Book Review: Blame It on the Duke (The Disgraceful Dukes #3) by Lenora Bell
|Rating: 5 Stars|
Summary: Have you heard?
The future Duke of Barrington has just been gambled away by his father. To an heiress!
The delicious details thus far…
Nicolas, Lord Hatherly, never intended to marry—nor add to the “mad” Hatherly line—but now he must honor his father’s debt to a social-climbing merchant or lose the family estate.
A notoriously wild marquess, won by her father at a game of cards, is the very last thing Miss Alice Tombs wants. She’s spent the last three seasons repelling suitors in spectacular fashion so she’d be at liberty to explore the world. She’ll just have to drive this one away as well.
Until Nick proposes an utterly tempting arrangement: one summer together to prove the legitimacy of their union, then Alice is free to travel while Nick revels in the time he has left before the Hatherly Madness takes hold.
It will be easy to walk away after a few months of make-believe wedded bliss—won’t it? Alice and Nick are about to find out…one sultry night at a time.
This ought to be fun…
Review: All of Lenora Bell’s Disgraceful Dukes books are… I don’t want to say “based on,” so let’s say… linked with a book/movie/story. They are as follows:
How the Duke Was Won (The Disgraceful Dukes #1) – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
If I Only Had a Duke (The Disgraceful Dukes #2) – The Wizard of Oz
Blame It on the Duke (The Disgraceful Dukes 3#) – Alice in Wonderland
I was so pumped when Lenora Bell affirmed that this third book in her Disgraceful Dukes trilogy would feature the notorious Alice Tombs and be Alice in Wonderland-ish. Alice Tombs was a side character in the first book in the series, and she was instantly my favorite character in pretty much ever. There’s a scene in a row boat in How the Duke Was Won (that I’ll let you discover for yourself) that pretty much cemented it for me: Alice needed her own book, and if I had to start a petition to get Ms. Bell to write it I was prepared.
Imagine my great surprise and delight when I learned that not only was Miss Tombs getting her own book, but it was to have Alice in Wonderland undertones (overtones?) to it as well!! Alice in Wonderland is an obsession of mine and definitely one of my top fandoms. And elements from Lewis Carroll’s books are interwoven so beautifully into Blame It on the Duke. There’s the obvious of the main character’s name being Alice, to the less obvious “mad” Hatherlys (Mad Hatter, anyone?) right down to minor details like Lord White with his waistcoats embroidered in rabbits checking his pocket watch and declaring that he is ever do late. There is also an in-the-know bit about a paperweight, as well as a play on the White Queen’s ability to believe in six impossible things before breakfast.
Blame It on the Duke turns a well known trope about a woman being trapped into marriage by the machinations of her father (gambling her away, in this instance) right on its head, as in this instance it is the father of Nicholas, Lord Hatherly, who has gambled his son’s hand in marriage! It’s always fun to see well loved trooped turned on their heads, and this was a delight to read. Neither Alice nor Nick wants this marriage, and so they conspire together and, in the meantime, grow closer together. I love Alice’s passion for her studies, and I feel these deep pangs for Nick and his worries about his father, his sanity, and his future.
I love Lenora Bell’s books so much that I own the entire Disgraceful Dukes series both in paperback and audiobook (narrated by Beverly A. Crick). Ms. Crick does an excellent job narrating, giving great personality to the voices of the characters and making the men sound alluring and deep-voiced without putting on a falsely high voice for the women (which is something I absolutely abhor!) I’ve also pre-ordered Lenora’s next book, What a Difference a Duke Makes, which will be the first in a new series called School for Dukes. The expected publication date is March 27, 2018, and I just can’t wait to read it!!