Book Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Duke by Janna MacGregor

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Want to know if The Good, the Bad, and the Duke by Janna MacGregor is worth the read? Here’s my full review to help you decide

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The Good, the Bad, and the Duke Info

Author: Janna Macgregor

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperback

Published: 4 December 2018

Rating: 2/5

Where to buy The Good, the Bad, and the Duke


The Good, the Bad, and the Duke Summary

A lady with a noble mission. A duke looking for redemption. A forbidden love that cannot be denied…

Lady Daphne Hallworth is ready to celebrate the holidays with her family. But when they accidentally leave her home alone, Daphne uses the time to work on her dream—opening a home for unwed mothers. But her quest isn’t problem-free: She’s in a battle to win the property for the home against her brother’s best friend-turned-enemy, Paul Barstowe, Duke of Southart. And that’s not all: someone has stolen her personal diary, which holds secrets that could devastate her family. Daphne has always harbored private feelings for the man her family scorns…though perhaps striking a bargain with the handsome Duke will solve both their problems?

Paul, long considered good for nothing, aims to open a hospital to honor his brother and restore his reputation. So when a conflict over the land brings him straight into Daphne’s life, they make a deal: He will help her find her diary if Daphne can change her family’s opinion of him. But before he can win her family’s affection, he has to win hers first. Maybe love was the answer to their family feud all along?

The Good, the Bad, and the Duke Review

Character: 4/10

Honestly, I disliked reading this book’s characters, especially the Duke of Southart, Paul Barstowe. Perhaps, if I remembered the plots of the previous books in the series I would be more partial to Paul but as it is I can barely remember the plots so we just have to make do with my thoughts of him stemming from this book alone.

Paul Barstowe, in my opinion, is the Shein version of Valentine Napier, Duke of Montgomery from the novel Duke of Sin. I say this because of how I envision the author writing Paul would be, he is a male lead who is incredibly charming when he wants to be and is also equally as smart but wants people to undermine him so they wouldn’t realize he does have some wit about him like Valentine Napier.

But unlike Valentine, when I read on Paul’s character he just comes off as an absolute crybaby. Paul is a rogue just because his father is disdainful of him and neglects him, causing him to do more and more reckless things to get his father’s attention.

If Paul is in his early to maybe maximum mid-twenties, I would have forgiven this because when you are young, you are partial to doing the stupidest things but as it is Paul is in his early to mid-thirties in this book. 

I speculate his age to be that due to him being around a decade older than Daphne Hallworth; when she was 8 years old Paul helped her with a baby bird and he was in university by then which I presume he would be between 16 to 18 of age.

And Daphne is 24 years old at the start of this book making Paul to be in his 30s.

I emphasize a lot on his age because yes, childhood trauma does stick with you for a long time but that doesn’t mean that it also bars you from doing something in your life. 

What has Paul Barstowe done before he became Duke of Southart? 

Nothing that’s what.

Daphne says Paul is a kind man but he is only kind when it benefits him or it’s to people he knows so is he truly kind or helpful?

Why does he only think to do good things AFTER he becomes a Duke? Could he not be his own man? He complains of the neglect from his father but what has he done to truly make his father see him in a different light?

Which is why in my eyes he is a crybaby. It’s embarrassing to read about a man in his 30’s constantly complaining about something but not doing anything about it.

Atmosphere: 4/10

Hard to say with this one. My dislike for Paul and the nonsensical plot and the lack of chemistry between the lead characters prevented me from noticing the atmosphere of the book.

Writing: 5/10

Janna MacGregors writing has always been a hit-or miss for me. In some books I enjoyed her writing more and in others, it does grate on my nerves.

Like the writing in this book for example. 

It’s bad enough Paul was annoying me but the fact that the author just couldn’t make Paul charming. For example, he wanted to save Daphne when she went to the gaming den (I forgot the name of the place) and he just called her Lady Moonbeam outta nowhere to protect her identity. 

It would’ve been cuter had the name had some significance from their shared childhood but there was nothing else he just thought it would be cute and I am here dying over the cringe of it all. 

Plot: 3/10

The plot was also another thing that aggravated me aside from Paul’s character. 

Was the plot even in the room with us?

I was interested to read this book initially because I had thought that we would have an intense battle of wit as Daphne would fight Paul to get the building she wanted for her charity but 90% of the plot was just them worrying to get the damned journal back!

Barely anything was mentioned about the building and even when it was mentioned it was non-consequential that it might as well have been left out. 

This brings me to the matter at hand, why put that in the plot to begin with???????

It just makes everything so muddled and chaotic in terms of the cohesiveness of the plot.

And to make matters worse there was no chemistry between Daphne and Paul at least in my eyes there was none. On Daphne’s end, I understand she has had a huge and long-standing crush on Paul but on Paul’s end? 

It doesn’t make sense to me.

Not only that but towards the end we find out the whole reason why Paul’s father was disdainful and neglected Paul was because he was never Paul’s father to begin with which makes the plot that was already messy to begin with even messier.

That’s why I compare this book to Duke of Sin because in Duke of Sin, there were  A LOT of things going on at once yet Elizabeth Hoyt managed to keep the story contained and not lose the plot as they say. 

And again back to Paul being a crybaby, after he found out he is basically a bastard child he wouldn’t marry Daphne as he felt he was beneath her, he isn’t good enough for her and it’s just not convincing for me. 

Intrigue: 5/10

There was no intrigue for me in this book, I didn’t care what happened to anybody or anyone. I just wanted to finish it as soon as possible considering I had already read half of the book so might as well finish it. 

Logic: 5/10

Logic was non-existent in this book, but I’ll let it pass.

Enjoyment: 4/10

It was painful for me to finish this book and I was glad to finish reading it.


I have read most of the books in this series and it has been hits or misses and unfortunately, this book was a miss. Would I still recommend this author? Most definitely. 

Would I recommend this book though? Probably not. This book wasn’t my vibe but if you want to give it a go I hope you enjoyed it far better than I did.

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