New York Times best seller Eloisa James's fabulous new novel!
Having made a fortune, Thorn Dautry, the powerful bastard son of a duke, decides that he needs a wife. But to marry a lady, Thorn must acquire a gleaming, civilized facade, the specialty of Lady Xenobia India.
Exquisite, headstrong, and independent, India vows to make Thorn marriageable in just three weeks.
But neither Thorn nor India anticipate the forbidden passion that explodes between them.
Thorn will stop at nothing to make India his. Failure is not an option.
But there is only one thing that will make India his. The one thing Thorn can't afford to lose - his fierce and lawless heart.
©2014 Eloisa James (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers
I enjoy historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance. Also steampunk, sci-fi, fantasy, suspense, and fiction. I'm open to about anything
Setting: London and environs, 1799
Narration was great, because...Susan Duerden.
Tobias "Thorn" Dautry, the bastard son of the Duke of Villiers, is looking for a wife. He's made his choice, Laetitia Rainsford, a beautiful well-born lady. Now he just needs to get his new country estate in order. Lady Xenobia India St. Clair is the one to do just that. At the recommendation of his step-mother, Thorn hires her to do her magic in decorating, staffing, and organizing Starberry Court.
India, as she is known by family and friends, is smart, beautiful, and talented. Her talent for organization came out of a very disorganized childhood. She is the only child of a probably mad marquis and his wife, who were known for their flakiness. They forgot to pay bills, didn't keep a governess on an ongoing basis, and sometimes even forgot to feed their child. They died in a carriage accident when she was 15 years old, at which time India went to live with her godmother.
We met Thorn in A Duke of Her Own when he was a 12 year old mudlark. He was rescued from that life when his father took him away and installed him in his own. Thorn played a relatively large part in that book, as the Duke of Villiers tracked down all of his offspring. As a bastard, he had no place in society, so he became a man of business, buying and fixing factories. He wants a lady of the nobility as a wife so his children will have more consequence than he has.
This novel shows the growth of both characters over the course of the three weeks India is setting his household to rights, and through the house party to which his intended and her family have been invited. There are letters between the two that are quite amusing, as well as increasingly amorous face-to-face meetings. All of Thorn's plans are complicated by his gaining custody of the five year old daughter of his childhood friend Tom. While Thorn recognizes his friend in Rose, everyone else sees him in her gray eyes. So he has to keep Rose out of sight until he has Laetitia betrothed to him.
This is a most wonderful novel. The main characters are three dimensional and substantial. Thorn is as strong in character as he is physically. India is independent with the strength born of hardship. Laetitia is timid and agreeable, but with a growing sense of self. Laetitia's mother, Lady Rainsford, is a bit shallow, but that is appropriate for her. The plot is believable and compelling. It draws emotion out of you through both action and dialog.
This book is one I shall revisit in the future.
It comes a time when you have to choose between listening to audible or going to bed.
This was a good listen from start to finish. I hop around from book to book but when I started this book I couldn't stop. I'm listening to 4 different books right now and this was the best one. Well worth the credit, I'm moving on to the next in the series!
Tell us about yourself! I love books! Managed a book store for 10 years. Love my Kindle and Audible.
I enjoyed the plot, but most of all I enjoyed the characters. Xenobia is witty, cleaver and a breathe of fresh air. Thorn has a wonderful sense if humor and is sooo sexy!! Their attraction to each of other was instant, but for more reasons than sexual chemistry. However there was plenty of that. They both thought about others above themselves, but eventually saw the inevitability of a union.
I forget the title, but their was another regency that featured a heroine that did not want to marry. She had a talent for decorating and was also thought of by the ton as eccentric. She fell in love with a scientist.
Thorn and his ward ( and of course her doll)
Not sure they make these kinds of movies any longer.
If you enjoy a good regency take a look!
I have a PhD in American Literature but my love affair with romance novels on audible is going strong.
Book 7 in the "Desperate Duchesses" series is one of the best and may even be THE best. Thorn Daughtry, illegitimate son of the wily and fascinating Duke of Villiers, is a character as fascinating as his father. The romance between him and Lady Xenobia India is charged with sexual passion and complicated by Thorn's plan to wed another woman who he feels is "perfect for him" because of her sweet and pliable nature. The sparks that fly between Thorn and India are amusing and delicious, as is their developing romance - a romance they both believe is doomed from the start. While this is easily a stand-alone read, the story is particularly rich for those who have been following the series as it brings back many characters for substantial roles in the plot. Just the interaction between The Duke of Villiers and his oldest "bastard" child, now grown, is priceless. I have given this the highest rating possible because it is just that well-conceived and well-written. If you haven't read any of the earlier books, it would be especially helpful to at least read "A Duke of Her Own" if you want to pursue the larger story. But this is a nearly perfect book all on it's own, and Eloisa James at her best.
I think we can all agree that the times were really hard on women even 100 years ago. Men had it all and women were chaperoned and watched so carefully because most girls seemed so susceptible to “sin” and ruination. And it was ridiculous that the Ton’s standards dictated keeping employment out of the aristocracy. Well this story is also about those limitations and forgoing of one’s chastity over the desire to experience passion. But then again, the men in our historical romances never disappoint so an offer of marriage is always accompanied with the indiscretions. This book had some very funny lines and I enjoyed reading it. A definite 4.5 but since we can’t score like that I just gave it a 5. It won’t disappoint.
Yes, after a bit of a slow start, I was gripped by the story till the end!
India and Thorn were my favorite. I kept rooting for them to be together. They were both so unique and strong.
Never have heard Susan Duerden before but loved her performance.
I was teary eyed at the end during the epilogue when it talked about how 200 years later the descendants were still enjoying the chandelier India had installed. It was so nostalgic and bitter-sweet.
The pace of the story was entertaining. The reader is enjoyable to listen to. I liked the outlying characters. Hopefully we'll see stories about them as well.
Touching and fun.
None in particular come to mind, but if you like historical romances, you'll like this book. The romantic "chase" was entertaining, the twists in the plot were cute, and the attraction between the characters was easily understandable. The occasional use of note writing to communicate added an unexpected but very much appreciated touch of humor.
The characters were all entertaining and they contributed to the story nicely, but I'd have to go with India, one of the main characters.
I'd recommend this book to a friend.
This was a great story. I really loved India\Xenobia character. Strong, smart, witty, independent. I really liked Thorne too. Handsome, a bit arrogant, smart and suave.
They had some great chemistry together. Great sexual tension and attraction. There were a few very well written sex scenes too, so this is not a rated G book.
The story line and plot were great, it flowed together very well. Lots and lots of great dialogue throughout the entire book.
I really got a kick out of Rose. She was 5 going on 30 sometimes, giving some LOL moments for sure.
As for the narration, it was great. Susan Duerden has become one of my favorites. She reads with such emotion, whispers, yelling, laughing etc.. if the story calls for it she does it. The men sound like men and everyone get their own distinct voice. Wonderful job SD!
Yes I totally recommend this book to historical romance readers!
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