They Date Valets instead
Happy leap day everyone! For most of us it’s an extra day to make the most out of life. For me it’s an extra day to slog through a silly romance book. To each their own I suppose. Today I am going to review Geek Girls Don’t Date Dukes.
The last time I read a romance book that had a duke in it, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that it was halfway decent. I won’t say this book was as good as that one. I had some thoughts as I read through it which I will share below.
If you are just looking for a mindless, fun, romance book, this one is not bad at all. If you are like me and sometimes have difficulty entirely suspending your disbelief, you may not want to pick this one up. I am going to give a quick plot summary so if you don’t want spoilers, because you just love to read books that involve time warping mirrors, emptying chamber pots while wondering about latex gloves and mention Star Wars more than once, you have been forewarned.
So here’s the deal. This book is about Leah. She has a huuuuuge jerk of an ex-boyfriend. This dude (Kevin) not only breaks up with her for a different woman, he literally asks her to the wedding to be a bridesmaid for this other woman, but only so that Leah can be in the picture and then photoshopped out for the woman’s actual friend. Dude, come on Kevin, you are making all men of this time period look bad. So bad that apparently there needs to be a magical mirror where woman can go to Regency period England just to land a man.
Leah who apparently has a few interests including going to Renaissance fairs, playing The Legend of Zelda and weeping over seeing Mr, Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett get married, has this friend who went back in time and found an Earl to marry. Leah gets the chance to house-sit for this friend and seems to think it’s a good idea to dive through this mirror to find a Duke to marry because she totally misinterprets what the woman who does the mirror magic says to her. The mirror magic woman, Mrs. Knightsbridge, tells Leah she will find her true love at the Duke of Granville’s manor. Yeah, so we all know that means not the Duke right? I mean we’ve read enough books that we know that right? Yeah, it wasn’t the Duke because it turns out he is a lot older than her. But that doesn’t stop him from being the third wheel in the book.
Turns out that when Lean crawls through that mirror she basically crash lands into the arms of Avery, the Duke’s valet. He is the first person she meets in this time period but it’s clear that they are destined to be together because he is hunky, and kind of rude to her, although I would say if you saw someone suddenly crawl out of a mirror, politeness might not be at the top of your mind either. We also know this is the right man for her because he sticks up for her and does chores for her when she should do them. Leah through some serious good luck is able to fake that she is a maid for the Duke in the hopes of catching him for a husband. This ruse just leads to Avery falling for her and vice versa. For her part, Leah absolutely hates doing the normal stuff that maids would have done back then and can’t wait to get out of doing it.
After a couple of days of this, Leah goes to this party and meets a woman who knows about the magic mirror and happens to want to help her. I got the impression she is maybe from one of the earlier books in this series but I haven’t read those so I don’t know for sure. Anyway, Lady Chesterfield takes Leah in so doing chores is no longer required. Never content to be happy though, Leah gets really tired of doing exactly what she hoped to do, going to balls in Regency period dresses and trying to hook up with the Duke.
Avery is not only a Valet but also a boxer and he’s on the hook for some money to some bad dudes. This results in a side plot where Leah gets kidnapped and Avery has to beat a few dudes up, etc. Then the magic mirror breaks and Leah can’t go back. But she wants to go back because her Pawpaw, is in the hospital. She wants to take Avery with her but a. he’s apparently too big to fit in the repaired mirror and b. they have had a few misunderstandings that a five minute conversation might have sorted out but they never have time for that because, you know, all the kissing going on.
As you might imagine, everything works out in the end and all is well that ends well. I noticed some things in this book I would like to bring attention to though.
- Leah seems smart and she is all into Ren fairs and whatnot, so why was she so surprised at the lack of sanitation in the Regency period? She wonders both if they had bleach and latex gloves. Yeah, cause in all those Colin Firth movies, the staff is always putting Clorox everywhere right?
- Also, I get that you can like more than one time period but she seems to think she is kind of prepared for this because she goes to Ren fairs. That is a huuuuge time difference! But whatever.
- At one point in the book Avery touches Leah’s arm and she gets… let’s say excited. And she thinks in her mind that, “her arm graduated to an erogenous zone.” I wondered if there was a degree involved in that. I mean does your arm at least get an online certificate that it can hang on the wall or what?
- Let me get this straight, Leah has read all the Jane Austen, she has seen the movies, she knows her friend found someone when she was least expecting it but she never thinks that the guy who might be right for her is not the dude who is old enough to be her father? Seriously?
- At one point Leah thinks to herself that the staff probably realized she played more Legend of Zelda than she had scrubbed floors. Man, that game is a lot older than I realized.
- Leah also totally freaks out because she has to move a chamber pot with no gloves. While I understand the concern for sanitation, what did she freaking think she would be doing as a maid in a huge house? Didn’t she see like any BBC period mini-series ever? Oh wait, she watched Pride and Prejudice so uh….
- She totally assumes Avery is just going to go to the future with her. I think there might be a bit of shock and quite the learning curve there for him. Just wait til he sees indoor plumbing! Although, I guess if she did get him to this time period, anyone will stay once you feed them a single Oreo so, maybe that was her plan?
- Kudos to this book for mentioning Star Wars in appropriate context more than once. Not sure that is enough to qualify a person as being a geek but at least it’s in there.
- Okay so, let’s say you are planning to go back in time and maybe find the love of your life. Lucky for you, you live in the 21st century and you can bring some stuff with you. Leah brings aspirin (good call), a picture of her grandfather (can’t blame her there), but she does not bring any form of birth control. Uh, I mean I know he is the right guy for you and all but maybe get to know him before you might have a kid with him? Just saying.
- Okay last thing for me about this book is this one question about this whole thing. What about the whole time travel thing? I mean, could she cause a Marty McFly situation? She’s a geek so she has probably seen that right? What about the butterfly effect and all that? But she wastes exactly zero time thinking about that. Like not even once does she think about how her being in that time period might have brought back some sort of plague and then when she goes back home it’s nothing but zombies and she needs The Doctor to show up in the TARDIS to fix everything because of one magic mirror (that is probably actually alien in origin). But why does no one in this book think about that? Best I can tell is because the mirror is full of “time magic and love magic”. I love science.
I’ll be honest, I have read a lot worse romance books than this one and I didn’t hate it as much as I expected but it’s also no Outlander. If you have a few hours to kill and want a bit of time travel, a bit of steaminess and a whole lot of wondering why people don’t wait five minutes to talk to each other to sort everything out, this book is for you.
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Want to find out what happens for yourself? Get the book here: Geek Girls Don’t Date Dukes