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87 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fresh, Funny, Sexy Finale
Leopold Dautry, Duke of Villiers' story has threaded through each book of the Desperate Duchesses series. And with this, the final book in the series, Eloisa James delivers her most delightful tale yet. Taken separately each element is nothing new, but James breathes new life into old tropes, weaving a tale of secret babies, secret lovers and just plain secrets with...
Published on July 28, 2009 by Miss Bluestocking

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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 Stars for Dialogue, 1 Star for Plot
I gave this book 3 stars for its clever repartee and funny dialogue. But if I were to rate it on plot alone I would probably give it 1 star. Although the premise is interesting, the execution is poor. The protagonist, Villiers, needs a mother for his many children and has to decide between two aristocratic ladies, Lisette and Eleanor. Supposedly the duke is...
Published on May 13, 2011 by I Read Anything


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87 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fresh, Funny, Sexy Finale, July 28, 2009
This review is from: A Duke of Her Own (Desperate Duchesses) (Mass Market Paperback)
Leopold Dautry, Duke of Villiers' story has threaded through each book of the Desperate Duchesses series. And with this, the final book in the series, Eloisa James delivers her most delightful tale yet. Taken separately each element is nothing new, but James breathes new life into old tropes, weaving a tale of secret babies, secret lovers and just plain secrets with lyrical and at times blunt prose. The interaction between Villiers and his son Tobias is funny, but also sweet in that way only dialogue between fathers and sons can be. I won't spoil who the heroine is, but she is more than strong enough to deal with Villiers. After four books of watching him grow from cold, bored aristrocrat into something infinitely more caring and more human, it is a delight to watch Villiers fall in love. I closed the book with a smile on my face. And have been grinning all day at the memory of it. If that's not a great read, I don't know what is.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I believe in a thing called LOVE., August 3, 2009
This review is from: A Duke of Her Own (Desperate Duchesses) (Mass Market Paperback)
I've read many of Ms. James books, and although I enjoy them I always feel that they require a real commitment. Her novels are usually interwoven, and you often have no idea what is happening unless you have read them all. It can be quite exhausting, and not always fun. Are these stories well written? Yes. Are they historically accurate? Yes. Can you tell that Ms. James is a well known Shakespearean professor and expert? Yes. Do these stories always work as romance? No. So you can understand why I put off reading a "A Duke of Her own", not because I didn't think it would be great, but because I don't look to her for romance, for great storytelling definitely, but romance, she is often a hit or miss.

A Duke of Her own was a pleasant surprise. The book is extremely well-paced and focused on the couple at hand. Although Villiers feels confusion, his confusion is paced on his sense of duty and honor, not on his feelings. Our heroine is amazing, and realistic. The book really explores love, and what it means to have a broken heart, in a way that is intimate and realistic. This is a romance novel in the best possible sense. It's one of those books that reminds you of your first love, and may help you realize that first love doesn't always mean best.

This is a book for your keeper shelf. The romance isn't scorching, but its heat will keep you warm for days, and the insights into love will last with you much longer.

P.S. Although the back of the book doesn't make it clear who Villiers belongs with, YOU will know within the first few chapters.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 Stars for Dialogue, 1 Star for Plot, May 13, 2011
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I Read Anything (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews
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I gave this book 3 stars for its clever repartee and funny dialogue. But if I were to rate it on plot alone I would probably give it 1 star. Although the premise is interesting, the execution is poor. The protagonist, Villiers, needs a mother for his many children and has to decide between two aristocratic ladies, Lisette and Eleanor. Supposedly the duke is undecided, though there is NO doubt from the beginning who the ultimate winner is. Somehow all parties meet at Lisette's manor and hilarity ensues. It is clear from the beginning that Lisette is not just eccentric, but totally unhinged and Villiers, a supposedly brilliant man, is unable to detect this. All he ends up doing is parading around aimlessly like a peacock in his ducal finery looking fierce and curling his lip with amazing frequency. Eleanor walks around with the male equivalent of a constant boner and is indiscriminate in her actions. Lisette behaves in a manner not appropriate for a scullery maid, let alone a duchess, yet everyone thinks she is charming. The visit to Lisette's manor is interminable, it drags on and on and I thought they would never go home. The dog, the mother and the sister are equally annoying, all cardboard figures without depth.
Readers are supposed to suspend disbelief in regencies, but even so some of the characters' behavior in this book is implausible even by today's standards. I read another book from this series, When the Duke Returns, which I enjoyed. I abandoned another one, This Duchess of Mine, after reading the sample and did not bother to download. I think I am done with this series.
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46 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvelous stand alone novel, July 29, 2009
This review is from: A Duke of Her Own (Desperate Duchesses) (Mass Market Paperback)
I was less than thrilled with James' last book. For the first half of that story, This Duchess of Mine (Desperate Duchesses), I entertained the notion that it might be my last in this Duchess series. But, lo and behold, James began to include quite a bit of the Duke of Villiers background and dilemma in the latter half of that book. He was one of her more interesting heroes in this series. So, I bought A Duke of Her Own and started reading with cautious hope. With each page I turned, I was enthralled more and more. This book is brilliant. James is back to her very high standard of writing with this final story in the series. Leopold is a marvelously complex, virile, masculine hero...totally yummy. And the true heroine (like the other reviewers, I won't provide a spoiler here) is one of the most courageous, strong yet vulnerable, wonderful heroines I've enjoyed in a long time. Villier's choice between two women for the role of wife provides the tension in this book, and I'll warn you, it lasts throughout the story. But, the ending is completely satisfying. The plot does include the Duke's search and rescue of his children, but most of the storyline centers on the love story. This is a touching, well-written, stand alone romance. There's no need to backtrack and read the others in this series if you haven't already. A Duke of Her Own is truly one of the best books I've read this year.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Read the bad reviews first... UNLIKE ME!, January 5, 2011
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The book is written in that light-hearted manner that one expects of James; however, it is too similar to "A Kiss At Midnight," which I read a little while ago, having never read an Eloisa James novel before (A Duke of Her Own is my second).

The whole Cinderella theme can only be played out so much.

A lot of reviewers did not want to disclose who the true female lead is, I wish they had. I started reading this book feeling as if Lissette would be the lead not Eleanor, which spoiled it even more for me, this constant anticipation -who will be the main female protagonist?

But the worst part was the competition for the male protagonist. May be I am getting old fashioned in my early thirties; however, I just do not like women competing for a man; it is not a representation of the romance genre for me. I read romances to feel chased (you know - escapism); I do not read them to want to chase a man.

Eleanor changed her dressing style - went out of her comfort zone to gain this man's affection. That is something I do not condone. It borders on desperation (and she pining away for a long lost love, determined never to marry - now after 10 min of conversation with the Duke, she is determined to change). Not my cup of tea!

If you are considering buying this book, the best advice I can give you is to ask yourself what appeals to you in a romance. Lightheartedness? O.K. you have it here. But if you like the more traditional novel where women do not compete for one man's affection, then this is not for you.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A case of too much anticipation leading to a disappointment, January 5, 2012
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I like Villiers and have from the first book he graced us with his presence in. Unfortunately, his story was lackluster and pulled him too much out of his character. The love between him and Eleanor was never quite convincing enough to make me a believer and the whole story takes place in one place, a boring country estate with very little intrigue or excitement. The general scene always felt contrived to keep Eleanor and Villiers in the same spot at the same time, usually with Eleanor as skimpily clad as possible. Other, secondary characters, were somewhat one-dimensional (Roland, Lisette, Gabriel) and I know James can do better than that. I still enjoyed the read and was very happy to finally reach Villiers story...the one story I was desperate for while I read through the Duchess books in order. James has a talent for dialogue that is engrossing and refreshing and I still read this book very quickly and with pleasure. However, there was a lingering feeling at the end that Villiers had deserved more substance and depth. And, as a side note, I thought it very odd that Eleanor and Villiers never played chess together, not once in the whole book. It was a strange and unfortunate omission especially since James threw a bone at his chess playing at the end, when Eleanor showed how another player could win a game. It was an awkward scene. There were so many better ways of showcasing her skills. Why didn't she have Eleanor impress or frustrate Villiers in a game of chess earlier on? They certainly had enough time while they wilted in the country, awaiting a marriage decision. Blah.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What happened to the Duke of Villiers, October 14, 2009
By 
piano mom (Clayton, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Duke of Her Own (Desperate Duchesses) (Mass Market Paperback)
I have read every desperate duchess book and loved the depth that Eloisa James put into all of her characters. After reading Jemma's story, which was fantastic, I was so excited to see who would step up to the claim the heart of the fabulously naughty Duke of Villiers. But this wonderfully amusing roue was replaced by a sappy, boring imposter. I was never so disappointed to see a character turn into an entirely different person. I know he had to fall in love and eventually become a somewhat reformed rake, but couldn't he have kept some of his devilish ways. Why do they always have to lose all of their most interesting and endearing characteristics when they meet the "right" girl? It was great of James to create a series about women who were not the normal heroine, but she should have been as daring with her heros as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad, But a Little Disappointing -- 3.5 Stars, November 8, 2009
This review is from: A Duke of Her Own (Desperate Duchesses) (Mass Market Paperback)
The Duke of Villiers was by far my favorite character in this series, which up until now developed believable tension between the various protagonists. Some of the characters in this book were very interesting -- Tobias and Lisette -- but EJ dropped the ball on the dangerous Duke and turned him into a vacillating wimp. But the most egregious offense to me was that chess never came up between Leopold and Eleanor. This is a man obsessed by chess and he never even challenges her to a game once he learns she can play well? What a letdown! And for those tempted to read the additional chapter at the author's website, don't bother, unless you want to read about the gory details of childbirth (not so much in my case). That said, there is still much to like in this book, and James is one of the better writers around in this genre.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Would have been perfect except for one flaw (IMO), December 31, 2011
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I really liked the story and would recommend the book to others. But I can't get past one major flaw (SPOILER). Why didn't Leopold figure out that Lisette was unstable and why didn't anyone tell him that she was unstable? Leopold certainly spent enough time with Lisette to be able to figure out SOMETHING was off - the author portrayed him as an astute and intelligent man. That seemed to me to be a stretch. Otherwise, it was a very good read.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Duke of Her Own, November 29, 2009
This review is from: A Duke of Her Own (Desperate Duchesses) (Mass Market Paperback)
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that the Duke of Villiers, a single man in possession of a good fortune (not to mention six illegitimate children), must be desperately in want of a wife. But Leopold Dautry, the duke in question, knows that not just any woman will fit the bill. So that his children may be launched into society when they come of age, Leopold needs to marry the daughter of a duke, for only such a woman would hold enough clout in the eyes of London's elite to have his children be accepted by the ton. Luckily for Villiers, only two women meet his criteria. Eleanor, the daughter of the Duke of Montague, is sensible, intelligent, and irresistibly sensual. Lisette, the Duke of Gilner's daughter, is vivacious, creative, stunningly beautiful, and as far as most people are concerned, a bit mad. Torn between his instinct and his heart, Villiers must decide which woman will be the duchess he can call his own.

Eloisa James has ended her fantastic Desperate Duchess series on a high note with this engrossing story. A Duke of Her Own is an enchanting mix of romance and fun and I could not put it down.

The Duke of Villiers has grown into a fascinating character over the course of this series. I'll admit I wasn't his biggest fan when the series began, but while he grew on me throughout the books, I feel deeply in love with him in A Duke of Her Own. His transformation has been one of the finest Ms. James has ever written. As to which woman claims the heart of the worldly duke...what fun would it be if I revealed who she is? I will say that Villiers's heroine is among my favorite of Ms. James's characters. She's everything I could wish for in a protagonist and she matches Villiers perfectly; I simply adored her.

A Duke of Her Own is the sixth book in the Desperate Duchess series, but the story stands on its own. I admit that I finished A Duke of Her Own a bit sad that the series has ended and that - barring re-reads - I have to leave the Desperate Duchess heroes and heroines behind. Given the liveliness of these characters, it is my hope that Ms. James writes stories for their children one day, some of whom Ms. James has already revealed to be quite intriguing. Until that wish comes true, I'm content to hop over to the Readers' Pages on Ms. James's site and enjoy a bonus chapter for A Duke of Her Own before I curl up and lose myself in Villiers's story once more.

Shayna
Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
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A Duke of Her Own (Desperate Duchesses)
A Duke of Her Own (Desperate Duchesses) by Eloisa James (Mass Market Paperback - July 28, 2009)
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