I received this book for free from Avon in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Duke of Her Desire by Sophie Barnes
Series: Diamonds in the Rough #2
Published by Avon on December 26th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Era
He was only supposed to keep an eye on his friend’s sister . . . now he’s about to lose his heart . . .
When Thomas Heathmore, Duke of Coventry, agrees to steer his friend’s inexperienced younger sister through society, he doesn’t expect the lady in question to be so infernally stubborn. Amelia Matthews seems to have little interest in balls or suitors at all. Instead, she intends to open a school, and against his better instincts, Thomas offers to help. Yet somewhere along the line, Amelia ceases to be a simple responsibility . . . and becomes an undeniable temptation.
Since her brother inherited a dukedom, Amelia’s prospects have transformed. But though she’s long been secretly infatuated with Thomas, she refuses to heed the arrogant aristocrat’s advice. If only it were as easy to ignore his heated touch. And as Amelia soon learns, the ton is a minefield, where one moment’s indiscretion can unleash a scandal—or entice her to surrender everything to the duke of her desire...
In this stunning new book I fell in love with this story, and yes its not quite a five star read, but it was so enjoyable and sweet and charming and I honestly think this is some of Barnes best work so far. I feel like her writing improves with each book that she writes. Now I did miss out on reading book one ” A Most Unlikely Duke” but in all honesty I don’t think you need to read this trilogy in order. And even though I always prefer to read books in order, I caught on quickly.
But basically here is what happens in this story. Amelia and her brother and younger sister are thrown into a life they never planned on. They all grew up on the streets, learning to survive in St Giles, and then they learn that her brother is up for being a Duke that he inherited. And their life is torn upside down and turvy. Amelia is having to learn so many new things and living a lifestyle she never really wanted and there are expectations for her to marry and VERY soon and she is just not quite ready. But when her brother leaves on a honeymoon with his new bride, his best friend, the Duke of Coventry, is to help Amelia and Juliette out in society.
At first, there is a good friendship that forms between Thomas and Amelia which quickly turns into something more. Thomas knows that Amelia is off limits, she is the sister of his best friend but Amelia is so different from the regular debutantes he meets among the Ton. And as they work together on a project that Amelia is passionate about, those sparks turn very real and Thomas will have to be brave enough to take a chance on Amelia.
Even though friendship would never be enough. With Coventry, she would awlays long for more.
There are so many unique dynamics in this story that makes this for a great romance. First off we have the forbidden romance between the best friend of the brother and the sister….I really love this trope so much and I do love reading a nice forbidden romance and this book was simply endearing. Then we have the fact that our hero is a father with a son who deals with autism (although back then they had no idea what that was, and just referred to it “troubled” children who needed more attention) and Thomas has been focusing on his welfare for years that he has neglected what he really wants until he falls in love with Amelia and he has to face up to himself and make some decisions for his future.
Then we have Amelia, who is struggling with her new life and wants to give back to the community. So she has a dream of building a school for those less fortunate who are poor and struggling. I truly admired this quality to her character, seeing a young woman who has only known the streets, and now has a life of luxury but wants to help those in need. The only aspect I wasn’t sure about is the reaction of the Ton. Many of them were pleased and approved of her actions, but from what research I have done of England society back then, that was NOT approved of much so I thought that was a bit odd, but I think it worked out for the story as a basis and I loved that our heroine stands on her own and goes after her dreams which work with her new position pretty well. And we only get a couple interactions between Amelia and Thomas’s son, but boy they were so charming especially since she “connects” with him in a way that no one else does and these moments definitely are heartfelt.
I found the romance to be very swoony and man some of the “moments” between these two especially the kissing scenes were beyond sexy. There is just something about kissing in the bushes and trying to keep it from everyone without being “ruined” that just adds a bit more excitement which is one of the reasons I just love this era and makes for a great setting for a romance. And boy they definitely have powerful chemistry, but there is only one bedroom scene toward the end, but what I found most impressive is that these “embraces” during the story are just as sexy as the actual bedroom scene. Which shows the true talent of a great writer. So good job to this author for creating such a warm and sexy romance that leaves you happy and eager for Juliette’s story.