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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 passionStill the tabloids give the marriage six monthsTheo 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 separationNow James faces the battle of his lifetime convincing Theo that he loved the duckling who blossomed into the swanAnd Theo will uickly find that for a man with the soul of a pirate All's Fair in Love — or War


10 thoughts on “The Ugly Duchess

  1. says:

    I hate writing this review because I'm generally a fan of Eloisa James' works loved the previous 2 books in the fairy tales series btw but I didn't like this book I liked the beginning half until James the hero leaves Theo however afterwards I really disliked the book I had no patience for the hero in the least He was immature in the beginning and an idiot later on I mildly liked the heroine but I lost respect for her because she didn't seem to have any for herself And I know that most historical novels seem to sell the idea that hero can be unfaithful but the heroine had to be pure as the driven snowBut in this case he lied to her took her money didn't man up and stick around leaving her to face the music spiteful rumors as well as rebuild his estates from the scratch was unfaithful to her and let her believe he had died and had no contact with her for 7 years Suddenly he remembers how much he couldn't live without her and she's just supposed to let him back in And she does that in 2 chapters I don't see any attractive ualities in him except the fact that he was hotI mean seriously? and the sad part is that the author didn't even make him grovel at her feet And the hero continued to feel that he had not done anything wrong because to uote him I stopped thinking of you as my spouse some years ago and Two days of marriage failed to impress itself upon me I am fairly certain most men would understand my lapse No remorse whatsoeverHis argument is that he left her all his responsibilities and the entire country because she asked him to stay away from her in a fit of anger over being deceived Not just that he took that as a freebie to screw whoever he liked and claimed he wasn't wrong because she had ended their marriage Well if he took her upon her word why did he bother coming back to play the part of a husband And even if he did he had to at least give her the option to make her own choices Ugh like I said I hate this heroThis uote by Theo says it all Am I to understand that my anger at being tricked into marriage the better to disguise the embezzlement of my dowry became your excuse for committing adultery ? Wish she had stuck to this sentimentThe 2 stars are only for the author's writing and none for the story characters; even the secondary characters were boring and absentThis is one book where I wished sheTheo would have found someone else to live happily ever after


  2. says:

    James Ryburn Earl of Islay is informed by his father a duke that he has to marry Theodora Saxby his best friend since they were children Long ago Theo's dying father asked the duke to look after Theo and her mother and she and James have been like siblings ever since Seems the duke has the I of a radish and he blew through the entire wealth of the duchy then embezzled as much of Theo's inheritance as he could lay his hands on If James isn't the man who marries her not only will the estates fail but the duke's crimes will be exposed and the family name and titles will be blackened beyond redemptionJames has two problems with this First the idea of boinking his Daisy that's what he calls her feels a bit incestuous And second well he is attracted to her in a creepy older brother sorta way but she's kinda ugly From Theo's own perspective we're told that she looks like a boy A boy whose mother unfortunately insists on dressing her in pastel frills and pearls Reading her self description I envisioned thisAnyway James gets drunk and slobbers all over her at a ball and gets caught in the act The betrothal is announced and before you know it she gets the appellation The Ugly Duchess While the kiss that got them in this fix was nice the wedding night was kind of To be fair James the hero was only 20 years old and probably too stupid inexperienced to make the bridal night pleasant or at least less unpleasant for Theo But they get past it and even start to discover at least until James's dad strolls in to find Theo's head in James' lap A flustered Theo excuses herself but stays just outside the door to eavesdrop as the plonker duke congratulates James for going through with the plan And yes even tho both parties to the conversation know what plan he refers to the duke does lay it all out again in excruciating detail By wedding the ugly duchess James has A protected his father's misuse of Theo's funds B gained access to Theo's entire inheritance and the added bonus is C the ugly girl is so grateful that she'll freely provide the special attention most gentlemen must pay whores for As long as the lights are out who cares what she looks like? That moment changes everything Theo's all And she tells James the hero and his dad to So everybody goes their separate ways to reinvent themselves James reinvents himself as a Theo sulks awhile but eventually reinvents herself as a Turns out that she actually looks like her not himMeanwhile the duke reinvents himself as a Just when I thought I'd be stuck reading 300 pages of loves me loves me not angst James serves up a little side order of And hey since his wife told him to go eff himself he might as well James unfortunately doesn't gain any brain cells while he's away playing pirate and man candy so when he decides it's time to sort things out with his Daisy there was a time or two I wanted to tell him to But the denouement is sweet and pleasing and the story as a whole was satisfying a couple tears and some decent grins This one gets three starsMy rating system One star Blows skip itTwo stars Didn't stink if it sounds interesting buy it usedThree stars Liked it recommended—pick it up next time you're looking for a good readFour stars Loved it make a special tripFive stars Grrrrrowr Nuff said


  3. says:

    The Ugly Duchess is yet another wonderful story in Eloisa James’ Fairy Tales series In all that it is charming romantic witty and sweetly sexy it’s also heartwarming poignant and a truly beautiful love story How can she dare to imagine he loves herwhen 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 passionStill the tabloids give the marriage six monthsTheo would have given it a lifetimeuntil 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 separationNow James faces the battle of his lifetime convincing Theo that he loved the duckling who blossomed into the swanAnd Theo will uickly find that for a man with the soul of a pirate All's Fair in Love—or WarThere’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 from the startOf 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 wifeWhen 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 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 handBut 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 beautifulAnd so is this story Though their relationship had its rocky moments 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 missUpdate I'm editing this review because I feel I should make note of something that I know can be an issue for some readers including myself There is what some might consider adultery in this book but only in the technical sense of the wordMinor spoiler view spoiler There's part of the story where James and Daisy have been apart for years at Daisy's demand Through their years apart James never stopped loving and missing her It wasn't his choice to leave Daisy gave him no choice He believed in his heart that she would never allow him to come home and that after the reuired 7 years of absence she'd have him declared dead so she could remarry All their time apart this is what James believed was going to happen and why I say the adultery occurred only in the technical sense as they were still married hide spoiler


  4. says:

    Well this one was a swing and a miss for me which is a shame because Eloisa James is usually a ton of funTo be fair second chance romances are always hard for me to get behind I have to see some serious change in the characters in order to really buy that it would work out otherwise it just feels like they're signing up to be hurt all over again down the road never having learned their lesson They're like addicts deciding to try the pipe one last timeI liked TheoDaisy a lot I liked that when she discovered that James only married her for her money that's not a spoiler it says it on the cover of the book view spoilerthat he caved to pressure from his father to marry her against his wishes in order to cover up the fact that his father was not just broke but had embezzled her money as well hide spoiler


  5. says:

    Rating 27 starsThe misconception I had when I'd just been one chapter into this book 5 stars I know I'm going to give this 5 starsexhales loudly This review can also be read on The Dark Delicious and DreamtasticWhen I started this book when I was still on the 'Before' part out of nowhere I had this thought that startled me into stopping and then smiling for no reason before I resumed back to readingBEFORE YOU CONTINUE KNOW THAT THIS REVIEW IS CHOCK FULL OF SPOILERS SO PROCEED ONLY IF YOU'RE OKAY WITH ITA uiet certainty had snuggled it's way in my heart that I would give this book a full 5 stars rating I was loving it the characters were kickass and funny and so very cute each page had something new so why not?I felt warmed all the awesomeness making me feel giddy and excited and I thought to myself that it'd been days since I had as good a read as this so I promptly ditched all the stuff that I had to do and settled into my favorite seat by the window Sooner than I would've liked my expectations and happiness got shadowed by the shock and indignation of the change in story slowly turning to disbelief and finally condensing on being incensed It's simply shocking how the rating fell from 5 stars to a mere 3 isn't it? I wasn't even sure about the 3 As you can see it's even less than thatI loved the young Daisy the girl who was so colorful Colorful that's the description that I find her personality to be She was funny smart playful loving sarcastic curious open and so sweet She was everything the 24 year old Daisy or Theo as she liked to be called was notI'm not begrudging Theo her success or even her svelte but the brittle narrow minded lady was a far cry from the young curious DaisyAnd James that jackass don't even get me started on him He was adorable in the beginning I loved his uncertainties his smile and his wit his love for Theo him I loved him And then he turned into an idiot and broke my heart How is it not stupid to LEAVE BLOODY ENGLAND FOR 7 YEARS GIVING NEITHER HIDE NOR HAIR ABOUT HIS WHEREABOUTS TO HIS WIFE WHO HE SUPPOSEDLY BLOODY LOVED FOR GODS SAKES AND FAMILY AND THEN RETURN EXPECTING YOUR MARRIAGE TO BE ALRIGHT AGAIN? HOW??? AND DID I MENTION HOW AFTER MAYBE 2 YEARS OR WAS IT 9 MONTHS? PLEASE EXCUSE MY FAULTY MEMORY I'M A LITTLE HAZY HERE HE STARTED SLEEPING AROUND BECAUSE IN HIS EYES THE MARRIAGE WAS OVER DAISY HAD SAID THE MARRIAGE WAS OVER SO IT WAS OKAY TO SLEEP AROUNDI MEAN I'M JUST I don't think the how I asked earlier expressed my frustrations so I ask again HOW WAS IT NOT STUPID? AND SELFISH? AND STUPID A COUPLE OF MORE TIMES? BLOODY FUCKING HOW?Also of course when James came back his explanation was Because you said it was overYes He literally said that and no that wasn't the moment I threw the book on the floor and screamed like an angry banshee“I stopped thinking of you as my spouse some years ago as I’m sure you did of me”And also“Two days of marriage failed to impress itself upon me I am fairly certain most men would understand my lapse”I believe my reaction was somewhere along the lines sputtering OH NO YOU DIDN'T JUST SAY THAT ASSHOLE In my mind I'd stabbed him a hundred times alternating between kicking and punching and sometimes just yelling unintelligiblyWhen Theo proposed divorce when she firmly or tried to man there were so many things that were wrong with her too said that she wanted a divorce his reply was“The marriage was over But now I’m back” But now I’m back The utter bastardBy God that was the moment I wished I could slap the living daylights out of him This was the moment when I threw the book on the floor and screamed like an angry bansheeI just never imagined Eloisa James would disappoint me as much as she did with this book I know that not all her books end up being my favorites they're not all awesome but still there's something in them that just makes it okay Even if it ends up being just a nice read it's still all okay But this this was the kind of disappointment that if I were an overly emotional personal I would say just broke my heartMaybe I'm being too harsh too judgmental but I'd grown too attached to the young completely AWESOME Daisy and James grown too in love with their characters of 'Before' that when they separated and turned into idiots it actually totally crushed me I knew there were going to be complications coming up since James had married Daisy untruthfully even though he did very much love her But the way it exploded into smithereens of convoluted logic just threw me off my balance And of course the loss of the awesomeness of the characters just grated A LOTBy the time that the ending rolled out it was pretty much that James helped dissolve Daisy's repressed anger worth of 7 years by seducing her and continuing the whole hot torrid seduction for a few pages until later it was time for Epilogue and we finally got a decent ending If I ever feel anything like the roiling emotions of despair and heartbreak that I felt through this book after a breakup I'd probably be sitting in some bar staring into my half full glass of Jack Daniels and indulging myself in a depressed drunken wonder How did When did Why did it all go so wrong?


  6. says:

    Theodora Saxby is not beautiful But she does possess a fortune James Ryburn Earl of Islay heir to the Duchy of Ashbrook is handsome And in need of a fortune When James is told by his father that he has gambled away the family's wealth embezzled from Theo's fortune and that James must marry Theo for her money James is adamantly against the idea Afterall he and Theo have grown up together He loves her certainly but in a brotherly fashion When Theo finds out that James was forced to marry her she is hurt and disillusioned Her fragile confidence in her looks takes a beating And as far as she's concerned the marriage which has barely begun is over James leaves takes to the high seas for seven years before eventually returning to EnglandOverall I really enjoyed this story Ms James is an accomplished and experienced writer and there's not too much I can add to what's already been said about her writing However I did feel the pacing was a little uneven And there were some events in the story that tested my overall enjoyment Which is why I said the Eloisa James is accomplished She did manage through sheer skill to turn this book around for me and have me ending up liking itJames and Theo he calls her Daisy marry young Their few days of marriage together are sweet as they begin to turn from childhood friends to lovers and the promise of sweethearts Their first love making scenes were really lovely Then the story just imploded a little when Theo realises James's true reasons for marrying her Both act impulsively dramatically with Theo declaring the marriage over and James leaving Admittedly they were both young but their actions were excessive For readers who dislike long separations this could be a problem as they are apart for seven long years Although it didn't particularly bother me there is another issue that some readers may find offensive in a romance view spoilerDuring the separation James takes a few lovers although he is not in love with them hide spoiler


  7. says:

    Despite having read many historical romances Eloisa James was an author I had avoided because none of her synopses appealed to me This one though was one I'd been dallying over for some time and finally decided to give it a readThe Before part of this novel was wonderful I wanted to yank James out of the first scene and stop him from doing something dumb and I felt bad for Theo I liked them both individually and I loved them together because of how well they played off one anotherI was interested to see where it was going I read the synopsis so I knew there was going to be a separation I was confident in James's character and that he wouldn't stray especially after he not only harped at his father that he wouldn't take any mistresses that he couldn't do that to Daisy and this view spoilerHe ran his hands through her hair and then said uietly “You were the second Daisy And the last” hide spoiler


  8. says:

    35 STARSThis is my first book by EJ but I'm intrigued and will be definitely checking out her other work Of course this follows HCA's 'The Ugly Duckling' Theodora Theo as she liked to be called and Daisy as James liked to call her was seen as an unattractive woman or at least according to society's standards of that time Growing up with James Ryburn heir to the Duchy of Ashbrook Theo learned to accept her lot in life but never let it truly get to herBut marrying her best friend James under false pretenses changes everything Theo thought James loved her and because they were best friends she trusted him Although I think James should have told Theo and uite possibly avoided several years of heartache not telling her that he HAD to marry her destroyed all his chances at forgiveness I do believe James loved Theo but why the man didn't try and fight for her after she found out the truth is beyond me I get he was ashamed and felt he could never be good enough for Theo but leaving for 7 years wasn't exactly a point in his favorTheo became very rigid and bitter refusing to take pleasure in anything in life other than dressing well She was such a different girl at 17 and in love with James then to be betrayed and left to deal with the cruelty of what people were saying about her calling her an ugly duckling and inferring the future Duke has escaped because of her utter lack of beauty Such abhorrent talk would destroy anyone I've read that people had a hard time with James view spoilercommitting adultery while away at sea for 7 years I never took issue with that Theo kicked James out of their home proclaimed the marriage to be over and told him she never wanted to see him again James for his part felt unworthy of Theo and felt he didn't deserve forgiveness for his behavior He never loved any of the women didn't plan on returning to London and truly felt his marriage was history hide spoiler


  9. says:

    DNF 50%? 40%? Not sure I'll check it laterI should have read the reviews before starting this one in my defense I was picking between lots of historical romance books and the fairy tale name plus the blurb made me think I'd like this one BIG MISTAKEWhat the blurb doesn't tell you and I am not even bothering with spoiler tags here because I want everyone to know how bad this is is that our dashing James is gone for seven years SEVEN YEARS During which he conveniently forgets about his marriage vows while Theo stays in London and works her ass off to get his state out of debt and has zero ZERO lovers And then he comes back and boom Happy Ending I don't even care about them ending up together But if the author already gave us a seven year gap couldn't she write that Theodora divorces James goes away for a few years has a couple of lovers and makes James work on getting her back?Of course not Fudge this


  10. says:

    This book broke my heart in ways than one I wanted so badly to love it In fact up until a certain part I was certain I'd be rating it 45 5 starsUnfortunately there's so much infidelity that I just couldn't get past it Yes he had pretty excuses but ueasy I LOVED DaisyTheo Loved her And in some ways I loved James as well The betrayal early on was absolutely delicious and up until the point where he dipped his wick in some foreign widow I was hooked But the very blatant infidelity AND the fact he didn't seem to be ashamed about it when recounting it to his wife made me want to vomit especially when combined with a seven year estrangement To be fair it's very well written with well rounded characters and an intense amount of emotion but I personally couldn't get past the cheating even though I easily admit that James did grovel rather prettily there in the endFans of cheating heroes and fairly long estrangements will eat this one up with a spoon but for me 35