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The Foundling Duke

The Foundling Series, Book 1
Narrated by: Melanie Fraser
Length: 5 hrs and 38 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Fact and fiction combined to create a compelling historical romance.

Family secrets can’t always be kept hidden.

James Massey, Marquess of Avery, is hated by his mother and can’t understand why.

Leonard Massey, Duke of Yarnton, has a secret that will protect his son but destroy his wife.

Catherine Massey, Duchess of Yarnton, hates her husband and son and is determined they will be rejected by society.

One family on an inevitable path of self-destruction.

No one will come away unscathed.

©2017 Audrey Harrison (P)2018 Audrey Harrison

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Historical Romance!

Wonderful characters. Beautiful Story! This was my first book by Audrey Harrison. This is the first book in The Foundling Series. This sweet and clean historical novel is very well written and captivating. The background story is, for the most part, about James's family. This is also the beautiful story of James and Olivia. James had a very heartbreaking childhood. His past, and the wickedness of his mother, made him lose faith in the possibility of, one day, having a happy life with a woman with children. Olivia changed everything. She was so supportive. The scenario is filled with interesting and unpredictable twists. I loved the happy ending. Now, I can't wait to listen to the next book in the Series, The Foudling Lady. The narration was well done and all characters were easy to distinguish. Melanie Fraser's has a great voice that fits perfectly for a Historical Romance. I enjoyed my listening. I have read and listened to this story. I received this free review copy audiobook at my request and I have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Beautifully written and narrated

Every once in a while, I enjoy a good regency romance, When this one was suggested, I grabbed it and what a pleasure it was to hear! Audrey Harrison crafts a touching romance, with a family secret that will surprise everyone! The Foundlings Hospital is where all children are placed when they are orphaned or cannot be taken care of. James does not remember being there as a young child, but when he does go, he feels a kinship to the children. Meeting Olivia there is just a plus for him, as their attraction is immediate. When Olivia's family is warned about James, things begin to get heated. What kind of family member would talk badly of James and why? The twists that Harrison has in place in this story are shocking and pleasing all at the same time. I loved the way she fabricated the story with a shock to the Duchess and to James surely to throw any family into a tailspin. I also loved Olivia's character, she is loving and supportive and a woman with her own mind. It is fun to have historical romances with the woman being of strong mind. It is an entertaining listen.

Melanie Fraser is exactly the narrator I would choose for a story like this. Her voice is perfect for historical romance. She gives each character their own voice and personality, but the thing I love most is her ability to give a regal tone to those who characters with that feel and a more comforting voice for others. It's just how I would hear it in my mind if reading the story. I love her narrations and look forward to book 2.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Enjoyable sweet historical romance

I really enjoyed this sweet historical romance. The characters grab you right from the start and your heart breaks for the emotional torment James has to endure. The repartee between James and Olivia made me smile and the development of their relationship was sweet and tender. The storyline kept my attention and the narrator fit the audiobook perfectly. Her warm British accent brought the story to life and gave the characters individual voices. The story was entertaining and you easily empathized with the characters and want them to find happiness. I will look forward to the next audiobook in the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • KD
  • Somewhere
  • 10-07-18

Not my genre but i got throught it and glad i did

I'm not usually in to historical romance. I definitely like historical fiction but romance usually has too much of an obvious endpoint. The characters get together, the fall in love, they fight they get back together by then end. Such plots seem commonplace in romance. this book did have some of those elements but the author definitely was able to take a spin and subvert my expectations.

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Solid narration can't overcome weak conflict

I'm afraid I couldn't love this book as much as others here have obviously done. The author deserves credit for attempting a different kind of plot, and she's created likeable characters in James and Olivia. For the latter, especially, I think narrator Melanie Fraser deserves considerable credit: an aristocratic young lady who spends her days volunteering in a foundling hospital (along with other, unspecified charitable causes) could very easily come across as too saintly to be borne, but Ms. Fraser gives her voice a sweet and yet playful quality that I found very engaging.

I'll admit, I was surprised to see this book listed under "Historical Romance" when the cover image featured a child in period costume and the blurb made no mention of any female character except the child's mother. After listening to the book, however, I began to see why there was no mention of Olivia, or her growing relationship with James: there was simply not enough conflict between them to sustain the story. The plot consisted solely of James's mother's attempts to discredit him in the eyes of Society, and she was too "eeeeeevil" to be taken seriously. Again, Ms. Fraser did a good job delivering lines which were often completely over the top, and not in a good way.

As for the historical aspects of the story, it's acknowledged about halfway through the book that an illegitimate son could not inherit his father's title. I was relieved, as I'd been afraid the author was leading the story in exactly that direction. But...an adopted son wouldn't be able to inherit a title, either, and even after finishing the book, I'm still not sure if she recognizes this. James's adoption at age 5 seems to be an open secret amongst the ton, and yet no one seems to question his being called "Lord Avery" as if he were his father's natural born heir. (And there's an unexpected twist there, but that would be telling!) There are a couple of historical howlers early on, as when James refers to something as a "done deal" (from 1979, according to my dictionary; "fait accompli" would be more accurate to the period), and Olivia's friend Charlotte accuses her of having an "unworthy complex," which sounds more like early 20th-century Jungian psychology than Regency England. If these had occurred later in the book, after I'd had time to become interested in the story, I might not have noticed them so much; it's unfortunate that they come very early on, where they're much more noticeable.

To sum up, although it's not without flaws, The Foundling Duke is a pleasant way to spend a few hours, especially if you miss the PG-rated Regency romances published by Fawcett, Signet, Zebra, etc. in days past.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request, and have voluntarily left this review.

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Interesting

I got this story via audiobook boom and this is my voluntary review. This story was long and winding but satisfying in the end. It took a while for the whole story to come out and at times I had to stop then return to complete the story. The narrator was good for the story and made the emotions come out. To live almost a whole life with a woman who hated him and made every effort to tell him that every day. James still came out on top even after trying his best to destroy his life with drink to overcome the anger imposed on him by the woman he thought was his mother.

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A new author [ to me]

"This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review." I thought the story was very good, but I didn't really like the presentation The story takes place in London so you expect a British accent; but I thought it was over done and had a hard time understanding siome of the ldialogue. The story opens with a young girl leaving her child in a founding home; then jumps to five yers later whenn the young boy is picked up by his adoptive mothe, who hates hime at first sight and makes he life miserable. I really enjoyed the story, and hope to see a second book following this one. I believe you will enjoy it too.

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A sweet romance tarnished by a horrible stepmother

The Foundling Duke is a sweet romance that revolves around a young man whose mother was forced to relinquish him to an orphanage when he was a baby. She didn't want to give him up, but she was an unmarried servant and the father was a peer. The grandfather gave her no choice. The boy lives in the orphanage for five years when he is adopted by a Duke and his wife.

The story has some interesting twists and turns that kept me invested. I did think that perhaps too much emphasis was placed on the adoptive "mother" Catherine. She clearly loathes her husband and son, having married for position not love, and unable to have children of her own. It did go to help emphasize what a good man James became despite the lack of acceptance or affection he's felt since his adoption. His father, Leonard, clearly loves the boy and does all he can to see him raised well. When Leonard dies, James inherits the dukedom. His years of spreading wild oats is over, and he must find a wife. He sets his cap on Olivia, but at first, she wants nothing to do with him, knowing of his reputation. He must attempt to win her over.

On his deathbed, Leonard reveals a secret to James concerning his birth mother and more. James focuses on finding the woman who gave him birth while wooing Olivia, and trying his hardest to be kind to his adoptive mother. It's not easy going. Given that little is resolved in this book, I suspect it's the first of a series. There's still so much for James to do. At times, the book became repetitive, telling the listener the same thing over and over and over. it wasn't important information, so it proved irritating.

The narration was well done, gave life to the characters, and kept the story moving nicely.Each character the narrator voices is easily distinguishable from the others. Her performance makes listening highly enjoyable.

All in all, a decent Regency romance, but it left me with several unanswered questions.

I received this book as a gift from the narrator. Her generosity is appreciated, but had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review. They reflect my honest responses to listening to this audio book.

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The Foundling Duke

The Foundling hospital is where the children are sent that are to be put up for adoption. James has no memory of this being the beginning of his life. He knows his father loves him, but his mother is a totally different story. This is a amazing story and very well written. James has so much compassion for his mother after the truth comes out. I am not sure I would have felt the same after how she treated him and his father. The narration is very nice and easy to listen to.

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  • Jan M
  • Southwest
  • 07-23-18

Great Historical Romance!

I really enjoy a clean Regency Romance from time to time, and Audrey Harrison did not disappoint with this book. I found a number of the characters to be endearing and the imagery so well done. I loved the twist the author wrote and had not expected it. Kudos to the author. This book also has some great humor too. The relationship of Olivia and James did not start out on the best foot, but their banter was great. Melanie Fraser performed the various characters so well, giving them distinguishable voices. I found this book to be original and is a standalone listen, along with the beginning of a new series. I was pulled into the book and really want to know what happened to James' sister and mother. I requested this review copy audiobook and have voluntarily written this review. I will definitely listen to more books by this author and narrator.

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  • Layla
  • 11-27-18

Loved it!

I have not read or listened to anything by this author.
I loved the blurb so I thought I'll give a go and I am so glad that I did.
loved the narrator I thought she bought the characters out.
The book is suitable for all and I loved it!
I would highly recommend this book!
looking forward to reading/listening to the others in this series!

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  • Inishowen Cailin
  • 07-17-18

Another great story from Audrey Harrison

Audrey Harrison is one of my favourite Regency romance writers. She writes well researched and interesting stories that keep me turning the pages. They are romantic without any of the naughty bits and so can be safely recommended to all.
The narrator, Melanie Fraser gives another excellent and faultless performance.

The Foundling Duke had an interesting plot line although there was a lot of scandal to overcome and I'm not too sure how realistic it would have been for the son of a maid to be accepted by all of society so easily. Nevertheless I was very sympathetic to the characters and their situations. I enjoyed listening to James and Olivia verbally sparring with each other when they first met and I delighted in the development of their romance as they realised they liked one another.
I'm looking forward to reading the Foundling Lady. I'm especially looking forward to seeing the twin siblings reunited.

I voluntarily reviewed a gifted copy.

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  • Zena
  • 07-08-18

Beautiful story

James meets Olivia and his feelings on love rapidly change. His past is a tangle of lies that threaten what could be a permanent relationship between the two of them but with Olivia's support, warmth, understanding and love, they slowly get to the bottom of each lie and sort out his past life.
This is a beautiful story which had me smiling at times and at others, crying but it held my attention throughout and I really didn't want it to end.
Audrey Harrison has a story-telling gift and it is alway a pleasure to read one of her books.
In the audiobook version which I listened to Melanie Fraser entertains us with her interesting voices which bring the characters to life.
These two artistes make a great team and I am happy to recommend both the story and the audio of it as very entertaining and enjoyable.
I voluntarily listened to a free copy of the audiobook version and this is my unbiased review.