Title: A Most Unlikely Duke
Series: Diamonds In The Rough #1
Author: Sophie Barnes
Format: Kindle ARC
Publisher: Avon Books
Rating: 5 Stars
Raphe Matthews hasn’t stepped foot in polite circles since a tragedy left his once-noble family impoverished and in debt. The bare-knuckle boxer has spent the last fifteen years eking out an existence for himself and his two sisters. But when a stunning reversal of fortune lands Raphe the title of Duke of Huntley, he’s determined to make a go of becoming a proper lord, but he’ll need a little help, and his captivating neighbor might be just the woman for the job…
After her sister’s scandalous match, Lady Gabriella knows the ton’s eyes are on her. Agreeing to tutor the brutish new duke can only lead to ruin. Although she tries to control her irresistible attraction to Raphe, every day she spends with him only deepens her realization that this may be the one man she cannot do without. And as scandal threatens to envelop them both, she must decide if she can risk everything for love with a most unlikely duke.
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A Most Unlikely Duke
This story of "the duke from the wrong side of the tracks," is one that makes readers believe in the spirit of the underdog almost from page one.
Raphe Matthews and his sisters may have been born to life in the gilded halls of Mayfair. But a series of disastrous events in their childhoods, coupled with the loss of their parents, has left the three fending for themselves in the slums of St. Giles.
A place where the genteel breeding so prized by the aristocracy has no value.
Where a man is made or broken not by the coin in his pocket, but by the strength of both his back and his word.
A place where Raphe Matthews has not only managed to live, but to thrive. On the strength of both his word and his fists.
Lady Gabriella Radcliffe leads a life for which the words "gilded cage" can serve as the only fitting descriptor. As the only "socially acceptable" daughter left to the Earl and Countess of Warwick; after a most scandalous elopement by their firstborn daughter, Victoria.
Gabriella's parents are doing all they can to ensure that they hold on to both their her, and their battered family reputation.
Until an advantageous but worthy match can be secured.
Will those changes be for the better?
Though there are a great many things about this story which make it book a stellar first book, as well as a wonderful read in its own right.
The sheer amount of well placed inclusiveness found here. In areas such as backstory, supporting cast, continuity, and character development, presents readers with a rich and multilayered read. Allowing them to come to know the book's players on a very personal level by book's end.
Aiding readers still further in their quest for connection with their characters. The slowness with which the romance between the young duke and his lady unfolds.
There is no rush to "wed her and bed her here".
The romance is sweet, honest, hard won, and profound.
Furthermore, the more that one comes to understand both Raphe's and Gabriella's situations. The more that one comes to realize that they each mirror the other in many ways.
Because while they both are granted lives of untold privilege. The prices exacted by those lives both singularly and collectively are quite high.
As they are both in some way paying for the past actions of others.
Gabriella for those of her sister.
Raphe for those of his parents.
Making the road to social acceptability among the ton, a very hard one indeed.
But one that their proximity as neighbors and Gabriella's promise to secretly tutor his sisters in all things etiquette, will ensure that they traverse together.
No matter the odds.
This story of "the outsiders who find there places". Is one that will resonate with any reader who has ever felt "out of place". Letting them know that there is "no out of place" in the heart of
the one who loves you.
Born in Denmark, Sophie Barnes spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She's lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish and Romanian. She has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor's degree from Parsons. But, most impressive of all, she's been married to the same man three times—in three different countries and in three different dresses.
While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion: writing. When she's not busy dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading. She currently lives on the East Coast.
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