Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “What a Difference a Duke Makes (School for Dukes, #1)” as Want to Read:
What a Difference a Duke Makes (School for Dukes, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

What a Difference a Duke Makes

(School for Dukes #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,052 Ratings  ·  229 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
Kindle Edition, 389 pages
Published March 27th 2018 by Avon
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about What a Difference a Duke Makes, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about What a Difference a Duke Makes

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
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 Mari's

Lover of Romance
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
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
Brittain *The Baddest Female*
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.
Vellum Voyages
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
☕ Kimberly
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 by
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Apr 14, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, romance
3.5 stars
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, arc, march-2018

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
Edwina " I LoveBooks" "Deb"
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
Sheila Melo
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
"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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Gaby Cordova
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me gusto, me entretuvo y no tuvo detalles que me molestaran ni me hicieran la lectura pesada ni los personajes me parecieron odiosos, fue una novela divertida y ligera.
Unas cosillas que note fue las alusiones de los nombres con la novela Jane Eyre (Rochester, Blanche) y recordemos que es una historia de Señor-Institutriz, los niños franceses...
Sigo pensando que a la autora aun le falta estructurar mejor sus escritos, en esta por ejemplo sentí que todo el drama de secretos, confesiones lo metió
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OMW I loved this book!!!!!!!
From beginning to end it was hilarious
loved how Mari always had a proverb for everything
Loved the secondary characters as well
Can't wait for the next book
4 stars

I had a fun time reading this book. Edgar was well-written and I really appreciated the way he handled his position as Mari's employer. Mari was interesting and I wanted good things for her. I thought the children were adorable and realistic. I did find the pacing to be a little slow at times, but, overall, it was really good.

I received an eARC of this book from Avon via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
(Nat) Reading Romances
reading romances

A governess, a duke, two cheeky children and a rabbit!

“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.”

I'm a fan of Lenora Bell's books, I've read them all, but after checking the blurb I wasn't sure if I would be engaged. I honestly didn't expect to enjoy What a Difference a Duke Makes as much as I did.

Mari and Edgar first scene together was what hooked me to this boo
Jessica Grogan
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lenora Bell is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.

This book was a delight from beginning to end. I found it to be an easy and fun read without a lot of angst.

I liked Mari (although her pronunciation of her name drove me insane) and Edgar. I did feel like she had a bit more personality than he did but since this is a spin on Mary Poppins that’s to be expected. I did enjoy that Edgar was very growly. I often find children in romances to be either obnoxious or too precocious to be believ
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
Bambi Unbridled

What a Difference a Duke Makes is the first installment of a new series by Lenora Bell, School for Dukes. This was a beguiling story inspired by Mary Poppins and I had such a good time reading it.

Miss Mari Perkins is our heroine, and that's Mari-rhymes-with-starry, if you please. Mari was raised in an oppressive orphanage and has come to London to find work as a governess and find out more about her her parentage. When the proprietor of the employment agency refuses Mari a position, she takes it
I've been really sick lately so I'm a little behind on my reviews BUT I really didn't want this one to slip through the cracks because I really enjoyed it. I'll skip the synopsis because, well, you can just read the book description. If I were rating on how much fun it was to read this book, I'd rate it a five, but there were a few minor things that knocked it down a star.

Mari was wonderful. She was one of my favorite things about this book. She had such a terrible childhood yet refused to lose
“We’re attracted to someone for their strength, their beauty, their perfections...but we fall in love because of imperfections.”

What a Difference a Duke Makes is what I imagine a romance novel version of Mary Poppins would be. At the very least it was pretty obvious the author was inspired in part by the practically perfect nanny. The references were abundant and if you’ve seen the Julie Andrews movie as many times as I have, you’ll be able to pick them out right away and grin as you do.

The book
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mary Poppins was one of my favorite movies growing up and this romance definitely brought Mary Poppins to mind. Edgar's children may have scared off one nanny after another but when we meet them they really aren't bad children. They've been through a lot - they've lost their mother, been uprooted from the only home they really knew and left with a father who doesn't seem to want them. It's understandable that they are out of sorts and causing all sorts of mischief.

Fortunately for the children,
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Lenora Bell is a USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of historical romances. She grew up in a small Alaskan town that still has no traffic lights and she blames those long, dark winters for turning her into a lifelong bookworm. She has lived and worked on five continents but can currently be found in an old farmhouse in the Pacific Northwest with her carpenter husband and two tiger-striped ...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)