Series: The Disgraceful Dukes #1
Published by Avon on April 26th 2016
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Era
The pleasure of your company is requested at Warbury Park. Four lovely ladies will arrive… but only one can become a duchess.
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.
James, the Duke of Harland needs to find a bride so that he can have a mother for his illegitimate daughter and return back across to America and what he believes to be his home. So he comes up with a plan, for a party involving four potential debutantes that will be all proper and what he needs. He never planned on one of those women being someone he can’t resist. Charlene is shocked with a member of nobility offers her security and a place away from the horrid place she has had to grow up in if she poses as her half sister who is in Europe at the moment to convince the Duke of Harland that she is the right choice. So Charlene, desperate to get their debts paid off and see her younger sister can live her dreams, she does what is necessary. But there is one problem, there is some powerful chemistry between James and Charlene and even though they try to ignore the connection they feel, soon the secrets will have to come clean and they will have to choose between duty to family or true love…
James, The Duke of Harland never thought that he would be in this position. He was not raised to be the Duke, but when his brother was killed and with his father gone, he is now the rightful Duke. James despised his father and the last thing he wants is more duty and responsibility. Which is why he wants to get married as soon as possible and leave England. He hates the idea of leaving his daughter behind, but he wants what is best for her and finding a mother to raise her is the best thing he can do for her. James is very ducal, he claims he wants someone proper, I like that he doesn’t care much about the status of a title. He is generous, is a fighter for liberties and freedom for slaves and is against child labor. He definitely was fun to watch, he isn’t your typical Duke at all. He likes to play games and has quite the playful personality.
Charlene was raised in a brothel, with her mother being a “lady of the evening” and has to learn self defense to protect herself against predators. She has devoted herself to protecting her little sister from the truth about their living situation, trying to keep her innocent and encouraging her in her artistic talents. Charlene will do anything for the welfare of her family, even pose as her half sister (whom she has no idea about) and try to be a proper lady even though she is anything but. Charlene is a character you love from the beginning. She is unconventional, independent, willful and lively. I honestly loved her personality, she had this fresh outlook that I gravitated towards. Even though she was a bit too modern for a historical romance I still enjoyed her quite a bit.
Plot and Story Line
First off, I want to say thank you to Melissa @ Lily’s Element for loaning this book to me because i absolutely LOVED this one!!! This is the debut novel from Lenora Bell and I have never read a debut novel so well written!!! This was simply an amazing book and I couldn’t get enough out of it. The way this story was written, reminded me of those first romances that made me fall in love with the genre in the first place. So Lenora Bell…you have captivated me with How The Duke Was Won. This story involves the secret identity trope and this aspect of the story was written in such a way that was captivating, not too much drama either. It had a very delicate balance that most authors miss when writing with this trope in their plots. The characters especially Charlene and James were simply perfect for each other. Their bantering was pretty contagious, and it was interesting to see how their chemistry was handled; it practically steams from the pages.
“I’m going to kiss you,” he breathed in her ear. “You have exactly three seconds to leave. I advise you to leave.”
He waited a moment. “Please leave.”
Our hero James is trying to resist Charlene. He feels way too much when he is around her, and wants to avoid that with his future bride. But with each day, his resolve weakens and I always love seeing a hero lose the battle to love. We see how torn Charlene is with her charade and a bit confused at times. She isn’t your typical heroine, and she bumbles her way along at times and the woman acting as her “mother” keeps encouraging her. Which was pretty funny, because what happens to her is not her fault, just mere coincidences but Charlene is a person that can easily laugh at herself and I liked that.
How odd. It seemed Charlene could do no wrong.
Throw a Duke on the floor?
Expose herself in public?
She would never understand nobility
The romance that develops between Charlene and James is quite captivating. From the beginning you can just feel “all the feels” practically pull you right in. I only had one issue and it wasn’t super strong in this book, but it was there…there were some modern like mannerisms that made this book not feel quite like a historical romance. So that is the one thing I would change, everything else was simply superb!!!
Such a gorgeous cover we have here!! I love the pose here, I like how they are so cozy together I like the color of her dress here.
How The Duke Was Won is a utterly captivating romance. Its a heartfelt story that tugs at your heartstrings, and pulls at your emotions in a vividly pictured experience…UNFORGETTABLE!