Friday, May 27, 2016

Book Review: How the Duke Was Won by Lenora Bell

How the Duke Was Won (The Disgraceful Dukes #1)
By Lenora Bell
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Source: Publisher
James, the scandalously uncivilized Duke of Harland, requires a bride with a spotless reputation for a strictly business arrangement. Lust is prohibited and love is out of the question.
Four ladies. Three days. What could go wrong?
She is not like the others . . . 
Charlene Beckett, the unacknowledged daughter of an earl and a courtesan, has just been offered a life-altering fortune to pose as her half-sister, Lady Dorothea, and win the duke's proposal. All she must do is:
* Be the perfect English rose (Ha!)
* Breathe, smile, and curtsy in impossibly tight gowns (blast Lady Dorothea's sylph-like figure)
* Charm and seduce a wild duke (without appearing to try)
* Keep said duke far, far from her heart (no matter how tempting)
When secrets are revealed and passion overwhelms, James must decide if the last lady he should want is really everything he needs. And Charlene must decide if the promise of a new life is worth risking everything . . . including her heart.

I have not read a historical romance in the longest time and I honestly forgot how amazing and addicting they can be. There's just something magical about that time period and something incredibly irresistible about a rugged, dangerous duke in need of a wife…

After his father and brother die, James is now the Duke of Harland and must secure a wife so that he can return to his adventures abroad with his cocoa business. He invites four eligible women to his home in order to find a docile wife he can leave at home and continue on with his life. The last thing he expects is to fall in love. Growing up in her mother's brothel, Charlene Beckett has grown up as the illegitimate child of an earl. When her father's wife asks Charlene to act as her nearly identical sister Lady Dorothea, Charlene agrees if it means gaining the money to free her mother and her sister of the disgraceful work they are forced to partake in. Charlene must imitate a proper lady, but her fiery spirit is impossible to hide and she finds herself falling more and more for "his disgrace" as he finds himself falling for her as well. 

When I started reading this book, I immediately fell in love with the bachelor-esque story line. I mean, the duke is inviting four ladies to compete for his heart! How could I not love that story? I loved each of the "contestants" and how entertaining and different they all were. It was so much fun watching them all try to win the duke's affection while revealing some secrets of their own. The most fun of this story, though, was definitely Charlene trying to impersonate a lady. Charlene has not grown up in proper society, so whenever she let her true self slip through, it was so entertaining and I loved how much James was drawn to her fiery spirit. Charlene is such a passionate person and she just fit so perfectly with the unconventional Duke of Harland. 

While the courtship was entertaining and fun, the last quarter of the book had me on the edge of my seat and flying through the pages. What would happen when James chose a bride? What would happen to Charlene? There are multiple villains in this book and the one threatening Charlene's family was so vile and I wanted Charlene to be rid of him once and for all. Her plans weren't always that perfect, though, so I was definitely worried at multiple points for Charlene and how she was going to get out of the altercations she found herself in. 

I am so happy I picked up How the Duke Was Won because it reminded my why I love historical romances so much. I got my dark and dangerous duke who wished to be free and adventurous. I got my free spirit illegitimate daughter of a duke. And then I got my undeniable romance that was scandalous and yet the characters didn't seem to care. For a fun, entertaining, and delicious historical romance, you must pick up How the Duke was Won.

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