I might have used every superlative I know in my review of
UNLIKELY DUKE, I know I will repeat myself, but this is
bound to happen when an author pens two masterpieces in a
year. THE DUKE OF HER DESIRE is the second installment in
the dazzling Diamonds in
the Rough series, and while it stands perfectly on
its own, reading the books in order will enhance one's
reading experience, as the first book provides more detailed
background on the Matthews family: Raphe, the new Duke of
Huntley, Amelia and their younger sister Juliette. Amelia
and Juliette still have not mastered every refinement
pertaining to their new stations; Amelia grew up in St.
Giles, after all. Still, the sisters must be escorted
through the Season, and in Raphe's absence, Thomas
Heathmore, Duke of Coventry, will act in his stead, as
finding Amelia a husband is a priority. Thomas is Raphe's
trusted best friend, and a gentleman above reproach, and
Amelia silently wishes she were good enough to catch the eye
of dashing Coventry.
Forget any preconceived notion you might have about THE DUKE
OF HER DESIRE after reading the blurb, because Sophie Barnes
avoids every cliché imaginable in this brilliant novel.
Amelia is not used to all this luxury, but her newfound
wealth gives her the opportunity to help those less
fortunate, this is why she wants to open a school, and what
joy it was to see that this was intrinsic to the story and
the romance, and not a plot device; you will find none of
the expected social mishaps in THE DUKE OF HER DESIRE,
because the purpose is not to make a mockery of the rich or
the poor, but to tell a grand story.
Thomas is the proof that an author can create an
irresistible duke who differs from the norm; he is consumed
by lust, but he cannot marry, and Ms. Barnes has some
spectacular surprises and reveals for us there, dear
readers; it simply blew me away. It was fascinating to watch
Amelia make her school happen; she is a determined woman,
and Sophie Barnes demonstrates that it is possible to have a
strong and independent female character in a historical
context do something meaningful, even given the few
liberties women enjoyed in the Regency era and keep it
believable. The romance is something to behold; there are so
many ups and downs, and to say the chemistry sizzles is akin
to saying an active volcano sputters. Sophie Barnes'
ability to convey the deepest emotions so precisely is
staggering, and her characters are remarkable works of art.
THE DUKE OF HER DESIRE is a story of unfathomable depth,
where conflicts are brought on by unforeseen circumstances,
and not conveniently manufactured. Nothing is convenient in
this story, this is the way it should be, and it is phenomenal.
The world of Diamonds in
the Rough is rich, wonderfully detailed, and peopled
by compelling characters that better themselves while never
straying from their true nature. THE DUKE OF HER DESIRE is
absolutely magnificent, and Sophie Barnes' two books in
this series are making my top ten list this year.
He was only supposed to keep an eye on his
friend’s sister . . . now he’s about to lose his heart . .
When Thomas Heathmore, Duke of Coventry, agrees to steer his
friend’s inexperienced younger sister through society, he
doesn’t expect the lady in question to be so infernally
stubborn. Amelia Matthews seems to have little interest in
balls or suitors at all. Instead, she intends to open a
school, and against his better instincts, Thomas offers to
help. Yet somewhere along the line, Amelia ceases to be a
simple responsibility . . . and becomes an undeniable
Since her brother inherited a dukedom, Amelia’s prospects
have transformed. But though she’s long been secretly
infatuated with Thomas, she refuses to heed the arrogant
aristocrat’s advice. If only it were as easy to ignore his
heated touch. And as Amelia soon learns, the ton is
a minefield, where one moment’s indiscretion can unleash a
scandal—or entice her to surrender everything to the duke of
her desire . . .