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The Ugly Duchess (Fairy Tales) Mass Market Paperback – August 28, 2012
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Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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From the Back Cover
How can she dare to imagine he loves her . . . when all London calls her The Ugly Duchess?
Theodora Saxby is the last woman anyone expects the gorgeous James Ryburn, heir to the Duchy of Ashbrook, to marry. But after a romantic proposal before the prince himself, even practical Theo finds herself convinced of her soon-to-be duke's passion.
Still, the tabloids give the marriage six months.
Theo would have given it a lifetime . . . until she discovers that James desired not her heart, and certainly not her countenance, but her dowry.
Society was shocked by their wedding . . . and is scandalized by their separation.
Now James faces the battle of his life, convincing Theo that he loves the duckling who blossomed into the swan.
And Theo will quickly find that, for a man with the soul of a pirate, All's Fair in Love—and War.
About the Author
Eloisa James is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author and professor of English literature, who lives with her family in New York, but can sometimes be found in Paris or Italy. She is the mother of two and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight. Visit her at www.eloisajames.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
I had problems from the very beginning. James and Theodora grew up together. Theo had been taken in as ward of James' father. They were essentially raised as siblings. Unfortunately, Daddy Dearest lost all of his money in bad investments and some of Theo's dowry too. If anyone were to find out, he could go to prison. So he forces James to propose to Theo to hide the crime and legally get his hands her remaining funds. James cares for Theo and knows what he doing is wrong, but he does it anyway.
I thought this dynamic was kind of squicky. Rather quickly, though, James begins to have less than brotherly feelings towards Theo and their marriage is the real deal. Until Theo finds out why he proposed. She is heartbroken and orders him away. James takes her demand seriously, heading to the high seas, where he spends the next seven years as a pirate.
That's right. I said SEVEN YEARS. He leaves her the entire responsibility of running his estate and getting it out from under his father's debts. He leaves her to deal with his father's death alone... and then her own mother's passing as well. Not to mention that she is left to shoulder the cruel moniker of the "Ugly Duchess," she was given by all the newspapers from the day they wed. They had been married only two days before he left her, and her humiliation was heartbreaking.
In her husband's absence, Theo remakes herself. She ends up very successful and the height of fashion. She moved on with her life, but in a very closed-off way. James broke something inside her and what remained was icy and distant.Read more ›
I couldn't stand the long part in "Jane Eyre" where she goes wandering around with her distant cousins. I usually skip that part because when the heroine isn't with the hero, or even in the near vicinity hoping to catch a glimpse, romance novels get boring fast. This one went south in a hurry. I never thought, in a million years, Eloisa James could get boring. She did. The whole pirate thing was a dud. Even worse? Dying as one pirate and becoming...another pirate. Yep. That was really strange. And getting me nowhere close to a romance with our poor "ugly" heroine. No, she did not grow into a swan. That was major disappointment number two.
There is that great moment in when Audrey Hepburn walks in to the ball in "My Fair Lady" and she is a princess in the eyes of everyone. In "The Ugly Duchess," we have a chance for the same moment. But no, the crowd still thinks she's ugly. So ugly they rudely tell her how ugly she still is...after all those years of fashion work and new hair style and confidence, her husband still has to beat up everyone who calls his wife a dog. Not what I want from a romance novel. I want my swan to be a swan. To win them over with her style. So what if her features are strong? Angelica Huston has carried it off.
Then, on top of the fact that the pirate has lost his singing voice from a cut throat, which I have no idea why was necessary or part of the plot, he has decided to wear lots of brocade and gold cuffs. He also has decided that sex is a cure for a seven year gap in a two day marriage.Read more ›
1. Hero-Heroine were separated for something like 70 pages! Living separate lives across 7 years. Could have been more pages (I didn't count, because I skipped most of them), could have been less (it FELT like it was half the novel). I'm an avid romance reader and it's like a huge no-no to separate the main protagonists for so long with no interaction whatsoever.
2. As the 2 characters developed apart from each other over 7 years, essentially turning into different people, it stretches beyond belief that they would still be in love with each other after so long with so much between them, as essentially two strangers. I'd stopped rooting for them 10 pages into reading about their separation.
3. The final chapters of their reunion defies reality! Suddenly, after so long, as two strangers, sex solves everything. In one night. Just a couple of days after the husband returns after a 7-year absence.
Truly I expected so much more from James. I don't think I will ever buy another of her novels after this one.
Now, I don't mind that the story is unrealistic. If you're reading the retelling of a fairy tale, why on earth would you expect realism? I do mind the vagueness of the underlying fairy tales in James' books, especially in the last two. She's pretty loosey-goosey with the stories.
The writing is quite entertaining. Eloisa James is one of our better romance writers, more's the pity. So this is well written and kinda fun to read, but, holy heck, the two main characters...did they really deserve a story? Hero James and heroine Theo grew up together and were really tight best friends. Until the day James' irresponsible father reveals he has appropriated much of Theo's funds to pay off his own debts and now needs James to marry Theo to keep this little problem in the family.
So they marry and it turns out they just may love each other. But 2 days after the wedding Theo finds out James was compelled to marry her and, angry, hurt and upset, she throws him out, saying she never wants to see him again. OK, here the problems began for me. James takes her at her word. He doesn't try to make things right. He just up and leaves for seven flipping years!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was a slow start but once the story got going, it was classic E.James. Characters were memorable; story was fun.Published 24 days ago by Mama j
Perhaps it is that I read this whilst recovering from hysterectomy surgery, but I found the theme of our perceived desirability to that of our real honest to goodness desirability... Read morePublished 26 days ago by Roselyn Tindall
I have always loved the friends to lovers trope, so naturally I bought this book. It was quite enjoyable and, as always, I loved Eloisa James's writing style. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Emily Tanner
Just read three in a row from this author and they were all four and five stars, especially A Duke of Her Own and then this. It fell flat for me. Read morePublished 1 month ago by loveromance
I would have really loved this book if the author had done one thing differently. The heroine has years of anger and hardship and hurt because of the hero and forgives him in 24... Read morePublished 1 month ago by T. Bailey
What a shame! Eloisa, you are better than this! I have read many of your books (and all in this series) but this one is by far the worst. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rose Milne
Eloisa James has a background in literature and it shows. For me, she combines Jane Austen with the modern romance novel.Published 2 months ago by Tammi T.
Was good, not to dirty just enough. However the plot was one way, never expanded on. Very very slow in the middle. I enjoyed it but definately not a page turner.Published 3 months ago by Christina Gardiner