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Review: If Only I Had a Duke by Lenora Bell

by Lenora Bell
Series: The Disgraceful Dukes #2
Genres: Historical
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: August 30th 2016
Source: ARC received for review
Rating: ★★
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After four failed seasons and a disastrous jilting, Lady Dorothea Beaumont has had more than enough of her family’s scheming. She won’t domesticate a duke, entangle an earl, or vie for a viscount. She will quietly exit to her aunt’s Irish estate for a life of blissful freedom. Until an arrogant, sinfully handsome duke singles her out for a waltz, making Thea the most popular belle of the season.

The duke ruined her plans and he’ll just have to fix them.

Dalton, Duke of Osborne, is far too heartless for debutantes or marriage—he uses dalliances and public spectacle to distract from his real purpose: finding the man who destroyed his family. When his search leads to Ireland, the last thing he needs is the determined, achingly innocent Thea, who arrives in the dead of night demanding he escort her to her aunt. His foolish agreement may prove his undoing. The road to the Emerald Isle is fraught with unforeseen dangers, but the greatest peril of all might just be discovering that he has a heart...and he’s losing it to Thea.

Lenora Bell's The Disgraceful Dukes series is turning out to be a delightful historical series. If Only I Had a Duke might only be her second book, but already she has positioned herself among my favorite historical romance authors, Tessa Dare, Lisa Kleypas and Sarah MacLean. This book had me smiling, laughing, swooning and even shedding a tear!

I love how Lenora Bell crafts strong and independent female heroines. Thea was a darling of a heroine. I was curious about her in the previous book and was ready to learn more about her in this book. She was everything that I expected and so much more. Her passion for art, her willingness to seek independence and her bravery really spoke to me. All of her life, she had been trained and prepped for landing a husband from her mother and her grandmother and she has had enough. I loved watching Thea go against her family's wishes and chase after her own happiness and in the process gaining so much more courage than she initially had. She was fierce and fiery and I couldn't love her more than I did.

Thea finds her perfect match in Dalton, Duke of Osborne, whom we also met in the first book. This secretive and deliciously attractive guy had me sighing and swooning whenever he was in a scene. To the outside world, he was nothing more than just a notorious rake, but Dalton was much more than that. Years ago, his baby brother was murdered in Ireland and ever since, his mother has refused to leave the house because of her grief. In the shadows of the night, Dalton and his manservant, Con, seek clues as to who murdered his brother and in the process, he acts as a vigilante of sorts. I loved this duo and their friendship! Dalton's grief and guilt over the death of his brother was really heartbreaking to watch especially as it ate him from the inside and entirely shaped who he was. I wanted to reach out and just give the guy a hug. Even with his roguishness, he was kind and thoughtful and basically, I found him to be the perfect book boyfriend.

Thea and Dalton's romance was another aspect of the book that had me flipping through the pages of If Only I Had a Duke. They don't start off on the right foot, but all the banter and the flirtatious moments were the absolute best. They had so much chemistry together and I just couldn't wait for them to kiss already from their very first letter the two exchanged at the beginning of the book - they were hilarious btw! I loved the dynamic that they shared with Dalton seeing Thea as a bit of a nuisance. I love it because it's so entertaining then to watch this hero fall for the thorn on his side and want nothing but to protect and keep her for himself by the end. And boy does Lenora Bell know how to write a steamy scene and have all that chemistry between her couple burst! I loved the road-trip nature of If Only I Had a Duke too. It made for an engaging story and I loved all the characters that Dalton and Thea meet on their adventure to Ireland. Secrets are discovered, new revelations are made and it was all so enjoyable. Not to mention, this book was also humorous and very light-hearted, exactly what I was looking for out of it.

If you're looking for a new historical romance author to discover, Lenora Bell should be the first author on your list. Her writing is fresh, her characters lively and her romances sweeping and epic. You won't regret picking up If Only I Had a Duke or even the first book in this series, How the Duke Was Won.

Have you read anything by Lenora Bell?
Let me know in the comments below!