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The Ugly Duchess (Fairy Tales, 4) Mass Market Paperback – August 28, 2012
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“Eloisa James is extraordinary.”
“Nothing gets me to the bookstore faster than a new novel by Eloisa James.”
New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James gives the classic Hans Christian Andersen story of “The Ugly Duckling” a wonderful, witty, and delightfully passionate twist. The Ugly Duchess is another fairytale inspired romance from the unparalleled storyteller whose writing, author Teresa Medieros raves, “is truly scrumptious.” A sexy and fun historical romance, James’s winning tale of a glorious reawakening does not feature ducks and swans—rather it’s a charming story of a young woman unaware of her own beauty, suddenly duty-bound to wed the dashing gentleman who has always been her platonic best friend…until now.
"The Storyteller's Secret: A Novel" by Sejal Badani
From the bestselling author of Trail of Broken Wings comes an epic story of the unrelenting force of love, the power of healing, and the invincible desire to dream. | Learn more
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.
- Publisher : Avon; Original edition (August 28, 2012)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062021737
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062021731
- Item Weight : 6.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 0.5 x 7.6 x 5.1 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #725,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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James and Theo, or Daisy, if you prefer are both very young when they come together. Although their characters are established in most of the ways that are important, the manner in which disappointment, frustration, fear, hurt but mostly insecurities result in the loss of their dreams is very nearly heartbreaking. Only those who can vividly recall the insecurities of youth, mixed in with the hope, longings and then circumstances arising which result in the near death of those dreams and hopes will be able to understand what drove James and Theo to their respective behaviors.
Upon the death of Theo's father, she was left in the care of James' father, the Duke of Ashbrook. This resulted in James and Theo being raised somewhat like siblings. Even so, the fact they eventually fall in love was never offensive to me in any way, shape, form or fashion. In fact, for most of their lives, they simply considered themselves best friends. At some point, when James goes through puberty, he begins to see Theo as a real, live girl with breasts, but he never, ever treats her in a dishonorable fashion.
James is twenty and Theo is eighteen, when James' father reveals to James that he has managed the estates very badly and in fact has dipped into Theo's funds left to her by her father. James is livid, but eventually he is pressured to marry Theo once he realizes how dire the situation is. Concurrently, Theo is not known for her beauty - rather, the book paints a picture of her at that age as looking somewhat like a boy. It doesn't help that her mother dresses her in clothes that are too frilly for Theo. Even during this stage of Theo's life, the reader will understand that Theo has within her own soul the ability to come out of the portrait in which she has been placed by people who view her as nothing more than an ugly duckling and transform into a swan. This will take time, but we know it will happen.
To James' eternal credit, he thinks Daisy is beautiful and comes to realize he loves her. But... he isn't truthful to her about the pressure put upon him by his father to marry her. Unfortunately, after a very few sweet days of marriage, Daisy learns the truth. Things are said that can't be put back into the bottle resulting in Theo kicking James out - lock, stock and barrel. James is basically banished with only a ship at his disposal. He then spends seven years as a pirate-privateer partnering with his cousin, Sir Griffin Barry, whose story is featured in Seduced by a Pirate (A Fairy Tales Novella) . During these years, Theo never hears from him, his father dies and James becomes very rich.
James returns home after 7 years partly because he's learned he will be declared dead, but also because he has faced near death which has resulted in a new outlook on life. One might say, he has regained some confidence but through it all he never, never, ever forgot his Daisy girl.
***Spoiler*** Beware: This books contains infidelity. James had mistresses while he was a pirate. But, what I read and perceived and how James recalled this period in his life, was like a death that he went through in which he had basically believed all his dreams as it related to Daisy and family were forever lost. He returned to England a stronger, older version of the beautiful young James willing to do whatever it would take to win back his Daisy.
I loved the book. I loved the young James as well as the older, wiser James. I loved the elegant Theo and I loved her as James always saw her - his Daisy. Favorite parts - when James was trying to prove to Daisy that he could control his passions and lusts toward her - that he was no longer driven by what drove him as a young man when they were first married. Yes, sure! That put a smile on my face.
THE UGLY DUCHESS is the story of Theodora Saxby and James Ryburn. The two were raised together almost as siblings. When James is nineteen and Theo is seventeen, James's father, the Duke tells James that he must marry Theo because the Duke has stolen much of Theo's dowry and it will be discovered of she marries someone else. James is guilt ridden by the idea that he has to betray his best friend and yet the two seem to be building something special when Theo finds our the truth about their marriage.
This story was so heartbreaking. These two were so many for one another but their chance was destroyed so quickly. The two spend years apart and how they both change to hide their broken hearts. This story made me smile and cry -- sometimes at the same time. I had read some reviews of this book and did not expect to be swept away by the love between these two characters. They both make devastating mistakes but they manage to find one another again.
I'd rate this book a 4.5.
The couple is together for a short period in the book, maybe three chapters. James lies then marries Daisy AKA Theo, his best friend, because his father ran their estate to the ground and then embezzled monies from Theo's inheritance. Two days into the marriage she discovers the truth, feeling betrayed and hurt she asks James to leave. Being the coward he is rather than fight for Theo, James decides to leave and becomes a pirate.
They spend seven years estranged with no communication what so ever since James is busy feeling sorry for himself and enjoys playing pirate. Only seconds before he is to be pronounced dead, considered lost at sea, does James make a reappearance. He assumes his place in the family home taking possession and ordering the staff around apparently forgetting he left the estate in financial ruin without sending a farthing in support. (yet he managed to give the King and even a tailor enormous jewels). On his third day home he uses the sexual expertise he learned at the hands of his native mistresses to seduce his wife and that is all it takes on her behalf. She forgives him and somehow sex has solved all their problems and they have their HEA.
Christ was this a boat load of garbage. Save your money. Save your time. Don't give up on Eloisa James, just pass this one up.
Top reviews from other countries
Seven years later and James has become a notorious pirate on the high seas albeit a humanist and honourable one but nothing can dampen his wish to go home and be with his wife. Whist James has been off playing pirate Theo has been busy making herself the talk of the ton and dragging the failing Ashbrook estates back to profit. When in the house of lords it is to be discussed about the 'death' of James since he'd be gone the required amount of time to pass it ion to his heir he turns up! Completely changed and makes Theo faint! In time he seduces her back into his bed and into her affections.
I give it 4 stars purely because Theo gave in too quickly but then again I think she never did stop loving James. I do like this tale and I'm glad this was the first book that pulled me into this enchanting world Eloisa has created.
The current Duke, Jame's father had almost bankrupted the estate, and to make matters worse he had even stolen some of Theodoras dowry to fritter away on his hairbrained schemes. Although James struggles with the idea of deceiving Theodora, or as he calls her Daisy. He still goes ahead and marries her. Theodora had not realised that her feelings ran so deep for James until he had kissed her and asked for her hand.
But all good things must come to an end. In this case it is when Theodora overhears the Duke and James arguing, and she discovers why James really married her. Devastated she asks him to leave, and to never return, or she will see that his father goes to prison. But seven years later, just as Theodora was going to have James legally declared dead. Like he proverbial bad penny he returns. Expecting to reclaim his wife and position in society as though nothing had happened.
For the past seven years James had been a pirate "Jack Hawk" and he had not been living a celibate life either.
This book is in two parts, and to be honest it felt like two different stories. The first part I enjoyed, but the scond part was very disappointing, for a big chunk of it is spent on describing the H/h separate lives, I have to be honest and say that I skimmed a lot of that, it was boring. So that left the reader with a few chapters at the end to reunite the two leads. If the author had spent a bit less time on describing their lives apart, and more time on James reappearance, I might have liked this more. As it was the ending felt rushed. I thought Theodora forgave James too quick, it wasn't realistic. I also didnt like his excuse for having more than one mistress during his seven year absence. It was because Theodora told him never to return, but he had! So it did matter.
I usually enjoy this authors books but not so much this time. The story felt unbalanced and it didn't flow. I didn't warm to the characters very much either.
My biggest problem with this book is the ending. I felt that the characters deserved a much better ending. To me it felt rushed and quickly cobbled together to give it a happy ending. I know it's romance and they always have a happy ending and it was obvious that James was going to come back. The problem I had was that after abandoning Theodora, James came back after 7 years and he was forgiven within 2 days. When he left, he had hurt Theodora and then he stayed away for 7 years having affairs with his "mistresses", he even admitted this to her. Theodora on the other-hand had stayed faithful. So when he came back not only had he hurt her but he had betrayed her as well. But all was forgiven because they had a bath and had sex. He should have had to build back the trust through talking to her and proving himself to her not just through 1 sex scene. I felt that maybe the book was getting too long and the ending was condensed down to make it end sooner.
This could have been a brilliant book, having said all of this it is worth a read and I did enjoy parts of the book!
Both Theo and Jame's story gave insight into their feelings and they both knew they were thrown into a marriage too soon. A marriage that once in, opened their eyes to each other, but lack of self esteem is the root of all evil as they doubted the feelings of the other. In real life, this has a lot to answer for and I think I could have read a more in depth story which looked at how they both grew up during their time apart and allowed time for their journey back to each other. I think however the same end would have to come and you all know they have to make it in the end..
I am now eagerly awaiting another Ms James classic...how long till the next one?! Oh, and make it as long as you like :)