About the Book: Raised in the splendor of Carlyle Castle by her doting guardian, the Duchess of Carlyle, Philippa Kirkpatrick is one of the greatest heiresses in England. The duchess is eager to see her wed, but Philippa hesitates to leave the only home she knows. William Montclair is in London to expand his family’s trading firm, with little progress. Impulsively he takes a job managing the Carlyle estate—for the money, he tells his incredulous brother, and only for a year. Philippa is shocked by the handsome, scandalously bold new steward. It’s all she can do to prevent the horrified duchess from sacking him on sight. She determines to teach him how to love Carlyle as she does, only to find herself reluctantly charmed by the rogue. It’s true; Will is falling for everything about Carlyle…including the duchess’s beautiful ward. But he has promises—and secrets—to keep, and telling Philippa would resurrect a devastating family scandal. Not telling her, though, means he must break her heart—and his own.
AMAZON US BUY LINK: All the Duke I Need
William Montclair, along with his younger brother, Jack, are in London to further the interests of their American shipping company at the request of their father. Though William is the elder, he is content to let Jack take the lead, as his heart is truly not in the business. When a chance encounter with a stranger leads to a position of land steward for a ducal estate in the country, William jumps at the chance, even though Jack is much opposed. William knows that this job can’t be permanent, and he assures Jack that he will come back. Though William gets off to a very rocky start with the duchess at the estate, he finds that he has taken to the job like a duck to water. He comes to care for the land and its people. He discovers that he has a natural ability, and begins to bring about much needed improvements for the estate, whose management has been sub par for several years. William is content with his situation, if only he didn’t have this overwhelming attraction for the duchess’s lovely step-granddaughter.
Philippa “Pippa” Kirkpatrick has been handling much of the estate management of Carlyle Castle, with her beloved step-grandmother’s blessing. In truth, the duchess, along with the entire staff and family, attempt to hide the fact that the duke is truly not up to handling his responsibilities. Pippa was the duchess’s (now deceased) daughter’s stepchild, and is half Indian by birth. The duchess grew to love Pippa, and kept her as part of the family when she was orphaned. As William discovers more and more things which need to be repaired or improved, Pippa is at first insulted, feeling that she is being slighted. She soon comes to see that William is right, and she needs to help him achieve his goals by teaching him how to get along with the crusty duchess. Things get a little complicated when Pippa starts to feel a similar attraction for Will, and for the first time, finds the fun of flirtation, and the joy to be had in shared kisses and embraces.
As their friendship and attraction grows, Will realizes that he is getting in too deep. He is starting to fall in love, and there is no possible future with Pippa. His status is that of a high level servant, which is far beneath that of a beautiful heiress with ducal connections. When he directly puts the question to Pippa, she is forced to admit that he is correct. Will escalates his plans to leave the estate – his brother has been impatiently urging his return anyway. But there is another reason, a secret that Will is keeping, which makes a future with Pippa impossible.
The relationship between Will and Pippa was delightful. I loved watching them initially fight their attraction, hiding it behind teasing and barbs, then progressing to friendship, then to becoming truly in love with each other. They are a true match in all ways. My favorite part is how they both separately came to the same conclusion, that they belong together, regardless of the consequences, and were both coming back to each other. I also really, really loved how Pippa figured out the mystery, and chose not to hold Will’s keeping his secret against him. This is the final book of DESPERATELY SEEKING DUKE series, and while it did wrap up the matter of the lost heir in a satisfactory way, I was left wanting so much more detail. This family was such an integral part of the series, that I found I had to have more questions answered. Just today I learned that Caroline Linden is writing an extended epilogue, which is intended to fill in all the blanks, and I can’t wait to read it, and only wish it could have been included with this book. The romance between Will and Pippa in ALL THE DUKE I NEED is fun, warm, and touching, and one that I can heartily recommend. ~Rose