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The Duke's Obsession

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London 1818

An American Heiress Who Must Swallow Her Pride

Miss Daphne Farrington despises three things: England's dreary weather, the grimy streets of London, and most especially the English aristocracy. Despite her misgivings, she must persuade the very English Duke of Waverly to save her family shipping business. If only she could ignore the way he makes her pulse race whenever she's near him.

A Duke Who Must Overcome Her Prejudice

Edward Lacey, the Duke of Waverly, is convinced that the lovely Miss Farrington, with her penchant for numbers, is the woman he'd like to make his Duchess. But unless he can convince her that not all English lords are callous, calculating rakes, a dark secret will ruin his chance at happiness.

239 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 12, 2014

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About the author

Frances Fowlkes

5 books61 followers
After viewing her all-time favorite love story, “Anne of Green Gables”, at the impressionable age of ten, Frances Fowlkes has been obsessed with affable boy-next door heroes, red-heads, and romance stories with lots of “highfaluting mumbo jumbo” written within their pages. It only seems natural then that she married the boy who used to pull on her curls in her high school English class, had not one, but THREE red-headed boys, and penned multiple love stories with bits of flowery prose.

When not writing, Frances loves spending time with her family, fangirling, and planning her next vacation.

Frances Fowlkes, originally a northern mid-westerner, now lives in the southeast with her ardent hero of a husband, three playful and rambunctious boys, and one spoiled standard poodle.

A self-professed Anglophile and summa cum laude graduate of LeTourneau University, Frances Fowlkes combines her passion for happily-ever-afters with her interests in both American and English histories.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 26 of 26 reviews
Profile Image for Caz.
2,760 reviews1,034 followers
September 6, 2016
I've given this a D at AAR - which means there may be snark ahead.

I picked up this category-length novel because I was intrigued by the idea of the heroine’s character having a “penchant for numbers”. I’ve come across quite a few books lately where the hero is some sort of mathematical or scientific whizz-kid, but it’s less common to find a heroine where that is the case.

Unfortunately, however, I was destined to be disappointed, as it seems that the heroine’s mathematical superpowers are pretty much limited to adding, subtracting and balancing the books.

Daphne Farrington has come to London from Boston with her brother, Thomas, who is visiting to check on their father’s shipping business. Daphne and her numerical superpowers are looking over the paperwork relating to a business deal they are about to conclude when she discovers that the documents are inaccurate and that the terms of the agreement have been surreptitiously altered.

So she does what any stereotypical, brash, American female would do and barges into her brother’s office steaming mad to share her discovery with her brother and his guests, Edward, the Duke of Waverly and the duke’s man of business, Mr Burnham. Needless to say, Burnham attempts to mask his guilt with indignation and by pointing out that Daphne is a mere woman and thus incapable of understanding the intricacies of such things.

Once Daphne is proved correct, Burnham leaves, but not before shaking his fist at her screaming “I’ll get you my pretty!” Well, no, he doesn’t – I just made that up, but he might as well have done, as he then proceeds to encourage Farrington’s investors to remove their cargos from their ships.

Thomas is naturally pretty pissed off at this turn of events, and tells Daphne she has to fix it by making the Duke aware of what’s happening and asking for his help. But the thing is, Daphne absolutely hates Englishmen and especially hates titled Englishmen, because she blames them for the death of their brother after he’d been impressed into service on an English ship several years previously. And not only that, but all titled Englishmen are arrogant, pompous, selfish bastards who should all go the way of Louis XVI.

But Daphne does as her brother asks and speaks to the very handsome Duke of Waverly who, in spite of his being a duke, is neither pompous nor a bastard, and whose touch makes her tingle. He agrees to help by investing in their shipping firm – on one condition. Daphne must give him the chance to prove to her that he’s not like all the other English nobility and see him as a man rather than as a duke.

To this end, he invites the Farringtons to a house party at his country estate – and while there Daphne’s mathematical superpowers and her ability to subtract one from five and get four instead of three shows that Burnham has been cheating his employer for years and that the estate books aren’t merely cooked, they’ve been served up au gratinée avec un soupçon de sauce Roquefort.

As for the “dark secret” that may “ruin his chance at happiness” – pfft! It’s pretty obvious from the outset what this is, and it’s also obvious that because Edward is keen to put Daphne in the picture before anyone else does, he’s going to leave it too late, thus ensuring their eternal separation. (Woe!)

Not only does it turn out to be a dumb secret, but rather than having Daphne come to terms with the knowledge, the author wimps out and instead has it turn out to be someone else’s fault all along.

The story, such as it is, isn’t really enough to fill even a category-length book. It’s slow-moving, and even the old cliché of “we must seek shelter from this terrible storm in this little cottage!” is wasted as there is no ensuing rumpy-pumpy to pass the time. Besides being one of those stereotypical breath-of-fresh-air, free-thinking, outspoken Americans that so often appear in the pages of Historical Romance, Daphne is a completely unsympathetic heroine. Edward quite rightly calls her – more than once – on the fact that she refuses to see past her prejudices. Her reaction to the “secret” when it’s revealed towards the end is ridiculously over the top, although Edward’s isn’t particularly helpful either. He’s much easier to like, but I couldn’t get my head around the fact that a thirty-five year old man would have put up with such a repellent and interfering mother for so long. Oh, he tells her where to get off, but I got the impression that up to this point, he’d been one of those men who just switched off when she started talking and agreed with her for a quiet life. Which isn’t an especially attractive quality in a romantic hero.

The writing is workmanlike at best, and the characterisation barely manages to be two-dimensional. There’s no depth or sophistication to the story and there are a number of typos, words used incorrectly and other simple errors - for example, crumpets are not made using sugar and a “deduction” is not an arithmetical term meaning “subtraction”.

If you want a quick, entertaining read for a wet afternoon – or even one in the sun – I suggest you look elsewhere for it.
Profile Image for Farrah.
1,249 reviews206 followers
April 29, 2014
A lovely, sweet, and engaging historical romance, The Duke's Obsession was a wonderful read. I really liked this book. It was a light romance that I enjoyed reading.

Daphne was an okay heroine. On one hand, she was strong and very smart and definitely a force to be reckoned with. On the other hand, her whole prejudice was mean and blinded her to what was right in front of her. It made her act in ways that not only hurt Edward, but also her English aunt and cousins. She did realize her mistake, though, and corrected it near the end. So, overall, I was okay with her.

Edward was a total sweetheart. He was a thoroughly honorable man and strove to earn the title of 'gentleman.' He was loyal and protective of his loved ones and a total sweetie. I adored him. I thought he was perfect.

The romance was good. Daphne and Edward were well matched, both wanting someone that wanted them for themselves. Though someone had a difficult time admitting that. The heat level was up there and led to a couple of steamy scenes. I thought they were great together.

The plot was well paced and, though I wasn't hooked, I was kept interested the entire way through. I really enjoyed the story and the ending was lovely.

The Duke's Obsession was a lovely historical romance that I really enjoyed reading. It was a light, sweet, and wonderful read. Romance lovers, this is a book you'll want to check out.

*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Maria Rose.
2,484 reviews247 followers
April 1, 2015
Fans of historical romance will enjoy this latest entry from the Entangled Scandalous line. This is the story of Daphne, an American woman in London to help save her family's shipping business and Edward the Duke of Waverly, whose interest in trade becomes even keener with his introduction to Daphne. Conventional norms say he must marry within his own social circle but he is unable to resist his attraction to Daphne. Daphne however wants nothing to do with the English aristocracy leaving Edward to devise a way to convince Daphne to change her mind about him.

I really enjoyed the characterization of the hero and heroine. Edward knows what is expected of him and while on the outside he is seen as fulfilling his ducal duties, he exhibits caring and concern to those in his life beyond what is expected for a peer of the realm. He longs for Daphne to see the real man behind the title. Daphne is a strong, independently minded woman who knows what she wants and how to get it. That Edward values her for her intelligence and mathematical skills touches her deeply. Edward's pursuit of Daphne is touching and heartwarming. Sexual tension is fraught beneath the surface between them, well written and pulling the reader into the story. The novel is fast paced and full of humour and heartwarming moments. Edward's attempts at gallantry while singlemindedly pursuing Daphne are delightful. Lovers of historical romance will enjoy this book. 4 stars.
Profile Image for GONZA.
6,469 reviews112 followers
April 22, 2014
Cute but not great this book with the Duke different from the usual and the American heiress with a passion for mathematics. Very easy to read, but I think I will forget it soon.

Carino ma non eccezionale questo libro con il duca diverso dal solito e l'ereditiera americana con il pallino per la matematica. Molto scorrevole, ma credo me lo scorderó presto.

Profile Image for Anne.
831 reviews76 followers
August 11, 2023
I was pleasantly surprised about this book. I didn't like the idea of a duke being obsessed with a girl...sounds a bit stalkerish. But the book developed their romance quite well, and I enjoyed the exploration of their differences as an American and British, especially Daphne's prejudice against all things British (which makes sense, considering this book is set in 1818, just a few decades after the American Revolution). A light, fluff romance that I enjoyed.
Profile Image for HistoricalHussy.
182 reviews
May 8, 2022
Thoroughly dislike the sort of heroine in this who is so proud and prejudiced (haha) that she *readily* believes the worst of the hero without even a *proper* look at the evidence. For the most part I enjoyed the book though.
Profile Image for Patty McKenna Van Hulle.
557 reviews14 followers
May 14, 2014
The Duke's Obsession by Frances Fowlkes
Frances Fowlkes

What does an English Duke do when he is enslaved by a gutsy, cheeky and math crazy American girl? He takes her on a most EXCELLENT ADVENTURE!

Miss Daphne Farrington lives a life of numbers. The number 10 is for calming and soothing her and the number 6 is for sin and imperfection. Daphne is from Boston and is in England with her brother Thomas. They are embraced by their deceased mother's sister, Lady Susan Amherst, and her family. Their job is to find investors and renew trade with England for her father's shipping company. Her brother, Samuel, was captured, enslaved and murdered on an English ship, the Seraphine. Now Daphne believes all things English are tarnished, corrupted and evil. When she meets the Duke, she prays for the number 10 and tries to forget the number 6.

Edward Lambert Spencer Lacey, the 5th Duke of Waverly, fears only three things: God, his Mother's retribution and only be wanted for his title and wealth. The Dowager Duchess has been hounding him to marry the perfect English woman and she has even made it easy for him by picking out Lady Isabella for the job. Edward dreams of a woman who truly wants and loves him as a man and not as a duke. Edward has set his sights on Miss Daphne Farrington, but there is a couple of problems with his choice, she is an American, her father is in TRADE and she hates all things English.

Daphne and Thomas busted into Mr. Burnham's office and accuse him of steal from them. Edward is at Mr. Burnham's office and is instantly mesmerized by Miss Daphne Farrington and knows he must have her. Mr. Burnham denies any wrong doing and begins to trash then Farrington name throughout London. Thomas threatens to make Daphne stay in England for a whole year, if she unable to influence the Duke to help squash the rumors. Edward agrees to help, but he wants something in return, for her to get to know him and judge him as a man at his country estate, Thornhaven.

Daphne and Edward's story has so many speed bump in their way. The Dowager Duchess creates a house party from Hades at Thornhaven. Lady Isabella and a nosey and handsy Earl of Westbrook are invited along with her Aunt Susan and her daughters. The snobby Duchess treats Daphne as if she is polluting them with her Americaness and GOD forbid TRADE! With the help of creative accounting, scheming family members, a well placed mud hole, the cunning and dishonest Mr. Burnham and yes even a summer rainstorm to bring these two love starved and crazy kids together. Will Edward's secret about the Seraphine kill Daphne's love for him? Can Daphne ever love the man who is responsible for Samuel's death? But most of all, will the Dowager Duchess ever get her well deserved slap upside her head?

This book world that Ms. Fowlkes created was such a joy to explore and I loved experiencing all the crazy folks doing hilarious and many stupid things. Daphne is a intelligent and spunky American! She shows England that she will not be dismissed, scolded or underestimated! With his sense of responsibility, his humbleness and did I mention his yummy body, Edward strips and bares his true self to Daphne. He can only hope and pray that she will see the man, not the arrogant English Duke. Laughter is a true gift to us all and Ms. Fowlkes has be blessed with it. She made me fell in love with her kooky characters, loose myself in laughter, loses my voice YELLING at the Dowager Duchess, unearth my slightly crushed and smelly pompoms and cheer Edward and Daphne on, and create and live in my own personal Thornhaven universe. I really like Ms. Fowlkes' cosmos and give her a score of 4 finger up and 7 toes. My only complaint is I needed more steamy, carnal and arousing debauchery!

Reviewed from a NetGalley ARC for an honest review.
Profile Image for Stacy Reid.
Author 72 books2,914 followers
May 12, 2014
I really enjoyed this book. I love strong and sassy heroines and Daphne certainly was one. Her smartness was intriguing and instead of being told she was witty and smart it was shown to us. Her disgust with the English aristocracy was understandable even though sometimes frustrating. It made her blind to what was right in front of her and treated us to some snarky internal thoughts. Some which were justifiable and some which were not. Daphne was a good character that had great strength and obvious flaws that were later overcome. I confess I did not feel as if she was in love with the duke! I knew she really liked him and had strong feelings for him, but even when he declared himself to her, I did not feel as if the depth of the sentiments were returned by her. But I knew there was enough for a HEA that could only flourish.
Our Hero Edward was a pleasant surprise. I was startled by how much I loved him. I normally want my dukes to be arrogant, and entitled yet sexy. He did not present like that at all, not even once. He was charming, pleasant, and a gentleman of honor through and through. It really made me fall in love with him. Even his mother who got under my skin to no end, I wanted her demise in the most painful of ways, he only treated with respect and kindness. It made me only love him more. His sincerity for Daphne was felt and I certainly understood why he fell in love with her.
While the pacing was slow in some sections, and the heat level mild and sweet, I was still unable to put this book down and I read it in one sitting. I recommend this sweet and spicy regency romance to all historical lovers.
Profile Image for Krystal.
1,131 reviews27 followers
May 10, 2014
This was a fairly quick read, filled with interesting characters, lots of witty dialog, and even enough plot twists to keep the story moving at a steady pace.

I found Daphne to be different from other female leads of this genre, not because she was an American, but because she had such a deep understanding of business and mathematics, which wasn't your every day woman's pursuit. She was able to save not only her family from losing money, but she was able to keep the Duke from getting swindled out of even more of his money. There were times when I wanted to literally reach into th novel and shake her once or twice, as I found that she often did not seem to thoroughly think things through before she acted (or reacted), and some of the things she did on her part were not only hurtful to Edward, but to her English relations as well. While I understood her reasons behind everything, I didn't agree with the way she handled herself and her emotions. Her aunt and cousins were kind enough and loving enough to take her in and introduce her into society, and she didn't seem to even be able to separate them from her mindset of English people being the "enemy".

I would recommend this novel to fans of historical romances, and regular sweet romances alike, and I look forward to reading more from this author myself!

DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way, all opinions contained in this review are 100% my own.
Profile Image for Connie N..
2,400 reviews
May 19, 2014
I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.

This Regency romance started off well, with a bit of a twist since the heroine is an American who has just come to England to assist her brother with their family business. They immediately meet Edward, Duke of Waverly, who surprisingly has invested in trade, namely their shipping line. Daphne, despite her half-English nationality, hates the British because of the cruel method the British Navy has used to gain employees--impressing sailors from other ships, in this case an American ship that her brother served on. He was killed, thereby fueling Daphne's hatred and distrust of all things British. Unfortunately this includes the Duke, despite their attraction to each other. What I disliked about this book was Daphne's uncompromising hatred, allowing it to run her life and make her decisions for her. She seemed unreasonable, completely generalizing about "the British," not allowing that anyone could be different from the opinion she had formed. Because the rest of the story was an enjoyable, typical Regency romance, I give it 3 stars.
Profile Image for Marcie.
709 reviews6 followers
July 8, 2014
Miss Daphne Farrington hates English Aristocracy. She's thinks they're all stuck up snobs. When her paths cross with Edward Lacey, the Duke of Waverly, she is certain that she is right. However she needs Edward's help to clear her brother's name. He agrees to help, but only if he can try to convince her that she's wrong about the English.

The Duke's Obsession reminded me of Pride and Prejudice. Though Daphne is both proud and prejudiced against the English. I absolutely love Edward Lacey. He's is a swoon-worthy character. He immediately is attracted to Daphne, though he denies his feelings a bit. Daphne is also attracted to Edward, though she doesn't want to be.

This is an enjoyable story. I love watching the two characters struggle with their feelings. I love seeing Daphne softening not only toward Edward but also to her English relatives. This is a heart-warming story that will leave you with the warm and fuzzies.
Read more at http://www.toreadornottoread.net/2014...
Profile Image for My Book Addiction and More MBA.
1,958 reviews64 followers
May 9, 2014
THE DUKE'S OBSESSION by Frances Fowlkes is an exciting Regency Historical Romance set in 1818 London.

Meet, Miss Daphne Farrington and Edward Lacey, the Duke of Waverly. This is the tale of an American Heiress and a Duke intent to change her prejudices toward the English, most especially him.

Fast paced and filled with secrets, prejudices, passion, love and romance. A quick read that will leave you satisfied. With engaging characters, witty banter, a misunderstanding or two, and lots of intrigue and mystery, you don't want to miss THE DUKE'S OBSESSION.

A great read and one I would highly recommend you reading, rather, you are a historical romance reader or a romance reader in general you will enjoy your choice of reading material. A sweet tale of love and bitterness, that may cost Daphne and Edward their HEA! Well done!! I look forward to Ms. Fowlkes' next grand adventure. Received for an honest review.



REVIEWED BY: AprilR, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More

Profile Image for Elizabeth.
203 reviews12 followers
June 11, 2014
This was a fairly typical romance. In this case we have a duke falling in love with an...American. There are some prejudices to be overcome on both sides, and to make matters worse our heroine is engaged in trade as her family owns a successful shipping line in Boston. I found the premise to be interesting, but what I didn't like was how things ended. Things came together a little too easily for this pair. The main obstacle to their alliance was the death of Daphne's brother at the hands of the British (on the very ship smuggling rum that Edward, Duke of Waverly was involved with). Instead of love conquering all, there was a very tidy resolution in that Edward wasn't involved at all. Even the machinations of Daphne's mother-in-law-to-be don't prove to be a deal-breaker, as in the epilogue they are a big happy family. Overall, it meets all the requirements for a romance, but it was somewhat less than satisfying.

*I received an e-galley from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
2,102 reviews40 followers
May 14, 2014
The Duke's Obsession is a very enjoyable romance. Daphne Farrington is intelligent, feisty and determined, but she is not welcome in British society. She is American and her father is in trade. Her champion is Edward Lacey, the Duke of Waverly. She touches his soul. He is all that is good and honest. His character is perfect for Daphne. I loved watching as these two grew closer and began to fall in love. The secondary characters are excellent. I really hope to see them again in their own story. This book is well-written with a touch of suspense added. I had to know the secret of the Seraphina. I enjoy the writing of Frances Fowlkes. I'm looking forward to reading more of her books.
425 reviews4 followers
May 30, 2014
This historical romance was exactly what I wanted it to be - sweet, adorable, with a clever American heroine who hates the English and a proper English Duke who usually obeys his mother in all things, and desperately wants a wife who sees him for himself.

It didn't really tread new ground, but instead was a comfortable, sweet story that I would be happy to revisit. Recommended for anyone who is a fan of the genre.

Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

See my complete review at To Each Their Own Reviews
Profile Image for Amira.
197 reviews11 followers
July 21, 2014
This book was a quick read for me. The characters kept me engaged, and what I liked the most was how different our heroine Daphne was from the wilting flowers of the ton. I know it was her Americanism and her which made her stand out, but her character was well drawn.There were times she was frustratingly stubborn, but it pulled me deeper into the angst she felt for the people of the British society. The hero was just ok for me. I was very perplexed by some of his behavior. Especially his latitude in allowing his mother to dictate his life. He was charming and very considerate though...very sweet. Overall I quiet enjoyed it and would recommend this book to romance readers.
Profile Image for Ginger Lobdell.
16 reviews13 followers
May 9, 2014
This was my very first Entangled experience. I thoroughly enjoyed curling up with this book at night. The story of Daphne and Edward was a fantastic escape at the end of a busy day. The banter, the chemistry, and the history lesson that was woven into the tale left me wanting to know more of how they lived happily ever after!
Profile Image for Luli.
671 reviews73 followers
May 14, 2014
Demasiado previsible y nada nuevo.
Salvo que a la protagonista le gustan las matemáticas, por lo demás casi lo de siempre…

Profile Image for Brittany.
3,156 reviews23 followers
May 3, 2014
I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I really really wanted to enjoy this but it was just too disjointed. The story kept switching to random locations with little to no warning. It was hard to follow at times. I liked the characters but other than that not a huge fan.
Profile Image for Beckey.
1,469 reviews113 followers
May 19, 2014
Great historical romance, full review on my blog
Book was received for an honest review. 4.5 stars
Profile Image for Lily Maxton.
Author 19 books149 followers
June 18, 2014
Very well-written novel. Daphne and Edward are both really likable main characters. It's a sweet, more traditional-style historical romance (but there's still some nice sexual tension throughout).
Profile Image for Lyre.
216 reviews10 followers
September 3, 2014
Cover: how decent, both models are fully dressed.
Title: the proliferation of dukes is not new.
Ok, back to the book: sweet, cute, nothing specially remarkable.
2.5 stars.
Profile Image for Nessa.
3,108 reviews41 followers
March 13, 2022

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