On a light blue background, a cartoon woman stands at an easel as a man in a top hat and cane watches her through the title font, with a townhome and a horse and carriage below them.

About the Book

Title: Artfully Yours (The Duke Undone #3)
Published: 2023

First Impressions: Clip Art, Victorian Style
What’s Your Type? Hiding Your Identity, Toxic Parents, Rivals to Lovers, Art Lovers, Workplace Romances, Stealing to Survive
Meet Cute: Caught In The Act  
The Lean:  Off-Limits Yearning
We Need to Talk:  Sexy But Serious
Was It Good For You? Draw Me Like One Of Your French Girls 

First Impressions: Clip Art, Victorian Style 

The standard cartoony romance fare, with what feels like clip-art “historical” items pasted randomly on around cover. This cover could’ve looked like a gorgeously drawn painting or had maybe two people in an art museum looking coy; anything more interesting than this! 

What’s Your Type?  

  • Hiding Your Identity
  • Toxic Parents
  • Rivals to Lovers
  • Art Lovers
  • Workplace Romances
  • Stealing to Survive  

Dating Profile 

Nina Finch has spent the better part of her life making art forgeries so she and her older brother, Jack, could survive the mean streets of London. But her dream is to own her own bakery, and that is what she’s been saving her hard-earned pennies for.  

Alan De’Ath, the younger brother of a duke, is a respected and quirky art critic who will tell the truth, even when interested parties would prefer that he would not. He’s got an excellent eye for detail and knows a forgery—and a hidden beauty—when he sees it. 

Meet Cute: Caught In The Act 

“Fake!” Alan declares in his brother’s study as he reviews the duke’s latest art purchase, a forged Rembrandt. The temporary housemaid—and secret artist—in the room who overhears this is none other than Nina, there to steal back an incriminating letter to their art dealer that Jack accidentally sent to the duke instead. She drops her tray all over the fancy carpet and gets herself fired, but her pert mouth and pert, ah, other things, catch Alan’s eye. He offers her a job on the spot as his secretary while his hand heals from punching his brother in the face. 

The Lean: Off-Limits Yearning 

Alan can tell Nina is hiding something from him, but aside from her adorable face he likes that she has a quick mind and is willing to speak it. Nina is at once terrified of being found out by Lord De’Ath and drawn to his confident wit and secret kindness (all his servants are really down-on-their-luck artists and his friends). Alan has had plenty of dalliances, but he does have a chivalrous rule about taking advantage of his subordinates, so he keeps things proper…but this is a romance novel. 

Dirty Talk  

She clung to him as he took her and took her. She didn’t know what she said, what she did, only that the pleasure made something clench right in the very pit of her being, and that when it exploded , she’d scream. His hand wedged between them, his thumb rubbing there, as he pumped his hips. She screamed, and his smile pressed into her neck. The words he muttered as he jerked in her arms made the most obscenely gratifying music she’d ever heard.

Ms. Perky’s Prize for Purplest Prose 

Joanna Lowell’s writing can trend a bit more serious than some other historical romances, and the subject matter can also get weighty, but I love that it’s immersive and detailed and really makes me feel like these are historical, lived-in worlds rather than a thin veneer of 19th century backdrops only there to support fancy ball gowns and rich people falling in love.  

We Need To Talk: Sexy But Serious 

My ARC doesn’t actually list that it’s the third in The Duke Undone series, but I feel like that has to be an oversight because the book features characters from Lowell’s previous two books and it’s very much set in the same world.

As with the first book in the series, Artfully Yours felt a bit heavier than some romances, as the characters, especially Alan, are facing some personal struggles that are not easily soothed away with a kiss. In particular, he is dealing with the emotional fallout of having a mother with Munchausen by proxy syndrome. He was kept ill for most of his young and teen life and that informs so much of his character. Nina’s issues are more societal in nature, in that she’s a working-class woman with few options, and while she dislikes creating forgeries and is living in fear that Alan will find her and Jack out and put them in jail, she can’t see a viable way out.

Despite the heaviness, this book was eminently readable and I didn’t want to put it down after I started. 

Was It Good For You? Draw Me Like One Of Your French Girls 

I don’t know if I was as taken in by Nina and Alan as I was with Lavinia and Neal in the last book (there was something about them), but I definitely enjoyed our time together quite a bit (especially once Alan shaved those side whiskers because there’s just no amount of silver eyes and swimmer’s abs that can make what sounded like mutton chops sexy to me). They can murmur in my ear about brushstrokes and lighting any time.  

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Berkley Books. I received neither money nor peanut butter cups in exchange for this review. Artfully Yours is available now.  

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Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.