Dashing Daring Dukes!

Duke low resI’m getting mighty excited. It’s only a bit over two months until the release of WHAT A DUKE DARES, my third Sons of Sin historical romance. Duke is out 26th August and I just can’t wait!

Asking an author to pick their favorite out of their books is like asking a parent to pick their favorite child. But I have to say that I just love Camden Rothermere, the Duke of Sedgemoor, and Penelope Thorne, his wayward bride. I hope you will too.

In fact, today someone gets the chance to win an advance look at Duke because I’m giving away an ARC (international). I think it’s worth winning for that beautiful red cover alone! Details of the giveaway are at the end of the post, but basically leave a comment and you’re in the draw.

CTC high resThis month on my website, I put up the excerpt from the book too. I never like that to go up too early because it can feel a bit stale to people who check back often.

You can find it at: http://annacampbell.info/dukedares.html

This excerpt is the lead-up to the first kiss. That’s always one of my favorite scenes in a romance novel, whether I’ve written it or not. By the time they sleep together,things are pretty much on the way. But the first kiss has that delicious uncertainty about it. And it’s the moment when the hero and heroine have to admit that their desire for one another outweighs any of their usually perfectly valid misgivings about getting involved with the other person. Sigh.

dukes 3Dukes are da biz in historical romance. Did you know that? They’re the equivalent of the billionaire and the vampire king. Duke is the highest ranking English title under royalty. He’s the top of the tree, the king of the beasts (although Cam, unlike some of my heroes isn’t at all beastly). If you scan the shelves of the bookshops, you’ll see dukes to the left of them, dukes to the right of them.

dukes 4People who want to be snide often point out that there were only ever a handful of dukes in the real world, fewer if you discount the children of the king who were often given a duke’s title as a courtesy. But this is historical romance and we want the top dog for our heroines. Not to mention that Julia Quinn world is different from Eloisa James world and from Anna Campbell world, so none of these dukes actually get to meet each other in the same room!

dukes 2I’ve only written one duke before, the Duke of Kylemore in my debut CLAIMING THE COURTESAN. He was a much crankier fellow than Cam, although he was no less ducal! I counted up my guys and so far, I’ve had a knight, a baronet, a viscount, two earls and two marquesses in the novels, and two earls and a mere mister in the novellas. So earls are definitely way ahead in the Campbell stakes.

I’ve read a lot of dukes in my years of devouring historical romance. Laura Lee Guhrke has done a couple of humdingers (humdukers?) and so has our very own Bandita Christina Brooke. Don’t miss her THE DANGEROUS DUKE (in her Christine Wells persona) or A DUCHESS TO REMEMBER.

duke 1A couple of favorites from older reads are the Duke of Claymore from Judith McNaught’s classic WHITNEY, MY LOVE. It’s a long time since I read this one but I read it so often back in the day, I still remember it well.

And there’s no getting away from Georgette Heyer’s wonderful dukes. The two I’ve singled out today are the Duke of Avon from THESE OLD SHADES and the Duke of Salford in SYLVESTER. Both are undoubtedly alpha dogs and both find themselves turned completely upside down when they fall in love with the last woman they ever expected to capture their heart. It’s always fun when you write a duke to bring him down a peg or two!

So do you have a favorite duke in a historical romance? Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned in today’s post? What did you think? Is there something that puts a duke in a class of his own when it comes to playing the hero in a romance?

BanditBootyAs promised, I have an ARC of WHAT A DUKE DARES up for grabs today. Just leave a comment to be in the draw. Giveaway is international!



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  • Jane says:

    Hello Anna,
    One of my favorites is Vere Mallory, the Duke of Ainswood, from Loretta Chase’s “The Last Hellion.” Vere was such a reluctant duke. I loved “Whitney, My Love,” but haven’t reread it in a long time.

    • Jane, how could I forget Vere? He’s such a lovely hero! I love the sexual tension between those two in that story.

      By the way, the rooster has forgiven you for not including him in your list of favorite heroes! 🙂

  • SecretNinja says:

    One of my favorite dukes is Alexander Moncrieffe from Julie Anne Long’s What I Did For a Duke. He’s so taciturn and grumpy and then he meets Genevieve. Just loved him!

    And I always love Eloisa James and Julia Quinn’s Dukes too. I find Dukes are just so compelling because of their natural arrogance and confidence in their station and place in life. It makes it fun to see their heroines take them down a peg or two 🙂


    • Oh, I love Julie Anne’s books, Ada. Great choice. I think that’s the fun of a book about a duke – he’s master of all he surveys until he falls in love and everything falls to pieces! 🙂

  • Amy Rose says:

    Hi Anna,
    I must say that I cannot wait for WHAT A DUKE DARES to come out! Love the teaser leading up to Cam and Pen’s first kiss – swoon (although you also wrote the pitching of the ship so well, I swear the room was tipping as I read!). Whilst I love the dark Duke of Kylemore in CLAIMING THE COURTESAN – despite his crankiness as you put it 😉 – I do also rather like Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings in THE DUKE AND I by Julia Quinn…stutter, stubbornness and all!

    • Amy Rose, thank you so much for saying you’re looking forward to Duke! I had such fun with that storm at sea scene – things get MUCH worse before they get better! JQ’s duke is a great choice! And thank you for saying you like Kylemore – he was definitely a man who didn’t cope well with falling in love! Although he gets there in the end!

  • Sandie James says:

    Anna one of my favourite dukes is Jason Montgomery Duke of Eversleigh in Stephanie Laurens The Reason for Marriage.
    I also loved Rand, Duke of Ashburn in Christina Brooke’s A Duchess to Remember. And who can pass up your Kylemore.

    • Thanks so much for swinging by, Sandie. And wow, I LOVE that avatar! How elegant and pretty is that? Thanks for picking up Kylemore among your faves. I haven’t read that SL. Clearly I need to. Oh, Christina writes lovely heroes, doesn’t she? I loved Rand’s dry humor!

  • Efthalia says:


    I’m so excited about “What a Duke Dares.”

    In answer to your question every duke I’ve read has had a level of magnetism to them which makes this question difficult to answer.

    I like them when they have to wrestle their own inner demons. I didn’t mind the Sebastian Digby, the Duke of Wycliff in Maya Rodale’s The Tattooed Duke. Now there’s a whole lot wicked.

    The tattoo just screamed scandal, rake and trouble of the worst kind. :D. (gotta love those rakes)

  • Eunice Cracknell says:

    Hi Anna,

    My favourite duke after Kylemore would have to be Mary Balogh’s Duke of Bewcastle! After lording it over everyone right through the ‘Slightly’ series, Wulfric Bedwyn trips over love in the most unlikely lady in ‘Slightly Dangerous’. It was so nice to see him tumble so far from his ivory tower!

    • Hi Eunice! Lovely to see you here. How lovely that you picked Kylemore! He’s got quite a few friends here which is great! I love Mary Balogh’s books but I haven’t read that particular series. Clearly I need to.

  • Helen says:


    I am so so looking forward to this one I have fallen for Cam already with the bits we have seen of him in the first two in the series 🙂 I have pre ordered it as an e book so I will have it on release day but of course I will have to get a book for the keeper shelf as well 🙂

    As for Dukes wow this is a tough one some of my favourites have been mentioned The Duke of Bewcastle The Duke of Hastings and of course Kylmoore swoon and of course Devil Cynster

    Have Fun

    • Thanks so much for saying you’ve liked Cam so far, Helen. He’s so in control of everything in the earlier books. It was fun turning his life upside down – for me if not for him! Great list of dukes – and Kylemore again! Huzzah!

  • Anita H. says:

    Hi Anna! I so can’t wait to read What A Duke Dares! I love reading Duke books just because there’s such an air of command to everything they do, people just jump and obey that it’s entertaining to see how they fare against their intended. Eloisa’s Desperate Duchesses is one of my favorite series and the Duke of Villiers remains one of my favorite Dukes!

    • Anita, thanks so much for saying you’re looking forward to Duke. I just loved those characters – I’m hoping they make lots of friends out in the ‘real’ world. Eloisa writes a great duke, doesn’t she? And isn’t that English cover just gorgeous?

  • Susanne Bellamy says:

    GH’s Duke of Avon is one of my favourites, Anna. He has so much power yet he never seems to raise his voice; truly an alphaduke!
    Love your Sons of Sin series and looking forward to the dude. 😉

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    I used to read Barbara Cartland all the time. Always loved her characters.

    • Debbie, in my early teens, I devoured Barbara Cartland’s books like chocolate. She taught me a lot of history. Actually she had a few good dukes too!

  • Shannon says:

    Some my favorites–Bewcastle, Villiars, Devil Cynster, Kylemoore. I would have to add my yesterday’s mention of Traehaeren in the Iron Duke.

    Rothgar (Jo Beverley); he shows up in My Lady Notorious and is both a jerk and a protective older brother. Devilish is his story, but he’s wonderful in Winter Fire. Percieval Windham (sp?) in Grace Burrowes books.

    What I don’t like about some Duke books is he is not/not the lord or all he surveys. I can understand this a little if he comes to the title unexpectedly or if he is totally broke. But to make him an ordinary guy who just happen to fall for the heroine; that’s been done and doesn’t get my heart pitty-pattering. He need to stage the stage and chew up the scenery.

  • Caren Crane says:

    Anna, this is probably terrible, but I rarely remember the title of the hero of a book. It doesn’t matter a bit to me if he’s a duke, an earl or a mere mister. I enjoy the dukes, but I’m more interested in the man behind the title. If he is a duke, though, I want him to act like one as Shannon said!

  • Laurie G says:

    I agree with The Duke of Claymore from Whitney My Love.

    Tessa Dare Romancing the Duke- The Duke of Rothbury, Ransom ( Beauty & the Beast)

    Sarah MacLean No Good Duke Goes Unpunished- Duke of Lamont, Temple, The Killer Duke

    Elizabeth Hoyt Duke Of Midnight- Maximus The Duke of Wakefield

    I also liked Julianne MacLean’s Duke of Wentworth in her American Heiress series, I Married a Duke. Her duke, James, thought he only married her for her money. Ha!

  • Amy Conley says:

    The Duke of Claymore by JMcN for sure and of course Devil from THE DUKE AND I by Stephanie Laurens, the leader of the Cynsters.

  • Hi Anna,
    I can’t remember which ones I’ve read at the moment, but I know that they rocked and that’s enough for me. I guess I’ll have to reread them! 😀

  • Linda says:

    Congrats Anna. We can hardly wait too! I have quite a soft spot for Dukes too. One that comes to mind is the hero of Courtney Milan’s The Duchess War. She writes the most amazing characters & that’s the perfect word – they have so much character!

  • Kim says:

    Congratulations on the upcoming book. I’ve read Whitney, My Love and This Duchess of Mine. As someone already mentioned, Alexander in What I Did for a Duke was terrific. Finally, how about the Duke of Marwick in Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran. He was quite the tortured hero.

    • Kim, I hang my head in shame, I’ve never read Meredith’s books although I’ve got a couple on my TBR pile. I must dig them out – everybody tells me she’s wonderful!

  • Lisa DeVore says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your books, Anna! My Dad’s birthday was August 26th! What a GREAT day! Much success wished to you!

  • catslady says:

    I’ve not these particular books but I have read the authors especially yours 🙂 I just love reading about Dukes and pretty much most historicals 🙂 I use to ask authors that question about their favorites but I soon realized it was usually the one they were currently writing and I totally understand because I usually say my favorite is the one I’m currently reading.

    • Catslady, our books are a bit like our children- we love all of them slightly differently but we definitely love them. I think my favorite before Duke was Midnight’s Wild Passion. Again, I just adored those characters and I was really sad to say goodbye to them. The nice thing about writing a series is that I get a chance to come back and see Pen and Cam again in the fourth book!


    Wow, there are so many novels that I haven’t read, I will have to save tis page to write down a want list! I love the cover and story of Eloisa James’s This Duchess Is Mine…and I have to say I read a wee bit more but, I am horrible at recalling names, I am better at recalling the cover illustrations.

    • Juanita, this post has been awful for my TBR pile too! I love that UK cover of Eloisa’s book too. They’re the covers we got here in Australia.

      • Jane Silhouette says:

        This is the cover I have…Okay I am back to write down my want list!

        • Jane Silhouette says:

          Oops…I REGISTERED AS Jane Silhouette…WELL, I go by both…sorry for the confusion, I have been entering giveaways all day long yesterday!

  • bn100 says:

    Don’t have a fav; haven’t read all of these

  • Bonnie Rzucidlo says:

    My favorites have been mentioned, but they are my favorites, so I guess I can list them as mine too! Devil Cynster (black hair and green eyes – yeow!)from Devil’s Bride; Wulfric from Slightly Dangerous; and Duke of Midnight (Maximus.)

  • Hi Anna, thanks so much for the mention of my dukes! Now I’m hearing that Pat Benatar song, “Put up your dukes and let’s get down to it!”

    I loved What a Duke Dares! Sedgemoor is so utterly responsible, his love for the heroine really discombobulates him! I love seeing a duke discombobulated.

    Your fans are going to love this book!

    • Thanks so much, Christina! I hope they will! And it’s pretty sexy – one of the benefits of having the characters married. I didn’t have to wrangle unobserved moments for them to do the deed!

      Isn’t discombobulate the best word? And it exactly describes what happens to poor Cam! 🙂 Cue nasty laugh!

  • Patty L. says:

    I love historicals. Of course, I have never paid attention to titles until you just made me. Lol hmmmm my favorite historical right now is three weeks with lady x by Eloisa James. That is until August 26th or sooner.

    • Oh, lovely save, Patty! You should go and work at the UN – you’d solve the world’s problems through tact and clevernes! 🙂 I haven’t read Lady X but I’ve seen a lot of buzz on the net. It’s on my TBR pile!

  • Joy Hatfield says:

    I love reading about Dukes! They’re always so self-assured and commanding! Love it!

  • Peggy M. says:

    I’m looking forward to your new book. I also love reading about Dukes, they are so arrogant and then they fall in love…I just love it. I haven’t read ‘Whitney, my love’ (yet) but I have read ‘Until you’. And I loved it!

    • Peggy, I remember I went on an absolute craze for Judith McNaught’s books – read all of them multiple times. Must drag them out again and return to her world. Thanks for saying you’re looking forward to my Duke!

  • Oh Anna, I love your Dukes…and yes, I’ve read quite a bit of those books you’ve mentioned.

    Here is one of my favorites:
    Sebastian Easton, the Duke of Keswick from Lorraine Heath’s SHE TEMPTS THE DUKE, the first book of her Lost Lords of Pemberly. LOVED him and that story!

    • Suz, Lorraine has written some great heroes, hasn’t she? Thanks for the recommendation – I haven’t read that particular one. Clearly I need to hunt him down like a duke…uh, a dog!

  • Teresa Kleeman says:


    I love them all. If I had to pick any it would be your wonderful Duke Kylemore from Claiming the Courtesan and Lord Westcliff from Lisa Kleypas It Happened One Autumn. I know Marcus is not a Duke but he should have been. The way the carry themselves all stiff and prompt. They seem so superior and in fact they are very vulnerable in their own way.
    They were born to marry someone to benefit their class and stationed not to love which was so sad. Because so many of them were miserable in their marriages.
    That’s why I love my romances because my Dukes and Lords get to marry for love and they adore their mates.

    • Teresa, I think you’ve put it in a nutshell. The pressures on these men form them for good or ill – but it’s always such an interesting result. And it’s so interesting seeing them look for a happy ending while still being true to their duties. Love it! Oh, Lisa K writes classic romance, doesn’t she? Really flattered you mentioned my Kylemore in the same breath! Thank you!

    • Jane Silhouette says:

      I liked what you said, just wanted to let you know since there is no LIKE button to click!

  • Ah La Divina, you know I adore Kylemore – crankiness and all.

    And Mary Balogh’s Duke of Bewcastle is another favorite.

    And Hart MacKenzie in Jennifer Ashley’s MacKenzie Brothers series.

    I believe the fascinating thing about a duke as the hero of a romance novel is he is the ultimate alpha male. He could end up being a real bastard. He has the money and position and power to do so. He may come wounded or angry or abused, but ultimately he has the resources to go after those who have hurt him with extreme prejudice. And somehow he rises above the temptation. That is a real man.

    • Louisa, what a great take on the duke mystique! I think you’re so right. And you’ve picked some bewdies! Including my Kylemore – thank you! His cranky dukiness has lots of friends here which is lovely to see!

  • Marcy Shuler says:

    I loved Whitney, My Love! It’s been quite a few years since I’ve read it but I remember it very well.

    Sophia Nash has a whole series (Royal Entourage) about Dukes behaving badly at a bachelor party…before each one gets their own book after the fallout of that wild night. LOL

  • gamistress66 says:

    no one fave duke, though there might be one (or lots) hidden away around here for “safe” keeping even if they think it isn’t necessary 😉 that is certainly a lovely cover you got & I think I may know just were to stash him 🙂

  • Alyn says:

    My favorite is Mary Balogh’s, Duke of Bewcastle. He might have been my first duke, so maybe that’s why I still remember him over all the other dukes that I have read about. Or it could be just his character.

    I haven’t read any of the books you mentioned though.

  • Thanks to everyone who swung by today. It’s been fun talking about those dashing, daring dukes.

    Don’t forget to check back to see who won the ARC of WHAT A DUKE DARES!

  • Barbara Elness says:

    My favorite duke is Eloisa James’ Duke of Villiers. I loved her Desperate Duchesses series and Georgette Heyer was my gateway to romance. I ran across her books in the library and never looked back. I like dukes, but I’m not particular. Earls, Barons, Marquesses, Viscounts, I like them all.

    • Barbara, I have to say I love them all too – although both my dukes have been something special to me, whether that’s accidental or something to do with the title, who knows? Georgette Heyer is wonderful – I’m currently re-reading them and they sparkle just as brightly. Love Eloisa’s dukes!

  • flchen1 says:

    Um, I must confess that I have trouble keeping all the titles straight, so I’m not sure which duke I’m most fond of, Anna! I’m sure yours will be among them!

    • Fedora, beautifully put! We’ve had a lot of duke titles lately, haven’t we? I think it’s interesting that when I pitched this series, I wanted the alphas in the titles. So we had a rogue and a rake and a duke and there’s a scoundrel on the way early next year. The duke seems to be the only noble title of the lot that screams alpha!

  • di gramp says:

    Today, there are just 24 non-royal dukes in existence, down from a total of 40 in their Georgian heyday.
    Dukes are evidently a dying breed with only 24 non royal dukes left today compared to 40 in Georgian times and no new dukedoms on the cards. Thought you might like to see who they are:
    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1218628/Ten-dukes-dining-Gathered-lunch-unique-picture-grandees-2bn-340-000-acres-them.html#ixzz34TO7T73s
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  • di gramp says:

    FYI: Some of the Dukedoms and the dates they were created.
    The Duke of Cornwall 1337 (always held by eldest son of the monarch)
    Duke of Rothesay ( Peerage of Scotland)
    The Duke of Norfolk 1483( Premier Duke of England )
    The Duke of Somerset 1547
    The Duke of Richmond 1675
    Duke of Lennox (Peerage of Scotland)
    Duke of Gordon.
    The Duke of Grafton 1675
    The Duke of Beaufort 1682
    The Duke of St Albans 1684
    The Duke of Bedford 1694
    The Duke of Devonshire 1694
    The Duke of Marlborough 1702
    The Duke of Rutland 1703