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How the Duke Was Won

(The Disgraceful Dukes #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,485 ratings  ·  382 reviews
The pleasure of your company is requested at Warbury Park. Four lovely ladies will arrive… but only one can become a duchess.

James, the scandalously uncivilized Duke of Harland, requires a bride with a spotless reputation for a strictly business arrangement. Lust is prohibited and love is out of the question.

Four ladies. Three days. What could go wrong?

She is not like the
Mass Market Paperback, 370 pages
Published April 26th 2016 by Avon
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3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,485 ratings  ·  382 reviews

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If you've looked this title up at Amazon and seen all the "puff" from really good authors like Courtney Milan, Sarah MacLean and Lorraine Heath, you could be forgiven for thinking this is a good book. I know the marketing people are out to sell books, but having people like that endorse duds like this can't but tarnish them just a bit for their fans.

I gave it a D at AAR.

I was only a few pages into reading this début novel from Lenora Bell when I had to ask myself why I’d requested a review copy
Nov 19, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Buddy read with the fantastic Emma!

How the Duke Was Won wasn't able to win us over, I'm afraid, because both my pal Emma and I ended up rating this book two stars. (By the way, if you want to read her review, you can just click here.)

Emma and I agreed that there were certain elements in the story that seemed farfetched, contradictory, and just downright unnecessary.

For example:
1. Charlene's mother was operating a bawdy house or a brothel. And yet, it was stated that:
Lulu [Charlene's sister] wa
Nenia ☠️ Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Protector of Out of Print Gems, Mother of Smut, and Actual Garbage Can ☠️ Campbell

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

🎃 Read for the Unapologetic Romance Readers Halloween 2017 Reading Challenge for the category of: a romance with a masquerade/costume party 🎃

This is a Nenia and Sarah BR brought to you by Kindle Clean Out Club Productions. Tired of hoarding ebooks and not reading them? Now, in 200-550 easy steps, you can! No, but seriously, if it weren't for this forum, I'd be way more behind on my to-read list. It is The Best. If your Kindle is also out
Pavlina Read more sleep less blog❤❤

I enjoyed this book so much! From the moment I read the blurb I knew this book would be fun! And I wasn't wrong, the plot was so good and once I started I couldn't put it down! How The Duke Was Won is a refreshing, funny, sweet, fast paced and sexy story!


I loved the plot and how the story developed with Charlene pretending to be her half sister Dorothea! And James doing whatever he could to resist her. But Charlene's personality was so amazing that no one could resist her!

James is irre
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
I think I have finally figured out what kind of historical romance work for me: rom-com just like with movies. Well, in this case, it's a historical rom-com (a his-rom-com?). Anyway, How the Duke Was Won turned out to be quite good just because it was so bloody funny now and then. I quite liked the part of the book when the four ladies and their mothers (or three ladies and their mother, and Charlene and her half-sister's mother) tried to win the Duke's favour and at the same time attacking each ...more
Lenora Bell
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-wrote-this
As Sarah MacLean likes to say, "this reviewer is highly unreliable" :) This is my debut romance novel and the "book of my heart." It's very loosely inspired by the classic tale of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (with a dash of The Bachelor and a sprinkle of Cinderella). If you read closely you'll catch some subtle nods to the classic tales. For example, my heroine's name is Charlene Beckett (get it?) and her duke is obsessed with creating the perfect drinking chocolate and he needs an heir to ...more
Mandi Schreiner
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Favorite Quote: "I'm going to kiss you," he breathed in her ear. "You have exactly three seconds to leave. I advise you to leave."

He waited a moment. "Please leave."

(She doesn't leave...there could be hot kissing that follows)

Debut author alert! Adorable book alert!

With his brother and father dead, James has found himself with the title of duke - title he never wanted. As a young adult, escaping London for world travel, he eventually lands in Trinidad and discovers a passion for cocoa beans. Aft
Apr 17, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Add another to the dnf pile.This book was hard to believe from the moment I started it but I plodded on untill I just couldn't take it any more,wasted 88 pages of utter unbelievable nonsense. 1Star for the 88 pages read.
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I read this as part of my, and Nenia's , plan to clean out our Kindles (except that I actually borrowed this from the library just so that I could take part in another BR, I love BRs).

23/10 - This was very 'Regency Bachelor' in plot. The hero, James, Duke of Harland, needs to marry because he's unexpectedly become the duke, rather than the spare he was born as, and the duke can't be wife or heirless. He can't decide which of four eligible ladies to choose - the
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people without the compulsion to analyse everything
"It's just a romance novel! Don't take it too seriously." Wrong. We can choose to interpret anything however we like, and I've decided that my hot take on this book is valuable because I can't stand virtue signalling, and because I like thinking about the relationship between the past and present, especially through historical fiction. It's not like I get paid for these anyway. I might as well have some deranged, overanalytical fun.

Really this is more of a 2.5, which still sounds bad, but under
Lover of Romance
This review was originally posted on Addicted To Romance Summary
James, the Duke of Harland needs to find a bride so that he can have a mother for his illegitimate daughter and return back across to America and what he believes to be his home. So he comes up with a plan, for a party involving four potential debutantes that will be all proper and what he needs. He never planned on one of those women being someone he can't resist. Charlene is shocked with a member of nobility offers her secur
Bindi Boo
Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
This was an amazing historical read. Think "The Bachelor" set during historical times with cravats, corsets and bonnets.
Charlene Beckett, a cast-aside illegitimate daughter of an Earl is desperately seeking ways to divert her sure-path as a courtesan and the one way is to find a different career i.e. open up a boarding home for teens seeking refuge and teaching them life skills. She needs to settle her debts with a perverted duke, pay for her little sister's art apprentice and find a go
Jedi Kitty
I moderately enjoyed this book, but in the end skimmed through. I thought it became a bit trite and too perfect towards the end. Main characters: Philanthropic, heart-of-gold heroine who knows jujitsu and grew up in a "bawdy" house. Philanthropic, abolitionist chocolate-making Duke with an illegitimate Trinidadian daughter. This sounds pretty good, but the characters didn't really break many molds for me. The plot-muppet daughter exists to be adorable and make the heroine look like a paragon, th ...more
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Estava com vontade de ler um romance de época e peguei neste livro (também em parte porque já saiu o segundo da série). Gostei bastante, não conhecia esta autora mas gostei do que li portanto estou curiosa para ler o resto da trilogia...
Yomi M.
I REALLY wanted to love this book but I just didn't. Maybe I shouldn't have read this straight after Lorraine Heath's new book, who knows. I thought it was way too silly and I understand that this is fiction and you have suspend reality a bit but it was just way too unrealistic for the times. When I read a Historical Romance book even though it's fiction I want it to be written so that I'm almost transported back to how things were then.
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this in one sitting, staying up till 2 AM to finish it. It isn't a perfect debut but it's a gripping premise--the illegitimate half-sister of a lady poses as her sister to win a duke!--and the sexual tension is off the charts. I especially enjoyed that there were many historical references in this novel, from issues of child labor to slavery and labor laws explored relatively in-depth for a historical romance. I'd recommend this for anyone looking for a new historical romance author--I su ...more
Aly is so frigging bored
It was a good debut novel. I liked most of it, though there were some scenes with purple prose and the heroine and hero deserved some smacks over their heads.
Mar 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
3.5 stars. Great characters, good plot twist and a fun book to read!
Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Coffee Dates with How the Duke Was Won

First Date: James the Duke of Harland requires a bride of impeccable reputation to handle his estates and to protect those in his keep. Along with the aid of a friend, and his trusted butler, they select four eligible women and invite them and their mother’s for a three-day stay. One of those women is abroad and well a mama has to do what a mama’s has to do. Right? Charlene Beckett is the illegitimate daughter of an earl and a courtesan. The Earl's wife re
Grace Cieleen
Mar 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly an easy-feel good-hits the spot kind of read and I've learned that this is the debut novel of the author. I loved her writing style - she reminds me of Tessa Dare and she goes up on the list of the authors that I'll watch out for.

Thanks to Avon for the free eBook from RWA16!
(Nat) Reading Romances


Lenora Bell pens a fascinating story with ease. The progression of this plot was very natural, but never predictable. James and Charlene are fascinating characters, I was hanging on their every word. As a plea and a note to secondary characters, Alice was my favorite, I’d love to see her HEA. Maybe while she's trying everything not to seduce the hero but he ends up falling in love with her anyways. Would't that be a perfect story for her?

I absolutely loved How the Duke Was Won. A ma
Jun 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, historical

What a lovely and thoughtful historical romance this was! How the Duke Was Won wasn't a book on my radar, but when I came across it while browsing Goodreads, I immediately went ahead and purchased a copy. This was so much more than just a historical romance and I loved every minute of reading it.

James, Duke of Harland, is in immediate need of a respectable society lady as a wife. So what does he do? He sends out an invitation to four society ladies, with their mothers, to spend 3 days at his hou
Al *the semi serial series skipper*
You would enjoy this book is you love drama in HR and don't get bothered by implausible scenerios.

I really wanted to like this one.
I love reading debut books, it's fun reading something from a new author and seeing different writing styles and characterizations. It's even better when the said debut author writes a masterpiece. It's hard to enjoy a debut novel when it seems as though the author has taken parts and pieces from all her favorite books and mashed them up together and hope for the b
3.75 Stars

How the Duke Was Won involves Charlene, the daughter of a courtesan being offered a large amount of money to masquerade as her half-sister, Lady Dorothea, at a house party being thrown by a duke. Charlene's goal is to get the Duke of Harland to propose to "Dorothea" so that she can gain her reward and get out of the London underworld. Of course, things get complicated when Charlene meets the duke and realizes that he is not your typical British aristocrat, but someone that she is comin
Tracy T.
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book a lot! Great Narration by Beverly Crick. (audible review)

This was such and fun book. Very entertaining all the way through.

I loved Charlene and James, the disgraceful Duke of Harland. The chemistry and attraction between these two was great. It felt real and genuine. There was a couple very well written sex scenes. Not erotica not rated G, but steamy.

Very strong female lead character. No simpering whiny heroine here. A great hero in the disgraceful duke.

The story line
I discovered this author while scrolling the library shelves. For a debut novel, this was a decent read. The characters were likable, but the story had just enough inconsistencies to be a slight nuisance. For example, Charlene basically knowing karate or her sister Lulu’s painting hobby just seemed a bit far fetched for the time. Otherwise, I liked the author’s writing style and found the pockets of humor entertaining.
Dec 23, 2018 rated it liked it
James downed more brandy.
How had it come to this? He was the family disgrace, the exiled devil-may-care spare. He should be hacking a path through a West Indies jungle, not choosing duchess candidates. Marriage had never been in the plan.

He didn't want any of this. The dukedom or the society bride. He'd spent the last ten years roaming the world, living by his own rules, and he wasn't about to move back to cold, restrictive England and become a narrow-minded tyrant like his father. Instead, Jame
Shannon Gallagher
It was a complete surprise to me that I loved this story. The stars hinged entirely on the hero’s reaction when he meets the true Dorothea. So, yes, you guessed right. This is a mistaken identity trope. My only complaint which will be someone else’s love for this book was one too many sexy time scenes.

I do love Lenora Bell’s writing and her heroines. This is my second book by this author. I hadn’t set out to read a series when I started, but I’ll be finishing it now. Great new author find!
2,5 stars for an interesting debut. For me it’s just not hitting the mark as a fulfilling romance yet. It's a nice beach read or a book for those moments you're not to focussed on character development.

Before I go into explaining my rating, just a little side story. Last weekend my friend and I went to a meet and greet in London with one of our favorite authors: Sarah MacLean. At this event we would also meet Lenora Bell. So we decided to do a buddy read on the train to London and had great fun
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have not read a historical romance in the longest time and I honestly forgot how amazing and addicting they can be. There's just something magical about that time period and something incredibly irresistible about a rugged, dangerous duke in need of a wife…

After his father and brother die, James is now the Duke of Harland and must secure a wife so that he can return to his adventures abroad with his cocoa business. He invites four eligible women to his home in order to find a docile wife he ca
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 3 Oct 23, 2015 07:21AM  

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Lenora Bell is the USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of historical romances with Avon Books. A teacher with an MFA in Creative Writing, Lenora has lived and worked on five continents. She currently lives in New Zealand with her carpenter husband and two tiger-striped rescue kitties. She loves to hear from readers! Sign up for her mailing list to hear about new books, sales, and giveaways ...more

Other books in the series

The Disgraceful Dukes (3 books)
  • If I Only Had a Duke (The Disgraceful Dukes, #2)
  • Blame It on the Duke (The Disgraceful Dukes, #3)
“Every time he looked at me I felt like I was standing in a tree-lined avenue, and the branches had interlaced into a canopy above me, surrounding me. It was the kind of green that told the sun what color to be as it filtered through the leaves.” “Oh,” 1 likes
“Before he disappeared toward the back servant’s entrance, he winked again, and this time the countess caught him. “Well,” exclaimed Lady Desmond. “Such impudence. I shall certainly have a private word with the duke about that footman.” “I would like to have a private word with that footman,” Manon whispered from behind Charlene. “I heard that, Blanchard!” said the countess.” 0 likes
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