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Book Review: While the Duke Was Sleeping

Updated: Oct 12, 2023

Shop girl Poppy has a crush. A crush on the handsome and debonair Duke of Made-Up-Title-DeJour. She knows it will never come to anything, but that doesn’t stop her from fantasizing. Or from leaping into action to save his life from a runaway cart. And that’s when all the trouble starts, bystanders and his family are convinced that she’s his fiancée.

Well most of his family, his bastard half-brother Struan doesn’t believe a word of it. He thinks Poppy is a con artist out to take advantage of his brother now lying in a coma. And he’s going to prove it.

One way or another.

I am a big fan of the movie While You Were Sleeping with Sandra Bullock. I always liked that romantic comedy. It was my Christmas go to. Better than Hallmark. So I was excited to read this book by Sophie Jordan which had a similar plot line. I’ve never read anything by Sophie Jordan before, and I’m not sure if I’m going to pick up anything from her again. I think it comes down to three things. And each thing was a loss of a star.

The first is the fact that Poppy’s station is so disparate from the Duke’s that the suspension of disbelief that is required for it is just too great. In the other movie while Peter Gallagher’s character is was super wealthy there’s a difference between America and Britain. In Britain, much more than the US, there are definitive class structures. I don’t care if the dowager Duchess was from Spain she would still know better. It was a hurdle that I couldn’t get over. The second is that the hero in this book, Struan, is an alpha a-hole. So much so that he never takes the heroine’s no for an answer. There were scenes that I was definitely really uncomfortable about, and I had to put the book down and walk away several times while reading this. Because the hero sexually assaulted the heroine. When you don’t stop after someone else has said “no” or “stop” or “we can’t do this” then that's sexual assault. Period. You’re going against their wishes. I really wish the authors would stop thinking that this is sexy. It’s not. Not in romance. It’s a damaging Trope. It leads to actual damage in the real world. Like straight up… rapists have pointed to romance and romantic media for perpetuating the whole “no means yes” thing.

The third reason is that I did not buy the romance. I was rooting for her to end up with the guy in the coma. I didn’t want her to end up with Struan. I didn’t feel a connection it was just lost I couldn’t figure out why she loved him. She just transferred one crush to another. I didn’t buy it. There was no rhyme or reason.

So why isn’t this an automatic One star? Other than the hero I liked the characters. Other than the suspension of disbelief required, the writing was decent. The plotting wasn’t. The hero wasn’t. And the romance wasn’t. Part of this may be because this isn’t my cup of tea, but I really had issues with this book.

So because I didn’t buy the romance and because I didn’t like the hero and because the premise required some serious suspension of disbelief I can only give the story… Two stars.

If this is your jam, you can get it here.

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