Title: The Ugly Duchess
Author: Eloisa James
Date finished: 4/30/15
Genre: Historical romance
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Pages in book: 334
Stand alone or series: #4 Fairy Tale series
Blurb from the cover:
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.
My rating: 2.5 stars out of a scale of 5
This book will be counting towards my goal for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge 2015 checklist
under the “a book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet” check box because so far I had loved her Fairy Tale series. To be honest I was not thrilled with this one though. I just couldn’t get in touch with the characters. The heroine at the beginning never really grew on me. He was demanding and overbearing whenever dealing with the heroine. And the way he just ignores all her requests once he got home from being a pirate I found very disrespectful. I personally would not have forgiven a husband who disappeared for seven years, never once sent word that he was ok, and had intercourse with three different women and kept them as mistresses while he was gone for the seven years. I mean I realize that is unrealistic to think that a man would be celibate for seven years but he supposedly loves Theo and then he describes about how one of his mistresses liked to “pray horizontally.” Just freaking awful.
And Theo was honestly so cold and rigid that I had trouble even liking her as a character. She finds out that James’ father convinced James to marry her and she says, Oh I never want to see you again? What the shit is that. When you’re married and you have a fight, you say Oh I need some time alone and hen you think about it and get over it. She’s the reason that the dude was gone for seven years in the first place. The whole thing was just awful. And then after he gets back James tricks her into staying in the house and muscles his way back into her bed and then they’re all peachy? The spent the last quarter of their lives apart, grew into completely different people, and all of a sudden their fine? I don’t know, I just couldn’t let a lot of things go. When James found out that his father had died, he should have come home and that should have been the end of this pirate / privateer business. Both of you just grow up. Ugh.
So I guess the story and the characters just didn’t work for me this time, which I found a bit surprising since I’ve been a fan of the Fairy Tale series up until now. That being said, there were a couple things that I did like about this book. I like the description of the fashions. And as much as Theo was a hard person to like, I appreciated how she grew into her own person during the seven years apart from James. I liked that Theo was able to save the estate through her keen business sense and lucrative ideas. And finally, I know this is weird, but there was a scene in the book when James first came back and he was manhandling Theo in front of the butler and he told the butler to scram and the butler basically said I don’t work for you, I work for her and I will stay to make sure you don’t hurt her. It was so unusual to see a servant stand up to a nobleman (and honestly I would’ve punched James myself if I had been present at that moment) so I wanted to give the butler a nice pat on the back, job well done.
The bottom line: Hero was way too overbearing. I would probably not recommend.
Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page