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My Last Duchess Mass Market Paperback – October 27, 2020
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New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James returns to the Wildes series with a prequel about the Wilde children's parents, Hugo, Duke of Lindow, and Ophelia, Lady Astley.
Every Duke needs a Duchess...
Hugo Wilde, the Duke of Lindow, has a drafty castle, eight naughty children—and no wife. Ophelia, Lady Astley, has a fine house, one well-behaved daughter—and no husband.
Hugo takes one look at Ophelia and loses his heart, but she doesn’t want more children or a castle. She takes one look at him and heads for her carriage.
Desperate to find a duchess, Hugo identifies an appropriate lady to woo. Yet when he meets Ophelia again, the duke realizes that he will marry her, or no one.
Now he faces the greatest challenge of his life.
He must convince Ophelia that their blazing sensuality, his exquisite castle, and his eight charming children add up to a match made in heaven.
When a duke finds his duchess, can he win her heart?
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"Best-selling RITA award-winner James proves once again why she is the romance genre’s primary purveyor of deftly written, delectably witty, and delightfully sexy love stories as she gifts readers with a prequel to her wildly popular The Wildes of Lindow Castle series." — Booklist
"Eloisa James pens a truly delightful prologue to her popular Wildes of Lindow Castle series in My Last Duchess...The banter is witty, the secondary characters are exquisitely well drawn, and the glimpses of the children will cause readers who have read their stories to smile..." — BookPage (starred review)
“A delightfully sweet novel." — Romance Reviews Today
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.
- Publisher : Avon; Reprint edition (October 27, 2020)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0063036347
- ISBN-13 : 978-0063036345
- Item Weight : 8 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.19 x 1.08 x 6.62 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #63,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Not so pleasant? The book is marketed as a novel, priced as a novel, presented as a novel...but it is NOT a full-length novel. It's just over half story, with the rest of the book composed of promo material and chapters of books that I've already paid for and read. It's a shame, because there's so much story left to be told -- the Last Duchess, to say nothing of wee Viola, surely had quite an adjustment period getting accustomed to life in a castle with eight rambunctious children. Surely she and the Duke -- or Lady Louisa -- butted heads a few times, even given their obvious affection for one another, and the fact that they're all kind and well-meaning people. Surely at least ONE of the children acted out. So it's pretty disappointing, in that respect.
I'm choosing to assume that the somewhat misleading presentation was the publisher's idea and not Ms. James'. Publisher...do better next time.
There were some amusing episodes with the multiple kids and with Maddie Ophelia’s cousin. But reading over and over how the duke growled made me want to howl. Soooo many cliches, cardboard characters and little in the way of plot development. To welcome a pet rat as comic question to provide the reader from a mundane plot gives you the idea.
Plus this really should be noted to be novella. Sorry this short book deserved more time and attention to the characters, the story and the time period.
This is a dog of a story —. bark bark growl growl.
It is a romantic tale, basically low conflict with the majority of conflict being wrapped up in another possible fiancee for Hugo and the two main characters learning to communicate and decide that yes, this is what they each want. It's fun to see the children as youngsters, including the (is he or isn't he) late Horatius. There's some heat on the page, fitting the story and the characters. I especially like an chance to see two more mature characters who fall in love. It's not a marriage of convenience or for the sake of finding a parent for their offspring. These two come together and plan to make a life.
The snapshots of the children as youngsters are charming and humorous. I love Hugo's sister, the right amount of being sharp and funny. Also Ophelia's friend, Maddie, is a delight. I didn't buy the fake pregnancy storyline with her but it's insignificant to the main plot and did not bother me. The aristocrat that Hugo almost becomes engaged to, is a classic stick up her rear snob and cringe worthy in the best way.
If you're looking for heavy suspense, heavy conflict, or heavy angst, this isn't it. I, for one, am happy to have a romantic historical romance. and recommend this one fully.
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It is quite a short story, and I think it was a mistake to pad out the book with a glimpse of chapter 1 from the first of the series and with a short story from Eloisa’s Fairy Tales. I think I would have preferred, as other reviewers have said, for it to have been released as a novella, and maybe not charged £5.99 for it?
However, I am giving it five stars because I loved Ophelia as a character, and I loved Hugo. Maybe because as an older reader, the idea of a sexy, handsome older man is more appealing now than it would have been in my twenties. Could it have been longer? Well, when I love a book, I don’t want it to end, so I wish there had been more, but I don’t think Eloisa pads out her plots just to do this unlike a lot of other authors do. The Frost Fair chapters were good, and taught me something about our own history that I hadn’t known. The story drew me in immediately, there was plenty of humour (of course), vignettes of the younger Wilde’s as children and teenagers and poignant glimpses of Horatius as a teenager.
I am already missing reading about the family, and have pre-ordered the next in the series. Hopefully by March next year, Covid will be an unhappy memory, and reading that book will be a different experience than in this tier three lockdown.
I do recommend this, but read the other books in the series first, otherwise a reader will find this puzzling, like coming into a film halfway through and driving your family mad by asking who that is? Or why are they doing that?
However - The Last Duchess was sold and advertised as a novel not a novella. The details online on Amazon stipulate it is 432 pages. It most assuredly is not. The kindle version doesn’t have pages - which given its exceedingly short length feels purposeful - but I think the books circa 100 pages or so. In fact shorter than many novellas I’ve read.
I’ll be writing to Piakatus the publisher to complain about misrepresentation / incorrect description of the book. It’s priced as a novel, not a novella - with wholly inaccurate page length.
I think that Eloisa James probably has a very committed group of readers - who admire and very much enjoy her usually funny, intelligent and beautifully crafted books. I think releasing The Last Duchess in is current form is a mistake; and almost disrespectful to those who’ve purchased it. It’s been represented disingenuously and the characterisation, plot and overall quality is really weak. Not sure what the author or publisher were thinking - a blot on her previously pretty unmarried copy book.
Never done this before - going to be asking for my money back; and not sure if I’ll be bothered to buy the author’s work in the future.