****Kindle version is up for free right now on Amazon!!!****
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review
Amelia is the ultimate type A personality, she has been managing the household ever since at a young age her father died and her younger brother inherited the dukedom. She can anticipate any situation, is aware of any potential issues, and is the Shakespeare of to-do lists. At the horrendously "old" age of thirty, Amelia realizes that her brother is depending on her too much and putting off getting married so finding a husband gets added to her schedule. She decides that the Annual Sheffield Christmas Eve Ball will be the best place to find a husband that meets all her criteria, however, when an act of nature burns down the building where the ball is held, it is canceled for the year. This will not do, so Amelia shows up at Benedict Sheffield's home, introduces herself, and proceeds to make him feel like he is making all the decisions when in fact Amelia is simply guiding him to what she has already decided. Benedict does his best to not get caught up in the tornado that is Amelia but he soon finds his own rigid schedule of 8am-8pm work and 8pm-8am pleasure getting disrupted but not all the disrupting is happening all on Benedict's side as Amelia finds out that getting her feathers ruffled can be quite enjoyable.
Even though Amelia and Benedict are both rigid characters in a sense, they are both relatable and human enough to be enjoyable to read about. This is a novella, so the relationship aspect is accelerated so we can get our happily ever after. It works for the most part in this story with just a little side eye to how quickly our leads are in "luv". Amelia is the more flushed out character as the story follows from her lead most of the time while Benedict is hurt more by the shortness of the story. The reader gets the basic idea why Benedict keeps a strict schedule and then gets somewhat of a feel for why he falls for Amelia, her strength and managing ways are a jolt to his system. They work and play well off of each other with a couple saucy interactions.
The strength of this novella isn't so much Amelia and Benedict as it is the way it introduces what will become the Dukes of War series. Future leads are introduced with surrounding back stories and arcs vaguely alluded to and hinted at. Erica Ridley is a new to me author and I am excited to read a full length novel by her as her writing was solid and engaging but didn't quite get to stretch its legs in this short story. I am definitely adding "The Earl's Defiant Wallflower" book one in the series to my tbr pile as I can't wait to read more about these damaged heroes and their heroines.