Book review: If Only I Had A Duke by Lenora Bell

25 Aug

9780349413747 (1)After four failed seasons and a disastrous jilting, Lady Dorothea Beaumont has had more than enough of her family’s scheming. She won’t domesticate a duke, entangle an earl or vie for a viscount. She will quietly exit to her aunt’s Irish estate for a life of blissful freedom. Until an arrogant, sinfully handsome duke singles her out for a waltz, making Thea the most popular belle of the season . . . well, the duke ruined her plans and now he’ll just have to fix them.

Dalton, Duke of Osborne, is far too heartless for debutantes or marriage – he uses dalliances to distract from his real purpose: finding the man who destroyed his family. When his search leads to Ireland, the last thing he needs is the determined, achingly innocent Thea, who arrives in the dead of night demanding he escort her to her aunt. His foolish agreement may prove his undoing. The road to the Emerald Isle is fraught with unforeseen dangers, but the greatest peril of all might just be discovering that he has a heart . . . and he’s losing it to Thea.

It’s a while since I read an historical romance and I’m always keen to discover new authors so when I was offered the chance to review Lenora Bell’s second novel, If Only I Had A Duke, I said yes and looked forward to a fun summer read. I find that romance covers are a bit hit or miss but this one really appealed to me – I love that blue dress on the front!

This is Lenora’s second novel and the second in a series called Disgraceful Dukes but don’t worry if you haven’t read How the Duke Was Won; I haven’t and this book can be read perfectly well as a standalone story. Lenora’s debut won a top US romance award for debut authors, the Golden Heart Award and I can see why; If Only I Had A Duke is a fun romance read that strikes a brilliant balance of staying true to the historical romance genre whilst feeling like a fresh and modern new take on it.

Lenora’s writing is full of fun and feisty humour and I loved the way that she built the story. From the opening of the book which takes the form of a series of short letters between Lady Dorothea Beaumont and Dalton, Duke of Osborne, I knew I was going to love this novel. The spark was immediately there before I’d even met the characters properly and I couldn’t wait to find out more.

Dorothea is an excellent leading lady and as we meet her she has had enough of being primped and coached to catch a rich husband. Her rebellion finds her exiled to Ireland where she finds she actually quite enjoys the freedom! I loved that Dorothea knew her own mind and was bright and educated. Her correspondence with Dalton starts when she discovers rare paintings in the attic of his house and it made me smile that she was more interested in them than the handsome duke.

Dalton ably plays the part of the rogue Duke; a heart breaker who refuses to settle but like Dorothea, there’s much more to Dalton than first meets the eye. I liked the fact that both characters had their own agendas in this story and neither was afraid to say what they thought. There’s mystery and intrigue, adventure and of course romance aplenty in this novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lenora Bell is definitely an author to watch and if you’re a fan of Eloisa James or Julia Quinn you’ll definitely want to check out Lenora’s books.

4/5

If Only I Had A Duke is released on 30th August in paperback and ebook formats.

Find out more about Lenora and her writing at: http://lenorabell.com/

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