Hall brings his trademark wit and depth of emotion to Regency-era England ... Fortunately, Hall doesn't drag out that discovery, but the depth of hurt on both sides is astounding. Hall has a gift for humor but is also skilled at composing passages that evoke the deepest emotions, whether the ache of long-denied love, crushing grief or the relief and soulful joy of being accepted and adored as one's most authentic self.
The term 'slow burn' doesn’t begin to capture the agonized pining of this romance, which is absolutely suffused with yearning. Hall poignantly depicts Viola’s tangled mix of relief and sadness ... Hall adds some levity with flirtatious banter between his main couple, moments when readers can see the dark cloud hovering over Gracewood become a little lighter. There’s also a robust and interesting cast of side characters, which could mean (fingers crossed) A Lady for a Duke is but the first book in a series.
A delicious Regency romance filled with brooding, longing, and hope ... The period banter is unparalleled as Hall pulls his characters out of the drawing room and into far closer quarters. He explores difficult subjects with a sharpness matched only by the tenderness underpinning the relationship between Viola and Gracewood. Fans of Lisa Kleypas and anyone looking for romance centering trans characters owe it to themselves to check this out.
Hall is a consistently beautiful writer, but this story, the first in a new series, may be his best yet. The plot elegantly balances period details and classic tropes to create a queer love story with a pitch-perfect blend of reality and hope. Though the steamy intimate scenes are electric, the story’s momentum comes not from Viola and Gracewood’s slow burn but from the genuine emotional connections among a full cast of charming characters. Despite the centering of Viola and Gracewood’s love story, this is a book that celebrates the many ways people love and are loved. The story is complex and long but never lags, and readers will be glued to the book through the satisfying epilogue. As a bonus, Hall also wrote the funny, insightful discussion questions at the back, allowing readers space to dwell a bit longer on the story ... A groundbreaking and excellent queer historical romance.