At the Kingsborough Ball
I really like historical romances, but they have to be well written – Eloisa James has spoiled me. I am delighted to have found another good author in Sophie Barnes.
This is the first book in the Kingsborough Ball series. It appears the books following all get their start at the same event, the ball given by the Anthony Hurst, the Duke of Kingsborough. This is the first party held at the estate in more than five years, since his father became ill and eventually died. A year later, Anthony decides that returning to the habit of hosting their annual event is just what his mother needs to help pull her out of mourning.
Tradition holds that it be a masked ball, and Cinderella is the theme, replete with a glass slipper carved of ice, and a pumpkin inspired carriage outside, with an artist on hand to sketch couples who deign to sit inside it.
To honor his father’s memory, the Duke realizes that he needs to change his rakish ways, find a bride and produce an heir – and he meets the girl of his dreams at the ball. She is beautiful but masked, and gives her name as “Miss Smith.” The family quickly realizes that she is lying about who she is and that she’s not on the guest list, but the Duke is smitten. Fireworks are set for midnight, and of course “Miss Smith” disappears, but the Duke is determined to find her.
Isabella is an avid reader of fairy tales, and dreams of meeting her prince. But as the daughter of a carriage driver, she knows that it’s impossible, especially as her parents have an arrangement with Mr. Roberts, who has been calling on her weekly for a year. He hasn’t proposed, but she suspects he will, and she feels it is her duty to marry him. He is a wealthy entrepreneur and will help take care of her family, and he is looking for what we now consider a trophy wife.
Barnes excels at creating tension, making the pages just fly by until the requisite happy ending, but not before throwing several obstacles in the way – as well as a bit of sex.
I am looking forward to the next book in the series, The Scandal in Kissing an Heir, especially after reading the first chapter which is included in the back of this book.
4/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
THE TROUBLE WITH BEING A DUKE by Sophie Barnes. Avon (August 27, 2013). ISBN 978-0062245076. 384p.