“Aphrodite and the Duke” offers historical romance

In “Aphrodite and the Duke” by J. J. McAvoy, Aphrodite Du Bell is a noble living in the regency era who’s currently grieving a broken promise in marriage from Evander Eagleman. Her mother beckons her back after her retreat, forcing her into a world of gossip and secrets. 

I gave this book a four-star rating. I found that some characters in this book were underdeveloped and that Aphrodite’s problems seemed to be magically resolved with little to no consequences.

I loved reading this book. I found that the romance between Aphrodite and Evander was adorable and believable. They have their problems, but they’re not easily solvable and both characters put in the work to improve as a partner throughout the book. 

A common problem that the couple has is communication. That being said, this communication issue doesn’t follow the common trope because Aphrodite likes to share her problems and solve them with Evander, while Evander prefers to deal with his issues alone. Thankfully, while reading these parts of the book I was never annoyed by the miscommunication like in other books. I was fascinated by the way the couple maturely talked about their differences and found good compromises. 

Another aspect of the book that I loved was the side characters. Each character felt like they were fully developed and had a life outside of the main characters. My personal favorite, Verity, is so developed as a character that she is receiving a spin-off book called “Verity and the Forbidden Suitor,” which is available for pre-order right now. 

This book showed that time was passing through the use of letters or balls throughout. This helped the book feel alive and dynamic. Even though the focus is on Aphrodite, it is obvious that her sisters are growing up and missing her. 

Of course, no book is without its flaws. I didn’t like how Aphrodite and Evander were developed as characters. It seemed like they aren’t as alive as the side characters are. They aren’t flat characters, but it feels as if they’re missing something throughout the book. While this can easily be overlooked, I found myself enjoying the book less, and some parts of the book were less interesting because of this. 

I believe a byproduct of the lack of characterization for Aphrodite is the problems she faces. Throughout the novel, Aphrodite faces many problems that only she can solve. I found this unbelievable because her problems are complicated. Especially towards the second part of the book, she lets her societal duties pile up, which causes her problems, but they then seem to end up being resolved in a day or so. This seems completely unbelievable, considering these problems have been building up for years. While this may seem like a smaller issue, I couldn’t believe it, which in turn impacted my reading experience. 

All in all, I loved the book. While it isn’t my favorite book, I had a great time reading it and will most likely give it a re-read. I would specifically recommend this book to young adults who love romance books like “Pride and Prejudice,” television shows like “Bridgerton” and other historical romantic period pieces that are reminiscent of the regency era.


4/5 stars