Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Trouble with Being a Duke (At the Kingsborough Ball #1) by Sophie Barnes

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.

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…

Type: Historical Romance
Heat: 1.5 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Gotta love it when crashing a ball leads to soul deep true romance. *girly swoon* It's always been Isabella's dream to attend the Kingsborough ball. It's her last chance before an unfortunate engagement changes her life forever and seeing as she's not a Lady and is from a working family the only way she's getting in is by sneaking in the back door and sneak in she does. Only to catch the eye of the host--the Duke himself--and land his undivided attention.

I really enjoyed Anthony and Isabella's romance. While most of it was spent with him in pursuit and her trying to deny what she really wants-- in the name of honor and loyalty to her parents and the societal complications-- you could feel the connection between them. That little spark that just makes you smile and hope they can figure it out.

Anthony was a fantastic hero. He's a reformed rake and he takes his responsibilities as the Duke seriously but he's got a bit of playful mischief in him and kind of scoffs at what society thinks is proper. He makes little figurine creations, is a bit too blunt with his set downs (though they're definitely called for) and falls in love with someone below his rank-- consequences be damned. He's just yummy and impossible not to love.

And Isabella--though I wanted to strangle her for resisting him for so blasted long--is a respectable heroine. She's one that once you have her loyalty you have it. She's willing to sacrifice her own happiness to provide a better life for her family and tries to always do the right thing. She's all about the proper but omg I died over some of the things she thought to herself.
Her grip on the knife tightened. Would it be so terrible if she stabbed the man to death right there on the sofa?

Feeling her mother's eyes upon her, Isabella took a calming breath, set the knife aside and turned her head to look at Mr. Roberts directly, saying, "I was actually hoping that you might like to go for a stroll with me after tea.
Heat-wise. Yeah. There's some nice tension but it's practically non existent for the vast majority of the book and then not all that detailed. *le sob* There's a lot more chase in this one than actual steamy goodness. Still a good read but for those looking for heat eh doesn't quite deliver.

With charming characters, some laughs and frustrations and an easy writing style The Trouble with Being a Duke was really quite the lovely little romance. It was a tad predictable from time to time but it still left me smiling as I watched two wonderful characters come to life on the page and met the people they love. I can't wait to see what happens in book 2!

Have you read Sophie Barnes? What did you think?
What's your favorite storyline for a historical romance?

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