Series: The Disgraceful Dukes #1
Published by Avon on April 26th 2016
“Four ladies. Three days. How bad can it be?”
FINAL DECISION: Funny and with unconventional characters, HOW THE DUKE WAS WON is a light and amusing Regency romance. The unexpected characters and hysterical situations made this a winner.
THE STORY: James, Duke of Harland requires a bride. Having unexpectedly inherited the dukedom, he wants a bride who has a spotless reputation and is the epitome of what a duchess should be so that he can leave her in England to manage the dukedom’s affairs while he returns to his international interests. To efficiently choose his bride, James invites four eligible women and their mothers to spend some time at hi estate so that he can choose among them. One of the women is Lady Dorothea who is supposed to be a paragon but who quickly appears unconventional and attracts James despite his reluctance. But Lady Dorothea has secrets. The biggest one is that she is not Lady Dorothea at all but rather her illegitimate half-sister Charlene Beckett. Charlene has agreed to impersonate Lady Dorothea in order to secure a proposal from the duke. If Charlene does this she will gain a fortune which will allow her to care for those she loves. The problem is that Charlene begins to care for the duke herself.
OPINION: At points in this book I laughed hysterically. This is definitely not your proper restrained Regency novel. No, indeed, it is irreverent and tosses some tried and true Regency tropes on their head.
The hero is a duke, but he is neither stuffy nor conventional. At the same time, his view of what he needs in a wife is completely conventional and conservative. He defaults to this view in order to keep his distance from any potential mate. As Charlene tell him, James has become an expert at running away from love and connection.
Charlene may be impersonating her half sister, but despite her great accomplishments she has internalized the rejection that her father and society have given her. Through her competition with the other ladies, she finds that she is not inferior in any way. In fact, she wins the duke’s heart as well as the proposal.
I like that both James and Charlene are unconventional people and thus complement one another perfectly. I loved how Charlene steals James’ heart despite his wish for a conventional wife. The twist at the end as all is revealed endeared me further to him.
The only reason this isn’t a five star romance for me is that I generally prefer more drama and angst in my stories. For a lighter, funny romance this one sparkles.
WORTH MENTIONING: I suspect that we will see many of these characters again in future book in the series.
CONNECTED BOOKS: HOW THE DUKE WAS WON is the first book in The Disgraceful Dukes series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.