Series: Diamonds in the Rough #1
Published by Avon Romance
Publication Date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
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Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely mine.
He never thought he’d become a duke, or that the secrets of his past would cost him his greatest love…
Raphe Matthews hasn’t stepped foot in polite circles since a tragedy left his once-noble family impoverished and in debt. The bare-knuckle boxer has spent the last fifteen years eking out an existence for himself and his two sisters. But when a stunning reversal of fortune lands Raphe the title of Duke of Huntley, he’s determined to make a go of becoming a proper lord, but he’ll need a little help, and his captivating neighbor might be just the woman for the job…
After her sister’s scandalous match, Lady Gabriella knows the ton’s eyes are on her. Agreeing to tutor the brutish new duke can only lead to ruin. Although she tries to control her irresistible attraction to Raphe, every day she spends with him only deepens her realization that this may be the one man she cannot do without. And as scandal threatens to envelop them both, she must decide if she can risk everything for love with a most unlikely duke.
It’s been a while since I read a book by Ms. Barnes but A MOST UNLIKELY DUKE was a very fantastic read on duty and love, with genuine emotion and relatable characters, enjoyable and fun, fast-paced and drama-filled, and definitely the best I have read from her!
Raphe Matthews was eight years old when he lost his parents and was forced to take on the responsibility of caring for his younger sisters and working off his father’s debts. Born into high society, he found himself in the slums doing almost anything to keep a roof over their heads, including gaining a reputation as a bare-knuckle boxer. Now he has inherited a dukedom and the ability to provide for his sisters, he is determined to make a success of it and will accept all the help he can get, even from his attractive neighbor.
Lady Gabriella Warwick knows the weight of duty and is determined to avoid bringing shame to her family, even marrying the man her parents have chosen for her, especially after her sister brought scandal on the family by breaking her engagement and running off with a commoner.
That is until she sets her eyes on the new Duke of Huntley and her next door neighbor. Now she’s questioning all her choices and wondering if marrying for duty could cost her the chance to find love. But with a questionable upbringing, the new duke is sure to attract scandal, which she would be wise to avoid, except she can’t seem to stay away from him and he needs her help, if he and his sisters have any hope of navigating the ton successfully.
The author does a great job building these characters, keeping them true to who they are even with the restraints of the ton, which led to a lot of drama, ranging from difficult to dreadful. Gabriella and Raphe only want to be accepted for who they are and with each other, find unconditional acceptance. Raphe is a good and honorable man, who cares for those close to him and will do anything for their well-being even at great cost to himself. Gabriella’s growth into a confident woman was really great to see.
I like that the story was a bit unconventional overall and I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.