I usually pre-order Elizabeth Hoyt's books months in advance but somehow I missed realising this one was out. When I did get to read it there were already mixed reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads, so I felt a bit apprehensive as to whether I was going to enjoy it! But this is another of those times where, if you know you enjoy a particular style of book and have a favourite author, you should trust yourself, ignore the reviews and make your own decision!
Freya de Moray is the daughter and sister of a duke but is working incognito as a companion. She's also a spy for an organisation called the Wise Women, who help other women in trouble. During one of her assignments she unexpectedly meets the Duke of Harlowe, the man she blames for destroying her brother's life, and she is determined to have her revenge.
There are a lot of characters in this book and a lot of plot. The heroine has a couple of near-death experiences, which don't have anything to do with the villain, and the Duke is being blackmailed, also a plot strand that could have been done away with. I can understand the amount of characters: this is the first in a new series, so I suspect some of them will have their own books later on. It was fun trying to work out which ones these will be, but it was hard to keep track of them all!
Having said that, there is never a dull moment and I did love the main characters, particularly Freya, who was very independent and strong-minded, yet happy to admit when she'd made a wrong decision. I also enjoyed the snippets of the fairy tale that started each chapter. Conclusion? I loved Not the Duke's Darling and I'm happy to give it five stars!