Review: The Infamous Duchess by Sophie Barnes

Reviewed by Jen

This is the fourth book in Sophie Barnes’ Diamonds in the Rough series and it centers on Viola Cartright, the mysterious patroness of St. Agatha’s hospital. Though we have met her several times over the course of the series, if you jump in here, you will be fine reading this as a standalone.

Viola is a young widow trying to keep a low profile. The ton kind of gives her the side-eye because she married a man old enough to be her father, or maybe even her grandfather, and he left her everything when he died the very next day. All she wants to do is run her hospital and make a difference, but when her grown son-in-law comes home and wants to fight her for his father’s fortune, everything starts to fall apart.

The hero here is Henry Lowell, brother to Florian, a previous hero in the series. Henry has a reputation as a rake, but we discover that was a carefully crafted image designed to keep meddling mamas from trying to match him with their daughters. As the story begins, he is a patient at the hospital, because he was shot in a duel. That puts him and Viola in each other’s orbit.

Henry is taken with Viola right away, but she is a bit more circumspect. The last thing she wants is to hand over her hospital and independence into the keeping of a man. But Henry convinces her rather quickly, there is more to him than his reputation would suggest.

I liked this book… OK. Henry was a lovely beta hero. He reads novels and has a cat and likes to garden. He is extraordinarily patient and protective. Viola is strong and resilient. And while these things sound like a lovely combination, they were a little bit lackluster. Don’t give me wrong, the book wasn’t bad. I liked it well enough, I just had a hard time getting emotionally invested or excited about it. It was very low angst. And I get that some people really want that in a romance, but I would rather be on the edge of my seat and wondering what might happen next. Here, I was not on the edge of my seat.

The villain is properly dastardly, but he is pretty one note. His actions play out almost exactly as you would expect. In fact, the entire plot plays out exactly as you would expect. Is that a bad thing? That depends on you. If you’re looking for a comfort read, maybe that is a plus.

For me, it was just all right. I am a little intrigued by the last chapter which sets up the next book. An unlikely hero, for sure. And those are one of my favorite kinds. I will check it out and see if it is a bigger hit for me.

Rating: B-

*ARC provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Infamous Duchess
by Sophie Barnes
Release Date: March 26, 2019
Publisher: Avon


  1. Sophie Barnes says:

    Thank for taking the time to read and review

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