Friday, March 24, 2017

Audiobook Review: If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora Bell

Series:     Disgraceful Dukes #2
Pub. Date:Jan. 17, 2017
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Beverley A. Crick
Length:9 hrs 14 min

The Disgraceful Dukes series continues with If I Only Had a Duke featuring funny and endearing characters, reluctant romance and steamy interludes. The narrator, Beverley A. Crick, gave us an exceptional performance. She was a dab hand at Irish and Italian affectations (even when they were supposed to be bad), and was believable as both female and male personas. I will definitely look for more of her work in the future.

You may recognize the heroine of this story as Lady Dorothea Benton, whose name and false identity featured heavily in the previous book, How the Duke was Won. In that story, Thea was a meek, mild-mannered and oppressed by her overbearing mother and grandmother. But after refusing to marry the prior duke, Thea was exiled to the Irish countryside where she has blossomed. I loved seeing Thea come into her own and assert herself, and she ended up being quite humorous with her Italian and Swedish strumpet impersonations. She proved herself to be resourceful, intelligent, and passionate about female artists. She was a great heroine.

Our disgraceful duke also featured prominently in How the Duke was Won, you may recall him as the Duke of Harland's rakish friend who was present at Warbury Park during Harland's search for a wife. Garrett (Dalton), Duke of Osborne, has been seen as a tragic character for a portion of his life... the elder brother who saw his younger sibling die tragically at a young age. But after finding the tragedy was murder, Dalton has spent the last ten years of his life seeking vengeance. He believes these dangerous activities preclude him having a wife, and his playing the rogue is a good cover for what he is really doing in the dark of night. I liked Dalton, but I feel like we could have gotten to know him better. He was really overshadowed by Thea.

So Lenora Bell has proven herself adept at the meet cute... we saw the Duke of Harland being mistaken for a footman in the prior installment. And, in this story, we see Thea and Dalton trading saucy letters regarding his neglected art collection. Dalton is operating under the false impression that the impudent miss is out to trap him into marriage, so he seeks to foil her plans by elevating her from wallflower to original of the season! With all the suitors sure to come calling, Thea will surely be out of his hair... or so he thinks. 

This story had a lot of good aspects to it... bantering love interests, road trip hi-jinks, endearing secondary characters, and a dynamic heroine. Unfortunately the story didn't always hold my interest and I found my mind wandering. The side plot regarding the murder of Dalton's brother seemed an afterthought at times and it didn't always mesh well with the romance. But overall this was an enjoyable read and I think the good overshadowed the mediocre. So I'm glad I took the time to listen.

I recommend this book to fans of humorous historical romance or road trip romances. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this audiobook that I received from the publisher, Tantor Audio.

Disgraceful Dukes