Wednesday, September 5, 2018

BLOG TOUR - The Illegitimate Duke

Today is my day for the Blog Tour for The Illegitimate Duke by Sophie Barnes.


United in a common cause…

Juliette Matthews longs to be much more than just another pretty ornament in society. But using her recently acquired fortune to do some good is more complicated than she anticipated. Young ladies are not expected to risk their safety in helping the less fortunate. And the one gentleman who could help in her mission is stubborn, infernally handsome—and far too honorable to act on their mutual attraction.

And in a desire impossible to deny…

Florian Lowell has suddenly been made heir to the Duke of Redding—a far cry from his status as a dedicated physician. Yet even with his new role as the country's most eligible bachelor, the beautiful, fearless Juliette is utterly beyond his reach. The scandalous circumstances of his birth would destroy both their reputations if they became known. But when a more urgent danger threatens Juliette's life, Florian must gamble everything…including the heart only one woman can tame.


Title: The Illegitimate Duke
Author: Sophie Barnes
Series: Diamonds in the Rough, #3
Genre: Adult Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication date: August 28, 2018
Avon Romance
Barnes & Noble
Google Play

My rating:  4 Stars

Lady Juliette Matthews is in her first season in society. Inasmuch as she is immediately drawn to the devastatingly handsome Florian Lowell, a physician and a new heir to the Duke of Redding, she has more than finding a suitable marriage mate in mind. There is currently a typhus outbreak and Juliette has every intention of making a difference. In so doing, she is brought into the constant company of Florian.

Florian, although a well-respected physician, has a lot of baggage that goes along with his new station in life. He is undeniably attracted to Juliette. However, with his past, one that he simply cannot ignore, he feels he is unsuitable as a future husband to such a delightfully beautiful young lady. He is forced to keep his past a secret, yet, in the time that they are thrown together, he has a fight on his hands. However can he resist her?

Watching the attraction between Florian and Juliette bloom is very rewarding. It is always a delight to read of this time in history when propriety ruled. A natural attraction between two willing adults is not simply cut and dried. There are conventions in place, which in many cases, no doubt leads to heartbreak. While the romance is struggling to thrive, Florian has an enemy, a man seeking to ruin him beyond any redemption. This takes a rather large portion of an otherwise lovely romance. As a lover of romance, I would have preferred to see much more in the way of the relationship between Florian and Juliette grow.

When this Regency-era story focuses on Florian and Juliette, it is rather powerful. The Illegitimate Duke is the third in the Diamonds in the Rough series. I have not had the opportunity to read the first two books, and I am pleased that this title read well as a standalone.  Sophie Barnes writes with great eloquence and did a fine job of allowing me to connect with the characters. I was able to be involved throughout and I do look forward to future books in this series.

Many thanks to Avon Books and Pure Textuality for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.


“—I mean, to think we could be so lucky is almost too much,” one of the women on the other side of the screen was saying. “Our debuts looked positively dismal with no chance to snatch up a duke.”

“Until now, that is,” the other woman said in a dreamy voice that made Juliette roll her eyes. She glanced at Vivien and had to force down a laugh.

“Can you believe our good fortune?” the first woman said.

“Well, he’s not a duke yet. Is he?”

Juliette straightened and tilted her head. They were obviously talking about Florian Lowell, the physician Raphe had sent for when she’d been sick with the measles the previous year. News of his recent change in status had been the subject of great discussion at Huntley House the previous evening when Raphe had returned home with the announcement.

Juliette still wasn’t sure she understood how the title or the inheritance had come about, but it did look as though Florian would one day outrank his older brother, Mr. Lowell, who was set to become Viscount Armswell one day.

“Either way, I could easily get used to the idea of marrying Florian,” one of the women was saying. “He’s ever so handsome.”

Both women burst into giggles. Muted whispers followed and then the sound of the door opening and closing plunged the room into silence. Juliette looked at Vivien and grinned. “Well, I wish them luck. In truth I don’t believe I’ve ever met a man more unapproachable than Florian.”

“He does look rather starched,” Vivien muttered. She stood and adjusted her gown. “Mind you, I’ve only seen him once or twice, so I could be wrong.”

“No. I don’t believe you are. In fact, my impression of him is not much different. He’s an excellent physician who seems to take his work very seriously. One cannot fault him for that, though I do wonder what it might be like to see him smile.”

“Do you now?” Vivien asked with a smirk as the two returned to the hallway and started making their way back toward the ballroom.

Juliette nudged her friend with her shoulder. “Oh, you know what I mean, Viv!”

“All I know is that you wondering what it might be like to see him smile will likely pester you until you find a way to make it happen.” They entered the ballroom. “Of all the people I have ever known, none are as determined as you when you set your mind to something.”

“Well I—” A wave of chatter cut Juliette’s thought process short. She glanced around, aware of the agitation rolling through the ballroom like tremors threatening to toss all the guests up into the air. “What on earth is going on?”

“Look,” someone said as Juliette pushed her way between a few people, pulling Vivien along by her hand.

“There he is,” another voice muttered.

Shouldering her way past a cluster of women who craned their heads and stared toward the ballroom entrance, Juliette caught a sudden and very unexpected glimpse of the man she and Vivien had just been discussing.


Her breath caught and her heart slammed hard against her chest. Because there he was and dear God if he didn’t look superb! Dressed in evening black, his copper streaked hair was neatly combed, though a single stray lock slashed roguishly across his brow. She’d never seen him like this before. The last time they’d met at a ball he’d been wearing an unremarkable suit


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.


To celebrate the release of THE ILLEGITIMATE DUKE by Sophie Barnes, we’re giving away a paperback bundle of The Most Unlikely Duke & The Duke of Her Desire!

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback bundle of A Most Unlikely Duke and The Duke of Her Desire by Sophie Barnes.  This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 9/7/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted.

This Tour is brought To you in conjunction with Avon Books

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