The Ugly Duchess, Finished 8-25-12, rating 4.25/5, romance, 331 pags, pub. 2012
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; it’s scandalized by their separation.
The first few chapters were very ho-hum for me. Two privileged people raised together became best friends and find themselves married. James was a little bland but Theo was more sympathetic. It’s what happens after they marry that had me reaching for this one every few minutes I could steal throughout the day. Their lives apart were so interesting that when they finally did reconnect I was ready for the fireworks. I wasn’t disappointed.
James, Duke of Ashbrook, or Black Jack, came back to London a force to be reckoned with. He started as best friend husband, but came back as alpha male pirate. Theo used the time alone well, excelling in all business matters and making their estate thrive beyond all expectation. She remade herself from the Ugly Duckling to a swan and James is the only one that saw the swan the whole time. This book will touch anyone who has ever been made fun of for their looks.
I love a good alpha male who is tamed a bit by the love of a smart woman (just a bit. I don’t want him too tame) and this was just what I wanted. I thought it was good. Even the sex scenes, which I tend to skim over when they get too long, were hot. I should note that finding a good name for a man’s most private part is a challenge in romances and the one chosen by Theo “tool” became a bit of an eye roller. I read a romance many years ago that called it “life giver” over and over and over. LG has become a household joke here.
Anyway, Eloisa James has written more novels based on fairy tales and I plan on reading them. I’m excited to discover a new romance author since there are only a handful I read faithfully. She has also written an article for USA Today about beauty. Here’s the link to the insightful story.
Highly recommended for romance fans.
I received this as part of the TLC tour. Thanks for book ladies! Check and see what everyone else has to say.