12 Tropes of 2020 – Two Dukes and a Lady by Lorna James

Love Triangle from
12 Tropes of 2020

When two people both love a third person, and that third often loves them both. The object of their love may be conflicted as to whom he/she wants.

Taken from Urban Dictionary.

A state of affairs in which one person is romantically or sexually involved with two others (one or both of whom may not be aware of or complicit in the situation).

Taken from Lexico.

Two Dukes and a Lady
by Lorna James (aka Jamie K. Schmidt)

Charles Ashdown, Duke of Densmore, and his closest friend William Kenwood, Duke of Tennison, love gambling and womanising too much to ever be ensnared by a debutante. Certainly, no decent wife would allow the debauchery they enjoy. But the only woman they’ve ever loved has returned. Unfortunately, Society, and likely darling Lily, will never accept the sharing relationship they’d like to propose.

Lillian Drew returns to England after her husband’s mysterious death and finds solace with her girlhood crushes, Charles and William. Sure, they’re as unapologetically crass and self-centered as always, but she loves them both. When her dead husband’s creditors come after her, she has no choice but to remarry, though she can’t make up her mind which duke she’ll propose to. With a toss of one of the few coins she has left to her name, she hopes the loser will understand.

Taken from blurb

My thoughts

Full disclosure, I am a bleeding heart and couldn’t stomach the typical ‘love triangle’ trope. So instead of the usual V pattern of a relationship where one person is ultimately chosen, I went with a book where both romantic options are chosen 😋 Yes, yes I am aware that this is a menage or polyamorous trope but I couldn’t handle the angst of someone being rejected 😥

Two Dukes and a Lady was a quick and naughty read, with the regency romance being tipped on its head by featuring a menage relationship that features two dukes and a widowed friend from their childhood. The two Dukes Charles and William have been known to share many things (and women) but when Lillian returns to their lives, they know that they’re ready to commit and stay with the one person.

I really enjoyed how the book navigated the societal pressures facing the three romantic leads. Don’t get me wrong, at times I was worried that the tensions and ultimate emotional climax of the book would see it settle into a typical love triangle formula with one suitor ‘winning’ out over the other, but I was pleased to see that this was not the case. The way that this tension was worked out is covered quite quickly in the last chapter but regardless I enjoyed the ultimate emotional pay off especially after all the physical release of the book 😋

While certainly, Two Dukes and a Lady could be written off as an erotic exploration of regency historical romances, the book does have a deep emotional grounding. The romance never feel diluted or trite and the relationship between Charles and William also shines through with the way they interact and ultimately converse to work things out.

While yes, Two Dukes and a Lady is a quick and smutty read, it none the less pulls on your heart stings as you see the trio navigate societal norms to be happy together.

The Trope

Yes, yes, I coped out. Typically the trope sees the main character dither back and forth between two romantic leads who are interested in pursuing a romantic or sexual relationship. However, I quite dislike this trope…

I am also aware that I picked this trope in my challenge – I had intended to force myself to read something out of my comfort zone but it was not to be. I just can’t stomach rejection or bitter angst in my romances.

So instead, this book choice explored the dynamics of a love triangle when the choice to embrace both partners is made. If you are interested in reading more about these relationships or want to broaden your romantic horizons, be sure to check out menage books or polyamourous books.

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