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How the Duke Was Won

by Lenora Bell

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1137195,884 (3.69)None
The pleasure of your company is requested at Warbury Park. Four lovely ladies will arrive... but only one can become a duchess. James, the scandalously uncivilized Duke of Harland, requires a bride with a spotless reputation for a strictly business arrangement. Lust is prohibited and love is out of the question. Four ladies. Three days. What could go wrong? She is not like the others... Charlene Beckett, the unacknowledged daughter of an earl and a courtesan, has just been offered a life-altering fortune to pose as her half-sister, Lady Dorothea, and win the duke's proposal. All she must do is: * Be the perfect English rose [Ha!] * Breathe, smile, and curtsy in impossibly tight gowns [blast Lady Dorothea's sylph-like figure] * Charm and seduce a wild duke [without appearing to try] * Keep said duke far, far from her heart [no matter how tempting] When secrets are revealed and passion overwhelms, James must decide if the last lady he should want is really everything he needs. And Charlene must decide if the promise of a new life is worth risking everything . . . including her heart.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This is my first from this author and it made me look forward to seeing how her others are. It wasn't perfect but I enjoyed watching their story unfold. There are implausibilities built in, but there are also little details that seemed to ground it, so I didn't mind. This was fun, I laughed fairly often. ( )
  JorgeousJotts | Dec 3, 2021 |
Lenora Bell does an amazing job of telling the story of a Disgraceful Duke who is looking for a suitable proper bride but instead falls in love with her almost identical illegitimate sister. The story is sweeter than the cocoa the Duke is making in his manufactory. While James, the Duke, is initially looking for a wife he can impregnate and leave in England while he returns to the Carribean, his plans begin to change when he meets Lady Dorothea (aka Charlene). The more they are together the more they begin to fall in love. Unfortunately, Charlene knows that he is destine to marry Dorothea and not Charlene.
Just like chocolate, this story is a bit bittersweet when Charlene must let go of the man she loves so he can marry her half-sister - all the while knowing that he doesn't realize there are 2 of them. The parting makes the coming together all the more wonderful. ( )
  ddeluna1 | Mar 19, 2020 |
I think I have finally figured out what kind of historical romance work for me: rom-com just like with movies. Well, in this case, it's a historical rom-com (a his-rom-com?). Anyway, How the Duke Was Won turned out to be quite good just because it was so bloody funny now and then. I quite liked the part of the book when the four ladies and their mothers (or three ladies and their mother, and Charlene and her half-sister's mother) tried to win the Duke's favour and at the same time attacking each other. Had more of the book been as funny as that part had I probably given the book a higher rating.

However, as much as I enjoyed reading the book, was I not overly fond of the constant inner monologue abut how the Duke and Charlene wanted to ravish each other. I'm, not a prude, I just get bored with a man constantly thoughts about wanting to rip a woman's clothes of her body and take her right there. And, the sex-scenes I just skimmed for the same reason. And, here is the problem with me with the book. The last part of the book was not as good as the rest of the book. There was no twist to the story. And, I'm a girl that likes a good twist or two to a story, but the blurb pretty much gives the whole book away. But, still it was a pretty good historical rom-com and I do adore the cover for the book!

So, in the end, I want to say that I enjoyed reading most of the book. It made me smile and I quite liked the main characters. However, for some reason, I found the Duke's best friend Dalton more interesting and I hope to read more about him in another book (And it seems that he will actually be the main male character in the next book). If it is so will I definitely read the next book!

Thanks to Piatkus for providing me with a free copy for an honest review! ( )
  MaraBlaise | May 19, 2019 |
The plot was mildly ridiculous, but the characters more than made up for it. You really rooted for them. ( )
  ladypembroke | May 17, 2019 |
All of Lenora Bell’s Disgraceful Dukes books are… I don’t want to say “based on,” so let’s say… linked with a book/movie/story. They are as follows:
How the Duke Was Won (The Disgraceful Dukes #1) - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
If I Only Had a Duke (The Disgraceful Dukes #2) - The Wizard of Oz
Blame It on the Duke (The Disgraceful Dukes 3#) - Alice in Wonderland

I will admit, I did not pick up on the very subtle Charlie and the Chocolate factory references my first time reading How the Duke Was Won, possibly because I’ve never read the book and thus my only point of reference are the movie versions starring Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp. The second time I read this I listened to the audiobook and picked up on the links between the impoverished Charlene Beckett (Charlie Buckett), the Duke of Harlands hot cocoa manufactory (chocolate factory), and so on. The main plotline is set up like an elimination style reality show, which at first reminded me of The Bachelor but it's also like the holders of the golden tickets being eliminated one by one in the tour of Willy Wonka's factory, I realize just now while writing this review, haha!

I love Charlene's character, though I find the fact that her younger sister doesn't realize the business of the house she lives in rather unbelievable. Charlene is a strong woman who doesn't take any crap, and I absolutely love that she has martial arts training! The dynamic between Charlene and James is great, and I love how it's their bumps and rough edges that they like about each other. They're both misfits crammed into roles that they were neither born nor groomed for, which is a character archetype I can always get behind (being somewhat of a misfit myself).

I love Lenora Bell’s books so much that I own the entire Disgraceful Dukes series both in paperback and audiobook (narrated by Beverly A. Crick). Ms. Crick does an excellent job narrating, giving great personality to the voices of the characters and making the men sound alluring and deep-voiced without putting on a falsely high voice for the women.

Check out my reviews of the other books in the series:
How the Duke Was Won (The Disgraceful Dukes #1)
If I Only Had a Duke (The Disgraceful Dukes #2)
Blame It on the Duke (The Disgraceful Dukes 3#) ( )
  ElleyOtter | Nov 28, 2017 |
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For my knight in sawdusty Carhartts.
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She will do.
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The pleasure of your company is requested at Warbury Park. Four lovely ladies will arrive... but only one can become a duchess. James, the scandalously uncivilized Duke of Harland, requires a bride with a spotless reputation for a strictly business arrangement. Lust is prohibited and love is out of the question. Four ladies. Three days. What could go wrong? She is not like the others... Charlene Beckett, the unacknowledged daughter of an earl and a courtesan, has just been offered a life-altering fortune to pose as her half-sister, Lady Dorothea, and win the duke's proposal. All she must do is: * Be the perfect English rose [Ha!] * Breathe, smile, and curtsy in impossibly tight gowns [blast Lady Dorothea's sylph-like figure] * Charm and seduce a wild duke [without appearing to try] * Keep said duke far, far from her heart [no matter how tempting] When secrets are revealed and passion overwhelms, James must decide if the last lady he should want is really everything he needs. And Charlene must decide if the promise of a new life is worth risking everything . . . including her heart.

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