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Young women in need of second chances find sympathy and assistance with the enigmatic Lady Whitmore in her seaside castle and village. The ultimate goal: to find husbands for these rejected ladies of the ton. Yet, not every young woman is motivated by the same emotions, for some of these ladies possess rakish hearts that can only be tamed by true love. Her voice is pure, he Young women in need of second chances find sympathy and assistance with the enigmatic Lady Whitmore in her seaside castle and village. The ultimate goal: to find husbands for these rejected ladies of the ton. Yet, not every young woman is motivated by the same emotions, for some of these ladies possess rakish hearts that can only be tamed by true love. Her voice is pure, her motives wicked. Lady Sarah Merrington will never forget being spurned by the duke she was supposed to marry. After all, that is the very reason she finds herself as a personal guest to the enigmatic Lady Whitmore in her village on the coast, a place of sanctuary where a lady might learn new accomplishments and, perhaps, the necessary skills to charm the elites of society. And Sarah is determined to reinvent herself so she can seek satisfaction, if not a bit of feminine revenge against the Duke of Vexen. Leonard Blackmore, the Duke of Vexen, is invited to host a charitable event in a place he's never heard of before and by a lady he's never met. Pleased by the opportunity, he accepts the invitation only to find his gracious hostess, Lady Whitmore, is not only a fellow patron to the arts but provides second chances to young ladies who simply need a helping hand. Unexpectedly, the duke meets a beautiful woman who sings like an angel. He swears he's seen her before but can't quite remember where or when. It doesn't matter, for she's captured his deep interest, and he always gets what he wants. Sarah can't believe her duke has arrived, giving her the chance to fulfill her dream for revenge. But the more she's around him, the more she admires and likes him. And it's only a matter of time before he realizes who she is. Will Sarah take advantage of the perfect opportunity to fool her duke, or will she forgive and forget in order to give love a second chance?


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Young women in need of second chances find sympathy and assistance with the enigmatic Lady Whitmore in her seaside castle and village. The ultimate goal: to find husbands for these rejected ladies of the ton. Yet, not every young woman is motivated by the same emotions, for some of these ladies possess rakish hearts that can only be tamed by true love. Her voice is pure, he Young women in need of second chances find sympathy and assistance with the enigmatic Lady Whitmore in her seaside castle and village. The ultimate goal: to find husbands for these rejected ladies of the ton. Yet, not every young woman is motivated by the same emotions, for some of these ladies possess rakish hearts that can only be tamed by true love. Her voice is pure, her motives wicked. Lady Sarah Merrington will never forget being spurned by the duke she was supposed to marry. After all, that is the very reason she finds herself as a personal guest to the enigmatic Lady Whitmore in her village on the coast, a place of sanctuary where a lady might learn new accomplishments and, perhaps, the necessary skills to charm the elites of society. And Sarah is determined to reinvent herself so she can seek satisfaction, if not a bit of feminine revenge against the Duke of Vexen. Leonard Blackmore, the Duke of Vexen, is invited to host a charitable event in a place he's never heard of before and by a lady he's never met. Pleased by the opportunity, he accepts the invitation only to find his gracious hostess, Lady Whitmore, is not only a fellow patron to the arts but provides second chances to young ladies who simply need a helping hand. Unexpectedly, the duke meets a beautiful woman who sings like an angel. He swears he's seen her before but can't quite remember where or when. It doesn't matter, for she's captured his deep interest, and he always gets what he wants. Sarah can't believe her duke has arrived, giving her the chance to fulfill her dream for revenge. But the more she's around him, the more she admires and likes him. And it's only a matter of time before he realizes who she is. Will Sarah take advantage of the perfect opportunity to fool her duke, or will she forgive and forget in order to give love a second chance?

30 review for How to Fool a Duke

  1. 4 out of 5

    ♥Milica♥

    When Lady Sarah Merrington was sixteen she nearly married Leonard, the Duke of Vexen. Back then she decided whomever she was to marry would have to like her for her, so she climbed a tree and threw apples at the Duke's approaching carriage. While he did find her amusing, he didn't see her as marriage material (yet). Over two years later, Sarah is living her life at Lady Whitmore's castle, and evolving her singing to unimaginable heights when she meets the Duke again. Leonard was invited by the p When Lady Sarah Merrington was sixteen she nearly married Leonard, the Duke of Vexen. Back then she decided whomever she was to marry would have to like her for her, so she climbed a tree and threw apples at the Duke's approaching carriage. While he did find her amusing, he didn't see her as marriage material (yet). Over two years later, Sarah is living her life at Lady Whitmore's castle, and evolving her singing to unimaginable heights when she meets the Duke again. Leonard was invited by the plotting Lady Whitmore to open an art auction. As someone who has a vast collection, nearly grander than the Vatican, how could he say no? When he arrives and hears Sarah singing he's certain he's found "the one", but he doesn't recognise her and that's benefitting Sarah's longtime coming plan for revenge. When he rejected her she was heartbroken and now it's time to give him a taste of his own medicine. This was a very cute read. I liked it, mostly. What I didn't like was how quickly Sarah gave up her revenge plan. Surprised the first time, still not ready the second, falling for him by the third. Almost feels like she spent years being miserable for nothing. And sure she got her revenge in a sense but that wasn't very satisfying. As for the Duke, he shouldn't have married her when she was sixteen because of her age, but I wish he'd given her a chance. She wanted to try to be a lady for him and didn't get to do it because he left so she had to go through all of this... Of course I disliked meddling Maria too, I do hope some poor sap makes her happy in one of the next books. Trenton is my favourite, he deserves the world and more. The introduction of Leonard's mother was a little unnecessary. I think it would've made more sense if he was younger. However, I am glad they sorted that out. Another "complaint" is that this book was too short! I sped through it in no time and now I have to wait longer for the next one. SOMEONE TELL ME IF TRENTON IS NEXT, I HAVE TO KNOW. *Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review*

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sheena ☆ Oh, the Sheenanigans!

    The premise was interesting but as I read through this historical romance… there were a few issues/problems that prevented this from being an excellent read—non existent chemistry between Leo and Sarah, how Leo was unable to recognize Sarah despite previously growing up together and being betrothed, the childish and petty revenge scheme, slow and predictable storyline that ultimately fell flat, and the bland characters that failed to pique my interest. The premise was interesting but as I read through this historical romance… there were a few issues/problems that prevented this from being an excellent read—non existent chemistry between Leo and Sarah, how Leo was unable to recognize Sarah despite previously growing up together and being betrothed, the childish and petty revenge scheme, slow and predictable storyline that ultimately fell flat, and the bland characters that failed to pique my interest.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Whitworth

    ❤️❤️❤️❤️ 💋💋 I always enjoy Mary’s Books, this was good too , a new series to get my teeth into . A bit of a revenge, is what this begins as, after being rejected as immature by her betrothed, our Lady eventually returns 2 years on to realise her Duke now wants her. Will she make him rue the day he insulted her ? Enjoyable read, one sure to keep you very entertained. I received an Arc copy of this book and chose to post this review

  4. 4 out of 5

    Elodie

    How to Fool a Duke The Husband Dilemma Series #1 Mary Lancaster https://m.facebook.com/mary.lancaster... Violetta Rand https://m.facebook.com/violettarandro... Release date 12/03/2020 Publisher Dragonblade Publishing 𝗕𝗹𝘂𝗿𝗯 Young women in need of second chances find sympathy and assistance with the enigmatic Lady Whitmore in her seaside castle and village. The ultimate goal, to find husbands for these rejected ladies of the ton. Yet, not every young woman is motivated by the same emotions, for some of How to Fool a Duke The Husband Dilemma Series #1 Mary Lancaster https://m.facebook.com/mary.lancaster... Violetta Rand https://m.facebook.com/violettarandro... Release date 12/03/2020 Publisher Dragonblade Publishing 𝗕𝗹𝘂𝗿𝗯 Young women in need of second chances find sympathy and assistance with the enigmatic Lady Whitmore in her seaside castle and village. The ultimate goal, to find husbands for these rejected ladies of the ton. Yet, not every young woman is motivated by the same emotions, for some of these ladies possess rakish hearts that can only be tamed by true love. ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Her voice is pure, her motives wicked. Lady Sarah Merrington will never forget being spurned by the duke she was supposed to marry. After all, that is the very reason she finds herself as a personal guest to the enigmatic Lady Whitmore in her village on the coast, a place of sanctuary where a lady might learn new accomplishments and, perhaps, the necessary skills to charm the elites of society. And Sarah is determined to reinvent herself so she can seek satisfaction, if not a bit of feminine revenge against the Duke of Vexen. Leonard Blackmore, the Duke of Vexen, is invited to host a charitable event in a place he's never heard of before and by a lady he's never met. Pleased by the opportunity, he accepts the invitation only to find his gracious hostess, Lady Whitmore, is not only a fellow patron to the arts but provides second chances to young ladies who simply need a helping hand. Unexpectedly, the duke meets a beautiful woman who sings like an angel. He swears he's seen her before but can't quite remember where or when. It doesn't matter, for she's captured his deep interest, and he always gets what he wants. Sarah can't believe her duke has arrived, giving her the chance to fulfill her dream for revenge. But the more she's around him, the more she admires and likes him. And it's only a matter of time before he realizes who she is. Will Sarah take advantage of the perfect opportunity to fool her duke, or will she forgive and forget in order to give love a second chance? 𝗠𝘆 𝗿𝗲𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄 Will her need for payback run deeper than a second shot at love ... I discovered Mrs Lancaster some times ago and I eagerly follow her ongoing series, so I was curious to see how a duet writing would work. I am unable to say who is behind such and such part of the plot or character’s development but in the whole scheme, I liked this book. Sarah is young, why her impetuous temper, and while she tries to tame her wild way with revenge in her mind, she will have to decide if once her grudge pacified, she will be able to walk away from the man she expected so much and hurt her equally. Leonard did mean no harm when he rejected Sarah’s hand, he just saw a too young miss, not yet fit to be a wife, even less a duchess. He never thought it would wound her so deeply, she would ask for retribution. Thus, it is how they enter in a wager, where they might lose their heart in the process. Their journey to their HEA is not as smooth as they might have expected when secrets are revealed, when people try to cheat the cards to take the price for them, when love brings more doubts about one’s worth. During her coming-of-age adventure, Sarah will have to decide if getting even for her mended heart will sustain her in the future or if she can let go of her wounded pride and give them a second chance. 4.5 stars I was granted an advance copy by the publisher Dragonblade Publishing, here is my true and unbiased opinion. https://www.facebook.com/429830134272...

  5. 4 out of 5

    BJ

    Good setting, an older lady offers a place of respite for young ladies. The h has used her time to prepare to pay back the H who refused to marry her. This very odd plot device works as he's besotted with her now, but there is an evil OW. For some odd reason the virginal h runs off with another man. Really the plot was a hot mess, I didn't like the book at all. Good setting, an older lady offers a place of respite for young ladies. The h has used her time to prepare to pay back the H who refused to marry her. This very odd plot device works as he's besotted with her now, but there is an evil OW. For some odd reason the virginal h runs off with another man. Really the plot was a hot mess, I didn't like the book at all.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bridget Lewis

    Not mature enough Sarah has a plan for revenge against Leonard the Duke of Vexen an apt name as she was and is sorely vexed with him! Raised as a hoyden and allowed to roam freely over her parents estate! Sarah was not ready for marriage! Leonard climbed a tree seemingly okay with her behavior and then promptly dismisses her and from all appearances has a number of mistress afterwards, firmly dismissing her from his thoughts! Well revenge is a dish served cold or is it just a petty comeuppance? I Not mature enough Sarah has a plan for revenge against Leonard the Duke of Vexen an apt name as she was and is sorely vexed with him! Raised as a hoyden and allowed to roam freely over her parents estate! Sarah was not ready for marriage! Leonard climbed a tree seemingly okay with her behavior and then promptly dismisses her and from all appearances has a number of mistress afterwards, firmly dismissing her from his thoughts! Well revenge is a dish served cold or is it just a petty comeuppance? I was ashamed of Leonard for a moment so much older than Sarah his actions were a betrayal! No one should let a jealous manipulative harpy tell them what to do!! I thought marriage always salvaged reputations! Period!! The higher up in the peerage the better! I admired James the assistant and jack of all trades! He was willing to go to great length to secure Leonard happiness! Lady Whitmore has a whole town of secrets! Once her secret comes to light well grab a tissue!! I absolutely loved this story! The other people in the story except 1 shrew deserve a HEA! This story reads like a full novel packed with depth and steam!! You expect no less from MS Lancaster! You won't want to put this one down!!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Lady Whitmore, is not only a fellow patron to the arts but provides second chances to young ladies who simply need a helping hand in her seaside castle and village. Lady Sarah Merrington will never forget being spurned by the duke she was supposed to marry because he thought her immature & a hoyden. After all, that is the very reason she finds herself as a personal guest to the enigmatic Lady Whitmore and Sarah is determined to reinvent herself so she can seek satisfaction, if not a bit of femin Lady Whitmore, is not only a fellow patron to the arts but provides second chances to young ladies who simply need a helping hand in her seaside castle and village. Lady Sarah Merrington will never forget being spurned by the duke she was supposed to marry because he thought her immature & a hoyden. After all, that is the very reason she finds herself as a personal guest to the enigmatic Lady Whitmore and Sarah is determined to reinvent herself so she can seek satisfaction, if not a bit of feminine revenge against the Duke of Vexen. Leonard Blackmore, the Duke of Vexen, is invited to host a charitable event in a place he's never heard of before and by a lady he's never met. Pleased by the opportunity, he accepts the invitation only to find his gracious hostess, Lady Whitmore, is not only a fellow patron to the arts but provides second chances to young ladies who simply need a helping hand. Unexpectedly, the duke meets a beautiful woman who sings like an angel. He swears he's seen her before but can't quite remember where or when. It doesn't matter, for she's captured his deep interest, and he always gets what he wants. Sarah can't believe her duke has arrived, giving her the chance to fulfil her dream for revenge. A well written charming romance. I loved Sarah who has found her feet in Whitmore after always having her confidence undermined by her mother & she is enjoying her life with her former governess, she’s matured & is ready to face the ton again. I loved Leo who had always had the intention to marry Sarah but wanted to wait until she’s grown up. I loved the merry dance the pair engaged in on the way to their HEA. A mystery surrounding Lady Whitmore, a secondary romance & someone intent on ruining the burgeoning romance all added to my enjoyment My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Authors, new to me, Mary Lancaster and Violetta Rand write an interesting story of a young woman, Sarah, that is looking to get revenge on a duke who rejected her. She now is more poised and a very accomplished singer. The duke, Leonard, wants her. When he realizes who she is, he does whatever he must to regain her trust and love. I received an ARC from NetGalley and Dragonblade Publishing for my honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elley Murray

    Rating: 3.5 stars This was a really enjoyable read and I couldn't put it down, but there were a lot of areas where it could have been better. It jumped around a bit, plotlines weren't fully developed, some leaps taken a bit too far... It reads like a book that hasn't had a good dev-editor go through it yet and say "Okay, here's where you need to tighten it up a bit, this part needs some polish..." I half-expected when I went to the author pages for this to be a debut, and was surprised to see tha Rating: 3.5 stars This was a really enjoyable read and I couldn't put it down, but there were a lot of areas where it could have been better. It jumped around a bit, plotlines weren't fully developed, some leaps taken a bit too far... It reads like a book that hasn't had a good dev-editor go through it yet and say "Okay, here's where you need to tighten it up a bit, this part needs some polish..." I half-expected when I went to the author pages for this to be a debut, and was surprised to see that both authors have quite a prolific back catalog. I really quite liked both Sarah and Leonard, and they have really great chemistry. I love a good mistaken identities, and Sarah grooming herself to become Leonard's dream woman in order to get back at him for rejecting her is such a fun plotline. Their banter is really great, and their chemistry was fun but at times fell rather flat. I adore the idea of Lady Whitmore and her seaside village for misfits and artisans - it reminds me rather of Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove. This is the first book in The Husband Dilemma series, and can be read as a stand-alone. A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own. Like this review? Check out more of my reviews on my blog, Elley the Book Otter

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    How to Fool a Duke by Violetta Rand and Mary Lancaster was a very cute novella featuring the love story between two people, Leo, Duke of Vexen and Sarah, youngest daughter of the Earl of Drimmen. They had been about to be betrothed several years before, when she was 16 and undecided about marriage. He came to her home to meet her and she took refuge in a tree from which she hurled crab apples at him. He joined her in the tree and she decided he was not a terrible prospect. By the time she made i How to Fool a Duke by Violetta Rand and Mary Lancaster was a very cute novella featuring the love story between two people, Leo, Duke of Vexen and Sarah, youngest daughter of the Earl of Drimmen. They had been about to be betrothed several years before, when she was 16 and undecided about marriage. He came to her home to meet her and she took refuge in a tree from which she hurled crab apples at him. He joined her in the tree and she decided he was not a terrible prospect. By the time she made it to her parents, he had informed them that she was two young, thinking to himself that he could wait for her. She was offended and angry and left for the Continent with her aunt and uncle. Later she came to Whitmore to learn to sing from a master and make herself ready to show him what he had missed. Now her has come to Whitmore to open the art exhibit. He feels he has met her before but cannot place her, at first. He did, however, know that she was the one. Many machinations and much misdirection later, things began to work out. This was an absolutely delightful novella. It was light-hearted and whimsical with twists and turns that were unexpected on their journey to forever. Sarah was not quite as grown up as she thought when she came to discover that revenge was not as sweet as the planning of it. They both learned some communication skills. It was a very satisfying romance with just enough sex to make it complicated. Lovely characters, compelling interests, cute plot. I recommend it. I was invited to read a free ARC of How to Fool a Duke by Dragonblade, through Netgalley. All opinions contained herein are solely my own. #netgalley #howtofooladuke

  11. 4 out of 5

    Linda J.

    4.5 stars Wow, what a journey to reach HEA! I wished I counted how many times I stopped reading because I knew something awful was going to be caused by the villain! This ole heart couldn't take it! This has an immature h who wasn't ready for marriage, but in her heart she was. She decides to change herself and become what Society expects of her. But, along with improving herself she is vengeful against the H. I felt her actions in this department lasted too long. Even when it was explained to her 4.5 stars Wow, what a journey to reach HEA! I wished I counted how many times I stopped reading because I knew something awful was going to be caused by the villain! This ole heart couldn't take it! This has an immature h who wasn't ready for marriage, but in her heart she was. She decides to change herself and become what Society expects of her. But, along with improving herself she is vengeful against the H. I felt her actions in this department lasted too long. Even when it was explained to her she wouldn't give up. Thankfully, she finally did. There is lovemaking outside of marriage - heat level 1 out of 5 and only described once. There is tension, suspense, some twists and surprises to keep the pace moving. Interesting main and secondary character's, plus a vengeful ex love. No cheating, no cliffhanger, HEA, romance builds slowly and some spice. I can't improve on the blurb, just recommending this satisfying story and author's. (ljb)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lori D

    An absolutely delightful story full of wonderful characters with a few secrets I could not wait to find out! There are several layers to this story and it was exciting and heartwarming to see them unfold. Revenge, yes that had been Sarah's goal. Leonard, Duke of Vexford had rejected her as his wife when she was only sixteen and her parents had made the match. Now she had travelled abroad and had been in the small town of Whitmore for a year having training for her voice and to act more of a lady. An absolutely delightful story full of wonderful characters with a few secrets I could not wait to find out! There are several layers to this story and it was exciting and heartwarming to see them unfold. Revenge, yes that had been Sarah's goal. Leonard, Duke of Vexford had rejected her as his wife when she was only sixteen and her parents had made the match. Now she had travelled abroad and had been in the small town of Whitmore for a year having training for her voice and to act more of a lady. Leonard had been invited to the town of Whitmore, by Lady Whimore herself, to be the host of an exhibition of the arts. That is where he heard the voice, "such a voice could make one weep with joy or sorrow. Then he saw her. "She was simply lovely. Leonard for the first time in his life was utterly dazzled. She. She is the one." Loved, loved this story that was woven by two of my favorite authors. Best of all it is the first in a series and I know there is more to come!!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Watkins

    Bent on revenge, Lady Sarah transforms herself with the help of Lady Whitmore into a woman who can grace any drawing-room in society. When the opportunity presents itself, she discovers that having achieved her objective leaves a bad taste in her mouth. This is a light-hearted romance with quirky characters that keep one entertained throughout. There is also a mystery to be solved, which makes the plot interesting. The Duke of Vexen's first meeting with Lady Sarah leaves him with the realisation Bent on revenge, Lady Sarah transforms herself with the help of Lady Whitmore into a woman who can grace any drawing-room in society. When the opportunity presents itself, she discovers that having achieved her objective leaves a bad taste in her mouth. This is a light-hearted romance with quirky characters that keep one entertained throughout. There is also a mystery to be solved, which makes the plot interesting. The Duke of Vexen's first meeting with Lady Sarah leaves him with the realisation that she is nowhere near ready for marriage. Two years later, he hears her before he sees her and falls in love with both her voice and the woman with a face like an angel. Unfortunately, the hoyden beneath the facade is angry with him, and it takes patience to break through her barriers. This is an enjoyable, standalone romance that comes to a sweet conclusion. I received a copy of this book as a gift through NetGalley and this is my honest and voluntary review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mary Hart

    4 stars An enjoyable read, only kisses until near the end. Sarah has felt ignored by her mother and her would be fiance. Leo turned up to meet her and then realising how young she was went away without declaring himself. Sarah saw this as rejection The duke was keen to give her time to mature so miscommunication of motives. Sarah decides to hone her singing arts to try and entice Leo into falling in love with her with the aim of rejecting him. Luckily there's a benefactoress that is watching our 4 stars An enjoyable read, only kisses until near the end. Sarah has felt ignored by her mother and her would be fiance. Leo turned up to meet her and then realising how young she was went away without declaring himself. Sarah saw this as rejection The duke was keen to give her time to mature so miscommunication of motives. Sarah decides to hone her singing arts to try and entice Leo into falling in love with her with the aim of rejecting him. Luckily there's a benefactoress that is watching our couple and leading them onto a HEA. This is the first book in a series and does have a lot of potential. There's an over the top ex lover who tries to make things difficult and lots of characters for further books. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Brown

    A couple of years ago Lady Sarah Merrington a young hoyden was spurned by a duke do to her immaturity and now she’s ready to show him just want he’s missed out on. She’s determined to become the perfect lady and she has the voice of an angel to show off her best assets. Her friend Lady Whitmore invites the Leonard, the Duke of Vexen to her estate where he doesn’t immediately recognize Sarah. Leonard decides he like what he see and decides she’s the one for him, but he soon realizes she is the yo A couple of years ago Lady Sarah Merrington a young hoyden was spurned by a duke do to her immaturity and now she’s ready to show him just want he’s missed out on. She’s determined to become the perfect lady and she has the voice of an angel to show off her best assets. Her friend Lady Whitmore invites the Leonard, the Duke of Vexen to her estate where he doesn’t immediately recognize Sarah. Leonard decides he like what he see and decides she’s the one for him, but he soon realizes she is the young woman he had planned to marry a few years ago, she just needed to grow up. He’s not got his work cut out trying to convince Sarah he’s sincere in his love for her and convince her to marry him. I love this book there’s a hidden mystery surrounding Lady Whitmore that slowly unravels as the story unfolds. I have voluntarily read and reviewed these excellent story.

  16. 4 out of 5

    MrsMascara

    I am incredibly fond of Mary Lancaster's books and always look forward to her next one, I do prefer her earlier books (The Imperial Season) set in Vienna and really enjoyed her series like the Blackhaven Brides series, The Unmarriageable and the Season of Scandal. I was really interested to see how her collaboration with Violetta Rand would be, and while it has a great set up with the enigmatic Lady Whitmore in her Castle set in a seaside village, where ladies can re-invent themselves in order to I am incredibly fond of Mary Lancaster's books and always look forward to her next one, I do prefer her earlier books (The Imperial Season) set in Vienna and really enjoyed her series like the Blackhaven Brides series, The Unmarriageable and the Season of Scandal. I was really interested to see how her collaboration with Violetta Rand would be, and while it has a great set up with the enigmatic Lady Whitmore in her Castle set in a seaside village, where ladies can re-invent themselves in order to be accepted by the ton and make good matches, obviously a set up to kick off a new series. Unfortunately it wasn't as sparkling as her solo work. Lady Sarah Merrington is working hard to develop her beautiful singing voice, with the ultimate aim of making the Duke of Vexen fall in love with her, so she can reject him. Lady Sarah is still smarting from her last encounter with Leonard. She had been betrothed to him at sixteen, while still a young girl, at sixteen she wanted to be liked for herself, so she accosted the duke's carriage by throwing crab apples at it. The duke found the prank and Sarah amusing, but also immature and he therefore cried off. An art aficionado, and well respected pink of the ton, Leonard is invited by Lady Whitmore to open an art auction, when he arrives he is captivated first by Sarah's beautiful singing, and then her accomplished self. While the premise was good, the will they won't they of the story arc was a little irritating, Sarah gave up on her chance to make the duke grovel a little too early for me, the chemistry between them was a bit hit and miss, also the the whole plot jumped around a lot, and was a bit inconsistent in terms of the plotlines and just felt like it all needed to be more tightly edited and pulled back a bit. I did like this but I didn't love it like I usually do. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book and all opinions are my own.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shelby Savage

    If you're looking for a book that will give you a good laugh and a warm feeling, this is the book for you! How to Fool a Duke was a quick, cute, light-hearted read that made me smile the whole time I was reading it. I really enjoyed Leonard's passions and watching Sarah grow up a little more, and I felt like they shared a good chemistry with one another. The overall premise, the Whitmore village, was creative and offered a different type of setting beyond the usual London town scene of so many r If you're looking for a book that will give you a good laugh and a warm feeling, this is the book for you! How to Fool a Duke was a quick, cute, light-hearted read that made me smile the whole time I was reading it. I really enjoyed Leonard's passions and watching Sarah grow up a little more, and I felt like they shared a good chemistry with one another. The overall premise, the Whitmore village, was creative and offered a different type of setting beyond the usual London town scene of so many regency romances. (If you liked Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove, the Whitmore village will likely appeal to you!) There were a few points where I felt like this story got a little lost and used a vague or awkward connector to bring it back. I think this was likely caused by the sheer number of different plotlines running throughout the book. At times, it felt like the book didn't know where to go because it wasn't sure which plot it should be following. This led to confusing and unclear scenes that jolted me out of the story and made me reread a little bit to try to understand why this was happening. These issues were a little jarring, but not enough to make me put the book down. Overall, I found this book enjoyable as a quick Sunday afternoon read. If you are willing to overlook a few inconsistencies and confusing scenes, then the ultimate love story of this book will give you the warm feelings that we love so much from these types of books. I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marti

    How to Fool A Duke ( A Husband Dilemma) by Mary Lancaster and Violette Rand is a new series. The setting is a remote location in Britain, by the sea and an old castle. Lady Whitmore ran the village and area as a retreat for people to pursue something that they wanted or needed - no titles, no class system - just people. Lady Sarah Merrington has come to the area. She realizes that she needs to learn some things, including singing. The final goal will be to make the Duke of Vexon fall in love wit How to Fool A Duke ( A Husband Dilemma) by Mary Lancaster and Violette Rand is a new series. The setting is a remote location in Britain, by the sea and an old castle. Lady Whitmore ran the village and area as a retreat for people to pursue something that they wanted or needed - no titles, no class system - just people. Lady Sarah Merrington has come to the area. She realizes that she needs to learn some things, including singing. The final goal will be to make the Duke of Vexon fall in love with her so she could spurn him like he did to her years ago. Interesting Lady Whitmore was willing to invite the duke to come to an art opening where Sarah would sing. Leonard Blackmore, the Duke of Vexen has agreed to come to an art opening and while there dig for Viking artifacts. However, he dug up more that he realized and Sarah is part of what he realized he wanted. The novel was fun with a new premise and surprising characters. I enjoyed both Leo and Sarah (and both their companions). I found the novel was rich with interesting situations for both Leo and Sarah. How to Fool A Duke by Mary Lancaster and Violette Rand was a fun read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    A mini Society without titles 4.25/5 stars. This was a great story. I loved Sarah and her sheer will to be prove a point. That takes a lot of will and strength of character. To survive the amount of criticism and berating isn't easy. And Leo was a great match. He was intrigued by the past. I appreciated his friendship with Mr. James. He wasn't overly broody or demanding. The games paid and the flirting were a high spot. Felt like a homage to rom coms. Really loved the way she parried his suggestio A mini Society without titles 4.25/5 stars. This was a great story. I loved Sarah and her sheer will to be prove a point. That takes a lot of will and strength of character. To survive the amount of criticism and berating isn't easy. And Leo was a great match. He was intrigued by the past. I appreciated his friendship with Mr. James. He wasn't overly broody or demanding. The games paid and the flirting were a high spot. Felt like a homage to rom coms. Really loved the way she parried his suggestions. I bought their growing romance. And the small town reminded me a lot of Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove. If you like that kind of world, you'll like this book. However, I gave 4 stars because the age gap was a decade. Which isn't particularly bad but at 18, seems a bit young. She didn't even proper seasons. The age difference kept tripping me up, unfortunately. I think I would have felt better about 20 or 21, giving her more time to mature. Also felt like the bedroom scenes needed a little more warm ups. Definitely want to read more by the writers. The duo works well together.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Wenger

    When Sarah was just sixteen, her parents tried to arrange a marriage between her and Leonard Blackmore, the Duke of Vexen. But after meeting the young hoyden, Leonard told her parents he needed a woman of more polish and maturity. Two years later, Sarah has grown into an accomplished woman. Now she wants to punish Leonard for rejecting her. She plans to make him fall in love, so she can refuse his marriage proposal. But when they meet again, she's captivated by his charms. When he makes a bargai When Sarah was just sixteen, her parents tried to arrange a marriage between her and Leonard Blackmore, the Duke of Vexen. But after meeting the young hoyden, Leonard told her parents he needed a woman of more polish and maturity. Two years later, Sarah has grown into an accomplished woman. Now she wants to punish Leonard for rejecting her. She plans to make him fall in love, so she can refuse his marriage proposal. But when they meet again, she's captivated by his charms. When he makes a bargain with her, will she choose love or revenge? This is a well-written book with likable characters I enjoyed getting to know. The plot is interesting but without a lot at stake. The biggest obstacle is Sarah's immaturity, which is fine given her age. It gives the book something of a YA feel. I like the world of Whitmore that the authors have created. I look forward to more in this series. Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    3⭐ - I liked it This was my third read for the HR Readathon. The story centres around Sarah and Leo. Sarah was spurned as an unruly teen by Leo and goes to Lady Whitmore's castle to improve herself and then exact revenge on Leo (the duke of Vexen). Unfortunately when the two meet, there's some chemistry there and even after he realises who she is, they still continue a game of cat and mouse almost. The chemistry between the characters wasn't spectacular but with the added elements of the duke sea 3⭐ - I liked it This was my third read for the HR Readathon. The story centres around Sarah and Leo. Sarah was spurned as an unruly teen by Leo and goes to Lady Whitmore's castle to improve herself and then exact revenge on Leo (the duke of Vexen). Unfortunately when the two meet, there's some chemistry there and even after he realises who she is, they still continue a game of cat and mouse almost. The chemistry between the characters wasn't spectacular but with the added elements of the duke searching for his estranged mother and Sarah's complicated relationship with her parents, coming to terms with who exactly she is as a person, and the rivalry with Lady Moxley, it filled out the story. However, I would have liked to have seen the duke and his mother's relationship, moving forwards, expanded on slightly more towards the end. It was a quick paced read, no unnecessary drama that isn't relevant to the story.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    How to Fool a Duke by Mary Lancaster and Violetta Rand was a wonderful Regency story. From hatred to love, Leonard the Duke of Vexen was betrothed to Lady Sarah a young 16year old girl that was wild and untamed. He left the Earls house without a marriage planned. Miss Sarah has been living in Whitmore for two years, learning to sing. Lady Whitmore loves the arts and supports everybody that wants to come to her land and learn. No titles or gossip allowed. She wants to help Sarah get revenge on a cer How to Fool a Duke by Mary Lancaster and Violetta Rand was a wonderful Regency story. From hatred to love, Leonard the Duke of Vexen was betrothed to Lady Sarah a young 16year old girl that was wild and untamed. He left the Earls house without a marriage planned. Miss Sarah has been living in Whitmore for two years, learning to sing. Lady Whitmore loves the arts and supports everybody that wants to come to her land and learn. No titles or gossip allowed. She wants to help Sarah get revenge on a certain Duke, but Lady Whitmore has her own secrets that she wants to keep under lock and key and inviting the Duke of Vexen might jeopardize that. I enjoyed this book very much! I can’t wait for more in this new series. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ebook arc copy in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    zhane

    2/5 stars! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I loved the premise of this book so much as well as its first few chapters. However, I find the execution of the premise to be very rushed and disappointing for what I expected it to be. The premise only happened for a couple of chapters and then it went in a different direction than what I wanted it to be and what the book set it up to be. The characters 2/5 stars! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I loved the premise of this book so much as well as its first few chapters. However, I find the execution of the premise to be very rushed and disappointing for what I expected it to be. The premise only happened for a couple of chapters and then it went in a different direction than what I wanted it to be and what the book set it up to be. The characters are so boring and bland, I couldn't care more for them and the storyline. This book may appeal to other readers who don't care about a sudden change in the direction of the story and who didn't set their hopes up that the story will stay true to its premise.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lisa H

    Ambivalent. Sarah was scorned by Leonard, the Duke of Vexen two years ago for being a hoyden. They grew up together. Lady Whitmore arranges for him to visit her remote castle where Sarah plans her revenge. She spent that time training as an opera singer and polishing herself to be the woman Leonard wanted then she will spurn him. There's some things that just didn't sit well with me. One, Leonard doesn't recognize Sarah (though she looks familiar) even though they were supposed to marry and grew Ambivalent. Sarah was scorned by Leonard, the Duke of Vexen two years ago for being a hoyden. They grew up together. Lady Whitmore arranges for him to visit her remote castle where Sarah plans her revenge. She spent that time training as an opera singer and polishing herself to be the woman Leonard wanted then she will spurn him. There's some things that just didn't sit well with me. One, Leonard doesn't recognize Sarah (though she looks familiar) even though they were supposed to marry and grew up together. Sarah's revenge plan is kind of immature and petty. There's plenty of trouble with another girl, Maria. And there's colloquialisms that are used that are inappropriate for the time like "sloppy seconds." Yep. Leonard never shows contrition. So, a mixed bag.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Petula

    Lady Sarah Merrington was humiliated by a prospective husband. Even though she really had behaved childishly, she doesn't accept any fault.  Now our heroine is staying in a village where everyone minds their own business and the Lady who owns the castle and village encourages learning of all sorts.   Leonard Blackmore,  the Duke of Vexen is a man with a passion for archeology and a patron of the arts.  An invitation to an area that could be rich in Viking treasures tempts him.   A lovely historica Lady Sarah Merrington was humiliated by a prospective husband. Even though she really had behaved childishly, she doesn't accept any fault.  Now our heroine is staying in a village where everyone minds their own business and the Lady who owns the castle and village encourages learning of all sorts.   Leonard Blackmore,  the Duke of Vexen is a man with a passion for archeology and a patron of the arts.  An invitation to an area that could be rich in Viking treasures tempts him.   A lovely historical romance with lots of secrets being revealed by our fascinating characters.   This is the first in a new series and I'm looking forward to reading more.   I loved it.  

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rona Nimmo

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. How to Fool a Duke by Mary Lancaster and Violetta A number of years ago Leonard Duke of Vexen and Lady Sarah Drimmen were betrothed but as Sarah was young , very immature and mischievous. Leonard declined marriage until she became slightly more mature as befitting a future Duchess. As Sarah felt very slighted she vowed revenge at a later date. Quite a well written book! I felt the book was very slow and predictable unlike previous books I have read by Ms Lancaster. Quite enjoyable but I felt it How to Fool a Duke by Mary Lancaster and Violetta A number of years ago Leonard Duke of Vexen and Lady Sarah Drimmen were betrothed but as Sarah was young , very immature and mischievous. Leonard declined marriage until she became slightly more mature as befitting a future Duchess. As Sarah felt very slighted she vowed revenge at a later date. Quite a well written book! I felt the book was very slow and predictable unlike previous books I have read by Ms Lancaster. Quite enjoyable but I felt it dragged a bit for my personal taste.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tarra

    I just didn't really like this book. The blurb was so good, but the premise and overall execution just fell flat. The story really dragged for me and I didn't feel any chemistry between the characters or connection to the characters. The "revenge" plot was weak and silly. I was excited in the beginning for the premise of the small town of Whitmore, where budding artists and misfits of society converge. But overall, there wasn't enough to maintain my attention. Thank you NetGalley for a copy of th I just didn't really like this book. The blurb was so good, but the premise and overall execution just fell flat. The story really dragged for me and I didn't feel any chemistry between the characters or connection to the characters. The "revenge" plot was weak and silly. I was excited in the beginning for the premise of the small town of Whitmore, where budding artists and misfits of society converge. But overall, there wasn't enough to maintain my attention. Thank you NetGalley for a copy of this book, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chené Van der Merwe

    An enjoyable, if not predictable, book. The perfect vacation book to read to destress and declutter the mind. A good story line filled with all the clichés we love. I enjoyed reading it, but would not go so far as to say that it is memorable. I'm so glad to have had the chance to read it and enjoyed the experience. I read an advanced copy of the book. The the review is uninfluenced by this. I thank the publishers for affording me this opportunity. An enjoyable, if not predictable, book. The perfect vacation book to read to destress and declutter the mind. A good story line filled with all the clichés we love. I enjoyed reading it, but would not go so far as to say that it is memorable. I'm so glad to have had the chance to read it and enjoyed the experience. I read an advanced copy of the book. The the review is uninfluenced by this. I thank the publishers for affording me this opportunity.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nanci

    Prefer plot attraction in sync with historical period I like historical fiction. There is much to enjoy in this book. What I do not enjoy is when the characters treat physical attraction out of step with their time period. Mary Lancaster is a favorite author, usually receiving 5 stars from me. I have been less happy with Violetta Rand. I will think twice before reading the remainder of this series.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Saskia

    This was my first book by this so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I liked the premise of the story but for me the execution fell short. It was kinda predictable and the characters were very one dimensional. There wasn’t any depth to the characters and the story. It was a short, not complicated read, perfect for a vacation

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