Review – What a Difference a Duke Makes by Lenora Bell

About the Book:

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?

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                  What a Difference a Duke Makes: School for Dukes

My Review:             

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Orphaned Mari Perkins has made her way to London, having been promised a position of governess.  When she is unavoidably fifteen minutes late arriving at Mrs. Trilby’s Agency for Superior Governesses, the proprietress gives her job to another and all but tosses her out the door.  Mari is a most resourceful young lady, and when she overhears another governess who has just left an unbearable job at the household of the Duke of Banksford, she races there, introducing herself as the replacement.  Mari is willing to take risks in order to stay in town, because she recently learned that inquiries have been made about her which may lead to information about her birth parents.

Edgar, Duke Banksford, is desperate for another governess, but he’s adamant about not hiring the confident and charming young lady because he finds her very attractive.  Edgar is determined to act honorably, unlike his lecher of a father, and never accost anyone in his employ.  So it’s best that he just keep temptation away.  Fate is working against him, and against his better judgment, he gives Mari (rhymes with starry) a one week trial period.  The children are nine year old twins, Michel and Adele, and they have just come to the duke’s household from France, after the death of their mother.  Edgar never knew of the children’s existence, and they were a product of his first love as a very young man.  Because of all the upheaval in their lives, the twins are homesick, unsure of the duke’s affection, and uncertain of their future.  Thus, they tend to misbehave, run away, and chase off unwanted governesses.  They seem to have found a kindred spirit in Mari, though, and begin to get along famously.

Edgar is a very unconventional man, especially so for a duke.  He had a volatile relationship with his father, and an incident in their past caused a great scandal, which then prompted an estrangement from his mother.  He left society for seven years to work at a foundry, only returning home when he inherited the title.  He still shuns society, and spends his time working on his inventions, which are his passion.  Despite Mari’s youth and inexperience, she is bold and brazen, and when she discovers that she desires Edgar, she doesn’t hesitate to let him know.

Although I was somewhat surprised at Mari’s forwardness, I couldn’t help but like her.  She has a big heart, loves the children, and goes full speed ahead to try to grab some happiness for herself, while not having any expectations beyond the present.  Since Edgar was already battling his attraction, I don’t feel he stood a chance against Mari.  I especially love that Edgar is not a class conscious snob, and his reaction on learning the truth about Mari’s deception regarding her employment was wonderful.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DUKE MAKES is a charming, entertaining, steamy, and romantic read.  It was delightful to see Mari bring light and joy to Edgar’s barren existence, and to watch him come to love and bond with the children.  Their vulnerability was touching, and their antics, along with those of Edgar’s younger sister, India, added some smiles to this thoroughly enjoyable story.  ~Rose  

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