Review: A Most Unlikely Duke by Sophie Barnes

Reviewed by Jen

I am such a fan of a lower class hero, upper class heroine trope in my historical romance, especially when the lady has no evidence of being a snob about it. The author did this one very well and I enjoyed it from beginning to end.

Raphe and his two sisters grew up on the rough streets of St. Giles. His father was nobility but he killed himself and his mom ran away with another man. Though he was only a child himself, Rafe had to take responsibility for his siblings and raise money to care for them any way that he could. He became a dock worker and made extra cash in fights for the local crime lord. In a stunning turn of events, Raphe finds out many years later that he has become a Duke and he brings his sisters back to town to live the life he could never give them before.

Gabriella is their neighbor. She is being guided into an engagement with a man who fits her parents idea of a good match, but she feels nothing for him. The guy is kind of a jerk to Raphe and his sisters, and her own parents aren’t much better. They are more concerned about society’s opinions than ever since her sister ran away to get married for love.

Refusing to allow society snobs to get the better of them, Gabriella offers to teach Raphe’s sisters how to be ladies. In the meantime, Raphe has to learn how to be a gentleman, though under someone else’s tutelage.

I was glad Gabriella wasn’t Raphe’s tutor, because that would’ve changed the dynamics of the story. But they were definitely some Pygmalion vibes going on here.

Raphe is a delicious hero. He strong and just a little bit rough, but he has a good heart and he always puts his sisters first. Gabriella is sweet but not sickeningly so. She has interesting little quirks like her interest in bugs, and she really struggles with doing the right thing by her family versus what she wants for herself.

There is some good longing going on, and there is a little bit of intimacy, but the book is not abundant in love scenes. That was OK. I enjoyed their journey.

There were a couple of things at the very end that I could’ve done without. Like the return of Raphe’s mother. It felt random and unnecessary. I also had to raise my eyebrow at his decision with how to deal with the old drug lord, but hey, it wasn’t enough to spoil the story for me.

It was a quick and easy read and gave me what I was looking for when I picked it up. Will read more in the series.

Rating: B

*ARC provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon

A Most Unlikely Duke
by Sophie Barnes
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Avon

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