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.

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Review: The Illegitimate Duke by Sophie Barnes

Reviewed by Jen

I have consistently enjoyed all three installments in the Diamonds in the Rough series. Each followed the love story of one of the Matthews siblings, a trio who grew up in poverty only to join the ton later in life.

The focus on this book is Juliette, the sister who struggled with her health as a child. More recently, she contracted a bout of the measles, which is how she got to know our hero, Florian. He is a serious and dedicated physician, and now he is also the unexpected heir to a dukedom.

The promise of nobility has made Florian irresistible to the ladies of high society. Only Juliette seems to see him as a man instead of a potential title. She is intelligent and selfless, and she actually seems interested in what he does for a living. She would be a perfect wife, if only he ever planned to marry. You see, Florian is hiding a devastating secret. He is actually a bastard and his true father is a criminal of the worst sort. Most people thought the man, Bartholomew, had been hanged for his various other crimes, but as this story begins, Florian learns the man is alive and well. He would never expose Juliette to the potential scandal or danger involved with becoming his wife. [Read more…]

Review: The Duke of Her Desire by Sophie Barnes

Reviewed by Jen

This second story in Sophie Barnes’ Diamonds in the Rough series marries the fish out of water trope with an older brother’s best friend romance. Amelia is just a few months into her reintroduction to society after spending most of her life in the slums of St Giles. Her older brother, Raphe, is happily married now and wants to take his wife on a wedding trip, so he asks his friend, the Duke of Coventry, to keep an eye on his sisters while he’s away. Of course, he has no idea that Amelia is nursing a giant crush on the man.

Not only does Coventry agree to watch out for the girls, he promises to draft his mother to help Amelia find a husband. That means lessons in dancing and comportment and a little bit of matchmaking to boot. He’s only doing a favor for Raphe until two things happen which make it into something more. First, he discovers Amelia’s plan to launch a school for unfortunate children. Though she doesn’t show enough regard for her own safety, he can’t help but be impressed by her determination and smarts in creating a business-plan. His appreciation for her grows… so that when the second thing happens–and he sees her in a low cut ball gown–it gets harder to see her as just his best friend’s younger sister. [Read more…]

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. [Read more…]

Review: Lady Sarah’s Sinful Desires by Sophie Barnes

lady sarahs sinful desiresReviewed by Jen

I had a very hard time connecting with this book. I am never great with a Big Secret story, but in this case, that was compounded by the fact that I was unimpressed by the secret itself. The hero is uninspiring. And the bad guy is nothing short of a cookie cutter villain.

Sarah is not a virgin. That’s the big secret. She lost her virginity to a man who she planned to marry and it didn’t work out. Now her parents are forcing her to marry a vile man named Mr. Dennison, because they say no one else will have her, and the shame of her actions may ruin her sisters’ prospects of marriage. [Read more…]

Review: The Danger in Tempting an Earl by Sophie Barnes

danger in tempting an earlReviewed by Jen

I had trouble connecting to this book.  I didn’t find it engaging at all.  Neither the romance nor the larger plot worked for me.

The hero, Lucian, has been in love with Kate since childhood.  Despite the facts that he is the ostensibly attractive and charming older brother of a dear friend –and that they were inseparable in youth– she never even considered that they could one day be a match.  I had trouble right here at the very beginning. [Read more…]