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An Unfamiliar Duke

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​​At eleven years of age, Rosalind Ainsworth was convinced that Sebastian Lumley, the future Duke of Kelbrook, was the most odious young man she’d ever met. And ten years later, after having had no contact with the nobleman in the intervening time, her opinion of him has not changed. Unfortunately, neither has the marriage contract their fathers signed soon after her birth ​​At eleven years of age, Rosalind Ainsworth was convinced that Sebastian Lumley, the future Duke of Kelbrook, was the most odious young man she’d ever met. And ten years later, after having had no contact with the nobleman in the intervening time, her opinion of him has not changed. Unfortunately, neither has the marriage contract their fathers signed soon after her birth. As Rosalind’s twenty-first birthday and the appointed wedding day approaches, Sebastian makes a rare appearance in London. His first meeting with Rosalind since childhood goes less than perfectly, but Sebastian has a compelling reason for honoring their marriage contract—a reason outlined in a document kept behind his workshop’s locked door. After a quick wedding, the new couple relocates to Finley Park, where their acquaintanceship slowly blossoms into affection. But when Sebastian’s secretive work threatens their fledgling relationship and Rosalind’s life is placed in jeopardy, Sebastian finds himself forced to choose between the man he has pledged to help and the woman he has come to love.


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​​At eleven years of age, Rosalind Ainsworth was convinced that Sebastian Lumley, the future Duke of Kelbrook, was the most odious young man she’d ever met. And ten years later, after having had no contact with the nobleman in the intervening time, her opinion of him has not changed. Unfortunately, neither has the marriage contract their fathers signed soon after her birth ​​At eleven years of age, Rosalind Ainsworth was convinced that Sebastian Lumley, the future Duke of Kelbrook, was the most odious young man she’d ever met. And ten years later, after having had no contact with the nobleman in the intervening time, her opinion of him has not changed. Unfortunately, neither has the marriage contract their fathers signed soon after her birth. As Rosalind’s twenty-first birthday and the appointed wedding day approaches, Sebastian makes a rare appearance in London. His first meeting with Rosalind since childhood goes less than perfectly, but Sebastian has a compelling reason for honoring their marriage contract—a reason outlined in a document kept behind his workshop’s locked door. After a quick wedding, the new couple relocates to Finley Park, where their acquaintanceship slowly blossoms into affection. But when Sebastian’s secretive work threatens their fledgling relationship and Rosalind’s life is placed in jeopardy, Sebastian finds himself forced to choose between the man he has pledged to help and the woman he has come to love.

30 review for An Unfamiliar Duke

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julie Carpenter

    I picked this book up and devoured it! I've had a couple of quiet days and I just needed a break from the busyness of life right now. So I have been reading and reading and reading. And this one! Wowsers!!! It is amazing! I've loved the previous books in this series but honestly, I think this is my favorite of the 4 so far! I read for several hours before bed, then my brain decided to wake up super-duper early and would not fall back to sleep. So I picked up this book and read for several hours I picked this book up and devoured it! I've had a couple of quiet days and I just needed a break from the busyness of life right now. So I have been reading and reading and reading. And this one! Wowsers!!! It is amazing! I've loved the previous books in this series but honestly, I think this is my favorite of the 4 so far! I read for several hours before bed, then my brain decided to wake up super-duper early and would not fall back to sleep. So I picked up this book and read for several hours before my household all woke up. And after the morning routine, I was back to devouring this one. I needed to know what happened between these two. Rosalind and Sebastian don't start off on the best footing. Haha! I giggled at that opening scene. Leave it to little kids to make a muddle of things and first impressions. But Sebastian makes a bit of a muddle as an adult as well. Poor Rosalind. This book is a marriage of convenience story. Rosalind and Sebastian have been betrothed since her birth. Talk about a long standing marriage arrangement. Only having the childhood memory of him is not the best footing to start off a marriage. But I loved Sebastian. He is truly a Gentleman. I loved their interactions before their marriage as he was getting to know Rosalind some. And all the many interactions after. They were perfect! Well, perfect in the sense that it built the story and developed their relationship is such a sweet and gentle way. I was honestly grinning nonstop the whole time! I couldn't get enough of these two. I would love to see more of them! Or I guess I should just reread the book and fall in love with them all over again! I love Rosalind's list. *Heart eyes and Happy Sigh* You'll have to read the book to understand. The locked door. Their first dinner...well kind of. The chelsea buns. The kissing gate. *swoon* The carriage ride. The staff. The river. The tenants. Rosalind. The satchel. The peril. The tree house. Sebastian. Ohhhh, sooo many wonderful things in this book. It's definitely a must read recommendation from me!!! And a definite re-read for me! I loved the historical aspects that the author included in this novel. In all of her novels actually. So fascinating. Especially about the inventions. The afterword was very interesting as well. Content: Clean. Some sweet kisses but nothing more. A few moments of peril. I received a copy from the publisher, Covenant Communications, via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions in the review are my own. Happy Reading!!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    Oh. My. Goodness!!! I love this book! I've enjoyed all the Georgian Gentleman books but this is my favorite!!! I loved Rosalind and Sebastian's story. Their families arranged their marriage while they were children and while Rosalind and Sebastian have known about it for years, each was hoping that their families would cancel the contract. This did not happen, and thus the marriage will take place shortly after Rosalind's 21st birthday, which is in a few months. The problem, besides the fact tha Oh. My. Goodness!!! I love this book! I've enjoyed all the Georgian Gentleman books but this is my favorite!!! I loved Rosalind and Sebastian's story. Their families arranged their marriage while they were children and while Rosalind and Sebastian have known about it for years, each was hoping that their families would cancel the contract. This did not happen, and thus the marriage will take place shortly after Rosalind's 21st birthday, which is in a few months. The problem, besides the fact that neither party really wants to go through with it, is that Sebastian hasn't had any contact with Rosalind until now! He still thinks of her as an 11 year old chatterbox asking a million questions and she thinks of him as a ill-mannered 14 year old who wouldn't let her in his tree house. Will these two be able to see that the other has grown in the decade that's passed which will enable them to make a go of it? I loved so many things in this book. I loved Rosalind and Sebastian's first meeting--both of them. The one where they didn't know who each other was and the one that followed shortly thereafter--I could just imagine their faces when they saw each other!! I loved that Rosalind loved numbers and knew that would end up helping Sebastian. I absolutely loved Rosalind's list--oh my heavens! As her list of "Good Things" grew and she scratched off the "Bad Things" I knew she was falling in love with Sebastian. About Sebastian--he was such a good man. A little clueless but a good man and I thought he was a quick learner. Whenever he realized he'd made a muddle of things with Rosalind he put "safety measures" in place to help it not happen again. I loved his letter to Rosalind apologizing for their missed dinner--you could tell how sincere he was. I liked that he was one of those Duke's that cared about his tennants and helped them. I love that the author writes in dual point of view so the reader knows what each of the main characters is thinking. I really liked that although Rosalind and Sebastian don't love each at the beginning of their marriage, they're cordial and friendly, there was no animosity between them. Being a lover of suspense, I really liked the suspense towards the end of the book and thought it fit well in the overall story in the book. Rosalind and Sebastian are now one of my favorite fictional couples and I only wish there would be more books with them in it--like a series!! I received a complimentary copy from the publisher Covenant Communications via NetGalley, and I also bought a copy for my personal library. All thoughts expressed in this review are my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This was a satisfying historical romance. The story was unique and quite realistic. The MC were adorable in their own way and I really liked them. This had everything good that a slow burn romance should have. I loved to see an honorable man fulfilling his duties and pursuing what he wants. It was also interesting from an engineering perspective. I’m so glad I read it. I highly recommend it if you like clean historical romance. Thanks Covenant Communications via NetGalley.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Paula Shreckhise

    A new-to-me author that I am glad I found. This time period, Georgian England, is a bit different than my usual read, but none the less it was very enjoyable. Childhood neighbors, Sebastian and Rosalind, are betrothed by their fathers. After ten years, they meet again just weeks before the appointed wedding. What they remember from their youth changes with the reality they are confronted with. They wed and then get to know each other. Sebastian is not the typical Duke. He takes his responsibilit A new-to-me author that I am glad I found. This time period, Georgian England, is a bit different than my usual read, but none the less it was very enjoyable. Childhood neighbors, Sebastian and Rosalind, are betrothed by their fathers. After ten years, they meet again just weeks before the appointed wedding. What they remember from their youth changes with the reality they are confronted with. They wed and then get to know each other. Sebastian is not the typical Duke. He takes his responsibilities seriously. He is more interested in inventions and keeping his workshop locked than being seen in society. While somewhat of a recluse, he is very concerned with his staff and his tenants. Rosalind is not the society diva that her husband suspects but is warmhearted and likewise concerned with all classes of people. The author brings her characters to life with the flavor of the era. She adds a dash of suspense and danger and wraps it up in a blossoming romance between a married couple! I would classify this as a clean read. *I won this book from the author in a Facebook contest. All opinions are my own.*

  5. 5 out of 5

    Aimee (Getting Your Read On)

    This book is an easy five stars for me. This might be my favorite of the series and that is saying something because I've loved every book! There is just something about these characters that feels so comfortable and real. Both Rosalind and Sebastian have known about their arranged marriage although not necessarily wanted it. They come into their marriage hesitant but their growing friendship and affections felt real and natural. I loved that they were both open and willing to knowing and unders This book is an easy five stars for me. This might be my favorite of the series and that is saying something because I've loved every book! There is just something about these characters that feels so comfortable and real. Both Rosalind and Sebastian have known about their arranged marriage although not necessarily wanted it. They come into their marriage hesitant but their growing friendship and affections felt real and natural. I loved that they were both open and willing to knowing and understanding each other. There wasn't angst or meanness, just a growing trust that allowed me to love and trust them too. It all felt so good. I loved the bit of danger and suspense there at the end! It made everything feel intense and alive and gave the plot that extra "umph" that put it over the top. Nothing like a bit of excitement to charge up the ending. I loved it!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lauren (thebookscript)

    This book is now my new favorite of Sian Besseys. While I always find her books interesting due to the extra plot elements and history...this one in particular has an extra added dose of romance and chemistry in her characters that drew me in. Marriage of Convenience is one of my favorite tropes and I think Sian does a great job of slowly melding the lives of two characters who want nothing to do with a forced union. This isn't an enemies to lovers to situation but more of a hopeful diligence of This book is now my new favorite of Sian Besseys. While I always find her books interesting due to the extra plot elements and history...this one in particular has an extra added dose of romance and chemistry in her characters that drew me in. Marriage of Convenience is one of my favorite tropes and I think Sian does a great job of slowly melding the lives of two characters who want nothing to do with a forced union. This isn't an enemies to lovers to situation but more of a hopeful diligence of both people wanting to make something out of an unusual situation. Both parties are high in rank and have a lot to offer, so the pairing makes sense as it prevents unwanted and insincere pursuers. Its slow burn and sweet and we sincerely thank Sian for adding more kissing. I loved the little moments of sizzle that I desperately need when it comes to a sweet romance and I think she did a great job here. What is also wonderful about this book is the historical significance of inventors and the push to be the first to put their creations into society. She mentions several really fun innovations during a time period where ideas were running rampant and markets were not yet saturated but highly needed and important. This book also throws in a little active suspense moment to keep the readers on edge that makes it all the more fun and exciting. thank you Covenant for the change to read this early, my review is honest and my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Marilee

    Oh, my word. Sian Bessey's books never disappoint and this is seriously one of my favorites in her Georgian Gentleman series (I feel like I say that every time...). An Unfamiliar Duke is a positively perfect combination of engaging characters, a captivating and suspenseful plot, and a sweet marriage of convenience! Rosalind and Sebastian's story actually takes place just before the first book in the series, The Noble Smuggler. Their fathers signed marriage contract when they were very young and t Oh, my word. Sian Bessey's books never disappoint and this is seriously one of my favorites in her Georgian Gentleman series (I feel like I say that every time...). An Unfamiliar Duke is a positively perfect combination of engaging characters, a captivating and suspenseful plot, and a sweet marriage of convenience! Rosalind and Sebastian's story actually takes place just before the first book in the series, The Noble Smuggler. Their fathers signed marriage contract when they were very young and though they have both resigned themselves to an arranged marriage, find they are pleasantly surprised with the other and with how much they have in common. I love that Sian Bessey somehow writes characters that are both likable AND still have a character arcs. Sebastian's passion of engineering and mathematics was a unique and intriguing part of the story as was Rosalind's keen interest. The buildup to the suspense was perfect and I loved every page of it! If you are a fan of sweet historical romance, this book needs to be on your must-read list. Another 5+ star sleep stealer from an author who knows how to write stories that you will want to visit again and again. I received a complimentary copy of the book but a positive review was not required.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina (belli_libri_library)

    I knew the basics of this book, but I purposely didn’t read the synopsis so I could see the story unfold without prior knowledge of the plot. I’ve done this a few times, and most of the time I love reading like this. And I can say I loved this book from page one! Instantly you know what to expect and I personally fell in love with both Rosalind and Sebastian in the first few pages. Who could resist an arranged marriage story with a brilliant and strong heroine and a sweet, hardworking genius her I knew the basics of this book, but I purposely didn’t read the synopsis so I could see the story unfold without prior knowledge of the plot. I’ve done this a few times, and most of the time I love reading like this. And I can say I loved this book from page one! Instantly you know what to expect and I personally fell in love with both Rosalind and Sebastian in the first few pages. Who could resist an arranged marriage story with a brilliant and strong heroine and a sweet, hardworking genius hero who is also a Duke? I know I can’t resist as story like that. Rosalind and Sebastian are perfect for each other and it was a joy to see them discover that as they come to know one another better. Sian Bessey’s books are an absolute pleasure to read and are filled with beautiful settings, an engaging plot, and lovable characters. An Unfamiliar Duke is full of fascinating facts about the beginnings of the industrial revolution in England. These facts were woven throughout a heartwarming and sweet romance story that also included a bit of suspense and discovery. It was the perfect combination of an informative historical novel and an endearing love story. This is the perfect addition to the Georgian Gentlemen Series, which is becoming one of my favorite series of all time. An Unfamiliar Duke is a great book for anyone looking for a clean historical romance that leaves the reader perfectly content after the last page. I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. I was not required to leave a positive review

  9. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)

    I loved this gentle romance! Rosalind and Sebastian are both entering the marriage with few memories of each other, but their maturity helps them navigate their new relationship and I appreciated that their struggles and progress were natural and I loved the small and significant moments that helped them grow closer together. The danger doesn't play a large role until the climax of the book, but the foreshadowing held me in anticipation while I read. The focus on their relationship made this boo I loved this gentle romance! Rosalind and Sebastian are both entering the marriage with few memories of each other, but their maturity helps them navigate their new relationship and I appreciated that their struggles and progress were natural and I loved the small and significant moments that helped them grow closer together. The danger doesn't play a large role until the climax of the book, but the foreshadowing held me in anticipation while I read. The focus on their relationship made this book a pleasure to read, and I loved the way they connected over numbers and Rosalind's genuine interest in Sebastian's work of improvement and innovation. The historical details woven in were fascinating and made the era come alive. All the books in this series are excellent, and this is definitely one of my favorites of them! Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tasha (the_clean_read_book_club)

    If I could only use one word to describe this book it would be riveting. This is without a doubt my favorite Sian Ann Bessey book to date. If I could give it more than 5 stars I would without even hesitating. This had all of my favorite tropes and they were executed perfectly. I was deeply invested in this story!! I loved the flashback beginning that set up for some crucial information that explained so much later on in the book. I loved the romance--the tension was FANTASTIC. The characters emo If I could only use one word to describe this book it would be riveting. This is without a doubt my favorite Sian Ann Bessey book to date. If I could give it more than 5 stars I would without even hesitating. This had all of my favorite tropes and they were executed perfectly. I was deeply invested in this story!! I loved the flashback beginning that set up for some crucial information that explained so much later on in the book. I loved the romance--the tension was FANTASTIC. The characters emotions were palpable through the page and I will read anything and everything this author ever publishes because of this book alone. Have I mentioned it was fantastic? My favorite thing about this author's books, and especially this book, is the character development. Never have I ever read about more amazing characters than from this author. They are such good people that can still have complete character arcs throughout. I wish I knew better how to word that, but I LOVE her characters that bring so much good and light to the literature world. Sian, I am a fan for life! Thank you for your books! Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the copy. All thoughts in this review are my own.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    "An Unfamiliar Duke" is a romance set in 1782 in England. Sebastian and Rosalind were betrothed at birth and didn't gain a positive impression of each other when they met as children. Sebastian still doesn't like social events and idle chatter (though he loves numbers and talking with inventors). However, he realized that he ought to do a little courting to get to know his bride before they married. Both agreed to have patience with each other's mistakes, and they did make mistakes as two people "An Unfamiliar Duke" is a romance set in 1782 in England. Sebastian and Rosalind were betrothed at birth and didn't gain a positive impression of each other when they met as children. Sebastian still doesn't like social events and idle chatter (though he loves numbers and talking with inventors). However, he realized that he ought to do a little courting to get to know his bride before they married. Both agreed to have patience with each other's mistakes, and they did make mistakes as two people learning to join their lives together. They were willing to recognize and admit to mistakes and gave forgiveness when needed. Rosalind even tried to think of a good trait or action by Sebastian for every misstep he made so she wouldn't focus only on the negative. Sebastian and Rosalind were thoughtful, kind, likable characters who reacted realistically to events. I cared about what happened to them. They found shared interests and came to appreciate and love each other. Some historical details were woven into the story, mainly about inventions, clothing, and manners. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable story. I received an ebook review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    There aren’t many authors who can do what Sian Bessey does. She takes you to a time and place, introduces you to amazing characters. And then, just when you think all is well, she throws in a bit of danger and intrigue as well. I loved this book, so much! Rosalind knew Sebastian when she was a girl. And, he would not let her into his treehouse. Much to her horror, she discovered that she was to marry him on her 21st birthday, without her consent. That’s not a great footing to base a marriage on. There aren’t many authors who can do what Sian Bessey does. She takes you to a time and place, introduces you to amazing characters. And then, just when you think all is well, she throws in a bit of danger and intrigue as well. I loved this book, so much! Rosalind knew Sebastian when she was a girl. And, he would not let her into his treehouse. Much to her horror, she discovered that she was to marry him on her 21st birthday, without her consent. That’s not a great footing to base a marriage on. But…I loved watching the way Rosalind grew to care for her husband. The list of his good qualities versus his bad ones was so great! And Rosalind is such a brave young woman. There were several parts in this book that she showed her bravery and courage. Sebastian is the kind of man who hides out in his locked workshop and forgets dinner with his new wife. But he’s also the kind of man who can admit that he needs to change and work on himself. And he cares deeply for his household staff, those who live on his land, and his wife. I loved the scene where the two of them work on arithmetic. And don’t miss the ending of this one! It’ll get your heart pumping and make you worried for both Rosalind and Sebastian. This is such a great book!

  13. 5 out of 5

    InD'tale Magazine

    Aside from these minor issues, the story is a pleasure to read, and easy to immerse oneself into. Read full review in the 2022 April issue of InD'tale Magazine. Aside from these minor issues, the story is a pleasure to read, and easy to immerse oneself into. Read full review in the 2022 April issue of InD'tale Magazine.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Sian Ann Bessey writes the best historical romance stories! She weaves facts along with a wonderful story and this is that of Rosalind and Sebastian. They have been forced into an arranged marriage that looks like it has little chance of becoming more than a business arrangement. But, Sebastian determines that he is going to win Rosalind’s heart and their relationship blossoms into a love that will withstand whatever life presents. It was endearing to see that Sebastian found things that Rosalan Sian Ann Bessey writes the best historical romance stories! She weaves facts along with a wonderful story and this is that of Rosalind and Sebastian. They have been forced into an arranged marriage that looks like it has little chance of becoming more than a business arrangement. But, Sebastian determines that he is going to win Rosalind’s heart and their relationship blossoms into a love that will withstand whatever life presents. It was endearing to see that Sebastian found things that Rosaland liked and created opportunities for her to continue with them. Sometimes it’s just easier to write your thoughts and feelings on paper instead of saying them. The letters that Sebastian write to Rosalind were precious. He had made some mistakes and tried rectifying them through his letters and invitations to join him on excursions. Rosalind too, used pen and paper, but more for her own processing as she kept a Bad and Good list of Sebastian. I was worried that if Sebastian found it, their relationship would suffer a huge setback. Rosalind had held onto a hurtful comment Sebastian made when they were younger, but by writing down that offense, she was able to process that and move on to her new relationship with her husband. Both Rosalind and Sebastian were intrigued with numbers and calculations. There was a level of deep level of trust given to Rosalind when Sebastian showed her his top secret inventions workshop. This also added to the level of suspense and danger that compelled me to want to put everything aside to finish the book. I highly recommend reading this fourth book in the Georgian Gentlemen series. This can be read as a stand alone if you choose, but these books are so good, you’ll want to read them all! I was given a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This is my honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kaye

    Sian Ann Bessey delivers the fourth in her Georgian Gentlemen Series. This can easily be read as a stand alone as I don’t believe characters overlap. (I’ve read the previous book in the series.) Rosalind and Sebastian, the Duke of Kelbrook, were contracted in marriage by their fathers when they were children. As Rosalind turns 21 Sebastian calls upon her in London to arrange the wedding and take her to their country home. I love arranged marriage tropes and in this one the two only met once ten Sian Ann Bessey delivers the fourth in her Georgian Gentlemen Series. This can easily be read as a stand alone as I don’t believe characters overlap. (I’ve read the previous book in the series.) Rosalind and Sebastian, the Duke of Kelbrook, were contracted in marriage by their fathers when they were children. As Rosalind turns 21 Sebastian calls upon her in London to arrange the wedding and take her to their country home. I love arranged marriage tropes and in this one the two only met once ten years prior. The Duke is known as being reclusive and dabbles in engineering and new inventions. Rosalind, now a young Duchess must take on her role in her new home unsure of the feelings of her husband. She sweetly keeps a list of the Good and Bad she sees in her husband and I love her surprise as the good list grows. This is a “proper" Georgian romance meaning that is clean for content as are all books from this publisher. The author does a great job of making a predictable trope feel fresh. The two are very sweet together. Sebastian makes a few mistakes but apologizes and learns from them. I also love the inclusion of inventions of the time period and the notes from the author at the end. I forgot how much I enjoyed reading this author and I need to read the first two books in the series. I’m looking forward to her next romance or her continuation of her Falcon Point series which I’m also reading. Thank you to NetGalley and Covenant Communications for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mindy

    This book was a joy to read. I loved every page. I enjoyed so much the relationship between Sebastian and Rosalind. They were so unsure of each other at first and I felt it progressed so nicely and effortlessly. It wasn't perfect, of course, and there were things they needed to work out, but I loved the communication between them. I appreciated the way the scenes flowed. There was some well written tense moments I felt added to the story so well. The ending was especially sweet. One of my top re This book was a joy to read. I loved every page. I enjoyed so much the relationship between Sebastian and Rosalind. They were so unsure of each other at first and I felt it progressed so nicely and effortlessly. It wasn't perfect, of course, and there were things they needed to work out, but I loved the communication between them. I appreciated the way the scenes flowed. There was some well written tense moments I felt added to the story so well. The ending was especially sweet. One of my top reads of the year!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Melissa’s Bookshelf

    “Her slightly parted lips curved upward. He ached to touch them, to kiss them. She was so close he could feel her warmth. And yet, he held back. What of her feelings? ‘Sebastian.’ Her voice was little more than a murmur. ‘You do not need a kissing gate.’” An Unfamiliar Duke is definitely one of my favorite Sian Bessey books! I absolutely loved this arranged marriage story with two immediately likable characters whom you hope will find happiness and love. Their first meeting as adults was the perf “Her slightly parted lips curved upward. He ached to touch them, to kiss them. She was so close he could feel her warmth. And yet, he held back. What of her feelings? ‘Sebastian.’ Her voice was little more than a murmur. ‘You do not need a kissing gate.’” An Unfamiliar Duke is definitely one of my favorite Sian Bessey books! I absolutely loved this arranged marriage story with two immediately likable characters whom you hope will find happiness and love. Their first meeting as adults was the perfect “meet cute.” I loved the slow burn romance, and character growth. There were also some truly suspenseful moments where I couldn’t put the book down. Warning: do not read the last half of the book right before bed. You’ll have to stay up to finish it. The story takes place in the Georgian era at the end of the 1700’s right in the middle of the Industrial Revolution. Sebastian’s and Rosalind’s parents have arranged a marriage between them that will take place when Rosalind turns 21. Rosalind’s last memory of Sebastian was when she was 11 and he forbid her from entering his tree house. They both resent the arranged marriage and have not seen each other since. When they accidentally meet as adults, there’s an instant attraction there. I loved the way they worked together to understand each other and find each other’s strengths. There were no great misunderstandings which was so refreshing. Any problems that arise were worked out in a very satisfying way. I enjoyed watching their love blossom. Some of my favorite scenes were their first accidental meeting, the sugared almonds, the kissing gate, Rosalind’s lists, the notes under the door, the workshop, and the tree house. Rosalind is gregarious, kind, and enjoys counting and math. She’s surprised to find that her husband also likes math and inventing. He’s involved in a secret project to help design a grain threshing machine and has a locked workroom where he works on his various projects. Sebastian is delighted to find that his wife is not only beautiful, but intelligent. She’s a great fit for his more reserved personality. He would much rather converse with his tenants and servants than society, yet he is willing to make concessions for Rosalind. He’s also a romantic at heart and a thoughtful husband, willing to apologize where he missteps. There’s a smarmy villain in the story who turns out to be pretty despicable. I don’t want to say too much, but he definitely causes some intense moments towards the end. The secondary characters were delightful and I especially enjoyed the interactions with the Beckett family. This is definitely a favorite and one I would highly recommend to anyone, especially historical romance fans. It’s a clean romance with only brief moments of mild violence. Though it’s the fourth book in the series, it can definitely be read as a standalone. I received an advanced complimentary copy from the author through NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I was not required to give a positive review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Modern Miss Granger

    Thank you @covenant_com and @sian_bessey for the ARC of The Unfamiliar Duke! Forced/arranged marriage is my jam and I have been loving lately. This book was absolutely refreshing and just what I needed in this busy season of life. Even though I had to put it down (silly school) and come back to it, I fell into the story every time. Rosalind and Sebastian were meant to be and I was addicted to watching them figure that out. This didn’t feel like the forced marriage trope I often see. There is a l Thank you @covenant_com and @sian_bessey for the ARC of The Unfamiliar Duke! Forced/arranged marriage is my jam and I have been loving lately. This book was absolutely refreshing and just what I needed in this busy season of life. Even though I had to put it down (silly school) and come back to it, I fell into the story every time. Rosalind and Sebastian were meant to be and I was addicted to watching them figure that out. This didn’t feel like the forced marriage trope I often see. There is a little action and mystery that had me flipping pages, but it was all wrapped up in a beautiful love story. ★ ★ ★ ★/5 Steam: kisses

  19. 5 out of 5

    Holly Bleggi

    I loved this book by Sian Ann Bessey! I have loved the other books in the series as well but I loved the characters in this one a lot. I loved how this was an arranged marriage story and how both Sebastian and Rosalind both had their misgivings about the marriage but as they got to know each other they saw how perfect they were for each other. I liked that they had similar interested and that they worked well as a team. I also liked learning a little bit more about the Industrial Revolution in B I loved this book by Sian Ann Bessey! I have loved the other books in the series as well but I loved the characters in this one a lot. I loved how this was an arranged marriage story and how both Sebastian and Rosalind both had their misgivings about the marriage but as they got to know each other they saw how perfect they were for each other. I liked that they had similar interested and that they worked well as a team. I also liked learning a little bit more about the Industrial Revolution in Britain. I received a complimentary book from publishers, publicists, and or authors. A review was not required and all opinions and ideas expressed are my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Hayford

    An arranged marriage is never easy, and Sebastian and Rosalind have every reason to be hesitant about this one. However, I really enjoyed their story and watching their relationship blossom. They really complemented each other and I loved how they worked together. There were some moments of peril, but they only made the story that much sweeter. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through Netgalley and this is my honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlin Lanham (Read with Kaitlin)

    This series has just gotten better with each installment. Sian knows how to make a swoony Georgian era man. Sebastian is one of them. With each book in this series, we have been given an adventure along side information that may not have been as widely known or realized. We got adoption, smuggling, and identity theft in the previous books. To get to see a side of innovation in the late 1700's was pretty special. Rosalind is a woman that loves numbers. She loves counting and it calms her in stres This series has just gotten better with each installment. Sian knows how to make a swoony Georgian era man. Sebastian is one of them. With each book in this series, we have been given an adventure along side information that may not have been as widely known or realized. We got adoption, smuggling, and identity theft in the previous books. To get to see a side of innovation in the late 1700's was pretty special. Rosalind is a woman that loves numbers. She loves counting and it calms her in stressful situations. She is also kind and forgiving. She is a woman that has many qualities that I would love to have said about me. I felt like Sebastian was a good communicator. There were moments where he would make a mistake and it would be hurtful, like in any marriage or relationship (because that is totally normal and real), but instead of just saying he was right or it wasn't a real problem, he recognized where it was wrong and tries to fix the problems. Sometimes I like knowing who the antagonist is right from the beginning, and others I don't. I was able to pin it down pretty quickly in this one. Sometimes that can be a deterrent, yet it wasn't in this book. I was curious to see how it was going to play out. Sian is a master at her craft. Reading books set in historical timelines that have such great detail, depth, and give me the ability to learn something are nothing short of spectacular. Her characters deal with problems that would have been real for that time. Getting to read about those problems helps us understand history and can help us move forward. I applaud Sian for bringing that to readers. Rating: 4.5 Stars

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lucinda

    3 1/2 elevated to 4. It's a sweet arranged marriage story. Rosalind's and Sebastian's fathers were friends and arranged their marriage at birth. Years later, when the date looms, they agree to go through with it, despite their reservations. There are many things to distract and pull Rosalind and Sebastian away, but they learn to appreciate each other, and eventually fall in love. I thought the prologue was unnecessary. It could have been easily weaved into the story. I received a copy from the p 3 1/2 elevated to 4. It's a sweet arranged marriage story. Rosalind's and Sebastian's fathers were friends and arranged their marriage at birth. Years later, when the date looms, they agree to go through with it, despite their reservations. There are many things to distract and pull Rosalind and Sebastian away, but they learn to appreciate each other, and eventually fall in love. I thought the prologue was unnecessary. It could have been easily weaved into the story. I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    I received a copy of this from NetGalley and this is my freely given opinion. I really enjoyed this story. This was a clean historical romance, set in the Geogian era. It starts in 1772, when a 14 year old Sebastian Lumley, future Duke of Kelbrook, decides to hide himself away in his treehouse refuge, to get away from his parents houseguests, including their annoying daughter, 10-11 year old Rosalind. He bars her from his treehouse, because she is a girl, and vows that she will not set foot into I received a copy of this from NetGalley and this is my freely given opinion. I really enjoyed this story. This was a clean historical romance, set in the Geogian era. It starts in 1772, when a 14 year old Sebastian Lumley, future Duke of Kelbrook, decides to hide himself away in his treehouse refuge, to get away from his parents houseguests, including their annoying daughter, 10-11 year old Rosalind. He bars her from his treehouse, because she is a girl, and vows that she will not set foot into it until they are married. She vows that she will never set foot in it, as she will never marry him, only to find out that their father's have already contracted a betrothal agreement between her and Sebastian, to come to fruition after her 21st birthday. Move ahead 10 years. Sebastian has become the Duke, and has become known for his intelligence and success in industry, fostering the development of industrial innovators. He has never really engaged in Society, considering he has no need to be part of the Marriage Mart, knowing that he is in a binding betrothal contract to the daughter of his father's friend. On knowing that, though, he has not bothered to court her, to learn more about her, or even to know what she looks like. Likewise, Rosalind, despite being out in Society, has heard nothing from Kelbrook, until a couple of weeks before her 21st birthday. They decide to continue with the betrothal, and Kelbrook, realizing that he has erred, pays nominal court to her before wedding her shortly after her birthday. He is not a bad man, nor even intentionally negligent or malicious. But he has been thoughtless, and focused on other concerns, as well as used to being on his own - an only child, a bachelor - and not used to being concerned for the feelings of another person. He realizes this and that he does not know his wife, and despite a few hurtful missteps, endeavours to work to get to know each other, actively involve Rosalind in his life, and make the marriage work. He discovers that Rosalind shares a love of numbers with him, and despite not having the same educational opportunities, is very intelligent and caring. They grow to care for each other, and realize the depth of their emotion when challenged by an outside threat. This was a lovely historical love story that was beautifully written, and I loved the story of the treehouse and what it represented for the both of them, at the beginning of the story, and later on to represent his welcoming of her in his life. Also, the fact that really, his workshop became his adult treehouse, and while initially no one was allowed in it, he did trust her and allow her into it too. 4.5 stars out of 5.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hannah the book maiden

    Wow. Just wow. Sian Bessey writes some of the best historical fiction I read. It’s never too heavy on the historical details, but she slyly slips it in. I almost feel like a toddler who’s mom is sneaking in vegetables into all the exciting foods, like Zucchini bread. I don’t want her to stop the fun fictional romances, but if she had more time in her day, she should think about writing a history text book. I would read that in a heart beat! So back to THIS book. Sebastian is friends with a lot o Wow. Just wow. Sian Bessey writes some of the best historical fiction I read. It’s never too heavy on the historical details, but she slyly slips it in. I almost feel like a toddler who’s mom is sneaking in vegetables into all the exciting foods, like Zucchini bread. I don’t want her to stop the fun fictional romances, but if she had more time in her day, she should think about writing a history text book. I would read that in a heart beat! So back to THIS book. Sebastian is friends with a lot of inventors and we get to hear some of the industrial Revolution big names. Big names I didn’t even know about 😂 I love reading her authors’ notes at the end because it’s the big vegetable reveal. Like I’m going, “wow! You made me learn so much and it all was amazing and fun and I want another slice of your history lesson!! When is your next book??” (October, I think) Sebastian and Rosalind are dreading the day they are forced to marry, but their blossoming romance is so incredibly sweet and slow burning. Their first kiss 😍😍😍 so sweet!! And the nerdy chemistry between the two is adorable. I love nerdy love. Sebastian married the belle of the Ton and a closet nerd, oh I loved their little relationship. And lastly, the adventure. So we always get a history lesson that is secretly coated in rich romance and a last half of adventure, I feel like that’s a guaranteed recipe of The Georgian Gentlemens books. The last half of this book flew by with some exciting and intense rescues and heroism 😍 It’s as though Mrs. Bessey has figured out the perfect recipe for love, adventure, and history. Brava, brava. An Unfamiliar Duke is book 4 in the series, but to be honest, it could be read as book 1 because it gives me prequel vibes of the first book in our series. Go grab this one, you’ll want to be in on this richly coated romance

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cassidy

    ✔️Georgian Era ✔️Arranged marriage ✔️Slow burn romance “Rosalind,” he said gently. “As difficult as it is to leave behind those you love, you are not completely alone.” He paused. “I am with you.” I have truly enjoyed each of Sian’s books in this series, but the romantic chemistry between Rosalind and Sebastian (Can I add how much I adore their names?!) may be my favorite. So much so that I read this in one afternoon. I loved that although they were thrown together without consent from birth, tha ✔️Georgian Era ✔️Arranged marriage ✔️Slow burn romance “Rosalind,” he said gently. “As difficult as it is to leave behind those you love, you are not completely alone.” He paused. “I am with you.” I have truly enjoyed each of Sian’s books in this series, but the romantic chemistry between Rosalind and Sebastian (Can I add how much I adore their names?!) may be my favorite. So much so that I read this in one afternoon. I loved that although they were thrown together without consent from birth, that these two weren’t enemies and didn’t have any animosity towards one another. I enjoyed watching their love build through small actions and moments which led us to the sweetest first kiss. There was even a touch of action and danger thrown in! With each book in these series we have been introduced to a different historical happening of the time period such as: smuggling, the plight of the young chimney sweeps, and the advances in the cider making process of the time period. This time around Sian teaches us about the inventors of this era and their race to bring about their ideas before anyone else. As always it was well researched and she presents it in a beautiful way. I loved every moment and recommend this book to my fellow fans of this genre! Thanks to Covenant Communications and Netgalley for sending me a copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (Bookworm Lisa)

    It's a good thing that first impressions do not need to be the last impressions. Sebastian did not do himself any favors when he refused to let Rosalind enter his treehouse because she was a girl. This thoughtless, childhood act is one reason that Rosalind hopes that he will not come and honor the marriage contract their fathers put in place. The first part of the book could be considered a series of blunders. The mistakes that they made had me enjoying their interactions. One characteristic that It's a good thing that first impressions do not need to be the last impressions. Sebastian did not do himself any favors when he refused to let Rosalind enter his treehouse because she was a girl. This thoughtless, childhood act is one reason that Rosalind hopes that he will not come and honor the marriage contract their fathers put in place. The first part of the book could be considered a series of blunders. The mistakes that they made had me enjoying their interactions. One characteristic that they share is the love of math. Rosalind is a numbers girl. She has a very sharp mind. Sebastian also uses math and science to create. Their love of the invention of the hot air balloon becomes a bonding thing for them. I love the gentle pace of their romance. Little things draw them together. One of my favorites is that Sebastian is not above eating in the kitchen. He treats the cooks and his other servants with respect. He then shared the love with Rosalind. There are so many little things that highlight their character. I couldn't help but love to read about them. There is a bit of suspense at the end of the book that will keep you reading frantically. This book is all that I love in a story. I couldn't give it a higher recommendation. I received a complimentary copy. I also pre-ordered a copy for my kindle. I knew that I loved Sian Ann Bessey's books and that I would want my own copy.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emily Flynn

    Sian Ann Bessey has done it again with An Unfamiliar Duke. This is a story of an arranged marriage and the couple getting to know each other. I love the way their interactions are written as much as I love getting to know the characters as they get to know each other. This is a fantastic story and may be the best yet in this series. The opposition is vile, which makes their getting to know each other even sweeter. Rosalind and Sebastian are great characters that are also struggling to get to know Sian Ann Bessey has done it again with An Unfamiliar Duke. This is a story of an arranged marriage and the couple getting to know each other. I love the way their interactions are written as much as I love getting to know the characters as they get to know each other. This is a fantastic story and may be the best yet in this series. The opposition is vile, which makes their getting to know each other even sweeter. Rosalind and Sebastian are great characters that are also struggling to get to know themselves. This makes for a beautiful story that took me away to another world for a few hours. I am looking forward to going back. I received an early copy from the publisher through netgalley and this is my honest review.

  28. 5 out of 5

    ZEYNEB | زينب

    This is the 4th book in the Georgian Settlement Series even though it can be read as a standalone. I will try to finish other books in the series only if time allows me. I started this book at night and finished it in 2-3 hours. So it was a short and enjoyable read for me. There were many factors due to which it became my favorite read. The story presents the 18th century Britain. This era is also known as British industrial revolutionary era. You’ll find many scientific and mathematical calculat This is the 4th book in the Georgian Settlement Series even though it can be read as a standalone. I will try to finish other books in the series only if time allows me. I started this book at night and finished it in 2-3 hours. So it was a short and enjoyable read for me. There were many factors due to which it became my favorite read. The story presents the 18th century Britain. This era is also known as British industrial revolutionary era. You’ll find many scientific and mathematical calculations.Why? Because the duke in the cover photo is an engineer😅. From Hot Air Balloon to construction of bridges this contain many scientifically compelling things. I also like the author’s notes at the novel as it was very helpful. The relationship between the duke Sebastian and Rosalind was fascinating or I must say adorable. As you can see in the synopsis it was an arrange marriage plot. There wasn’t any unnecessary details about their relationship. That’s why the story seemed to me intriguing and precise. Their affinity seemed interesting from the beginning. Sebastian made many mistakes (not kind of huge one) but I liked he at least apologized to her in the end. Author actually meshed historical details with the Sebastian and Rosalind story. The risk taking element in the novel. It kept me thrilled to end. The diverse cast of the supporting characters kept the story entertaining. The people at the Finley Park were really amazing especially Mrs. Frost😂. If you are a lover of 18 century Britain along with trill and romance then you should give it a try. It will come out in the mid of May so put it on your TBR.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Vintagebooklvr

    This is a charming, slow development Georgian romance book using a familiar trope of an arranged marriage. Things are bumpy are first but they slowly fall in love as they get to know each other and realize they have to be willing to forgive each other for failings during this time period. It is also a clean romance but that doesn’t mean it lacks for some sparks. It also uses the many scientific and engineering developments during this period as a backdrop for action that adds a zip to the story. This is a charming, slow development Georgian romance book using a familiar trope of an arranged marriage. Things are bumpy are first but they slowly fall in love as they get to know each other and realize they have to be willing to forgive each other for failings during this time period. It is also a clean romance but that doesn’t mean it lacks for some sparks. It also uses the many scientific and engineering developments during this period as a backdrop for action that adds a zip to the story. This was the beginning of the industrial revolution and the scientific discoveries of this time set the foundation for our modern age. There was money to be made and a race against other inventors to bring machines to market. That always leads to some people willing to go to any extreme. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in return for an honest opinion.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    They are just good people. Truly. Rosalind and Sebastian are both just pure. They took a situation that was not ideal and made the most of it. He's a freaking Duke, he could be a turd for the rest of forever and what is anyone gonna do about it? But he wasn't. And Rosalind was light personified. I really appreciated the slow and steady relationship growth. It didn't ever feel rushed and unrealistic. I suppose that's what happens when you write like Sian and her characters are real. The jump off They are just good people. Truly. Rosalind and Sebastian are both just pure. They took a situation that was not ideal and made the most of it. He's a freaking Duke, he could be a turd for the rest of forever and what is anyone gonna do about it? But he wasn't. And Rosalind was light personified. I really appreciated the slow and steady relationship growth. It didn't ever feel rushed and unrealistic. I suppose that's what happens when you write like Sian and her characters are real. The jump off the page and I feel life we're friends now. Also, I would like to live in a home where someone else made me cinnamon rolls whenever I wanted them.

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