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Summary

An artist stumbles upon a naked duke and an unlikely love story begins in this captivating Victorian historical romance. 

When Royal Academy painting student Lucy Coover trips over a naked man passed out in an East End alley, she does the decent thing. She covers him up and fetches help. Trouble is, she can't banish his muscular form from her dreams as easily.  

Compelled to capture every detail, she creates a stunning portrait but is forced to sell it when the rent comes due. What could be worse than surrendering the very picture of your desire? Meeting the man himself.  

Anthony Philby, Duke of Weston, is nobody's muse. Upon discovering the scandalous likeness, he springs into action. His infamous family has been torn apart by shame and secrets, and he can't afford more gossip. Even a whisper may jeopardize his inheritance and his chance at independence. His plan is simple: Burn the painting, confront the artist. 

Or rather, it's simple until he meets Lucy and decides to offer the bewitching young artist a devil's bargain. He'll help save her foreclosed home, if she'll help repair his family’s brutal legacy. An irresistible passion ignites between them, but when danger strikes, Lucy and Anthony must risk everything...for a love that might destroy them both.

©2021 Joanna Lowell (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

“I really loved this book - in fact, I couldn't put it down. It's a fabulous feast of a story that plunges you into the Victorian era with all its levels and complications - into the art world and among aristocrats and slum-dwellers. There's tension, adventure, derring-do, a fight against corruption on several levels, a rich cast of characters and a hero and heroine to admire and cheer for. All in all, a rich and heartwarming historical romance. Highly recommended.” (Anne Gracie, national best-selling author of Marry in Scarlet)

"Lowell conjures vivid characters in this intelligent Victorian romance...provides plenty of atmospheric intrigue, deepened by Lowell’s willingness to engage with ideas of gender, class, and empire, and by the complexity of the characters.” (Publisher’s Weekly)

"Lowell’s prose is vivid and evocative, and issues such as class inequity, women’s rights, and alcohol addiction complement the intense on-page evolution of the love story...those looking for a happy-ever-after for complex and passionate characters will be very satisfied here. A new voice in historical romance that will keep readers riveted." (Kirkus)

What listeners say about The Duke Undone

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Slow burn but riveting!

This is the first book I have read by this author and definitely won't be the last!

It is very different and it is very well researched which is a pleasure after all my recent readings.

It's quite a slow burn and I wasn't sure what to think initially but when it hotted up, I literally couldn't put it down as I was spellbound.

In simple terms, it's not all about sex, although there is the odd very steamy scene, but a well written piece about The Royal Academy and property development in the East End.

It all begins when Lucy, a budding painter, literally trips over a very drunk Anthony Philby, in an alley which I thought was hilarious and one of a kind. I also love the cover as I could imagine what they looked like.

There is intrigue, flawed characters and villainy. What warmed my spirit was how both Lucy and Anthony have to overcome horrid obstacles and end by saving each other.

I would definitely listen to this if you are looking for an intelligent story.

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Great story

loved that it deviated from the rule driven stories of the time,, many people will say it's not reflective of society at that time - like you can broad brush a period.

Great characters,story development and narration, Mary Jane Wells is one of my favourite narrators - she doesn't read she's a vocal actor and they are rare indeed, really elevated the story.

Great that they broached on dyslexia but didn't miraculously know how to deal with it.
all told excellent.

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  • Agatha Istanbul
  • 23-04-21

Likeable but grating book!

For most of the book, I did not like the cowardice of the Duke. He always ran to liquor as his panacea for every trouble he ran into. It was very frustrating for me. I understand that he was an alcoholic - an addict, but having myself, been exposed to such people, I really don't like to read about them. The fact that Lucy, the poor art student who the Duke became interested in, kept coming back to him, was a testament to her tenacity. SHE was the strong one, and he the weak.
I'm glad that towards the end he did struggle to get away and off of alcohol, but I kept wondering to myself, what he would do when faced with a big problem again. I felt like Lucy would be trapped in this relationship, and have her heart broken by him.
Once again, I felt that the ending was "wrapped up in clean linen." I myself, read these historical romance novels for a happy ending. But I wondered if it really WAS a happy ending. And all the loose ends were tied up so quickly.......
I always enjoy the narrator, Mary Jane Wells! She reads each part so perfectly, and has a sense of the humour in some of the books she narrates, and makes me laugh a lot!

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  • GreeneBean books
  • 24-04-21

All the feelings and wonderfully real H/h

This is one of the best historical romances I have listened to in a long time. A scrappy, aspiring female artist from a regular background meets a Duke in a very strange way and a tenuous connection is formed. I really liked that there was real tension and not contrived problems. The narrator was fabulous too. I was gloriously lost in this world. Drove extra to keep on listening.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Claire Conger
  • 25-04-21

Great Romance and Satisfying Character Arcs

I really liked the maturation journey for each of the main characters. There are charming and vibrant side characters that really round out the world.

2 people found this helpful

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  • E.B.
  • 09-07-21

Finally, a witty, well-written romance!

I have been so disappointed with so many of the romances on Audible. They are mostly stupid and trite. This one had some meat and backbone, and the character development was commendable. In particular, the hero had an alcohol problem which was dealt with in the story. This acknowledgement was a breath of fresh air in the usual morass of what passes for the romance genre these days. So many men in them drink like alcoholics but it is incorporated in the story as though it were a strength, not a liability.
This is simply a delightful, fun listen and a great choice if your looking for somethin different. Wonderful narration.

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  • Melanie
  • 12-05-21

Well written, interesting romance with mystery

This story was intriguing. The characters were well developed with interesting side characters. There was some intrigue and mystery. Being a romance I knew it would be resolved in the end. But I was intrigued to see how the author pulled it off. The story was definitely not your run of the mill historical romance. I liked that what you learned about the characters evolved over time. There were a few areas where the story dragged a little. I'm assuming some of the stuff that was learned during this time will be pertinent to side characters upcoming books. But that is an assumption on my part. I have no idea if this is to be a series. But these periods were short lived and never did I consider not finishing the book. I become quite attached to the H & h and I needed to know how their HEA came to be.

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  • dani
  • 23-07-21

Wonderful

I never write reviews although I love reading book reviews. It took a bit to grasp and follow the plot and message and maybe because while listening I was multitasking; I’m delighted I I got hooked! AN EXCELLENT investment of your time. Narration was FAB! Well done you!

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  • Laura Lenti
  • 29-05-21

fun, had substance.

you can't find a better narrator, good story, a huge difference than the typical recency romance.

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  • BillieGoat
  • 22-05-21

Simply brilliant

Joanna Lowell’s writing is absolutely unparalleled. One of the best novels (romance or otherwise) I’ve read in a long time. The narrator is brilliant as well.

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  • smillerburg
  • 10-05-21

All the feels

This was a great book. I look forward to seeing more from this author. The book tackles some tough topics but is not despairing. I was charmed by the hero and heroine. Mary Jane Wells as narrator was wonderful as usual. Highly recommend!

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  • Erica
  • 09-05-21

Give It A Minute

It drags on. The author really sets the scene with her use of imagery. 3/4's in the climax. It was a lot, too.