Desperate Duchesses (Desperate Duchesses - Book 1) by Eloisa James
Publication Date: May 2007
Publisher: Harper Collins
Format: Paperback, 400 pp
Genre: Historical Romance
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Borders, IndieBound
(E-book borrowed from the Library)
Author's Website: www.eloisajames.com
Excerpt: Click HERE!
Book Trailer: Click HERE!
Books In the Series:
Synopsis (Author's Website):
A Marquess's sheltered only daughter, Lady Roberta St. Giles falls in love with a man she glimpses across a crowded ballroom: a duke, a chess player of consummate skill, a notorious rake who shows no interest in marriage - until he lays eyes on Roberta.
Yet the Earl of Gryffyn knows too well that the price required to gain a coronet is often too high. Damon Reeve, the earl, is determined to protect the exquisite Roberta from chasing after the wrong destiny.
Can Damon entice her into a high-stakes game of his own, even if his heart is likely to be lost in the venture?
Nothing says historical romance like a young innocent lady falling in love with a dangerous rake, who just happens to be a duke. Eloisa James captivates readers with her elegant style and enchanting characters. Desperate Duchesses is the first novel in a series of books that James has dedicated to the lovely women of the English ton, who must stand on propriety, but still have passionate hearts and deep feelings.
Lady Roberta St. Giles knows that if she is ever to find a proper husband she must leave home and go to the city. Against her father, the "mad marquee's" advice, Roberta joins her distant cousin Jemma, the Duchess of Beaumont in London. Roberta has a plan. While attending a ball she met the Duke of Villiers, who is a rake of the worst kind. She has decided she must find a way to make him marry her. She is a bit astounded when he decides to marry her on his own in order to make Jemma jealous.
In the meantime, Jemma's brother the Earl of Gryffyn, Damon Reeve falls in love with Roberta and has to convince her that Villiers isn't the man for her, and he is. It's quite the interesting love triangle, with fighting spouses, chess matches that take place in the bedroom and lots of other interesting situations.
This is one of the few books that I have read by Eloisa James, but everyone I read makes me enjoy her writing style and character development even more. She has a knack for setting the scene and showing the reader what the Georgian period was probably like. I enjoyed the way she introduced the characters and gave us things to like and dislike about them all.
Jemma, has been in France, separated from her husband the Duke of Beaumont for some time. She is a very vibrant character that isn't worried about scandalizing her neighbors, but she has been unfaithful to her husband. The Duke of Beaumont is a great leader in the House of Lords, however, he kept a mistress for some time and that caused his separation. The Duke Villiers is more concerned with doing whatever he can to bring himself to the depths of debauchery. But, he does have some redeeming factors as well. Damon Reeve has an illegitimate son but he is very charming and obviously takes his responsibilities very seriously. So most of the characters are flawed, but have redeeming qualities as well. I loved the way they played on each other.
This was just a really good book. I enjoyed the chess matches and the way that the relationships between the characters developed. I think that anyone who enjoys a good romance will like this one and probably the rest of the series as well. I'm looking forward to the second one and finding out what happens to all the characters we met in the first book. I like the idea that the series is based on several Duchesses and how they go about their lives, very interesting premise.
I recommend this one to historical romance lovers as well as those just looking for a good light read. The book is relatively short and moves quickly. I could have read it in one sitting easily if I had, had the time. The characters are likable and easy to identify with and overall it was just a very good book. James is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.
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I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!