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Sunday, April 15, 2018

What a Difference a Duke Makes by Lenora Bell - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Mari is in London to find work and to discover more about her background. She was raised at an orphanage, but she recently received information about possible family. There's a lawyer who knows more, but she needs to find him first. She's looking for a job as a governess to earn a living. When she arrives at the agency she's being treated appallingly, but Mari knows how to take care of herself and immediately finds an opportunity. The Duke of Banksford is desperate, his twins have chased away all of their governesses so far. Mari is convinced she won't suffer the same fate.

Edgar might be a wealthy Duke, but he doesn't know how to make his children listen. When he meets the beautiful Mari he isn't convinced she has what it takes to be their governess, but Mari cleverly changes his opinion. She gets her chance and that means she'll be part of the Duke's household. Being near him proves to be a challenge. Edgar likes his governess, but he's a Duke and her employer, so knows he should keep his distance. Will he be able to resist temptation?

What a Difference a Duke Makes is an amazing entertaining romantic story. Mari is fierce, outspoken, confident and kind. I absolutely loved her sparkling personality and had to laugh out loud several times because of all the hilarious little Mary Poppins references in the story. There are some similarities, but definitely not too many and because I'm such a fan of Mary Poppins, reading them was a real treat. I enjoyed every single one of Mari's adventures. She's a practically perfect governess, she's cheeky, smart and amazing with children. She doesn't only change the childrens' lives she also makes sure she tutors their father in matters of the heart. I loved the chemistry between them and their strained conversations filled with Mari's wicked comments are fabulous.

Lenora Bell has written a fantastic book. What a Difference a Duke Makes has a huge feelgood factor. I had a big smile on my face while I was reading this book. It's charming, dazzling and dynamic. There's plenty of tension, there's a lot of unconditional love and there are many amusing scenes. Lenora Bell has written such a great book. She balances wonderful heartwarming cheerfulness with serious issues in life and that gives the story the exact right amount of depth. I absolutely loved What a Difference a Duke Makes, it's absolutely delightful.


If you love feelgood historical romance with sparkling main characters you should definitely read What a Difference a Duke Makes.

About Lenora Bell

Lenora Bell is a USA Today bestselling author of historical romance novels with Avon Romance/HarperCollins. Her writing has won numerous awards including the 2014 Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® Award for Historical Romance and the 2016 RT Book Reviews Best First Historical Romance award. She recently found out that she’s a finalist in the 2018 RWA RITA contest for published authors in the Historical Short category!

A teacher with an MFA in Creative Writing who has lived on five continents, Lenora currently shares an old farmhouse in the Pacific Northwest with her carpenter husband and two tiger-striped rescue kitties named Dorian Gray and Percy Shelley. She loves hearing from readers! Sign up for her mailing list to hear about new books, sales, and giveaways!. She loves to hear from readers!


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1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Thanks so much for inviting me to With Love for Books! I just published my fourth historical romance with Avon Books. I’m also a voracious reader of romance and some of my favorite historical authors include Eloisa James, Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sherry Thomas, and my new fave, Vanessa Riley – check her out!

2) Can you describe the main characters of What a Difference a Duke Makes in seven words each?

Brooding, work-obsessed duke with unruly children falls for determined, optimistic governess who upends all his rules.

3) You write about a duke who desperately needs a governess, what’s the inspiration behind this?

I pitched this book to my editor as “Mary Poppins meets Jane Eyre.” Hopefully readers will have fun finding all of the little Easter eggs I hid along the way!

4) What do you like the most about writing regency romance?

I love that it’s a venerable romantic tradition originating with Jane Austen, embellished by Georgette Heyer, and proudly transformed for the modern era by so many smart, feminist writers.

5) What does true love mean to you?

I just read this poignant quote by poet and philosopher Mark Nepo, “…beneath every attitude is the want to be loved, and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed and beneath every sadness is the fear that there will not be enough time.”

We are all searching for love, we all deserve love, and I believe that true love is a combination of vulnerability, surrender, joy, and healing.

6) What’s so fascinating about the time you’re writing about?

The social hierarchies, the nascence of the industrial revolution, the lovely clothing…the world of Jane Austen is endlessly fascinating.

7) What makes a moody duke so incredibly appealing to read about?

I think it all started with Fitzwilliam Darcy…the original arrogant, moody aristocrat who truly deserved the comeuppance he received from the intelligent, outspoken, and willful Miss Elizabeth Bennet. It’s the transformation that rivets readers – the lessons learned, the changes implemented, and the love embraced.

8) You’ve lived on five continents, how does that influence your writing and where do you feel completely at home?

I travel a lot for work and pleasure because I believe that traveling keeps us young at heart, inquisitive, and challenges us on a daily basis. I’ve tried to weave some of my travels into my books. One of my most recent trips was to Portugal and I absolutely fell in love with the musical traditions and culture. I would love to set a book there some day!

Southeast Alaska will always be my home. Every time I go back to visit my family I’m immediately immersed in everything I love about Alaska—the peace, quiet, the grandeur of the mountains, and the rugged setting.

9) You love vintage clothes and accessories, if you could travel into the past for a day, who would you be, where would you go and how would you dress? 

I definitely have a thing for the stunning clothing from the Victorian era. I love shows set in that era like Penny Dreadful and Victoria. There’s an event called the Historical Romance Retreat ( where attendees are encouraged to dress in clothing from their favorite eras. The marvelous author Delilah Marvelle wore Victorian costumes that were authentic down to the tiniest detail. Her books are marvelous (steamy Victorian romance) and she’s so fun to follow on social media because she’s always running around in historical clothing (

10) How did your writing journey start?

You can read the full story here ( but in a nutshell, I entered the Avon Romance FanLit online contest back in 2006 and met a bunch of talented, dedicated romance writing friends. Ten years (and an MFA) later, I finally published my first book with Avon. It’s been a dream come true!

11) What are your plans for the future?

Mr. Bell and I are moving to Asunción, Paraguay next month! We’re very excited to do more exploring in South America. My fifth book will be out in September of this year. It’s called FOR THE DUKE’S EYES ONLY and it’s a fun, sexy enemies-to-lovers romp that was inspired by Indiana Jones and James Bond. I really love to hear from readers and I love to host great giveaways! Find out more at

Thanks so much for hosting me!


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a $15 Amazon gift card and a paperback OR digital copy of What a Difference a Duke Makes by Lenora Bell (winner's choice).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. What a Difference a Duke Makes sounds like an amazingly written romance with charm, wit and banter.

  2. Sounds like an excellent duo for a romance!

  3. Oh la la - great title.

  4. Wonderful book. I like differences

  5. Looks like a lovely story, thanks for the giveaway.

  6. Mary Poppins meet Jane Eyre! Fun! :D Though I hope he has no crazy wife in the attic ;)

  7. this looks just up my alley, would love to read it!

  8. Sounds like a nice & lovely read. Thank you

  9. Great interview.I love feel good books.

  10. Hey Lenora!
    So glad to see you here at one of my favorite blogs :)

  11. I really like this cover and it sounds like an excellent romance read.

  12. This looks like a great book with a great cover.

  13. Sounds like a great and captivating storyline. Love the quote by Mark Nepo.

  14. Sounds like a good book. The cover is lovely.

  15. I will definitely have to read it to see if she finds out who her family is.

  16. congratulations on the new release! THis looks and sounds fabulous :) thanks for sharing!

  17. I'm looking forward to reading this book.

  18. Sounds like a great read. Love the cover!

  19. Many thanks for the review and giveaway!

  20. If your writing is anywhere near as interesting as your life, you've got my vote!

  21. Feelgood books are always welcome. Thank you for sharing your story.

  22. I love the cover art! Sounds like a great read.

  23. My comment disappeared into thin air...
    Congratulations Lenora! A very gorgeous cover!

  24. beautiful cover!! i love seeing couples on covers <3

  25. I love historical romances and this one looks so good.

  26. I so enjoyed reading your interview and getting to know you better! I loved what you answered when asked what true love means to you, that was beautiful!! Your latest book certainly does sound fascinating and I look forward to reading it:) Carole Burant

  27. I would love to hunt for the Mary Poppins Easter Eggs in this book!

  28. Look at that cover. All I could think of was "where do I get one like him from"? :) But the book itself sounds a great read, plenty of secrets to reveal and love the idea of the Mary Poppins references as it's still a "must watch" when it's on the TV even if it was on the week before.

  29. I really enjoyed reading your amazing interview, thank you!

  30. Thanks for the great prize and competition. Good luck everyone.

  31. Oh this sounds so good, romantic, and funny! I cannot wait to read and see how she does with the kids!

  32. Michelle FergusonMay 6, 2018 at 9:46 AM

    I love a historical romance so looks like a good book for me

  33. Thankyou for this great giveaway... Fingers crossed 🤞

  34. Sounds like a good read thank you x

  35. Great interview! Thanks for sharing :)

  36. Have a safe and awesome trip! Thanks, Lenora, for this great giveaway!