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What a Difference a Duke Makes

(School for Dukes #1)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,766 ratings  ·  326 reviews
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 a
ebook, 384 pages
Published March 27th 2018 by Avon
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth


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 Mar

Mar 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, romance
3.5 stars!

What a Difference a Duke Makes was an easy read and the pacing was well done. I got sucked into the story because the characters were well written, and the writing was good.

Miss Mari Perkins needs to find a job fast! She arrives in London for an interview to be a governess for just about anyone. She just needs a job in order for her to do research to find out who she is since she’s an orphan.

She gets to her interview 15 mins late and doesn’t get the position that she originally applied
Lover of Romance
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review was originally posted on Addicted To RomanceI received this book for free from Avon in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

What A Difference A Duke Makes is a fun romance that really surprised me. I have been impressed with this author, her writing is superb and so easy to get into which isn't always the case with regency romances lately. Now I won't say she is the best regency author, some of her books are more moder
Ⓐlleskelle - teamSøren♗ ⊲I like big b00ks⊳

⭐️⭐️2 STARS ⭐️⭐️
A friend no sooner brought this book to my attention that I was already one-clicking. The reason?
A single dad—A Duke at that!— falls for the —Mary Poppins inspired— nanny?

Overall a cute story peppered with light banter and a couple engaging plot lines but I felt disappointed by the lack of romance built up between the characters. It was more lust at first sight than anything else and I prefer my HR with a good slow burn or at least some kind of teasing. A chase ev
3.5 Stars

Mari is in a bit of a jam - her belongings have been stolen, leading to her being late and thus loosing the job/post as a governess she so needed. The owner of the agency who promised her the job is a stiff-necked witch who looks down her nose at Mari and shows no consideration for what happened. Luckily, Mari overhears a conversation concerning the Duke of Banksford (Edgar), who needs a new governess for his twin children (illegitimate offspring). Mari is the first governess that doesn
Brittain *Needs a Nap and a Drink*
Cute. Precious. Lovely.

This is not an overwhelmingly amazing book but it isn't bad either. It's a pick-me-up in a chaotic week and a little way to smile at the end of the day. It was comfortable to read and easy to finish.
This is my 1st book from this author, and I am glad to say that I have finally found another historical fiction romance author to read books from.

Here are some of my thoughts:
• I don’t usually like making comments about a character being “too perfect” because that doesn’t usually bother me, but here, yeah, Mari was like the perfect, cheerful, kind, orphan girl. It is not a bad thing exactly, but I guess I would have liked more depth to her character besides her wanting to find her real parents.
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
A nice and fun historical with an unconventional duke and nanny!
A little bit unbelievable, but nice! And the figure of the duke's sister, Lady India, was fun too! I'm looking forward to her story in the next book!
Vellum Voyages
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5 helms

Please follow me on my blog :) Review originally posted on Vellum Voyages (

Finalllyyyyy a book that took me out of my crappy reading slump! Wow, this was REALLY REALLY good....My first read by Lenora Bell and she has impressed me with her writing style, her characters and her historical research! Highly highly recommended and an absolute keeper! If you are looking for a read that is all about the couple and their relationship...look no further!!! I am literally frot
Apr 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
This was just ridiculous. (I read the book because it was available at the library and there had been an interesting review/comments at SBTB.) First complaint, why on earth would the author pilfer from Jane Eyre? She had a good premise: country girl goes to London to begin a job as a nurse maid, loses job because she is waylaid by London riff-raff and is late for the appointment. Overhears about a situation at a Duke's house with his "abominable" children and then scams her way into the position ...more
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Coffee Dates with What A Difference a Duke Makes

First Date: We meet Miss Mari Perkins at one of her lowest moments. She has been bamboozled and arrives late to the employment agency where she has been promised a governess position. Her tardiness makes her lose the position. Fearing homelessness, she overhears another governess who wants nothing more to do with the Duke of Banksford’s heathen children. Mari seizes that information and heads to the Duke’s home. While, she may not be qualified
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I have never read anything from this author, but I really liked the synopsis, so I figured why not try it.

I liked Mari and Edgar well enough. They’re both good people, smart, and they have excellent banter. The kids were pretty cute and I enjoyed their interactions with everyone. And Edgar’s sister India was probably the best part.

Plot wise, it was sort of meh. There are a lot of moving pieces and some of them didn’t feel necessary. The very small bit of conflict was more of an annoyance and w
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5⭐️I can't even say I'm ashamed of reading this...LOL! My friend and I started a small book club at work and she only really cares for Regency Romance. We've read one book already, which happened to be the third book in this series and since we liked it so much we decided to start from the beginning. Even though this is not the usual type of Romance I read-- I have to say this was an awesome read and I can't wait to start the next one (For the Duke's Eyes Only).
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, romance
3.5 stars
Dec 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a fun, easy, unputdownable read. It's so enjoyable I finished it in only a couple of hours. The characters are engaging, from Edgar and Mari to India and Ravenwood, to the children, to the servants and tradesmen. There is an element of inside joke with the duke and governess pairing and I appreciate that being a long-time reader of historical romance.
Mari's comparison to Mary Poppins is apt because she is capable and amazing with the twins Michel and Adele. I love that she's bold and de
May 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Strong female lead. Lots of inventiveness and ’technology’. Period inaccuracies and modernisms up the wazoo. But forgivable if you’re reading it in the right mood. Clever quipy dialogue that engaged throughout.

Adorable kids, portrayed as way above their author-claimed age, but hey, who cares.

Overall a bit of a ridiculous fun read.

Lines I Liked

“Maybe this guilt isn’t something you’re supposed to carry. Maybe you don’t need to wallow in it.”
“Wallow? Pigs wallow. Dukes never wallow.”
“I chose my
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lisa by: OSRBC
*4 1/2 stars

What a Difference a Duke Makes was the perfect book for me this week. “Anything broken may be mended. While we breathe there is yet hope.”
It’s an enchanting, witty, and romantic story.
It may seem odd or redundant to call a romance book romantic, however Lenora Bells’s witting really touched me. I loved her scenes at the seaside, I truly could imagine myself there.
The story did seem a bit light on any conflict for me, however all the nods to Mary Poppins more than made up for it.

Edwina " I LoveBooks" "Deb"
Apr 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
Oh come on Lenora Bell why would you try an write a story so close to one of the greatest Classics every written Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. There are just too many similarities between the orphan Jane Eyre and Mari Perkins. The brooding Duke Edgar Rochester is also, very similar to Mr. Rochester even has a twin daughter named Adele.

I am sorry I don't usually quite on a book especially one I paid $5.99 to read but I tried 3 times to read this too modern update of a previous classic such as J
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Late at a job interview for helping someone on the street, Mari Perkins lost the position she wanted as a governess for a mill owner. She needs work, she doesn't even have a place to stay, having grew up in a orphanage. And the free time would allow her to follow the clues she recently learned about her parentage. So when Mari hear a woman tell she just quit her post at Grosvernor Square because the children are little demons, she sees an opportunity for her and go there to offer her services, e ...more
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: _genre-hr, 5-stars
What a wonderful love story this was. This is my first Lenora Bell book and I am so impressed with her writing. Not only does she know how to tell a story, but her writing is almost poetic. The words she used, the way she formed her sentences, the structure of her paragraphs, perfectly reflected the poetry of falling in love. It was delightful and charming but with a subtle sadness to it that grabs your heart.

The main characters, Edgar and Mari, were dynamic and interesting and richly developed
Elley Murray
I love Mari (rhymes with starry). She's this perfect blend of Mary Poppins and Anne Shirley, and I want her to be my new best friend. Lenora Bell performs magic with every novel, and I love how she weaves elements from books and movies in pop culture into her Regency romance setting. Bell said she drew on inspiration from Mary Poppins for What a Difference a Duke Makes and it's so fun finding the little pops of inspiration when you know what to look for. Some great examples are Mari's frothy whi ...more
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, arc

Lenora Bell has easily become one of my favorite historical romance authors. Her stories are empowering, charming, and have the perfect balance of romance and real-life-issues. What a Difference a Duke Makes was another fantastic new novel from her – I was delighted through and through.

Lenora always writes headstrong and confident heroines. Mari was no different. She has grown up in very unpleasant conditions as she was abandoned as a very young child, but she was one of those women who was dete
So I liked this a lot. I liked that the characters and romance were mostly sensible, but MOSTLY it left me really excited for the next book, which I've already started.
3.5 stars

So utterly charmed with this one! I love Edgar and being in his head, but I confess I adore Mari-rhymes-with-starry more. She's young but very wise, and I love her sass, wit, and her ability to put people in their place. Mari handled herself brilliantly despite the initial snafu with the governess agency, and she was wonderful with Edgar's kids. I also love the relationship building between her and Edgar. I love that she knew her own mind and didn't let Edgar take the lead just because
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not my thing.

It's the kind of writing I don't like, where the focus is constantly on the lustful thoughts the protagonists have for each other. Somehow I am more forgiving of that in contemporary romance or fantasy, but not in HR. In this case, I was a mere 7% into the book when the Duke, Edgar, meets the new governess for the first time and is already thinking about how he wants to lick crumbs off of her fingers. I mean … really?

It's sad because I did find the very beginning promising and the
Sheila Melo
"It was a desperate gamble. It was also her best hope at the moment."

FINAL DECISION: I was disappointed in this one as the hero didn't seem heroic to me but rather a milquetoast who was dominated and dictated to by the heroine.

THE STORY: Mari Perkins is desperate when she arrives in London, has her baggage stolen and is late for an appointment with her agency. Rather than getting the governess position she was promised, she is turned away. Mari, however, is never going back to the orphanage wher
Em Wittmann
This review originally appeared at All About Romance.

Despite the fact that none of the books in Lenora Bell’s The Disgraceful Dukes trilogy had earned better than a D from the team at All About Romance, I nonetheless decided to give her new series a try. New year, fresh start and all that. Unfortunately, What a Difference a Duke Makes, is – if at all possible – worse than the previous three books. From its odd Mary-Poppins-meets-Jane-Eyre premise (that doesn’t even make any sense; and there’s ab
Sofia Lazaridou
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a Difference a Duke Makes is a solid beginning to a new series by Lenora Bell. It definitely made me wanna read the next book. India is such an interesting character and I am sure her story will be awesome.
To be honest, the book didn't offer something original, but the content was good. It has a lot of cliches. I mean, you have the duke who is closed off and the heroine who slowly warms her way into his and his children's hearts. I liked reading how Edgar learned how to show his love for h
Robin is it summer yet
This is my first book by this author and I was quite delighted. Can’t wait to read the next one in the series.
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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

School for Dukes (3 books)
  • For the Duke's Eyes Only (School for Dukes, #2)
  • One Fine Duke (School for Dukes, #3)

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“Now I can do this.” Her fingers closed around the flap of his breeches, cupping his cock. “A duke in the hand is worth two in the bush,” she said, with a wicked grin.” 1 likes
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