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The Accidental Duchess Mass Market Paperback – December 30, 2003
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Meggin Cabot Author of Boy Meets Girl and The Princess Diaries Jessica Benson gives good book: Wickedly funny, wickedly sexy....Just plain wicked. -- Review
About the Author
Jessica Benson has won numerous awards for her previous novels, historical romances hailed for their fresh and humorous voice. Her novels include The Accidental Duchess, available from Pocket Books. She lives in London with her husband and two children.
Top customer reviews
After finishing this book, the only real thing I can say about it is it never should have been published, the whole thing is a giant mess. The first person writing style just plain doesn't work here, the whole plot is based on the fact that Harry won't tell this massive secret to Gwen and when it was all revealed the idiocy of the whole thing is too much to handle. There are too many friends, brothers, lovers, parents, plots, blackmail and deceit to make this book work, with no honest feeling or drama, even when Gwen is preparing to abandon Harry so he can maintain his honor there is no drama, no heart break, it's just a plot point, we go over the bump in the road and inevitably there is another bump there to keep the story going, with more and more bumps making this is book about 100 pages too long.
This reads as a first novel, there is a whole lot of charm and humor here but you can't let charm and humor replace common sense. Why in the world would a man we are supposed to believe is desperately in love not confide in her when he risks losing her? Why didn't she just leave him after she finds him out blatantly and publicly flirting with his mistress? Why make Harry do things like shove her to the ground in the middle of a crowded ball room and throw a drink on her simply for a cheap laugh? And more than anything why do I feel like I don't know any of the characters, even Gwen who is the first person narrator?
I suppose for what this is, it's ok, but there is no heart and no depth to this book, which are requirements for me, if you don't mind a book that about as deep as a puddle and 100 pages too long then this is for you. It really is a shame because at the heart this is a good book but the verbosity and cookie cutter characters kills this one. Maybe in a few years when this author has a little more skill she can give it a rewrite because the concept is great and it really is quite charming in places.
1 1/2 stars
So the whole book is a mystery as to why Harry did it, why her parents didn't
say anything before and after, and how they're going to fix it once Bertie
returns to London (with his wife Terese who Bertie has married in Harry's name). Yes, Harry is now a bigamist. So Bertie will let Harry keep the "honor" of the family in tact if they permanently switch places. But he won't let Harry have Gwen and the title. It seems of all the things Harry has, the only thing he ever wanted was Bertie's: Gwen. And Bertie is a jerk.
The answer? Well the mystery is explained due to a character who is mentioned
in one line in the whole book. It's all about blackmail over what this one character did. Gwen's parents find out about the blackmail and blackmail Harry a second time and force the marriage so that they can "trade up" for their daughter. And the entire story is leading up to the major confrontation with Gwen's parents and the big reveal to society of the real marriage that they witnessed...except the book ends just before that happens. Really. The big reveal, the big "fix", and all that just never happens.