Miss Naomi Kwan has spent years wanting to take ambulance classes so that she can save lives. But when she tries to register, she’s told she needs permission from the man in charge of her. It would be incredibly wrong to claim that the tall, taciturn Chinese nobleman she just met is her fiancé, but Naomi is desperate, and desperate times call for fake engagements. To her unending surprise, Liu Ji Kai goes along with her ruse.
It’s not that Kai is nice. He’s in Wedgeford to practice his family business, and there’s no room for “nice” when you’re out to steal a fortune. It’s not that the engagement is convenient; a fake fiancée winding herself into his life and his heart is suboptimal when he plans to commit fraud and flee the country.
His reason is simple: Kai and Naomi were betrothed as children. He may have disappeared for twenty years, but their engagement isn’t actually fake. It’s the only truth he’s telling.
The Wedgeford Trials #2
September of 2021, my smutty book club read The Duke who Didn’t by Courtney Milan. I was intrigued. Here we have someone I heard about standing up to RWA and also about her books in passing. And I fell in LOVE with that book. I read it so quickly, I was disappointed and started to re-read it. I might have also hallucinated cheese rolling in the Wedgeford Trials. That’s on me. But I was super excited to read anything else in this series. I started looking and looking and looking and it just didn’t happen. And then life happened and I moved and everything got crazy. And then I went to look for something on my kindle and saw that it came out in late October of this year. So I bought it. And proceeded to live within the book for a few days, as I do when I really enjoy something.
Naomi is an awesome character. She’s believable, she’s loyal to her family, and she has goals and dreams. She’s also a bit more resourceful than you might think to someone who is told ‘you need permission to learn how to save lives despite you having SAVED a life at a major regional trial that brings in lots of money every year because you’re a woman.’
And it’s fortuitous that she is to pick up Kai. He’s smart in his own right, and talented. He does something that I was a bit annoyed by. The whole ‘Oh, I’m unloveable. You deserve so much better. I’m going to go put on a half mask and run into the sewers to sing now.’ That’s totally hyperbole, but it speaks to my point about a male character who doesn’t think they deserve the strong female woman. I mean, maybe they don’t, but the level of torture that a guy has to go through sometimes gets lost in the message. I enjoyed the pottery part of the story, and it was refreshing to read about the misconceptions about pottery and the value of it.
That being said, I still really enjoyed this novel, and I’m going to pick up another series by this author to passively read soon. I think Milan is going to be an auto buy author for me. I’m pretty selective about my historical novels (I much prefer contemporary or modern novels), but Courtney Milan has swayed me. She’s awesome!