A Mischievous Charade...
Harriet, Duchess of Berrow, is tired of her title and the responsibilities that come along with it. Enough with proper tea parties and elegant balls; what Harriet really wants is to attend an outrageous soiree where she can unleash her wildest whims and desires. But to attend such an event - especially if the event in question is Lord Justinian Strange's rollicking fete, filled with noble rogues and rotters, risqué ladies and illicit lovers - would be certain scandal. That's why she must disguise herself....
Looking forward to a night of uninhibited pleasure, Lord Strange is shocked to discover that beneath the clothes of a no-good rake is the most beautiful woman in the room. Why is a woman like her risking her reputation at his notorious affair? And can he possibly entice her to stay...forever?
©2008 Eloisa James (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers
After reading the previous book in this series, "An Affair Before Christmas, I was a bit wary. But in my opinion, EJ is at her best in this novel. At the center of the storyline is the burgeoning relationship between Harriet, Duchess of Berrow & Lord Strange (Jem). Harriet and her friend Jemma go to the home of the scandalously disreputable Lord Strange on a lark, with the rakish Duke of Villers as their escort. Since Strange would never allow someone as respectable as the Duchess of Berrow to stay in his home, Harriet (Harry) decides to masquerade as a young--if overly pretty--man. What she doesn't expect is be attracted to Jem. Jem finds himself equally attracted to her--a prospect he initially finds disconcerting since he's never been attracted to men. Eventually, Jem finds her out and has a good time teasing the truth out of her.
What I found most interesting about this novel is that Harriet truly finds herself and is able to bury old ghost during her time pretending to be a man. In fact, it's her time as a man that makes her finally realize how much she has to offer.
EJ does an excellent job threading additional love stories throughout the novel. And, like any good novelist, she makes sure you have to read the rest of the series to know what happens with all of them :) I am eager to find out what happens with the other characters: Isidore, Jemma, and Leopold.
P.S. Susan Duerden continues to serve as an excellent narrator.
I bought this book cautiously because the reviews were not all that great but I liked the book. I like it when the sexual tension is drawn out in a book and the reader is left in suspension and this book certainly delivers.
Harriet is determined to have a bit of fun after she is ignored for a couple of years by society due to her husband’s suicide. She is viewed as the cause of the Duck’s death and unhappiness. She travels with to the disreputable home of Lord Strange with two friends but she attends as a man to protect her name. Lord Strange is immediately attracted to her feminine beauty and has to deal with his internal battle of liking someone he believes to be a man. He eventually figures out she is not a man and sets out to seduce her. Since she is not aware of being discovered, his attentions make her uncomfortable about liking a man she thinks is now interested in men. The only issue she lies about by omitting is that she is a Duchess. He does not like titles and even more strongly higher titles. Discovering her identity can ruin the relationship she finds herself in with a man she loves. Now you’ll just have to read the book to see how she deals with that obstacle.
The subplot...I thought from the summary, that this story would be a keeper...NOT!!! :(
The fact that Ms. James would write about the main character who holds these indecent house parties in his home with his child in the house! It would have been better if he would have been a widower or go to these parties in other people's houses, etc but not host it himself...especially since he's a parent...condoning these type of activities within his own home and I repeat... with a child in the house?!!.... I'm not a prude or anything but i think this is in extremely poor taste. Did she think this would make for a better story? I'm not sure she thought this out very well
She does good work.
I would have had Ms James rewrite the story in a different setting as I said, have the main character Lord Strange, be a widower too or if Ms. James must have Lord strange have a child and it is essential to the story.. then he should go to other people's house parties instead and engage in these type of activities there, and have him meet with the main female character there in that setting, rather than in his own home with those type of parties.
Not just a basic romance where every move is anticipated. This book is about discovery. So many emotions are brought to surface throughout the entire book. The narration was delivered superbly and the characters were almost life like.
So far, this is my overall favorite in the Duchess series.
"Dutchess By Night" takes you through a gamut of emotions, as one comes to expect from Eloisa James, and Susan Duerden gave an excellent performance. I don't remember hearing Susan Duerden read before, but she's one of the best I've heard. I will look for books that she narrates in the future.
luvs to get lost in a book
Susan Duerden should ALWAYS narrate for Eloisa James' books. I enjoyed Duchess by Night. It was highly enjoyable and an excellent use of time and money.
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