REVIEW: LENORA BELL ✭ WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DUKE MAKESWhat a Difference a Duke Makes by Lenora Bell
Series: School for Dukes #1
Published by Avon on March 27th 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon

Wanted: Governess for duke's unruly children

Edgar Rochester, Duke of Banksford, is one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in England, but when it comes to raising twins alone, he knows he needs help. The only problem is the children have chased away half the governesses in London. Until the clever, bold, and far-too-enticing Miss Mari Perkins arrives.

Lost: One heart to an arrogant duke

Mari knows how to wrap even the most rebellious children around her finger. But their demanding, wickedly handsome father? He won't be quite so easy to control. And there's something else she can't seem to command. Her heart. The foolish thing beats so wildly every time the duke is near.

Found: A forbidden passion neither can deny

As his employee, Mari is strictly off-limits. But what if she's the one breaking all his rules? In the game of governess versus duke, how can Edgar maintain his defenses when the only thing he wants to do is let the tempting beauty win?


by Lenora Bell

I used to read a lot of Historical Romance but stopped because sometimes even a good thing can become too much. I’d gorged myself on HR and it started to bore me. A couple years later the books I read are so diverse that I savor each HR even if it’s not a complete winner.

Mari is in a bit of a pickle – after all her belongings were stolen her delayed arrival to an appointment costs her a potential job as a governess. She relies on the agency owner’s charity since Mari’s parentage is, well, questionable. Unfortunately the owner doesn’t feel charitable. Mari overhears a conversation, however, that the Duke of Banksford needs a governess for his illegitimate offspring. There’s nothing for it so Mari grabs the chance with both hands.

Edgar doesn’t want to be exposed to Mari’s charm around the clock but does he really have a choice? Mari is a potential threat for his peace of mind and the walls he has erected around his heart, however, his unmanageable children have run off every governess after a few days. So again, there’s nothing for it and Edgar recruits the bold young woman. Soon he finds himself wanting to break all his self-imposed rules.

The starry-eyed Miss Perkins was precisely what he did not require—a small, yet dangerous, bundle of crackling energy ready to burn through what little remained of his sanity.

Both male and female lead were truly likable characters and are somehow pioneers among their peers. Marie is an outgoing, very forward and spontaneous woman with a big heart. Her spunky, spirited personality charms the duke from the moment he meets her. Her spontaneity leads to regret sometimes but ultimately it has always worked out for her.

Edgar is a craftsman – which is really unusual for this time period. He is kind, a little troubled but good to the core. Edgar’s push and pull was a little confusing – according to his inner monologue he was all in one minute, the next one he had to keep Mari at arm’s length. I think it was supposed to show his confusion with his own feelings. I loved that he opened his heart little by little and saw how good Mari was for him and his children. (Also, can I say, I’m not a big fan of the name Edgar.)

The character’s speech was a little too modern for Regency London (although now that I think about it I can’t remember that a time period was mentioned).  I also found the writing style a little choppy, over-simplified and interrupted the flow.

Her lower lip trembled when he raised the dagger. He made short work of her frayed bootlaces. Her corset laces would be much more fun to cut. Enough.

I don’t have kids but once upon a moon I was 9 years old and I can’t remember that I talked like that. I thought that Adele in particular talked a little too much like a grown-up. Otherwise the twins were a cute addition.

The story line itself is quite entertaining although you’ll have to suspend belief. I like my HR with a dose of realism and a governess and a duke? Yeah, that wouldn’t have happened…but still, the story was light and enjoyable.

This is my first book by Lenora Bell and while I probably expected a little more I was entertained.


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  • Ok, I used to be a HUGE HR reader. But, as you stopped myself – overdone maybe. Well, I find now I still like to read HR but they never seem to be that steller to me – most getting a 3/ 3.5 rating. I feel like I haven’t found that one author that makes me want to go back and read more HR. I hope there is one out there. I just haven’t found her yet. Great review, sorry it wasn’t stellar, but glad it wasn’t a clusterfuck. =)

    • Thank you 🙂
      I have a couple of authors I trust completely (Let me know if you need names). I haven’t found a new one yet to add to that list though.

        • Lorraine Heath, Jennifer Ashley and Sarah Maclean. I’m sure you’ve heard of Lisa Kleypas. Loretta Chase’s older ones are very good too.

          Those are actually the authors who are the most reliable and I know when I pick up one of their books it’ll definitely be a winner!

          • Sorry, didn’t think to check back here till today! Lorraine Heath yes – I have read a book by her long ago and it was a 4/5 stars – good ok. Thank you. I have not read anything by the others – see I am missing out! I am going to add a few to my amazon account so I can pick some up when I buy some more!

            Thank you! =)

            • I only replied yesterday, so no worries 😀

              Oh my, you’re in for a treat, and with Lisa Kleypas in particular. If you loved Lorraine Heath, you’ll also adore LK. Devil in Winter from her Wallflowers series is one of my top favorite ever.

  • I read this one and really enjoyed it. Even though I have enjoyed reading this author, she does modernize her historical’s which is the biggest pet peeve I have about her books. But too many HR authors now write modernized historical’s. Which is why I like to read older HR because those authors tended to do their research and its why some authors such as Tessa Dare I struggle with reading now because I feel like in some ways they have ruined what regency romance used to be. What I thought was unrealistic was how she would be so “accepted” by society in marrying a Duke, there were instances of it however the pair was highly rejected and shunned by society. It does help her birth mother was connected to society. Normally in HR the only time I see pairing like this between a lord and a governess or housekeeper, is normally the heroine has some familial connection to the Ton in some way. But I did love the Mary Poppins theme, it was so cute.

    Have you read Stephanie Laurens? She writes some great authentic regency novels. Especially her older books.

    Lovely review.

    • I actually love Tessa Dare even though she writes in a more modern fashion too but her writing style is just amazing. That’s probably why she works for me. The weaknesses of this story piled up a little – It wasn’t bad. Just not my cuppa.

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