Sally MacKenzie is one of those authors I’ve known of for years. I saw her books on shelves, heard them recommended on podcasts, but for whatever reason never picked one up. When I saw What to Do with a Duke up for request on NetGalley I jumped at the chance to get to know this author.

And boy am I glad I did.

I read this while traveling (as I do most of my reading lately… me and American Airlines are simply spending too much time together) and I had to keep myself from giggling out loud and disturbing my fellow passengers! This book is a delight and I’m so glad it’s the first of a new series so I have more of this world to look forward to!

About 200 years ago, a scorned woman named Isabelle put a curse on the Dukes of Hart – either they marry for love and stop using women as their personal playthings or they shall die before their heir is born. And for that whole time, that curse has played out exactly. So when we hit our story, the current Duke of Hart is petrified of marriage. He has lived most of his life in London, avoiding the familial estate and leaving it the hands of managers. He’s summoned back to help choose the next inhabitant of the Spinster House – another off shoot of the crazy curse.

He there encounters Cat – a decedent of Isabelle and the daughter of the current vicar. She has sworn off marriage – which to her seems an institution largely set on keeping women from pursuing their dreams as they spend most of their lives bearing and feeding children. Her family keeps telling her that she only needs to meet the right man, but she is unconvinced.

Of course, Marcus and Isabelle throw each other for serious loops and they are the last to realize what the rest of us know instantaneously – they are meant for each other. If you’re a fan of historical romance that doesn’t involve the ton so many authors are obsessed with, I’d highly recommend this. It’s set in Regency era, but in a small hamlet outside of London and there is only one ball to be seen! This is truly a delightful book. Enjoy it with tea – iced or hot – and make sure to sip carefully lest you spit out your beverage in laughter.


Further Reading:

  • Cat is desperate in this book to be a writer. Here’s some of the women she would have been reading and possibly interacting with as she pursued that dream.
  • “Spinster” and the stigma attached is not something that ended in the days of yore. This fascinating book explores modern day singledom and what it means for the women who choose it.
  • Head here to purchase more of Sally’s books and help the world at the same time!


I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.