Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James

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; it's scandalized by their separation.

Now James faces the battle of his lifetime, convincing Theo that he loved 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—or War.


The Ugly Duchess is yet another wonderful story in Eloisa James’ Fairy Tales series. In all that it is charming, romantic, funny and sweetly sexy, it’s also heartwarming, poignant and a truly beautiful love story. 

There’s something so special about Ms. James’ retelling of these classic stories. We read the originals as children and learned valuable lessons, and now, as adults, we can read them and learn those lessons again while being entertained and seduced by the magic and power of love.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much I adored James who had loved Theo, his Daisy, since childhood. Best friends, companions, confidantes… these are the things enduring relationships are built on, and James and Daisy had that, and more, from the start.

Of course this tale is about recognizing where real beauty is found, and in this scene, one of my favorites of the story, that lesson was beautifully delivered -
“If you ever utter a word about my wife that is less than complimentary, I will not slam you against the wall again. I will instead send you through a window. And not on the ground floor, either.”

James didn’t wait for an answer; who expects garbage to answer back? Instead, he held out his arm to his wife.

When they turned, they saw that the gallery was now crammed with people.

“My duchess,” James stated, his eyes sweeping the crowd with the air of a man who has ruled the waves. “She is not a swan, because that would imply she had once been an ugly duckling.”

He glanced down at Theo. Her eyes were painted with an exotic tilt at the corners. Her cheekbones were regal and her bottom lip was colored a perfect red that made it more kissable than it already was. Small but lush breasts, skin the color of clear moonlight, rose above a waist the size of a man’s hand.

But none of that mattered compared to the innate kindness in her eyes, the joyful turn of her lip, the wild intelligence with which she greeted every day.

That was beautiful.
And so is this story. I laughed, sighed and even got weepy a few times. And now, as I sit here thinking back on this charming tale, I can't help but smile for all the Daisies and their James' throughout history who understood that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, and as Confucius so insightfully told us, "Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."

And how sad are their lives for all that they miss.

My sincerest 'thank you' to HarperCollins/Avon Publishing for sending me a review copy of this wonderful story. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it!