Before I started Lucy, I had recently finished reading The Duchess Deal (Tessa Dare), The Duke and I (Julia Quinn), and Secrets of a Summer Night (Lisa Kleypas). They all had likeable heroines, but I thought Lucy Bell blew them out of the water. Which is surprising because at first I thought Lucy was going to be quite an annoying heroine. She does babble a lot at the beginning which may give the impression that she is young (which she is) and perhaps stupid (which she is not). But I kept reading and she quickly grew on me.

More than that, the humour throughout the book carried me along and so did the twists, which I was not necessarily expecting from a romance novel.

The love story between the Duke and Lucy is sweet but realistic. Lucy does things an actual human falling in love would do (and sometimes they are hilarious)! Unlike the women in Bridgerton books, Lucy is actually allowed to become angry and actually act upon her anger.

Similarly, the Duke is most certainly an Alpha hero — strong, imposing, handsome, and at times dictatorial. But he is refreshingly not overhandedly commanding and, by the end, his actions had surprised me in pleasant ways.

Bartimaeus is also a fantastic character and though she is only a dog, I hope she makes an appearance in future books in the series.

She held up the puppy. “Bartimaeus, meet Henry, unlikely knight in shining armour.”
“A male name for a female puppy?”
“She needs all the help she can get in this sad world. A strong, male name is the least thing I can give this poor, unfortunate pup,” Lucy lectured. “You should remember that when you ever have to name your own children.”
“Lord help me,” Henry muttered as he pushed the shed’s door open.

(Lucy and the Duke of Secrets, Chapter 2, eBook)

This is the first in a quartet of books in the Wishing Well series. Arabella, the heroine of the second book, plays a prominent role in Lucy’s story being the sister of the hero. She comes across as having lots of potential and the author sets the stage well for the next book, giving us lots of little tidbits about the other three girls who will appear in the series. I am also excited to read more about the seminary school that connects the four girls and their teacher, the already-loveable Miss Hilversham. It is only discussed a small amount in the first book, but it is the setting for the entire prequel (which I have yet to read) which you can get here for free when you sign up for the author’s newsletter.

(I’m acquainted with the author of Lucy and the Duke of Secrets – Sofi LaPorte. However, that does not mean I was automatically disposed to like the book. In fact, it is often more awkward to read something a friend has written because if you don’t like their writing, you have to figure out how to either say that tactfully or… lie? So it was actually a relief to find that I did like it and no bluffing would be necessary! Hurrah!)