by Sophie Barnes
Series: At the Kingsborough Ball #1
Published by: HarperCollins
Genres: Historical Romance
Sometimes happily ever after… Anthony Hurst, Duke of Kingsborough knows the time has come for him to produce an heir. But first he must find a bride. When he meets the most exquisite woman at his masquerade ball, he thinks his search is over…until the breathtaking beauty runs off. With few clues other than her figure, her scent, and the memory of her kiss, Anthony must find his mystery lady. …needs a little bit of help. Isabella Chilcott can scarcely believe it: she is finally at the Kingsborough Ball. As a child, she dreamed of dancing a waltz here and now, thanks to a gorgeous gown she’s found in the attic, Isabella is living her fairytale fantasy. And she’s waltzing with the Duke of Kingsborough himself! But she must escape before he discovers her secrets…for she is not who she pretends to be, and falling in love with Prince Charming is the last thing she can allow herself to do…
I have always loved Cinderella and The Trouble with Being A Duke offers us a delightful twist on the tale. This is the first book in the Kingsboro Ball series. Barnes delivered an engaging tale with lovable characters and I am looking forward to reading more of her work. Three word review: enchanting, romantic with some humor.
We meet Anthony Hurst, the Duke of Kingsborough who is concerned about his mother. After a year she is still mourning the loss of his father. Long past his rakish ways and ready to settle down and take on his role of Duke, he decides to host a ball. This would be the perfect event to snap his mama out of her depression, and maybe find himself a duchess. A masked Cinderella ball is the theme, and he encounters the most enchanting and mysterious woman. She is a mystery and he sets out to find her. Isabella Chilcott, is a romantic at heart and an avid reader. Her parents have set up a courtship with a respectable man, whom she cannot love, but she is a dutiful daughter. When she hears of the ball, she decided to attend, and there she dances with her very own Prince Charming. The tale that unfolds was clever, with twists and turns. Barnes also provides us with a little mystery, some humor and a little swoon-worthy heat.
Anthony was handsome, sweet, kind, and at times behaved like a stuffy Duke. He is open to change, and treats people of all ranks well. I liked him, and had to giggle at how quickly the man fell for Isabella. It took him a while to figure things out, but I enjoyed watching it unfold. Isabella is wonderful, she loves to read and is a romantic at heart, so of course I adored her. Her loyalty to her parents was honorable, but I wanted her to smack her intended fiancé upside the head a few times. It reminded me once again why I would not want to live in this era. Secondary characters, some good and some evil added to the tale and had me turning the pages in search of my HEA. I felt the characters were fleshed out, and despite the insta-love, the relationship developed slowly, with some moments of heat and felt genuine.
The Trouble with Being A Duke, took the Cinderella story and added some clever twists. Filled with secrets, evil debutantes and a murder. I quickly became invested and consumed this as the outside world slipped away. The hunt to find Isabella and win her heart was a fun one. The Duke makes some mistakes, and others interfere making it a captivating read. I love when an author is able to allow me to slip within the pages and take me from sighing to giggling. The secondary characters were colorful, including the Duke’s mother whom I found devilishly delightful. Of course we need “evil step-sisters” and Barnes did a great job with this twist. There is a murder mystery, and I am curious to see how that develops in the next novel.
The Trouble with Being A Duke was a wonderful start to this series, and I will continue it. Fans of historical romances, and Cinderella tropes will enjoy Sophie Barne’s version. The Scandal in Kissing an Heir the second book in this series, releases December 31, 2013 and I am looking forward to devouring it.
Four cups of coffee out of five
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