The Trouble with Being a Duke by Sophie Barnes L
Anthony Hurst, the Duke of Kingsborough, knows it is time for him to marry and produce an heir, and believes enough time has passed since his sainted father's death for the family to come out of mourning and host the Kingsborough Ball. Isabella Chilcott has dreamed of sneaking away to the Kingsborough Ball sine she was a child, but her mother is completely set against the aristocracy. She sneaks out, wearing an old gown she finds hidden in the attic, and once there she catches the attention of the Duke himself. Anthony knows she is lying about her identity, but finds himself unable to get the beautiful woman out of his mind, even after she abandons him at the ball. He visits everywhere in the village to determine who she is and is horrified to discover she is practically engaged to another man, and can't help but wonder how her mother had the fancy ball gown hidden in her house, especially when it comes to life that an heiress who went missing 20 years ago was wearing that dress. He knows that he is the right man for Isabella, but does not know how to go about convincing her parents. A mystery from long ago, parents who harbor grudges, and a couple who will do anything to be together culminate in a romantic ending.
My biggest problem with this story was Isabella's inability to stand up to her parents no matter how wrong they are proven to be, and no matter how miserable following their directives will make her. Seriously, I wanted to slap her and wondered why Anthony would be so adamant in hitching himself to a woman with no spine and in-laws who didn't seem to care about their own daughters happiness, no matter how hard the author worked to make their actions seemed justified. Aside from having no spine, Isabella was a pretty fun heroine who's desire to please just became a little over done. Anthony was pretty under-developed character and many times it seemed like the only thing that drove him was his desire for Isabella, even when I could not understand exactly why he was so keen on her. Considering that was his defining characteristic, it was at least done well and he certainly fought for what he wanted and I could tell he really cared about Isabella.
Rating: A very fast book, underdeveloped characters with annoying quirks and habits, and a rather confusing romance.