid side.

My actual main criticism has to do with the climax. So beware vague spoilers in the following.

The climax. Gosh. Now climaxes usually disappoint me, so maybe take this with a grain of salt. I’m more an enjoy-the-journey type of person and am the source of much frustration from family and friends because I may have gotten bored and got up and walked away in the middle of way too many movie climaxes. But that being said, this one was particularly baffling to me. Not bad—the writing was still well done and in character, it was just not very climax. What was a somewhat steamy romance throughout 70% of the book petered out to frequent “I love yous”, internal insecurities, a couple small arguments, and one massive business-negotiation-style discussion about their future that ended in a quick tryst for some reason that didn’t super fit.

If you are sick of Regency Romances, I don’t believe this is the one that will reignite your passion for them, but if you are already passionate about them, or if you’re into the whole lord taking in a downtrodden/disgraced pretty boy thing, there’s a decent chance you’ll enjoy this read. It’s well written, the characters have chemistry, there’s plenty of steam, and honestly it’s nice to see a grumpy, uber masculine macho lord that really loves to suck cock.


I Seek Books To Review

I want to review more books that haven’t got a ton of reviews, or none at all, but I’m having trouble finding them on Kindle Unlimited. If you know of a book that could use some positive attention on KU, please either comment here or slide into my DMs on twitter. I won’t read it if it’s not my cup of tea, but I’ll definitely check it out.

Seeking: m/m of any kind, but I have a special love for historical, enemies to lovers, horror, dark fantasy, paranormal, or any combination of the listed.


More Book Reviews by Sam Clover

Books I Read in 2022 (pt. 1)

So in 2022, I have taken on the yearly Goodreads Reading Challenge. For me, part of the challenge was to get back into reading for fun. I’ve been beta reading and volunteer-editing for friends and other writers for so long exclusively instead of reading things I can get absorbed in and enjoy that for a … More Books I Read in 2022 (pt. 1)


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