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Once Upon a Dukedom #1

Scoundrel of My Heart

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Lorraine Heath begins an exciting new series with a breathtaking romance about a young woman who must marry a titled gentleman to obtain her inheritance and the usuitable man she begins to fall madly in love with...

She is desperate to wed a duke...

Lady Kathryn Lambert must marry a titled gentleman to claim her inheritance and has finally gained the attention of a duke. Yet she is unable to forget the scandalous second son who aided in her achievement—or his betrayal.

He wants what he can never possess...

Lord Griffith Stanwick is tormented by the bitter truth that as a “spare,” he will never be able to give Kathryn what she yearns to possess. But when his father is found guilty of treason, Griff detours into the dark and dangerous corners of London, haunted by memories of the woman lost to him forever.

Love not to be denied...

As the duke’s courtship intensifies, Kathryn discovers Griff has become a man to be reckoned with. When old passions flare and new desires ignite, she must decide if sacrificing her legacy is worth a lifetime shared with the scoundrel of her heart.

368 pages, ebook

First published March 30, 2021

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About the author

Lorraine Heath

109 books3,975 followers
Also writes Young Adult under Rachel Hawthorne, Jade Parker, and with her son as J.A. London.

Lorraine Heath has always had a soft spot for emotional love stories. No doubt because growing up, watching movies with her mom, she was taught that the best movies "won't half make you cry."​​​​​​​

She is the daughter of a British beauty (her mom won second place in a beauty contest sponsored by Max Factor® during which she received a kiss from Caesar Romero, (the Joker on the original Batman TV series) and a Texan who was stationed at Bovingdon while serving in the air force. Lorraine was born in Watford, Hertfordshire, England, but soon after moved to Texas. Her "dual" nationality has given her a love for all things British and Texan, and she enjoys weaving both heritages through her stories.

When she received her BA degree in psychology from the University of Texas, she had no idea she had gained a foundation that would help her to create believable characters—characters that are often described as “real people.” She began her career writing training manuals and computer code for the IRS, but something was always missing. When she read a romance novel, she became not only hooked on the genre, but quickly realized what her writing lacked: rebels, scoundrels, and rogues. She's been writing about them ever since.

Her work has been recognized with numerous industry awards including RWA's RITA®. Her novels have appeared on bestseller lists, including ​​​​​​​USA TODAY and the New York Times.

The author of more than 60 novels, she writes historical and contemporary romance for adults and historical romance for teen readers.

Under the names Rachel Hawthorne and Jade Parker, she writes popular contemporary, historical, and paranormal r​​omance for teens readers. She also writes young adult novels with her son under the name J. A. London.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 485 reviews
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,075 reviews13.3k followers
January 17, 2022
ANOTHER AMAZING ROMANCE FROM LORRAINE HEATH. This book has one of my favorite tropes, which is helping the other character find someone to get married when you're the one who wants to be with them. Kathryn needs to marry someone titled in order to get her inheritance, so she sets her eyes on the duke who's put out an advertisement for wife. She asks her best friend's bother, Griffith, to determine exactly the kind of wife the duke is looking for. As Kathryn and Griffith spend more time together, though, the more they start to like each other. The angst in this book was so good. Because Griffith wasn't a titled man, he knew that he could never have Kathryn. But he wants the best for her, so he'll do anything to make sure she's happy. There was a bit of a time jump in here and that only made things angstier, which I really enjoyed. Griffith would do anything to protect Kathryn, but she's someone who doesn't want to be taken care of. It was just so good and I'm so happy I finally read this book!
Profile Image for Nicolette.
117 reviews96 followers
November 24, 2021
“Her mere presence will cause a man to yearn to know the intimacy of her thoughts, her secret desires, her touch. Like the finest of wines, she is bold, full-bodied, and tantalizing. Never disappointing. Yet never the same, always offering another aspect to be discovered. A lifetime in her company will never be long enough. She is a complicated, complex creature worthy of any man’s heart..” A cottage by the sea seems like the only important thing to Lady Kathryn Lambert. To claim her inheritance, she must marry a titled gentleman before her 25th birthday. When an opportunity came, the most unlikely person helped her only to betray her. Lord Griffith Stanwick is the second son of a Duke, A mere spare. Someone that Lady Kathryn couldn't marry if she wants her cottage. He knows he can't give Lady Kathryn what she wants, instead, he helps her get the attention of the Duke of Kingsland. But as they spend more time together, the more their attraction to each other is undeniable...And just as things start to develop between the two, Griffith's father was found guilty of treason, stripping his family all their titles and lands.

Scoundrel of My Heart is the first book from Lorraine Heath's newish historical romance series, Once upon a Dukedom. I have wanted to read this book for so long because the blurb was interesting and sounded like something I would enjoy very much. And I was right, it was so enjoyable. I finished it with a smile on my face.
Oh lord, I love Griffith and Kathryn's story. Safe to say that I will continue reading the series, although it currently only has two books. The Duke of Kingsland's book is next, so I think I'll enjoy it because I liked him.

Meet Lady Kathryn Lambert: The only child to the Earl of Ridgeway. Her inheritance includes a cottage by the sea, given to her by her dearest grandma. But before she's allowed to claim it, there is a condition. She must marry a titled gentleman. Her grandma hated second sons and thought that she'd only live a comfortable life if she were to marry an heir apparent. Kathryn cherished her grandmother, so of course she cherished the cottage. And she would marry well if that's what her grandmother wanted and to obtain what was bequeathed to her. She is a prim and proper lady but not boring. She isn't afraid to speak her mind. Quiet is what she is not. Truth be told, she did not want the Duke of Kingsland, nor did she send a letter to him. So you see, although she needed to marry a titled gentleman, she did not grab the opportunity which shows that she isn't as shallow as she appeared in the first chapter.

Meet Lord Griffith Stanwick: The second son of a Duke. As a spare, his life consist of pleasure, gambling, and everything befitting a scoundrel, a second son, a man of leisure. But behind all that, he is a man who yearns to open his own establishment. He yearns to be more than a spare. Growing up, his father did not really pay attention to him because all that matters is the heir, Marcus. He lived a life of privilege that was taken from him when his father was hanged for treason. When his family was stripped of their titles and lands, naturally, he is no longer a lord. He is only a mere Mr. Griffith Stanwick. Fall of a lord, if I may add. Due to the unfortunate circumstances, he had to work, something he had never done before. And I am a whore for self made men. So, he immediately got hotter when he became a man who works for his fortune. Something about a man who is not idle is just very attractive to me.

Lady Kathryn Lambert is Lady Althea's (Griffith's sister) bestfriend. When the story began, she was staying at their residence because her parents were traveling to try and fall in love. And as usual, Griffith once again overheard how much Kathryn does not want a second son. Although he acts unaffected, he is actually offended. When Lady Kathryn came to him for help regarding what the Duke of Kingsland looks for in a wife, he unwillingly helps her. After the help he gave, they started to spend more time together, got to know each other and there was a budding romance. Which was put to halt when his father was hanged for treason. Griffith and his elder brother were innocent and got away. But due to the recent event, they were left impoverished. Of course, this forced Griffith to work. And work he did. Before the treason, Griffith made a wager about who the Duke of Kingsland would pick as his potential duchess and of course Griffith won, because he made sure that the Duke would pick Lady Kathryn. Because of the wager, Kathryn felt betrayed by him. But of course he had his reasons.

And it just got so much more interesting when they saw each other again after almost a year, or a whole year, I think. It was definitely angsty and my lord, I loved it. The miscommunication trope is something that can be so annoying but somehow, Lorraine Heath managed to make it work. I just love romances where they want to be together but there is something that is keeping them apart. It rips my heart but I enjoy it. The heroine seemed very shallow at first, only wanting a titled gentleman for a cottage. But I liked her and by the end of the book, loved her. She had her reasons, you will understand that the cottage is very important to her, although it got a bit annoying when she seemed willing to give up real love for a cottage. So that's where this book had flaws. It is a very shallow reason. But other than that, it was so enjoyable.

I loved the hero. I loved him from the start. I seem to have a weakness for second sons. I love reading about them in romance novels. To be honest, the aversion to second sons is understandable but not all of them are irresponsible scoundrels. It's not their fault they were born second. I'd be very happy to be a wife to a second son, well, as long as he's a lord. I loved the hero. The getting rich because of an establishment / gaming hell might be cliché but I find that I am a whore for that trope. I enjoy it quite a lot. The hero is just so swoon-worthy. I liked the heroine but I fell in love with the hero. As of the moment, He and Mick Trewlove are my favorite Lorraine Heath heroes. I have a thing for self-made men, can you tell?

What is with the hero that made me fall in love with him? Well, he is selfless. For someone who is branded a scoundrel, he is pretty selfless. I know he gained money from the wager when he wrote the letter to Kingsland himself, but the way he worded it is just so beautiful. I teared up a bit. It was so tender, I loved him. He pushed the heroine to Kingsland because as a second son, he could not give her what she wanted. Especially now that he is only a mere Mr. Stanwick. He is not welcomed by society. He wanted the best for the heroine and although frustrating, it made my heart swoon. I loved the heroine too when she came to her senses. She was willing to give up her place in society and the cottage because she loved Griffith so dearly. She also turned down a duke. I love her and how she stood up for what she really wanted, although a bit late. A+ for effort. The character development she had was nice, which is why I came to love her towards the ending. Griffith and Kathryn made a lovely and believable couple. The romance they had is something I rooted for because there was really love between them. Sigh. I love them. The yearning. The pining. It's perfectly angsty in every way.

Also, applause for Heath's subtle feminism. This is how you do feminism in historical romance, folks. She did not push her modern ideals to a historical context but the message was clear. Love it. I hate when historical romance authors get too preachy that it feels more like a contemporary romance. Well, good thing Lorraine Heath's books are not like that. I loved how Griffith genuinely wanted to listen to Kathryn's opinions because he sees her as an equal and his partner in life. It was so cute how it was the heroine who proposed marriage to the hero. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love them!

Over all, I loved this book! Lorraine Heath always writes stories that flow well, and although trope-y, I still love it. When I want an angsty book, Lorraine's books are there to do the job. She delivers each time. The romance was so good and sweet. My first 4 stars reads in a while! It would have been 5 but the whole cottage thing bothered me because it felt too shallow. Nevertheless, it was a good book and although I finished it yesterday, I still feel giddy thinking about the book. I need a Griffith in my life immediately! So good.

Some quotes:

"The indulged second son he’d once been would have done it, would have put his own pleasures and wants and needs ahead of hers. But he no longer was that man. He’d had his sense of privilege slowly ground out of him through toil and labor and deprivation. He’d come to appreciate what he’d had only when he’d no longer had it. To take her would have meant seeing her deprived of what she yearned to possess—and where she was concerned, he refused to be that selfish."

"Then Lord Griffith Stanwick, second son, who had never denied himself anything he wanted, strode away, denying himself the only thing he’d ever truly desired."

"While she held his gaze, the fact that he’d come second into the world had not mattered. For those few minutes while the music and her faint fragrance of oranges had wafted around him, he’d felt as though he’d come first."

"He shouldn’t have come here, shouldn’t have caught a glimpse of what life with her might be: dances along the shore, the music of her soul on the air, smiles exchanged, laugher shared . . . and peace."

Within her eyes, the ugliness of his past didn’t matter—and that was all that concerned him. How she viewed him. “Do you fully understand what you’ll be giving up?”“I fully understand what I’ll be gaining—all that I’ve ever dreamed of acquiring.”He pressed his forehead to hers. “Ah, Kathryn, you humble me. The honor will be all mine, sweetheart. Yes, I’ll be your husband and love every minute of it. Just as I love you, with everything within me.”

"She had never written to the duke, had never wanted Kingsland, and Griff had done her a disservice by striving to determine her destiny. He would spend the remainder of his life making that up to her. She would be his partner in all things. His helpmate. The one he turned to when decisions were needed, the one whose opinion he sought above all others. The woman who had turned down a duke for a second son. Turned away a gentleman in favor of a scoundrel."

“Ah, Kathryn, you deserve so much better than a man who has done the things I have done.”“You’re wrong there. I want to spend my life proving it to you, showing you that you aren’t an afterthought, a spare, or being held in reserve. That nothing you’ve ever done makes you unworthy of anything. To me, you’ll always come first, my first love, my only love. And I promise I won’t be quiet while proving it, nor require that you be quiet, either. Will you honor me by becoming my husband?”
Profile Image for Lacey (laceybooklovers).
2,018 reviews10.1k followers
June 1, 2021
I have heard such fantastic things about Lorraine Heath and her historical romances, and I finally got the chance to read her for the first time, starting with the first book in her newest Once Upon a Dukedom series, Scoundrel of My Heart. It apparently is a spinoff of a book from her previous series, but even though I didn’t read Beauty Tempts the Beast, I had no problem starting with this spinoff. But I do want to go back and read the original series now!

Kathryn is a lady who must marry a titled gentleman in order to inherit her grandmother’s beloved cottage. Her best friend’s brother Griffith is unfortunately untitled and a second son. She asks him for help on how to woo a certain Duke into offering her marriage, and this is how she and Griff get close and start to develop feelings for each other. But having read the blurb, I was pretty much waiting on the edge of my seat for the other shoe to drop for these two. And it certainly does. Griff’s family has been ruined and stripped of all their titles. This happens right when the two of them are on the cusp of something more too, which adds so much excitement and intensity.

One year later, Griff has made a comeback in terms of money and reputation (sort of). He’s now the owner of a popular, exclusive club that caters to the “unwanted” or “undesirables” in London high society. And Griff and Kathryn still want each other, even knowing they can’t be together. Griff decides to continue playing matchmaker for Kathryn against his own jealous wishes. And now Kathryn is torn between her duty and her heart.

This was a solid historical romance read that was equal parts passionate and endearing. These characters go through so many ups and downs, so many emotions, and I was rooting for them every step of the way. If you love lots of longing in your romances, there is plenty of it here. I also loved the idea of Griff’s club being open exclusively to untitled men, wallflowers, spinsters, and the like. I would love if we get even more of this club in future Once Upon a Dukedom books. Speaking of which, I am now dying for the Duke’s book and Griff’s brother Marcus’ book! I enjoyed Lorraine Heath’s writing so much here and can’t wait to devour her backlist.
Profile Image for Hannah B..
795 reviews1,068 followers
September 21, 2022
✨Once upon a hot damn✨

Wow okay this was absolutely lovely. I do greatly appreciated that the back cover copy told us what would happen in the middle of the book. Scoundrel of my Heart is basically split into two halves, each being uniquely different and equally alluring.

The first part gives you the backstory on Griff and Kathryn, making you root for both of them with your whole heart. I love that it began with Griff’s point of view because I love a good besotted male specimen in the throes of denial. I would have been perfectly content if the entire novel stayed in that manner, but surprisingly I really liked the fallen Griff we were present with in part two. This half also got precisely steamier (multiple times) but it was never so angsty that all bets were off and it became a challenge to finish. The epilogue was seriously adorable and did I mention there were multiple sex scenes? The scandal!

This was the kind of book that I constantly set down for a few minutes at a time because I was loving it so much and didn’t want the spell to be broken via a page turn. No need to worry, the magic was everywhere. I loved both of the characters and appreciated where Kathryn’s character went in the second half. Girl power!

The next book is going to be a gem, I already know. Despite always rooting for Griff, I’m totally down to fall in love with Kingsland. To be honest I’m probably already halfway there. His one chapter point of view gave such a tantalizing glimpse at the character underneath the ice. I also am excited to see where Marcus’s story ends up as that was an end unwoven in. This one had me from the very beginning and still hasn’t let me go. Utterly charming.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 🌶🌶🌶/5
Profile Image for Barbara Rogers.
1,507 reviews141 followers
March 16, 2021
Series: Once Upon A Dukedom #1
Publication Date: 3/30/21
Number of Pages: 368

This book was every bit as great as I’d thought it would be. The writing is outstanding, it is perfectly paced, the characters are relatable and compelling, and the story is excellently plotted and delivered. The romance – OMGoodness, it was lovely, lovely, lovely.

We were introduced to the Stanwick family in the last book of the Sins for All Seasons series, Beauty Tempts the Beast. The three siblings, (Althea, Griffith, and Marcus) must make their own way in the world after their father, a duke is hanged for treason. Our heroine, Lady Kathryn Lambert, was best friends with Althea – and – there was a budding relationship with Griffith (Griff) – before the treason and all of the siblings disappeared.

Griff’s father always made him feel as if he was less, extraneous, not needed for anything unless something happened to Marcus. Much of that lack of self-worth has continued into his life after he and his siblings were turned out of polite society. However, living in the slums, working at the docks, and doing his best to make something of himself has given him self-confidence if not self-worth. To him, the best thing he ever did was to give up the woman he loved and assured that she had the attentions of a Duke. A very wealthy and powerful duke. After all, she could never have married him anyway since she had to marry someone with a title in order to receive her inheritance. Griffith is now on the way to being a wealthy man himself. He’d made some investments prior to his father’s trial and they’ve paid off so he could fulfill his own dream – owning a club for the ‘unwanted’ in society.

Lady Kathryn met Griffith Stanwick when he was about twelve years old. In typical kid fashion, they took up the habit of teasing and bickering with each other. That continued into adulthood – until each of them began to wonder if maybe there wasn’t something more there. Then, his father’s treason put an end to all of that because the Stanwick siblings disappeared. She later learned they had been living in the slums with Althea working in a tavern and Griff working at the docks. Kathryn did see Althea once or twice and did what she could for her, but she wasn’t allowed to do much. She had no word about Griff – until she did. And, Oh – the longing between them.

Kathryn is expecting a proposal from the Duck of Kingsland. She doesn’t love him – isn’t even sure she really likes him – but he will meet the requirements of her grandmother’s will so she can receive her inheritance. She fully expects her life with the duke to be uneventful because he travels so much and probably won’t make many demands on her.

Now that she knows where Griffith is, and she’s seen him again, the attraction is growing stronger and stronger. The duke is also closer and closer to proposing to her. Will she decide to give up her inheritance for love – or will she give up love for the inheritance? Or – can she have both? You’ll just have to read the book to see.

I absolutely loved this book and the characters, but the deal with the inheritance puzzled me. If it was bundles of cash and property, I could sorta/kinda understand Kathryn’s obsession with it – but it was a cottage by the sea. I understand the sentimental attachment, but to even consider giving up everything in your life for that just didn’t ring true to me. I know we had to have some sort of impetus for her to look to marrying a title rather than someone she loved, but this one just seemed weak in my mind. It didn’t keep me from loving the story, I just didn’t get that one part.

I had originally thought this series would have two books – one for Griffith and one for Marcus, but it turns out that isn’t the case. The next book, publishing in September, will feature the Duke of Kingsland and Penelope Pettypeace – both of whom we met in this book. Since the duke was intriguing in this book, I’m really looking forward to that book as well.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Pepa.
937 reviews236 followers
October 7, 2022
Reseña completa: https://masromance.blogspot.com/2022/...
4.5 ★
Soy incondicional de esta autora, y la historia de Griff y Kathryn me ha parecido muy bonita
Griff es un amor, desde el momento uno, con ese descarado comportamiento para, luego, hacer tooodo lo que hace demostrando una y otra vez la fuerza de sus sentimientos.
Kathryn me ha sorprendido al final, admito que, teniendo muy claro cómo iría el tema, pensaba que vendría por una tercera persona, así que olé por esa bravura

Me ha gustado mucho, es una historia sencilla, que gira en torno a la pareja y la fuerte relación que hay entre ellos, conversaciones y una pasión contenida que creo que está llevada de una forma genial.
Admito que el duque estirado ha robado parte del protagonismo (sabéis que soy mi gran debilidad y me he quedado con unas ganas locas de saber su historia, más al conocer su pareja)
Pero me ha dado la sensación ( y ese es el motivo de que no le haya dado las 5) de que ha faltado parte de la historia de él... no sé si porque la autora la deja para la tercera entrega, la historia del heredero....
La historia de la hermana pertenece a otra serie que no han traducido y que tampoco he leído. No me da la vida para leer tanto en inglés, que tardo el doble, pero con el tiempo... lo conseguiré
Como todo lo de Lorraine Heath, muy recomendable.
Una historia con al que disfrutas de cada escena ♥
Una duda que me ha quedado... ¿no hay título de cortesía para el segundo hijo de un duque?
722 reviews306 followers
June 22, 2021
I'm a very, very slow learner or perhaps my memory is just shot. Long ago I had decided Heath's books weren't for me. So what did I do? Bought two HRs by her in the past year, mostly because they were offered at a bargain price. Why? Books aren't bargains if all they do is waste your time and make you regret the purchase. Not to mention how low my self-esteem has fallen recently when I see the bargain dreck I've been purchasing.

Heath hasn't written an original plot since perhaps the 1990s. Or maybe she has never written an original plot. There always seems to be someone in her books who was born on the wrong side of the blanket or who falls out of acceptance in society or who was a former street urchin now making good as a gambling den owner or a doctor or something. The romantic pairings are usually one (H or h) accepted by society with the other not being quite the thing. Of course, this being Heathland, the fringe-of-society character ends up being kinda accepted, at least by the less snobby of the elites.

So in this book, you guessed it, we have the same pattern. Our H is the second son of a peer and a bit of a useless but personable fribble, as the story begins. He's been in love (in silence, of course) with our heroine, best friend of his sister, for years. She, of course, must marry a titled peer to be eligible for an inheritance from her late aunt. Our hero won't do. Not only is he not titled but, after treasonous activity by his father, the whole family falls into disgrace and penury.

The heroine finds a duke to court her. The hero finds a way out of poverty but not a way into society. Seems hopeless, right? No. No, of course it's not. This is Heath's specialty. She'll make it all come right.

I will compliment Heath on making the two MCs personable and the romance was kinda romantic. In addition, the heroine's other man, that duke, wasn't made to be a total jerk. Just not right for the heroine. Well, he couldn't be a total jerk, could he? The next book of the series is his love story.
Profile Image for Topastro.
459 reviews
September 20, 2021
I think this may be one of my favorite reads so far this year. I really enjoyed the build between Kathryn and Griff, it felt natural and the sexual tension level was perfect. This hit on so many of my favorite tropes but it still felt fresh and new. I'm intrigued by Kingsland and Miss Pettypeace, counting down the days until book 2 is released. As always Kate Readings narration made this already beautiful story soar.
Profile Image for ♥ℳelody.
613 reviews603 followers
January 4, 2023
I didn't feel the emotions I was hoping to feel with the romance. Things are easily skipped over and explained away to move the plot along. It just lacked that emotional punch for me. This is supposed to be angsty but I didn't feel the angst. This is only my second book by Lorraine Heath and it read way too similar to The Scoundrel in Her Bed (look Scoundrel is in that title too!) which also had an exiled hero opening an exclusive Gaming Hell/Pleasure club as retribution. This literally could be a duplicate of that book. :/ Considering this is a spinoff from that series, how many heroes in the same world are gonna open exclusive competing clubs? This is like the 3rd one no? Felt very excessive, repetitive and formulaic to my liking. And I could have sworn some of the dialogue was word for word the same as well. Both Griff Stanwick and Finn Trewlove drop to their knees and howl out their anguish after sending the heroine away?.........I don't do well with repetition.

It seemed a lot of the important developments and beats played off the page. Griff's transformation wasn't believable for me since that supposed transformation happened off the page during a time jump and more importantly he behaved the same after the jump so it lost a lot of depth. I didn't see or feel any change in him beyond physically bulking up and his scarred hands. Which Heath reminds you of on every page. His scarred hands. He can't have the heroine because of his scarred calloused hands. Society will never accept him now because of his scarred worker's hands. He refuses to wear gloves to show the world his scarred hands. His scarred hands are reminder of his sins he committed in order to survive. Et. etc. etc, so on and so on. And I still would like to know how on earth he managed to scrounge up enough money to support himself and his sister in squalor while also saving enough money to buy the building he wanted for his club and opening it? All in ten months? While piss broke? O_o The very same building he was struggling to purchase with his monthly allowances before his father the Duke and their family were stripped of their titles and home and money? In ten months he managed to do all that and open the club? It didn't add up for me. The math wasn't mathing. And his reasons for not even getting his money owed from the wager he won when he clearly needed that money was weak. That and the heroine Kathryn just showing up everywhere out of the blue and without anyone catching wind or her parents being out of the country conveniently whenever she spends time with the hero felt lazy. A lot of scenes felt choppy and abrupt. The world building felt a bit clumsy. Stuff is just easily skipped over and sidestepped.

This was very much telling you more than actually showing you. Even in the long awaited sex scenes which just glosses over things so fast as if the author just wants to get it over and done with. And I'm sorry but if you are gonna have your forbidden couple stealing quiet moments together then why do it off the page and summarize those moments to readers later on?? I hate when authors do this. So yeah, no heat, no emotions no yearning for me. Maybe I'm just picking up the wrong books by LH but I worry her writing may not be for me since I had the same reaction to both books.
Profile Image for Crystal's Bookish Life.
782 reviews1,347 followers
March 21, 2021
Lady Katherine must marry a Duke in order to inherit her grandmother's cottage that has been her lifelong dream. Lord Grif is the second son of a Duke, and considered a spare, and therefore unnecessary.

Grif conspires to win the Duke for Katherine, while falling in love with her himself. Before he realizes his feelings might be returned by Katherine Grif ends up cast out of society and stripped of his title because of his father's treason.

When they meet a year later Katherine has indeed caught the attention of the Duke, and must choose between the Duke and the Scoundrel.

I LOVED this book so much! This was breathlessly romantic, I could not get enough of how much Grif pined for Katherine and how everything he did was to bring her happiness.

There were so many moments that had me swooning while reading this I simply could not get enough. It is one of the most romantic books I have read in a long time where every gesture, every glance was loaded with emotion and longing.

This will be one of my favorite books of the year, I truly loved it.

Thank you to Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
Profile Image for KatieLittleLibrary.
126 reviews14 followers
January 31, 2023
This book is 100% going to be a favorite of the year for me. I love the angst Lorraine Heath writes, and these characters are so loveable you want the world for them. Here a list of things I loved about this book:

✔️childhood crush and nickname
✔️love intrest trying to help MC marry someone else
✔️ best friends brother
✔️he wants her to have everything she's ever dreamed of having
✔️ nursing back to health
✔️ he will fall to both knees for her
✔️beautifully written characters that feel so real
✔️ literally everything in this book I can keep going...

I can't say this in any other ways. This book was perfect do yourself a favor and pick it up!
Profile Image for Lover of Romance.
2,839 reviews816 followers
January 10, 2022
This review was originally posted on Addicted To Romance

How often, in our world, do we have the opportunity to explore the possibilities without the sense of being constantly on display?

First Impressions
I will be honest in that after the more recent series from this author, I wasn’t too eager to pick up this book. They just didn’t leave such a big impression as she normally has in the past. But then after hearing some great recommendations of this book, I just knew that I had to grab it up and I am HAPPY that I did pick this one up here because it was superb in so many ways. I definitely couldn’t get enough of this book and I READ it so fast. Like under two hours, it just swept me away and I just wanted more of it. It definitely was a delightful mix of everything that I wanted in a historical and more. I don’t know how to quite explain this book but I will say that it definitely left an impression and I am thrilled that I was able to grab this one up and take a chance on this one here. If you have enjoyed this author in the past, then you definitely need to grab this one up here. It is so delightful in so many ways. And it is connected somewhat to the Trewlove books, which was a fun twist.

Or perhaps only with the foolishness of a man who was just coming to realize he possessed a heart. She was like the sun coaxing a bud into opening.

Lord Griffith Stanwick is the “spare” and has always felt like he was considered useless by his father. He goes day to day in his life living the life as many second sons in the Ton do, not really cultivating his dreams or realizing what he is capable of. But there is one woman that has always held his heart and she has no idea of the depths of his feelings for her. Lady Kathryn Lambert has heart eyes set on a Duke. She is entering close to the deadline where she must marry a titled lord in order to gain her inheritance which has tremendous sentimental value to her. A country cottage out by the coast. She knows that she will have to marry, so why not a Duke if she can catch his eye. When the Duke claims a challenge to have every prospective woman who seeks his handwrite a letter of her attributes, he claims he received a letter from Kathryn, but she knows that she didn’t send him one. But after a sensual embrace, she shared with the one man she least expected…..Lord Griffith Stanwich, a man who is the brother to her best friend, she wonders what she will have to decide on. But then the worst happens for Griffith and his family, his father has claimed a traitor, and Griffith and his siblings are carted off to the tower but then released when it proved that they are innocent. But they lost everything, and now it’s been a year later, and he is striving to reclaim a dream that he has kept hidden. A dream to build a place where the less fortunate children of members of the ton, or successful gentleman and women that gather with no judgment and enjoy each other’s company. And during this venture, Griffith and Kathryn reconnect. There is only one problem, Kathryn is about to be engaged to the Duke. Now Kathryn will have to decide which holds more value to her …..her inheritance or the man who has captured her heart…..

But Griff was learning that the truth didn’t bring peace. It brought only misery.

What I Liked
There were so many aspects of this story that I truly enjoyed. I will admit that I couldn’t seem to get enough of this one here. I mean I read this one in under two hours and I rarely read a book that fast. I mean I am a fast reader but it rarely happens that quick. But I couldn’t seem to flip the pages fast enough, which for a modern historical, is a miraculous feat that is for sure. I really loved the depths of emotion that are revealed throughout this story here. There is such devotion that Griffith has to Kathryn, and seeing the lengths he goes to just to see that she is happy and settled in life, was simply BEAUTIFUL. He is so devoted to her in such a selfless way. I have such a fondness for unrequited love and I don’t see this trope as much as I used to, but I really admired the way the story unraveled in its intricate but simple manner. Lorraine Heath truly worked her magic with this one here. My heart broke for these siblings who have lost so much. I guess I had forgotten what had happened to them since the sister marries one of the Trewlove’s. And to be honest it was the ending that truly finalized this story for me and is the factor in which decided the higher rating. For most of the story I really felt like it was a solid rating of 4, but after this poignant ending, I just knew it had to be a 4.5 because it was so much more than a 4 for me although not quite a 5. I simply loved so many parts of this book that just captured my heart completely.

A year ago, I might have believed that it was all lies, but now I know the truth of it. There is no man in all of Christendom who would serve better as my husband.

What I Struggled With
There really isn’t that much that I struggled with, I mean there were parts in the story that stilted at times with the pacing, or there was a lack of depth in some parts while the majority of the story had so much of it.

Overall View
I found myself in love with Scoundrel Of My Heart, its a romance that will capture your heart and attention from the get-go. It’s a tale of redemption, growth, and embracing your dreams….captivating in every moment!

With her, nothing about his birth or his past mattered. All that mattered was their love.

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Profile Image for Dani.
573 reviews164 followers
December 24, 2021
4.5 stars ⭐️

This was near perfect and I listened to the audio in one sitting I definitely shed a tear near the end too

This was so fucking romantic wtf and the slow burn babyyyy. He fell hard for her first AND she was the one who proposed. I died.

Waaaaay better than book 2. This was slow-burn with ~purpose~ while book 2 was slow-burn with no payoff lmao. I'm impressed now, and I have more faith going into Heath's backlist 😌
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,857 reviews5,631 followers
October 5, 2021
*3.5 stars*

I actually enjoyed this book more than I was expecting as the beginning felt a little bland to me, but I think it *just* stretched the edges of believability as the plot went on, and it needed a little something more to make it stand out in my mind.

I've read a number of books by Lorraine Heath, and I've liked her writing in the past, so I was very excited to start a new series from her. Scoundrel of My Heart was a well written historical romance with some fun plot twists and a feminist bent, which pleased me. I'm always looking for new and different HR, and though this almost got there, it wasn't quite a homerun for me.

When I love a book, I read it quickly, and this one took me a few days to finish. I enjoyed it, but I wasn't overly compelled to keep reading. I've read hundreds of historical romances, and it really takes something special (or one of my favorite tropes- helloooo, grumpy/sunshine) to make a book standout for me.

I'm excited to see where this series takes me, and I'm hoping we get a match for the sedate Duke next.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

Profile Image for Tammy.
935 reviews173 followers
April 4, 2021
A favorite!! I adored it!! This is the first book (released 3/30/21) in the “Once Upon a Dukedom” series, it also has a tie-in to the Sinful Wallflower series-Beauty Tempts the Beast. This can be read as a stand alone.

Hero Lord Griffith Stanwick is the second son of a Duke, meaning he’s the spare + is not to inherit (he’s a little bitter about that), and he most definitely does not get along with his father. His wish is to open a club for untitled men, wallflowers and spinsters.

Heroine Lady Kathryn Lambert is the best friend of Griffith’s little sister. Griffith and Kathryn don’t really know each other but that changes one night when they get to talking, and Kathryn asks him for a favor. She needs to marry a titled gentleman by the age of twenty-five in order to inherit her grandmother’s cottage by the sea. There’s a bit of chemistry with some spark brewing under the surface between Kathryn and Griffith - meaning trouble for her; since he’s not a titled man, and him; because he knows he can’t give that to her.

They end up being separated by a scandal that rocks Griff’s world + disgraces his family (his father is hanged for treason, also losing their titles), and she gets her wish of being courted by a Duke (now closer to claiming the cottage.) A year has almost passed, Griff comes back a very damaged hero, and the owner of a new club, + the two still possess that same forbidden love, but the Duke has proposed marriage to Kathryn and she must now choose between the Duke (her grandmother’s cottage) and the Scoundrel Griff.

Kathryn and Griff stole my heart. Their romance has a lot of passion, longing, and connection. It’s a perfect HEA!
Profile Image for b.andherbooks.
2,089 reviews923 followers
October 31, 2022
I often struggle to answer the question about what I find "romantic" but dear readers, this book is so fucking romantic. I'm such trash for the "we only have tonight" moment where all that love and angst is poured into truly epic love making, and wow does it deliver in this romance. I absolutely adored Griff, and he's a pining sweet bebe who I will fight for.

I didn't realize how connected Scoundrel of My Heart would be to the Trewlove series, but I didn't feel to lost not having read those books. I did a live tweet of this read under #bHeath21 if you are so inclined to look that up.

As usual Heath pulls of a pretty impossible situation into an epic HEA and I loved the ride, even if Kathryn wanting to live in her cottage by the sea was a bit of a silly reason to NOT MARRY GRIFF IMMEDIATELY.

Also, super glad to see The Duke (man who wanted letters from women to pick his wife from, oh dear) will be getting his HEA next. Loved that Heath didn't make him into a villain, he, he just wasn't right for Kathryn.

And oh gosh, that ending?! The letter as a present!? Swoon.
Profile Image for Becky (romantic_pursuing_feels).
727 reviews486 followers
January 15, 2023
Overall: 3.5 rounded to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Plot/Storyline: 📖📖📖📖
Feels: 🦋🦋🦋
Emotional Depth: 💔💔💔💔
Sexual Tension: ⚡⚡⚡
Romance: 💞💞💞💞
Sensuality: 💋💋💋
Sex Scene Length: 🍑🍑🍑
Steam Scale (Number of Sex Scenes): 🔥🔥🔥
Humor: A bit
Perspective: Third person from both the hero and heroine

(These are all personal preference on a scale of 1-5 (yours ratings may vary depending what gives you feels and how you prefer you sex scenes written, etc) except the Steam Scale which follows our chart from The Ton and Tartans Book Club )

Should I read in order?
Ideally yes! Heath’s series can wind together and this book is a direct relation to the ending of her Sins for All Seasons series. The first part of this novel takes place prior to Beauty Temps the Beast (book 6 of Sins for All Seasons series) so I would at least read that one first.

Basic plot:
Kathryn must marry a titled gentleman to get her cottage inheritance. Too bad her friend she is attracted to is only the spare.

Give this a try if you want:
- Victorian time period (1873 for the first part, and 1874 for the second part)
- London setting
- Best friends brother
- Unrequited love (especially from the hero but a bit from both)
- Heroine nurses hero back to the health
- Losing nobility status
- Huge hero, tiny heroine (heroine barely reaches hero’s shoulders)
- Medium steam – 3 full scenes

- Hero is 27, heroine 24

My thoughts:
There is so much sweetness in this book!!!! Seriously if unrequited love is your jam, Griffith will have your heart. He is just so, so sweet. He remembers what Kathryn is wearing the first time they meet. He steals her hair ribbon and keeps it forever. He is SO IN LOVE with her.

I really enjoyed Kathryn through this book. She is rather quiet, but strong, and I like how she doesn’t let anyone lead her astray from what she wants in life.

Something did prevent me from loving this book the whole way through. Maybe it was the bit of separation? I’m not too sure, but when we got to part II, I was getting a little bored with some things. We have to wait for a lot of the steam too which maybe wasn’t right for my mood at the time. Overall this was a super sweet, adorable book with plenty of romance that I appreciated. I’m not sure if I would reread it though.

Also there’s a bit of a love triangle with Kathryn trying to marry a lord to get her cottage property. I feel like a number of Heath’s books Ive read have some kind of love triangle thing going on and honestly it’s not for me. That usually ends up driving me bonkers. Though it wasn’t too bad here, probably because I know the other love interest will get his own story in the next book. (which is on my TBR!)


Content warnings:

Locations of kisses/intimate scenes:
Profile Image for Jultri.
1,076 reviews6 followers
April 28, 2021
Not one of my favourites by this author. It started off promisingly enough with a bit of antagonism between Lady Kathryn and her best friend's brother, the rakish and seemingly trivial Lord Griffith, who is all too aware of his useless and utterly decorative role as a duke's spare. Both have plans for their futures, she needs to marry a titled gentleman to inherit her grandmother's beloved cottage and he seeks funds to realise his dream of opening a unique establishment. Their individual paths to success ought not to cross, but they do when Kathryn persuades Griff to obtain insider information in order to help her to hopefully win the attention of the highly prized Duke of Kingsley who is actively searching for a wife. She doesn't count on Griff going beyond her simple request nor that their circumstances abruptly change as a result of events outside their control. When they next meet, they're both well on track to reach their initial ambitions, but perhaps these are no longer what they desire.

I love stories of secret pining for years and so I was looking forward to one such story with a bit of fun bantering mixed in with the angst. Unfortunately, the story kind of did a sharp turn and became unrealistic and somewhat ridiculous in the second half . I do like Kingsley a lot. He is far more cunning and perceptive than Griff and will make for a marvellous hero in the next book. Sign me up for that one!
Profile Image for Missy.
649 reviews
April 25, 2021
2.5 - 2.75 stars

It was all right. I thought it was going to be a little more romantic based on the reviews. Maybe I just have a higher standard for what I consider to be romantic. I also thought there was going to be more conflict or even a kidnapping by the bad guys but I’m glad Lorraine Heath didn’t go in that direction.

Since this is a spin-off series of sorts, I would recommend that you read Beauty Tempts the Beast to get the full background and enjoyment of this book.
Profile Image for Fiona.
92 reviews6 followers
May 24, 2022
Initial thoughts: most of the time I was reading this I was in the throes of a head cold so my thoughts are really incoherent at the moment.
I mostly read this for context regarding the third book in this series, which I started last night.
Profile Image for Niki (mustreadalltheromance).
1,147 reviews84 followers
March 10, 2021
4.5 stars rounded up.

If she hopes to claim her inheritance, her grandmother’s beloved seaside cottage, Lady Kathryn Lambert must marry a gentleman with a title. She’s snagged the interest of a duke, but she can’t stop thinking about the man who helped her gain his attention, her best friend’s brother, a scandalous second son, or how he betrayed her in the process.

Lord Griffith Stanwick is a mere spare, not significant enough to give Kathryn what she needs but he can certainly help her by ensuring she captures the duke’s attention. When his father, another powerful duke, is executed for treason, Griff winds up inhabiting the darker side of London. Even still, he’s unable to forget Kathryn, even as the lengths he must go to in order to survive and protect his siblings make him even more unsuitable for her.

When the duke’s courtship becomes more serious, Kathryn and Griff are reunited as he finally opens the club he’d always dreamed of and comes back onto the radar of high society. Kathryn is surprised by the changes wrought on him but is no less attracted to the powerful man he’s become. An undeniable connection blossoms between them and Kathryn must decide if the beloved cottage she’s always yearned for is worth sacrificing marriage to the man she loves.

This was such a charming story. Griff had so much to overcome after spending his life being overlooked by most everyone. I loved that he went through a terrible ordeal and came out stronger for it. Kathryn I almost didn’t like because of the rather arrogant way in which she barged her way back into Griff’s life with a misplaced sense of righteous anger. That said, her ire evaporated quickly in the face of her realizations about Griff and the changes he underwent. I loved that she always noticed him and recognized how much he had to offer when few others did. It took her a little long to finally decide on him, but we always knew she was never not going to choose him so that was okay. I adored how capable and ruthless Griff was, especially juxtaposed with how sweet and caring he could also be. Both main characters had depth and were interesting to read. I’m very intrigued now about Kingsland, Marcus and Wilhelmina and look forward to them getting stories of their own. This spinoff of the Trewlove series is off a promising start for sure.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Blog link: https://mustreadalltheromance.blogspo...
Profile Image for ChasingLeslie.
353 reviews51 followers
September 22, 2021
Lady Kathryn must marry a titled gentleman and she's hoping to catch the attention of a duke in order to to claim her inheritance. Second son Griffith Stanwick fights his attraction to his sister's best friend and helps her get the duke's notice. But when his father is found guilty of treason, Griff's life takes a dark turn.

This is the first book in the Once Upon a Dukedom series. Griff is the brother of Althea, the heroine from Beauty Tempts the Beast (last book of Sins for All Seasons series). This book begins before the events of Althea and Ben/Beast's book, and ends after it.

I loved this story! Heath is a master at drawing readers in and making them connect to the characters. I loved them both individually and together. They had wonderful, flirtatious banter and electric chemistry! They evolved beautifully through the story, with Kathryn bucking the traditional role she'd been raised to follow and Griff striking out on his own after his family's fall.

Tropes: Matchmaking, Riches to Rags, Class Difference, Best Friend's Sibling/Sister's Best Friend, Nursed to Heath

Steam Rating: 3
Profile Image for Katrina.
315 reviews22 followers
October 29, 2020
I absolutely loved this book! I was so sad when Beauty Tempts The Beast ended. I just wanted this world to continue. And guess what?!?!?! It did. This was a beautiful addition to the wonderful world Heath has created. We got to see all our old favorite characters and meet new ones.

This book is what Heath is known for. It was funny and silly, dark and tragic, beautiful and sweet. I'm so excited for the next book in this series and to see this wonderful place Heath has created keep growing!!!!

If you're a fan of Heath, be excited! This was absolutely wonderful!!!
Profile Image for Mary Rayne.
322 reviews61 followers
September 20, 2021
This was a cute romance.
✅Best friend's brother
✅Enemies to friends to lovers

Even though it kinda got crazy in the middle but I feel like not much happened in general.
But I'm so curious to read about that alphahole duke tho!
Somebody needs to set him back on his heels.
Profile Image for  ~Preeti~.
669 reviews
August 5, 2022
3.5 ✨
I could have given it 4 stars because it was entertaining and romantic but then I stopped listening to it for a day and picked it again and suddenly started seeing all the loopholes in the plot and settled for 3 stars.

It was also one of those books where I neither hate the H or h nor fell in love with anyone of them(don't laugh...I do that too often especially if there is an awesome h involved🤭🤭). I will say both were just fine. I think my major issue was the time gap after the plot twist. I know all the books in the series are interconnected and we will get to know the details of those lost 10 months in the next 2 books but still, I wanted something more solid from both the MCs to believe in their mutual pining.

Plus the plot involving the 'rise of H to power' is so flimsy. The author kept telling us, that he suffered, he fought and he came back stronger but it just didn't make me feel sorry for the guy. Yeah, yeah...I know I am no making any sense but what is the logic of bringing 'the damaged hero' plot if I don't feel like crying for him?😂😂😂

But, still, I am invested in the characters and definitely gonna read the next two books to know their stories.
Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,120 reviews1,348 followers
April 24, 2021

I have to thank Jen for putting Scoundrel of My Heart on my radar. I read her review and immediately went to find myself a copy. I've been slowly getting back into historical romances, one of the subgenres that hooked me into romance in the first place. This book was exactly what I was hoping it would be: swoony and a touch angsty.

The premise of Scoundrel of My Heart is pretty convoluted and I don't wish to spoil it for anyone, so I'll be brief. The basic gist is that Kathryn, the protagonist, needs to marry a titled gentleman in order to inherit her grandmother's cottage. Enter the Duke of Kingsland with his announcement that he is looking for a wife and anyone who wishes to be considered should pen him a letter with all their qualities. Kathryn recruits her friend's brother, Griffith's, help to her figure out what exactly the Duke is looking for in a wife. As you can probably predict, Griffith and Kathryn end up developing feelings for each other. But nothing is as simple as it seems and soon the two are separated thanks to a betrayal and suspicion of treason. The book then flashes forward to nearly a year later and this is when the story really starts to shine.

Lorraine Heath crafted some wonderfully complex characters in this book. Kathryn is easily one of my favorite HR heroines with her sharp tongue and quick wit. She goes after what she desires and isn't afraid to speak her mind. Her love interest, Griff, is a big dumb endearing log who you cannot help but love. He goes through hell and more in Scoundrel of My Heart. He starts off rather rakish, but he is also someone with aspirations and goals - He dreams of opening this exclusive club only accessible to certain folks in society. All that is great but what makes Griff a lovable hero is his complete and utter willingness to do anything and everything for Kathryn. I will almost fall for a romance hero who is so in love with their romantic partner to the point of being self-sacrificial. Maybe it's archaic, but there is something so incredibly romantic about the whole thing to me, so I ate up Griff's character.

The romance is so well-written too in Scoundrel of My Heart. I tend to enjoy my historical romances on the angstier side and this book balances out the angst with the swoons and banter beautifully. I like it when authors torture their characters a little bit and make them really work for that happily-ever-after, so I certainly enjoyed all the obstacles keeping Kathryn and Griff apart. When they finally do reach that pinnacle of their HEA, it's just so worth it in every way because Lorraine Heath writes it so brilliantly. She will have you clutching your chest at several points throughout the book because the mutual pining is perfection!

As soon as I finished Scoundrel of My Heart, I went ahead and requested an ARC of the next book in the series and that should tell you just how much of an enjoyable experience reading this book was. The next book, The Duchess Hunt, will feature the Duke of Kingsland, who was very intriguing in this book BTW, falling to his knees for a woman (!!) and I can't wait to dive into his book ASAP.

CWs: violence

Relationship disclosure: None
Profile Image for Morgan Many Books.
147 reviews59 followers
November 1, 2021
3 Stars

I found this much less Heath-y than the second installment in the series and generally was more frustrated and disappointed by some of the choices made for the emotional and character development. Namely, Kathryn's obtuseness (re: the former) and Griffith's 1-page metamorphosis into a tortured soul (re: the latter). I still enjoyed it well enough, but feel totally ambivalent about elaborating--which speaks for itself I guess.
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