The Duke of Her Desire
This sweet, sedate sequel to An Unlikely Duke turns to Lady Amelia, suddenly elevated from the slums of St. Giles after her brother inherits a dukedom. The Duke of Coventry, her appointed escort, won’t act on his attraction to his friend’s sister because his special needs child deserves his time and full attention. Amelia, though she fell for Coventry at their first dance, decides to establish a charitable school and buys a house that turns into a money pit, requiring her to seek Coventry’s assistance.
The action is decorous throughout, despite the fistfights, stabbings, fires, and compromising of ladies; even the laborers and criminals talk like dukes. Despite Amelia’s rough background, readers won’t find any Eliza-Doolittle-at-the-races moments here. High society accepts Amelia immediately; her suitors compete to deliver fulsome compliments and charitable donations; and Amelia has a knack for communicating with special needs children. Barnes is most at home in the indoor settings of balls, parlors, and carriages, and tenderly sketches Amelia’s longings as she waits for her adorably dense duke to come around. This pleasant, formulaic Regency romance hits all the right beats, including a satisfying wedding night, and sets the reader up for sister Juliette’s quest in installment three.