Published by Avon on March 27th 2018
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Wanted: Governess for duke's unruly children
Edgar Rochester, Duke of Banksford, is one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in England, but when it comes to raising twins alone, he knows he needs help. The only problem is the children have chased away half the governesses in London. Until the clever, bold, and far-too-enticing Miss Mari Perkins arrives.
Lost: One heart to an arrogant duke
Mari knows how to wrap even the most rebellious children around her finger. But their demanding, wickedly handsome father? He won't be quite so easy to control. And there's something else she can't seem to command. Her heart. The foolish thing beats so wildly every time the duke is near.
Found: A forbidden passion neither can deny
As his employee, Mari is strictly off-limits. But what if she's the one breaking all his rules? In the game of governess versus duke, how can Edgar maintain his defenses when the only thing he wants to do is let the tempting beauty win?
~~Reviewed by Monique~~
Lenora Bell’s fabulous debut novel had cured my reading funk when it came out, and the extraordinary WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DUKE MAKES outshines How the Duke Was Won on every level!
Mari Perkins had worked too hard to be instantaneously turned away from Mrs. Trilby’s Agency for Superior Governesses. On her way to the agency, Mari’s possessions were stolen, and she needs a position; she has nothing left. Almost on her way out, Mari hears that the Duke of Banksford’s new governess just quit, and Mari gets herself hired by the Duke. His nine-year-old twins, Michel and Adele, are unmanageable, but nothing that Mari can’t handle. Edgar Rochester, Duke of Banksford, is busy with his steam engines; he needs peace and quiet, but governesses are forever leaving, so he reluctantly agrees to a one-week trial for Mari. It doesn’t take long before Edgar realises it had been a mistake to hire Miss Perkins …
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DUKE MAKES has a bit of a Mary Poppins vibe, but it’s not all fluff and froth. I was invested in Mari and Edgar’s story from the start because of Ms. Bell’s outstanding writing, her scintillating dialogues, the compelling and clever premise, and her exceptional characterisations, and this is only the beginning. Mari is very engaging, confident in her abilities, and her love and respect for children are palpable, this is done so well, that in one instance, it brought tears to my eyes. I believe Lenora Bell has written my favourite children in a romance novel ever. Michel and Adele are intrinsic components of the story and the link to much growth from several characters. In spite of appearing unbending and gruff, Edgar’s heart is in the right place, and his backstory is one of the best I have ever seen and makes believable things that otherwise might have been less convincing. WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DUKE MAKES provides the undeniable proof that solid backstories make for a more solid foundation to build the narrative, and supply the environment needed for characters to build and move on. The characters are works of art: every single one well fleshed out.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DUKE MAKES unfolds at a brisk pace, and the prose is witty, sparkling, luminous; the writing is positively marvellous! Ms. Bell’s meticulous research shines through delightful period details about steam engines, fire brigades, child rearing, toys, books, which only serve to further enhance the genuineness of the story.
The romance isn’t rushed; it builds slowly through trust, communication, respect, kindness, and Edgar is exactly the sort of hero I love reading about, and I wish there were more of his kind in romance-land. Mari is also on a personal quest, which concludes in a charming and whimsical manner; and Edgar’s relentless pursuit of improving fire engines contributes to the fabulous conclusion as well. There is no useless detail to this story, neither is there a single superfluous word, nor the slightest little lull. I cannot fail to mention the splendiferous India, Edgar’s sister, who captured my imagination like few characters do, and I am beyond thrilled that her story will be next; this is a book that will not release quickly enough! WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DUKE MAKES has one of the most satisfying HEA ever; it is perfectly enchanting!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.