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The Ugly Duchess

Average Rating 4
( 201 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(84)

4 Star

(65)

3 Star

(28)

2 Star

(14)

1 Star

(10)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Wonderfully Romantic!

I fell in love with Theo and James! Theo is a warm hearted practical soul who realizes she is never going to fit the set “standard” of English beauty; she just wants to be liked for her own good qualities and wishes her peers would get to know her before dismissing her ...
I fell in love with Theo and James! Theo is a warm hearted practical soul who realizes she is never going to fit the set “standard” of English beauty; she just wants to be liked for her own good qualities and wishes her peers would get to know her before dismissing her for lack of looks. James is Theo’s best friend and one of the only people besides her mother, that doesn’t see her as ugly. In fact, it bothers him greatly when people refer to her in that way. Unfortunately, James is also a confused young man trying to grow out of his father’s shadow; he has watched his father make a mess of their fortunes and generally fail James in every possible way. When James realizes that his father has betrayed his Theo as well, his first instinct is to protect Theo but, unfortunately, he doesn’t know how to betray his own father in the process. Meanwhile, his feelings for Theo are changing as the instinct to protect her grows; he suddenly realizes that he’s thinking of her as more than a friend. Suddenly, both Theo and James are in a mess not of their own making; and in steps his father, to break things even further. Theo feels betrayed and in a fit of heartbreak orders James out of her life; James in a fit of guilt does as she asks and goes. When James left Theo, I was crying for them both! The story develops a wonderful twist at that point; everything hinges on whether or not James can learn to grow up and fight for what he wants, Theo. I loved this book, the characters were well developed and engaging and the story was just wonderfully romantic. I highly recommend The Ugly Duchess!

posted by princessgabby on August 31, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

I love Eloisa James and I have been looking forward to The Ugly

I love Eloisa James and I have been looking forward to The Ugly Duchess release. But compared to most of her books (I've read them all) I found this one disappointing. I think it was partly the way the book was structured and partly that the characters, especially the h...
I love Eloisa James and I have been looking forward to The Ugly Duchess release. But compared to most of her books (I've read them all) I found this one disappointing. I think it was partly the way the book was structured and partly that the characters, especially the heroine, Theo, were hard to empathize with over the course of the entire book. I loved both characters when they were first introduced, but after a whirlwind faux courtship ended by the trite convention of being caught in a compromising position, their marriage lasts a mere two days before Theo throws her husband James out and the characters are separated for 7 years. James' conversion to a pirate was a bit of a stretch for me, even in a fairy tale. Both characters undergo personality changes during their seven year separation, but the description of their experiences during those years and the way they are changed by them was quite truncated. Theo turns into a cold and rigid character, interesting but not endearing. I really didn't understand what the changes to James' personality were. He returns home in the nick of time to prevent his being declared dead and he and Theo are together another couple of days before the story ends (except for the epiloge, of course). The naritive includes less than a week's worth of days over a period of 7 years that the lead characters are together, but experience huge shifts in their feelings and relationship. Didn't work for me. This is not a book I will read and reread as I have several of her others, but no book written by Eloisa James is without its pleasures and much superior to most romances,, so my rating of "good" is relative.

posted by 6027759 on September 2, 2012

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  • Posted August 31, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Wonderfully Romantic!

    I fell in love with Theo and James! Theo is a warm hearted practical soul who realizes she is never going to fit the set “standard” of English beauty; she just wants to be liked for her own good qualities and wishes her peers would get to know her before dismissing her for lack of looks. James is Theo’s best friend and one of the only people besides her mother, that doesn’t see her as ugly. In fact, it bothers him greatly when people refer to her in that way. Unfortunately, James is also a confused young man trying to grow out of his father’s shadow; he has watched his father make a mess of their fortunes and generally fail James in every possible way. When James realizes that his father has betrayed his Theo as well, his first instinct is to protect Theo but, unfortunately, he doesn’t know how to betray his own father in the process. Meanwhile, his feelings for Theo are changing as the instinct to protect her grows; he suddenly realizes that he’s thinking of her as more than a friend. Suddenly, both Theo and James are in a mess not of their own making; and in steps his father, to break things even further. Theo feels betrayed and in a fit of heartbreak orders James out of her life; James in a fit of guilt does as she asks and goes. When James left Theo, I was crying for them both! The story develops a wonderful twist at that point; everything hinges on whether or not James can learn to grow up and fight for what he wants, Theo. I loved this book, the characters were well developed and engaging and the story was just wonderfully romantic. I highly recommend The Ugly Duchess!

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2012

    I love Eloisa James and I have been looking forward to The Ugly

    I love Eloisa James and I have been looking forward to The Ugly Duchess release. But compared to most of her books (I've read them all) I found this one disappointing. I think it was partly the way the book was structured and partly that the characters, especially the heroine, Theo, were hard to empathize with over the course of the entire book. I loved both characters when they were first introduced, but after a whirlwind faux courtship ended by the trite convention of being caught in a compromising position, their marriage lasts a mere two days before Theo throws her husband James out and the characters are separated for 7 years. James' conversion to a pirate was a bit of a stretch for me, even in a fairy tale. Both characters undergo personality changes during their seven year separation, but the description of their experiences during those years and the way they are changed by them was quite truncated. Theo turns into a cold and rigid character, interesting but not endearing. I really didn't understand what the changes to James' personality were. He returns home in the nick of time to prevent his being declared dead and he and Theo are together another couple of days before the story ends (except for the epiloge, of course). The naritive includes less than a week's worth of days over a period of 7 years that the lead characters are together, but experience huge shifts in their feelings and relationship. Didn't work for me. This is not a book I will read and reread as I have several of her others, but no book written by Eloisa James is without its pleasures and much superior to most romances,, so my rating of "good" is relative.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 5, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Great romantic book with great story line. Kept me entertained

    Great romantic book with great story line. Kept me entertained

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 4, 2012

    I was so excited for this book to come out. I read all of Eloisa

    I was so excited for this book to come out. I read all of Eloisa James books The Ugly Duchess was Just my cup of tea (or so I thought). What an amazing start, then........ 7 years? Pirate? Scar/tattoo? Such a disappointment, I found myself skipping through most of the middle of the book. It could have been such a fantastic book, well if you take out the middle. I didn't even like the hero anymore. So sad that my dreams of a tug at the heartstring romance only lasted a few chapters.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2012

    Dissapointed

    Started out pretty good and then went downhill. Why do romamce writers think that killing numerous amounts of people and being disfigured is romantic....NOT! Why is being married to an older gentleman better than being maried to a young virile man. This book got 2 stars only because of the first part of the book. $7.00 is a lot to pay for a book that does not deliver. A Duke who is a pirate.....REALLY???

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Do you know how true my heart beats for you?

    Theodora Saxby knows what the image in the mirror shows her. Theo does not really care as she has never been about trying to disguise that she is not the most flattering flower in the vase. Theo has substance and a sense of style that no chit on the Ton could ever relate to or try to imitate. What Theo also has is the love of the most sought after bachelor James Ryburn, heir apparent to the Duchy of Ashbrook. What could be more wonderful that have James love her just the way she was.

    Apparently, James did not love her the way he loved the money she had. After the truth is literally thrown in her face about the sham that was her marriage, Theo kicks James to the curb. James stays away for enough years to gain maturity, world experience, and become even more handsome, if that was even possible Theo thought he was dead, she wondered if he was ever coming back, she built a life all on her own knowing he might never return. Yet the minute she sees him again the past melts away and the future looks filled with love. How can she ever forgive him for the hurt he put upon her and know the awful rumors abound on why he disappeared?

    When tender moments become nights of passion, and old wounds try to heal the beauty that James sees in his “Daisy” is shown to her repeatedly without hesitation. The past may never be washed away but when you wipe away the hurt, the healing does begin.

    Eloisa James writes a colorful, imaginative, and wonderfully twisted story that delights on every page.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 3, 2012

    In almost every Historical Romance--they get married, and that's

    In almost every Historical Romance--they get married, and that's the end but in this book, it's only the begining of a great book and a wonderful read. I hardly ever give full 5 stars but this one deserves a special place!

    This is one of those books that I could not put down and against Doctor's orders (mac. degeneration) I read the whole book in two days!
    The characters grab you and you really feel their feelings and want them to find the key they need for happiness together.

    There are some elements in this book that make it special and unique and I don't want to spoil it for anyone---all I can say is after the last page---I wanted to know when Eloisa James' next book will be out!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2012

    Let me preface this review by stating that I love Eloisa James's

    Let me preface this review by stating that I love Eloisa James's books. I own them all and reread them frequently. That being said, I had read so much pre-release hype that I was expecting this to be the best book she has ever written. Unfortunately, it's not. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad book. It's just that so much of the book is spent with the two main characters living their own lives, that it's hard to figure out why two strong individuals would want to get back together. And then when they do reunite, it seems like the first 24 hours were awkward, then they fell back into happily ever after. The beginning of the book is excellent. The middle is very good because it develops the characters' personalities. The ending is disappointing. It feels very rushed, like the editor made drastic cuts to get the book under the page limit. I'm not disappointed I bought it, but I probably won't reread it either.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 28, 2012

    Ugly Duckling tales have long been popular among romance readers

    Ugly Duckling tales have long been popular among romance readers with a
    fondness for fairy tale motifs, but Eloisa James offers readers a fresh
    take on the fairy tale with The Ugly Duchess, Book 4 in her Happily Ever
    After series. An ugly duckling transforms herself into a swan with still
    tender scars underneath her glorious feathers and, in a reverse move, a
    handsome, popular swan transforms himself into a scarred ruffian shorn
    of his feathers. Theo and James are heartbreakingly young and
    vulnerable when they part. Seven years is a long period of separation,
    but it's needed to make the changes these two undergo credible. I've
    enjoyed all of the Happily Ever After books, but this one is my
    favorite. I especially loved that Theo is responsible for her physical
    transformation, it comes at the time she chooses, and she uses her own
    sense of texture, line, and color to effect it. After she has captured
    Paris, she conquers London. That she does so in a gown of “pearly pink
    silk taffeta” and a cape that “gleamed under the light, soft and
    lustrous” and made of “gorgeous swansdown” are perfect touches.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 28, 2012

    One of Eloisa James' Best! I had the amazing opportunity to rea

    One of Eloisa James' Best! I had the amazing opportunity to read an
    e-Galley of "The Ugly Duchess." I think it is the best of her
    fairy tale series so far! The book is a take on Hans Christian
    Andersen's classic tale, " The Ugly Duckling." I do not want
    to summarize the plot for you and give anything away. So I will just say
    that this is a must read for anyone who loves romance! On another level,
    I have to say that Eloisa approaches this story in a way that is very
    new and fresh. It's a bit different from her previous books, and I mean
    this in the most positive way. It is as if she has reached into a deeper
    part of her vast talent to retell a fairytale in a very realistic way.
    You won't need to suspend disbelief with this book. It will appeal to
    both your heart and mind.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2013

    Stupid

    I challenge any reader to find a dumber book

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    Interesting

    I just dont know what to say. First of all I didnt like the hero since he was a cheater and he had so much to make up for but he chose to act like it was his right and get over it already. Second I dont know any woman whose husband have left them for seven years and had string of affairs and they forgive him in two days. The ending was so rushed compare to the pirate story in the middle. I dont know what is up with the name of hawk for pirates. I wish the story was more about the hero trying to make up for his mistakes rather than running away. When it comes to piret name James with the nickname hawk no one does it better than Johannah Lindsey and her Mallory family. Now that pirate is a loveable one.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2012

    I loved this book. The story was unusual and exciting. The chara

    I loved this book. The story was unusual and exciting. The characters were interesting and I especially loved James, he isn't your typical hero. I highly recommend this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2012

    Could not put down

    Both main characters were strong. I was drawn into it from the beginning.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2012

    Read it and weep...tears of joy!

    Eloisa James' books are always a delight for the heart, mind and soul. However, The Ugly Duchess surpasses her already high standard of a GREAT reead.

    Her characters are so thouroughly written you feel as if you know them, you actually feel FOR them! I sarted it and could not put it down!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    another great Eloisa book

    I am just going to state it plainly, It is a great book as are all of Eloisa's books. Get out there and pick up this book. Love Daisy.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2013

    Blah

    Ridiculus plot, boring characters

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2012

    Didn't like the characters

    As the title of this comment alludes, I just couldn't like the characters. I honestly struggled to get through the book. I liked the hero in the beginning but as the story progressed, I started to hate him. Spoiler: He married the heroine under pretense (which, for a romance novel, is common practice) but when the truth came out, he took words she said in the heat of the moment to heart and left her for years (I think it was almost 7 years?) to become a pirate while she worried about him even being alive, cheated (even though they were still married), and then comes back expecting her to just accept it because he was her husband. Honestly, at this point I was hoping that the author would involve some serious 'damage control' to make their HEA more understandable but in the years that her husband was gone, the heroine was cleaning up his mess with his father and the excruciatingly cruel gossip, which the hero knew would happen. I was happy to know that she became successful in her business ventures but she stayed in a kind of stasis when he was gone. And she forgave him after a couple of intimate moments with very little actual communication. I felt like the heroine became a doormat in the second half of the book.

    That being said, Eloise James is a good writer and I think that's what compelled me to complete the story. I normally stop reading when they reach the point this story did so I have to give her credit for that. The plot had a lot of potential, but i think that it lost its way at the midway point.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 18, 2012

    ***SPOILERS INCLUDED**** SORRY **** I have to say I was disappo


    ***SPOILERS INCLUDED**** SORRY ****
    I have to say I was disappointed in this Eloisa James story. I dont ever remember that happening.
    That he could not talk to her first??
    She had every right to be mad and tell him to leave. But he did it. He just left? The next day. He left her with his horrible father? He left her with the financially troubled estate? And then he stayed gone for 7 years!? The part that she is best friends with Cecil who is happily married to a wonderful woman and she is not close friends with the heroine?? What? Makes no sense. Thru all that time, I would have thought she would be lonely, sad, still feel ugly.....none of that was really expressed. She appears to have gone on to a wonderful happy life. Satisfying. Friends. Fun. Success. Then her mother dies and his father dies. She is alone now but for her best friend? A guy? I dont know. Just too much implausible. Too little anger, sadness, despair, longing from her. And he was just gone for way too long. Sadly, it did not work for me.
    This will not keep me from Eloisas future books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2012

    Just Ok

    I could take this book or leave it. It didnt hold my attention for very long. It was ok. But nothing to write home about. The story line was ok and so were the characters. It just want that good in my opinion.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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