A Most Unlikely Duke (Diamonds in the Rough Series #1)

A Most Unlikely Duke (Diamonds in the Rough Series #1)

by Sophie Barnes

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He never thought he'd become a duke, or that the secrets of his past would cost him his greatest love...


Raphe Matthews hasn’t stepped foot in polite circles since a tragedy left his once-noble family impoverished and in debt. The bare-knuckle boxer has spent the last fifteen years eking out an existence for himself and his two sisters. But when a stunning reversal of fortune lands Raphe the title of Duke of Huntley, he’s determined to make a go of becoming a proper lord, but he’ll need a little help, and his captivating neighbor might be just the woman for the job…


After her sister’s scandalous match, Lady Gabriella knows the ton’s eyes are on her. Agreeing to tutor the brutish new duke can only lead to ruin. Although she tries to control her irresistible attraction to Raphe, every day she spends with him only deepens her realization that this may be the one man she cannot do without. And as scandal threatens to envelop them both, she must decide if she can risk everything for love with a most unlikely duke.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062566782
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/27/2017
Series: Diamonds in the Rough Series , #1
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 166,223
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

Born in Denmark, USA TODAY bestselling author Sophie Barnes spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She's lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish, and Romanian. But, most impressive of all, she's been married to the same man three times—in three different countries and in three different dresses.

When she's not busy dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading.

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A Most Unlikely Duke 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
but the romance lacked heat. The pacing was very slow and, again, the romance was tepid and the love scenes were uninspiring. I will not be buying volume 2.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a new author to me and I have to say it was most enjoyable. Already have the second book in this series in my library so guess I' ll just continue on!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this extraordinary story. The differences between the classes is well written, as well as, the pride and prejudices of class distinction. The story of Raphe and Gabriella is so well written. Nothing is predictable or mundane. It’s has very many twists and turns that made me keep reading. I couldn’t put it down! Cheers to you, Sophie Barnes! Wonderful book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story was a great departure from a standard Regency romance. Sophie Barnes created loveable characters with flaws, making them exceedingly relatable. The plot was strong, and the tension between Raphe and Gabriella was the perfect amount. Well done, Ms. Barnes. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good read.
zeeba More than 1 year ago
A Most Unlikely Duke is the first book in the Diamonds in the Rough series. I must say this is a fabulous story and the beginning of a great series. Raphe Matthews hasn’t stepped foot in polite circles since a tragedy left his once-noble family impoverished and in debt. He has been working and taking care of his two younger sisters for the last fifteen years. But when he receives a letter, his life changes completely and he becomes the Duke of Huntley. Now he’s determined to become a proper lord in order to make sure his sisters be accepted by the ton and marry well. So who is better than his captivating neighbor Lady Gabriella... Lady Gabriella's life has changed since her sister’s scandalous marriage, now she needs to marry Lord Fielding who is definitely more attracted to her dowry than her. She tries not to do anything to ruin the courtship but when the brutish new duke move in everything change. She just can't marry without love........ This is a beautifully written historical romance that keep you captivated through out the whole story. The story line is brilliant with great characters. Sophie Barnes did it again and creates another wonderful novel. I loved the heroine and hero, they both were strong, stubborn (in good way) and wonderful. I can't wait to read the next one in the series. Thank you Sophie Barnes
Rhonda_Jones More than 1 year ago
A Most Unlikely Duke by Sophie Barnes This is the story of a bare-knuckle fighter who becomes a Duke, and a Lady from Mayfair who start to question everything she has known. Raphe Matthews is doing the best he can with the hand that has been dealt him. He has been taking care of his 3 siblings since the age of 8 as a dock worker and a bare-knuckle fighter. He does the lesser to pay off his father’s debt. Living in the slums of St. Giles he and his two sisters barely have enough to eat. Raphe suddenly becomes a Duke and his life has changed. He and his sisters can now have the life they were meant to have. Lady Gabriella Warwick must save her family from the scandal her sister made last year by breaking an engagement with a Marquess to marry a business man in America. Her whole life has been planned for her. Even the man she will marry to replenish her parents’ reputation. That is until she meets the new Duke of Huntley. It is an instant attraction. He makes her questions all the decisions she and her family has made. That there is more to life than society’s dictates. Raphe just wants his sisters to marry well and he needs someone to help them. Gabriella helps against her parents’ wishes and starts to see the man Raphe is. This story really showed that we shouldn’t care what others think, we can survive anything as long as we are together.
JacAng More than 1 year ago
Absolutely love the story! Sophie had captured the sweetness and kindness of Gabriella. The kind of lady that will suit and attract our hero. Given his background and hardship that he had endured. I could never resist a good love story and that is how i will describe A most unlikely Duke.
RebeccaBrown More than 1 year ago
A classy tale of an honor bound Lady. Lady Gabriella Radcliffe had shoes to fill. After her older Sister ran off with an Entrepreneur from America it was up to her to make an advantageous match with one of the elite men from the "Ton." Raphe Mathews was a boxer from Saint Giles. His occupation was not exactly by choice, but what else could he do to keep his sisters both fed and sheltered. Most importantly, to keep them off the streets and becoming women of ill repute. Enter a surprise letter one day... This was the letter that would change everyone's life forever.... I HATE giving away the book with a review, so I just give the brief rundown with my own thoughts. I really enjoyed The Unlikely Duke. Raphe is a fighter stuck in Saint Giles one day and the next is introduced in a society that is as unforgiving as a slinky dress worn without spanx! Lady Gabby is not your typical run of the Ton girl. She like the study of bugs for starters, and finds herself becoming more like the girl she used to be before she was forced into the marriage market when she's around Raphe. I loved every minute of this book! Especially the ending!! Major spoiler so mums the word from me. I highly recommend this tale of realism melded with passion for every romance reader out there. 5 stars from me. Thank you Sophie Barnes for another smashing tale of love, and for the possible beginning of something more..... Disclosure..I was given an advanced reader's copy of this book to write my review. I take reviewing seriously and only recommend books that I have actually read. With this said, I highly recommend this book.
Pompie1999 More than 1 year ago
Exciting, fast-paced thoroughly enjoyable read!!! It wastes no time getting into the exciting range -- it opens with a bare-knuckled prize fight and moves on from there. The definitely unlikely duke was born into the gentry - his mother was the daughter of a viscount -- but through an awful set of circumstances, the duke, at the age of 8 ends up living in St. Giles with his three younger sisters in his care. For fifteen years he manages to care for all of them by working on the docks and prize fighting. Sadly, he does lose one sister, and that eats at him. Can you imagine any 8-year old today managing to do what this child did? Never happen - but they seemed to mature earlier back then. I love the scene where the new duke meets our heroine -- she (and her male companion) mistake them for servants and upbraid them for trying to enter through the front of the duke's home. The male companion (sort of a villain) is very nasty about it, but our heroine is much less so. Our heroine has been brow-beaten and basically forced into meeting her parents standards in the pursuit of a 'proper' husband. Her sister had been in a compromising position the year before and thoroughly disgraced her family. So -- they set about making sure that our heroine didn't do the same. However, when she meets the duke and his sisters - she realizes that they see her for the person she is and even like her quirky personality. She volunteers to secretly help his sisters learn to be ladies - and, of course -- with all that proximity to the new duke -- they learn they care for each other also. I love that our hero is such a very honorable man. He even decides to honor a commitment he made before he knew he was the new duke - a commitment that will surely bring scandal down on their heads. I also love that our heroine stands with him in his decision. Great read -- and I can hardly wait for the next book featuring his sister. "I requested and received this book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher."
MariaRoseDariotis More than 1 year ago
A Most Unlikely Duke By Sophie Barnes Rating 5 Stars Steam 4 Stars When a Fighter Becomes a Duke What's a man to do when the world he left behind as a child comes knocking at his door? Grab it with both hands of course. Raphael-Raphe- Mathews never thought that his old life would come back to haunt him, living a life as a bare knuckle fighter hasn't been easy for him and his younger sisters. Not being able to save his youngest sister he vowed to do anything in his power to make life easier for his remaining family. When he gets news that he's the heir to a Dukedom he leaves the life he's known for the last fifteen years behind for a life of privilege and power....drenched in secrets and scandal. Leaving behind villains that he owes debts to will come with a price. His new life becomes even more interesting when he's entranced by his new neighbor the delightful Lady Gabriella. Lady Gabriella has her life upended ever since her sister ran off and married against their parents wishes- her freedom curtailed she has to be the picture of propriety she cannot have scandal court her family. Gabriella is drawn to Raphe and all dreams of finding love are suddenly very important to her. What's a girl to do when a scandalous Duke becomes your neighbor? Court scandal of course!!! Sophie Barnes new series starts with a bang. A sensational read will keep you glued to the pages. A sensual story of forbidden love full of intrigue and fast paced can't wait to read the next one in this exciting series! I received a complimentary copy from the author through Edelweiss for my unbiased opinion
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
Sometimes the right book shows up at just the right time. I didn't even realize that I was in the mood for a historical romance until I started reading this book and I couldn't put it down. I have never read anything by Sophie Barnes before picking up this book but since this was the start of a new series, I decided to take a chance. I am so glad that I did because this story was a lot of fun. The characters in this book were wonderful. Raphe was my favorite character in the book. I always seem to like characters that are a bit of an outsider which definitely describes Raphe. When he learns that he has been named a Duke, he is shocked since he has spent the past 15 years supporting his sisters as a dockworker and boxer. When he shows up to take on the role, he doesn't quite fit the mold. Gabriella spends her days trying to make her parents happy. They are pushing her to marry someone that they think is respectable and are hoping for a match that will benefit the family. They don't bother to ask her what she wants in life. Gabriella loves studying insects and is herself often considered an outsider. I really liked Raphe and Gabriella as a couple. They really seemed to understand each other and worked hard to help each other through several situations. There was a lot of respect shown between the pair and I really liked their chemistry. This wasn't a really steamy romance but I didn't miss the heat. It was fun to watch this pair fall in love and fight to be with each other. I would highly recommend this book to others. There was always something exciting happening in the story plot-wise and all of the characters were very well done. I am very much looking forward to seeing some of the secondary characters again when the next book in the series is released. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Avon Books via Edelweiss.
beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
I really liked this story! Though parts of it didn't feel totally accurate--smaller details, mostly; overall it was fairly plausible historical fiction--the story was entertaining and the characters extremely likable. And though I shuddered slightly when Gabriella was hanging out with spiders and beetles (spiders! and beetles!) it was really easy to adore her character anyway. And Raphe...ah, Raphe. You've got to love a guy who's been taking care of his younger sisters since the age of eight and somehow managed to educate all three of them himself. (One of the aforementioned details--where on earth would they get books as penniless, parentless kids living in St. Giles? But still, it's hard not to love characters who get excited by libraries and bookstores, so I'll go with it :)) Also very interesting to note that though there's chemistry galore here and all kinds of lusting after each other, actual sexytimes are sparse. I actually didn't miss it--it was nice to focus on the relationship for a change...plus, chemistry and lust and hot and heavy dreams filled in the gap nicely ;) Raphe's younger sister Amelia is clearly being set up as the heroine of the next book, and I am so there, people! Can't wait! Rating: 4 stars / B+ I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Theardentreader More than 1 year ago
What  a wonderful story!  Gabriella is in a situation that she didnt make, but she must endure. Or not.  I loved the idea of a man from the slums making good. I found it hard to believe at first but as more of the story unfolds, it was easy to see how this could happen.  Both H&H are people of entegrity and honor. They just need to find a way to be themselves and still meet the tons unrelenting strictures. The author paints a picture of a lovely girl, who is kind and thoughtful, even when others are not. And a man who may be a nobody, but had more honor in his little pinky than some of the highest ranking members of society.  This was a wonderfully sweet story. I will look forward to the authors next book! 
BookReview4you More than 1 year ago
'A Most Unlikely Duke ' by Sophie Barnes is Book One in the "Diamonds in the Rough" series. This is the story of Raphe and Lady Gabriella. I am so excited for this series! I fell in love with Raphe, his sisters and Gabriella's Aunt Caroline. I can't wait for more stories in this series. Gabriella's sister caused a scandal when she broke her engagement and married another. Now Gabriella's mother seemed to be making sure that Gabriella has the perfect match so that they can put the scandal behind them. Raphe and his sister have nothing but hardship after the death of their parents. Raphe has been trying to keep them housed and feed the best way he can....which meant boxing. But now he has been handed the Title of Duke of Huntley, which was his Great Grandfather's title. Raphe and his sister move next door to Gabriella and her parents. When Gabriella first sees the Raphe and his sister she thinks they might be the hired help. But when Gabriella, her mother and Aunt go next door to introduce themselves they quickly learn who the new Duke is. Gabriella has soft spot for this sisters and secretly helps them to try and learn to be proper ladies. Which puts her in a closeness with Raphe. Can Raphe and Gabriella make a match? How will her mother feel about this possible new scandal? This was another of Ms. Barnes books that I could not put down! Ms. Barnes books are such a treat to read! "My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."
Zeeelicious More than 1 year ago
Well, hello there new to me author, Sophie Barnes! I am absolutely delighted by A Most Unlikely Duke! Plus, I love reading about rags to riches stories! Raphe, who worked on the docks and as a prize fighter, suddenly finds out that he is now a Duke! He has been living in St. Giles with his two sisters and decides to accept his new role to give a better life for his sisters. Our girl, Gabriela is the neighbor! This book had me laughing out loud at certain parts and also emotionally touched because of the feels. I mean, THE FEELS! Raphe and Gabriella are perfect for each other! I liked their love/hate relationship! And the initial slow burn during the first half of the book! All the characters are well developed. I am was also intrigued by the Raphe’s two sisters! I want their stories now! This book is basically My Fair Lady in reverse since Gabriella is the one giving lessons to the Duke’s two sisters. Raphe is also being taught by his valet and butler and I wish I could have seen more of the “training” part. This book is emotional and very refreshing. Sophie Barnes writes masterfully and I am just amazed that I haven’t read her before! The only beef I have is that it lacks steam for me. Another thing is that I just recently read a historical romance where the hero and heroine lived next to each other, so I had a hard time separating the two. haha
Lindsey_Gray11 More than 1 year ago
Raphe Matthews never expected to go from a bare knuckle boxer to a duke. A fluke of fate leaves the bloodline ending with Raphe and his sisters. Arriving at their new home, he meets his new neighbor, Lady Gabriella, and her beau when they mistake him and his sisters for servants. Gabriella treats the new duke with kindness even when she has no idea who he is. When Gabriella, her mother, and her aunt come to welcome the new duke to the neighborhood, Gabriella realizes her error. Forbidden by her mother to consort with the duke and his family doesn’t detour her from helping the family rise to the level of the ton. Through lessons with his sisters, Raphe falls hard for the pretty Lady next door. Presented with his unusual wit and masculine charm, it doesn’t take much for Gabriella to follow suit. Raphe and Gabriella have secrets they keep from the world and each other. When they eventually reveal all, I love how both completely accept the others trials. The story flew by as I was sucked in by the tangled web of love, lust, and loyalty. This is an amazing start for the new Diamonds in the Rough series! I can’t wait for more from Sophie Barnes! I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
London - 1818 Raphe Matthews has spent many years living in disreputable St. Giles working as a boxer to be able to support his two sisters, Amelia and Juliette. His handler takes 90 percent of the money he makes winning fights. He is hoping to make enough money to finally be debt-free. When a letter arrives telling him that he is the new Duke of Huntley, he is shocked. His great-grandfather was the Sixth Duke of Huntley and the sons of the Eighth Duke of Huntley recently died at sea, the shock of which killed their father. Now, Raphe is the Ninth Duke of Huntley. Lady Gabriella Radcliffe is being visited by the very eligible bachelor, Simon Nugent, the Earl of Fielding. Not impressed by the man, Gabriella is being pressured by her mother to make a good marriage. The Earl is a pompous man looking to get his hands on her 100,000 pound dowry and Gabriella knows she could never love him. When Raphe and his sisters arrive at their new home in London, it turns out that it is just next door to Lady Gabriella’s family. Gabriella and Lord Fielding see them arrive and Fielding snootily takes them for servants. Gabriella’s mother insists that they call on the Duke to welcome them to the neighborhood. While her mother is rather shocked at the Duke’s lower-class speech, Gabriella is quite taken with him and his sisters. She befriends Amelia and Juliette as each day she slips next door with her maid to help teach the young ladies how to walk and talk correctly and also imparts social manners to them. Soon, the girls will be presented at court. At the same time, Raphe has some people helping him with his speech and his dress. Seeing one another a lot sparks a romance between them. But she dare not let her parents or Earl Fielding know that she is helping them. But a promise that Raphe made in the past has come back to haunt him. Will he agree to honor his promise? Is there hope for Raphe and Gabriella to have a future together? This was a good book and I enjoyed it very much. Gabriella is a sweet, “real” person, and Raphe is a man who cares very much about his family. There are some dastardly villains in the story as well. I know readers will really enjoy this book. Copy provided by Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely love this store of a rough and tumble man of the Streets becoming a Duke! He has fought with his fist, to keep his sister's off the streets, safe, and fed! Lady Gabriella has problems of her own, now she has a growing attachment to the man, not a Duke! Absolute Must Read! I highly recommend! Thanks ! Enjoy! carolintallahassee ?