Series: At the Kingsborough Ball #1
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Avon on 27 August 2013
The Trouble With Being a Duke is a classic Cinderella tale. Our heroine Isabella Chilcott risks everything by going to the Kingsborough Ball wearing a dress she found in the attic even though as the daughter of a carriage-driver, she wouldn’t be welcome. She catches the eye of the dishy Anthony Hurst, Duke of Kingsborough and he is so smitten, he embarks on a search for his masked beauty.
Isabella is inclined towards martyr-hood – she clearly fancies Hurst but because her parents want her to marry Mr Roberts, she gives him short shrift. In all seriousness, I admired her for honouring her parents and withstanding Hurst for so long. It isn’t every day a duke comes calling. Isabella might not be well born but she is articulate and able to carry herself well at the ball whether it be in light conversation or dancing.
Hurst is single-minded when it comes to winning Isabella and the fact she runs from him makes him want her even more. If she had been less interested in him, his method of tracking her down, lying in wait for her, following her, pressuring her and her parents might have come across as creepy. The way it is presented however, he is simply a duke who is unaccustomed to having someone tell him no. His change from rake to suitor is fairly abrupt and I understood why those who knew him doubted his intentions.
I had one problem with the novel and that was the random shooting of a woman in the middle of a party. Attention is very quickly drawn away from something so salacious and I felt oddly bereft. I wanted to know who was shooting and why but the plot thread was simply abandoned. I really hope Barnes brings us back to this particular incident in later books.
It is a tricky business getting mixed class relations right in a Regency novel as in real life, it would never happen. Barnes’ solution is fairly conventional but it resolves the issue neatly. The fact that Isabella’s alternative Mr Roberts was so unappealing and intent on condemning her to a life of servitude means we are championing Hurst’s suit from the start. Her parents’ objection to Hurst seemed a bit over the top even when we found out the reason behind it. A duke could protect them and Hurst’s intentions were honourable. This plot device served its purpose though as it resulted in a satisfactory climax and intensified Isabella and Hurst’s feelings for each other.
I enjoyed The Trouble With Being a Duke and am looking forward to reading The Scandal in Kissing an Heir.