The Duke of Her Desire, by Sophie Barnes

As longtime readers of this site know, I periodically attempt to find a new-to-me great historical romance novelist by grabbing random books off Target shelves. I still haven't discovered the next Lisa Kleypas, but hope springs eternal and the romance section at Target is frequently re-stocked.

My most recent pick was Sophie Barnes's The Duke of Her Desire, the second book in a series of Regency-era historicals. Lady Amelia Matthews and her siblings spent much of their childhoods in the slums of St. Giles, but when her brother inherits a title the family is launched into a society that they don't understand. Thankfully, Amelia's brother has befriended a wealthy duke, Thomas Heathmore, and Thomas offers to help all of the family find their feet—including Amelia, who is torn between being embarrassed by his advice and finding him dazzlingly attractive.

Right off the bat (well, by Chapter 4), Barnes's storytelling had raised some red flags. A large potion of the plot hinges upon a rash financial transaction that I'm pretty sure the heroine wouldn't have been legally able to make. I did my best to ignore this, but it turned out to be only the first installment in a frustrating pattern of introducing a plot point, partially developing it, and then resolving it off-screen, before immediately moving on to the next issue. Combined with Amelia and Thomas's lackluster romantic chemistry and a strong suspicion that the next book in the series will be recycling this one's plot, villain, and character types, I'm filing this under “I've read worse, but I've also read considerably better.” The Target search continues!
Posted by: Julianka


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