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Publisher's Summary

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... and is scandalized by their separation.

Now James faces the battle of his life, convincing Theo that he loves 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 - and War.

©2012 Eloisa James (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Overly Depressing

I love the pure entertainment found in a well-narrated historical romance novel. I accept that these books follow a certain formula with misunderstanding, angst and reconcilliation. Sometimes the journey is humorous and sometimes the journey is sad, but the best books have a mix of both. This one did not.

I liked the premise of this book with the ugly duckling and the rich handsome hero who has the character to see past the surface. I didn't get too hung up on the fact that they were raised as siblings. I just couldn't get beyond the passive behaviors of supposedly strong personalities -- a take-charge woman and a successful pirate captain -- who wallow in misery for years. Even the life changing events are weak -- she says "get out" and he says "OK" and disappears for seven years.

I could have gotten past the plot weaknesses if there had been a touch of humor or quirky secondary characters. For my taste, the pendulum swung too far to extreme sadness and wallowing. I had to keep listening because I knew there would be a happy ending -- I just wanted to get past the many years of truly miserable lives. The books I enjoy tend to have some relief along the way, but this one required perseverance.

As usual, Susan Duerden does a stellar job of narration. It's always a pleasure to hear her performances.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Karen
  • Southern United Starex
  • 09-06-12

A fresh approach to a classic tale

Any additional comments?

I was pulled right into the story from the beginning. James and Daisy (Theodora) were star crossed lovers from the start but torn apart by lies and deceit. Although there were parts that lagged, overall the story was interesting and fun. I felt to much attention was payed to things of no interest and not enough to things that were but I can forgive because I really enjoy Eloisa James writing overall. The story is fun and adventurous, it's plot bound up in Hans Christian Anderson's book "The ugly duckling". Although Theodora is not classically beautiful in the eyes of society, her husband James finds her lovely beyond compare. His unwavering love and admiration for Theodora is touching. Don't we all want to be adored by someone? Theodora's independence and strength are refreshing and a good role model for young girls everywhere. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. The narrator is really good. I didn't think I cared for her at first but as the story went on I realized her strength. She moved the story along very well, not reading to fast or to slow. She could change gender roles very well and pronounced things clearly and concisely. Overall I say a very good story and well worth a listen.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joseph
  • Fort Worth TX
  • 08-30-12

Wonderful love story

I was so happy when the morning of the book release I saw I can get it in Audible.com. I purchased, downloaded and started to listen right away and, like the ones before, I found myself immerse in the story. From the characters, story line and the narrator, the book was delightful. I can wait for the next one. I am an Eloisa James fan for life. I recommend to everybody to listen to this book and the ones before, you will not be disappointed.
Pat J. (Joseph is my husband, but I am the one that purchase the books)

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • CAROLYN
  • Newark, New Jersey, United States
  • 11-26-12

A TOTALLY IMPLAUSIBLE YET ENJOYABLE REGENCY ROMP

Nice fairy-tale based on The Ugly Duckling about a romance that was doomed from the start as the young lovers were just pawns in someone else's game. But seven years later, after much heartache between the two, they finally get to do it their way as the handsome Pirate returns to claim his Dukedom..... and his Duchess who has turned into a beauty but he always thought she was.

Thought the ending was a bit rushed - it should have taken her longer to forgive him than one dose of his 'helping hands' in the bath tub!!

Worth a credit? A typical E.J. book - enjoyable, entertaining and pure escapism - YES well worth it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Seven years is too long

It appears to be a trend in romance novels to have plot devices involving separations between hero and heroine lasting not months, but years. I understand the reason behind the seven years, but that doesn't make it any less irritating to read.

In spite of the irritation, I have to say Eloisa has written a compelling story that kept me up all night to hear.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Debbie
  • Gloucester, VA, United States
  • 09-03-12

My first E. James listen...Not my last

I was so pleased with this story and so well written it has made me a new fan of Eloisa James and I plan to read all I can find. The characters were easy to like and made me very interested how they would work things out. I was glued to this audio from the beginning to end.

And I thought Theo/Daisy was beautiful.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kimberly
  • Indianapolis, IN, United States
  • 09-02-12

A definite relisten

I enjoyed this story based on the fairy tale of the Ugly Duckling. The characters and the story kept my interest, but I think I would have liked to have more of the courtship in both the before and the after. And I think the exposition was a little long, rather than having the story moving forward through action and dialog. I wanted the period of seperation between the protagonists to be less detailed, and more detail given to the life before that, and especially to the reconcilliation. Overall, a pretty good Eloisa James. As for the narration, I can easily say that Susan Duerden is one of my favorite readers. I haven't heard her read anything poorly.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A wonderful love story by Eloisa James

This was a very good book and I enjoyed it thoroughly especially since Susan Duerden with her great male raspy voice imitation makes the stories that much more interesting. EJ’s books always have a strong heroin and men that not only appreciate but love women like that. It is also nice to read about the heroin in this book especially since she transforms herself for the better. Overall a solid 4.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Okay

Eloisa James' new series based on a fairy tales is very interesting. I loved first two but this one was a little flat compared to them. Worth listening though.. Can't wait to hear which fairy tale she'll use next time

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • bebe
  • South Carolina
  • 01-02-18

Story of a two day marriage - 7 year separation

Excellent. The Duke forces his son to marry the Duke's ward, Theo/Daisy who is like a sister to the son. Why? Because the Duke has wasted his estate and then dipped into the large dowry of his ward. If someone else marries her, his embezzlement of her funds will be exposed. Daisy is not pretty, and in fact has been dubbed the Ugly Duchess by the press She is mortified but believes that James loves her for herself. The son, James, hates his father for making him marry the ward, and he ends up being exposed to Daisy for his betrayal after only two days of marriage. She is devastated and demands he leave. He does leave and is not heard from for 7 years. Just as Daisy is having him declared deceased, James shows up and claims his title of Duke. He wants to reclaim his wife, but Daisy is too angry and hurt. She doesn't trust him. James knows he lost the best thing in his life but doesn't know if he can win her love and trust again. By the way, James thinks of his wife as "Daisy" but she thinks of herself as "Theo". I think of her as Theo too.

The book is narrated very well and kept me enthralled the entire time. I highly recommend this book.