Customer Reviews for

The Ugly Duchess

Average Rating 4
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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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  • 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.

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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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  • 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 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2012

    Ehhhh

    This book started out really well and then became super unrealistic. You leave your wife for 7 years and expect her to take you back ...plzzzzz. Also Theo's character was likeable in the beginning, but was really prudish in the end. This could have been better.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Pretty good!

    I thought this book was a good read, but not my favorite.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013

    Interesting

    This was not one of her better stories. I think it really dragged in the middle and didnt hold my attention. I finished it only because I had to see how it turned out. Would not read again but still love some of her other books. Hope this helps someone.

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  • Posted December 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Vogue break-up and make-up tale of a Swan and her Pirate The

    A Vogue break-up and make-up tale of a Swan and her Pirate

    The way this story is told intrigues me. It proclaims to be of the Before and After setup…

    “In the weeks and years to come, when she looked back she identified that as the precise moment when her heart broke in two. The moment that separated Daisy from Theo, the time Before, from the time After. 

    In the time Before, she had faith. She had love.

    In the time After…she had the truth.”

    But really it feels like three distinct time periods. Before is all about James and Theo as naive youngsters. In this section you see the beginnings of their issues – issues that will grow and follow both of them into the future of this book.

    Theo (aka Daisy) is a strong woman. She’s got wonderful ideas on how to play up her ‘masculine’ (really seems like modern-day model) physique. Lots of chic dresses, severe hairstyles, and unique accessories. I was dying to see a scene at a modest but *alas* such a moment never appears. And, though Theo’s issues all stem from her unusual – and for the time period that loved a lush English Rose – ‘ugly’ looks she remains in her ‘Before’ period a happy and deeply supported young woman. Both James and Theo’s mother view her as being beautiful – generating confidence in a girl whose ego might have been trampled on from a young age in a similar tale. So while on the surface ‘ugly’ seems to be out big problem, it’s really the defense mechanisms of perfectionism and restraint that will foil Theo’s happiness when the beauty support team falls away.

    Theo’s middle is heartbreaking. She’s vulnerable and passionate about her work and building up the estate. It takes years for her to construct the walls that encase her Swan-like self. It makes the reader wish for an earlier reunion. James, too, seems to go through a half-life. Living as a pirate but maintaining his ‘softer’ James-ness. The death of his father proves the tipping point where in James gives up his childish dreams of reunion and redemption with his wife. And while I love a sexy pirate as much as the next reader I hated to see James put even more space between himself and the man Theo could love.

    The couple’s reunion – while heartfelt and satisfying – seemed rushed in comparison to the amount of time it took these characters to build their walls. True, they were both in a place where they desired a relationship with one another. but I would have liked as thoughtful a reconciliation as the break-up was.

    Rating: 3/5 A Vogue break-up and make-up tale of a Swan and her Pirate – Even if they do jump right back into the sack.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2012

    Not Up to Standard

    I expected more. The character developement starts out good and so does the plot then the middle gets sort of lost and the end is like too little too late.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2012

    Not for everyone

    Alright read. Dragged on a bit i felt, had to force myself to finish it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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