If I Only Had a Duke, the second novel in the Disgraceful Dukes series by Lenora Bell, is the continuing story of Dorothea Beaumont, who ended up not marrying the Duke of Harland in the first novel in this series.
After a disastrous debut and three failed seasons, Thea is ready to call it quits and become a spinster, living out the rest of her life helping with her aunt’s bees. However, when she discovers that her neighbor’s house contains a collection of rare artwork, she begins exchanging letters with the owner, the Duke of Osborne, urging him to let her go through them.
Dalton, the Duke of Osborne, is known for two things: dalliances and gambling. However, what everyone doesn’t seem to notice is that he leads a double life. He’s not only an influential Duke in London, but he also spends his nights as the Hellhound, taking from the rich and trying to keep the poor from going astray in the dangerous world of gambling, all while searching for the identity of the man who killed his brother.
When Thea and Dalton meet in London, something sparks between them, and they find themselves on a journey together that will either drive them farther apart or bring them closer together.
This book has all of the right ingredients for the perfect Regency Romance novel, and I must say, it delivers! Although I did not read the first book in this series, I wasn’t lost at all since Bell gives the reader all of the necessary information from the previous book upfront.
Both of the characters are strong-willed and thoroughly developed. They each have their own cross to bear, so to speak, and I enjoyed getting to know each of them. The playful, yet romantic, dynamic between the two was refreshing and made the novel fun to read.
With Regency Romance novels, I have a difficult time with the romance scenes because I am always unsure of how they should be written. On one hand, they usually seem a bit too racy (kind of like the scenes in this book), but on the other hand, that’s what most romance novel readers are looking for these days. I guess with this particular era, I expected the romance scenes more focused on the romance.
All in all, this was a great book, and I look forward to reading more books written by Lenora Bell.
Bethany Kelly is currently getting her MFA at Goddard College and has a BA in English. She is a writer, editor, and stay-at-home mother and wife who spends her spare time (when she has some) reading and cooking.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Avon. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.