There was never a dull moment in this book from the opening chapter to the epilogue. I found Lillian and Devon to be delightful. There was a cast of great supporting characters (his mother is awesome!), some nasty villains and a twist in some minor characters that I didn't expect. This novel belongs on my e-reader shelf!
The opening of the novel is a flash back to why Lillian went to London the previous year. She can't stop her oldest brother from selling family heirlooms to cover his gambling debts. But, when he sells their mother's pearls and father's pocket watch, she sneaks to London to retrieve them. She buys back the pearls but misses being able to purchase the watch. Lillian follows the man that just bought the pocket watch to a tavern. He introduces himself as Devon Grey and she uses the alias of Lily. This leads them to getting drunk. The next morning, Lillian steals the pocket watch and has to remember where her clothes are. This leads to a flashback sex scene and to a hilarious encounter with Devon's butler.
A year later, Lillian's father has died and her older two brothers have decided that she has outlived her usefulness and the middle brother has made a list of men for prospective husbands. Lillian is forced to go to London. We discover that Devon is the Duke of Thornwood and known in the Ton as the Mad Duke (as was his father before him). The reason Devon's father was called "the Mad Duke" is somewhat addressed. The scene where Lillian encounter's Devon's butler had me laughing.
The remainder of the novel is the interesting courtship between Lillian and Devon. Devon is still mad that Lillian left without saying a word and now that he has found her, he is blackmailing her. Unfortunately, Devon's targets are the men that are on the "short list" of men that Lillian's brother wants her to marry. Each man on the list is more vile than the other and Devon's revenge on them is spot on. In the end, I loved the surprise way (involving two minor characters) that Devon gets Lillian to marry him.
I could have found a more fitting title for the book. "Must Love Dukes" just does not fit as well as Loving the Mad Duke or The Mad Duke. That being said, that was my only complaint about the book. The next book in the "Tricks of the Ton" series is "Desperately Seeking Suzanna" and I can't wait to read it!
I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley.