Making of a Duchess

Making of a Duchess

4.1 63
by Shana Galen
     
 

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A very dangerous attraction...and an even more dangerous secret

Julien Harcourt, duc de Valère, is more than willing to marry the lovely young lady his mother has chosen. Little does he know, she's been sent to prove him a spy and a traitor.

Sarah Smith's mission is to find out whether the Duc's trips to the Continent are as

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Overview

A very dangerous attraction...and an even more dangerous secret

Julien Harcourt, duc de Valère, is more than willing to marry the lovely young lady his mother has chosen. Little does he know, she's been sent to prove him a spy and a traitor.

Sarah Smith's mission is to find out whether the Duc's trips to the Continent are as innocent as he claims, but the way he looks at her is far from innocent.

Their risky game of cat and mouse propels them from the ballrooms of London to the prisons of Paris, and into a fragile love that may not survive their deceptions.

Equal parts action and passion, readers will be left breathless by this tale of family, espionage and a fragile love story that neither dares to hope for.

The first in RITA nominee Shana Galen's Regency romance trilogy about three brothers struggling to reconnect and restore their noble heritage in the aftermath of the French Revolution, each losing his heart along the way.

Celebrate the 80th birthday of Regency Romance with great books from Sourcebooks Casablanca!

Sons of the Revolution Trilogy:
The Making of a Duchess (Book 1)
The Making of a Gentleman (Book 2)
The Rogue Pirate's Bride (Book 3)

Praise for Bestselling Author Shana Galen:
"An irresistible mix of sexy romance and sharp wit."-Chicago Tribune
"Spirited characters, lively dialogue, breakneck pace, and great sense of fun."-Publisher's Weekly
"Shana Galen will leave you breathless!"-Julianne MacLean, USA Today bestselling author of When a Stranger Loves Me

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Galen's trilogy, the stories of lost brothers, begins with a fast-paced, action-packed, cat-and-mouse spy thriller that will leave you breathless. Her engaging characters and strong plotline enhance the spirited dialogue and sense of adventure. 4 Star Review." - RT Book Reviews

"Intrigue, suspense, and romance wrapped neatly into a delicious story that will keep the reader going until the very last page." - Affaire de Coeur

"Galen has written a fun romance." - Historical Novel Review

"Galen did a fabulous job!" - History Undressed

"The dialogue, charming wit, the intrigues, and the steamy love scenes in The Making of a Duchess make the novel a page-turner. " - The Long and Short of It

"Galen strikes the perfect balance between dangerous intrigue and sexy romance in her latest deftly crafted Regency historical. " - Booklist

"[A] well-written, historical romance with lots of detail, interesting and engaging characters and plots with twists and turns. " - Thoughts From Lady Tess

"Exceptionally entertaining reading with a cast of brilliantly written characters." - Rundpinne

"Galen paints an excellent picture... a wonderfully exciting read." - Jenny Loves To Read

"The Making of a Duchess has everything I could ask for--romance... spies... mystery... and even some adventure. " - Linda Banche Romance Author

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402238659
Publisher:
Sourcebooks
Publication date:
06/01/2010
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

From Chapter One

France, July 1789

Julien woke suddenly, his eyes wide and focused on the ceiling above his bed. It danced with color, alternating red then orange then yellow. He stared at the colors for three heartbeats: why should his ceiling flicker so?

His gaze darted about his bedroom, looking for anything else out of place. A low fire smoldered in the hearth across from the large kingwood bed he occupied. But it had been banked by the servants the night before and was almost extinguished. It couldn't be the reason for the flickering light. The light was so bright he could make out the lion's head carved into his headboard. His eyes tracked over the rest of the room: the armchair in the corner upholstered in dark green velvet, the kingwood armoire, the wash stand in the corner, the bureau Mazarin he used for a desk. Nothing was out of place, nothing out of the ordinary. He allowed his eyes to drift closed again- And then he heard the shouting.

He bolted upright, tossing the bedclothes aside and rushing to the window beside the bed. He threw aside the heavy velvet draperies and stared into the night. As the eldest of three sons, he had his choice of rooms, and his overlooked the chateau's courtyard. Normally, it was a pretty picture, lined with benches and planted with dozens of flowers. In July, those flowers burst into swaths of red and yellow and pink. As none but the gardeners typically ventured into the courtyard, Julien was certain he was one of the few to enjoy the view. Until tonight.

Tonight the deserted courtyard swelled with people. Peasants shouting and brandishing torches streamed into the square. Julien couldn't understand what they shouted, but he understood what was coming. He turned, ran for his armoire, and pulled out a pair of breeches. Quickly, he shoved his legs into them and rammed his nightshirt in at the waist. Where were his shoes? He should have listened to his nanny and put them away. Julien fell to his knees, searching.

He heard windows breaking now, heard the shouts growing louder, and knew some of the peasants had overpowered the servants and were inside the chateau. In Paris, his parents had tried to shield him from the rumors of unrest among the lower classes, but he'd heard anyway.

Unspeakable things-things he didn't want to think about.

There was another crash and a shout.

Mort à l'aristocratie! That was what the peasants had shouted in Paris before they had torn the nobles apart-massacring them. So many had been killed, even babies were butchered. He had not seen it happen, but he had heard. He eavesdropped on his parents and their friends talking and knew about the fall of the Bastille and the uprisings in the streets. His father told his little brothers this trip to the country was for rest and relaxation, but Julien knew the truth.

And now the truth was inside his home.

Finally! His hand brushed the leather of one shoe, and he snatched it then slipped it on. Where was the other?

Oh, forget it! He had no time. He must reach Armand and Bastien before the peasants did. The twins were only eleven and wouldn't know what to do. He was thirteen. He could defend himself.

He yanked open his bedroom door and immediately threw an arm up. The hallway was already thick with gray smoke, the way to his brothers' rooms obscured.

He would have to breathe through the linen of his nightshirt. Coughing and stumbling blindly forward, he grasped at the sword that hung on the wall opposite his door. It had been his grandfather's sword, and he was not allowed to touch it. Julien did not like to break the rules, but he needed that sword.

It was heavy, so heavy that he could not hold it upright for long. He dropped it to the floor and had to drag it behind him as he moved toward his brothers. Julien had been glad when, upon turning twelve, he had been allowed to move into this far wing of the chateau. He'd felt older, mature.

Now he wished he were closer to the rest of his family. The sound of the thirsty fire licking at the chateau walls peaked and merged with the cries of the peasants. They were coming closer, and they would surely kill him when they found him.

Mon Dieu, s'il vous plaît. Aidez-moi.

Julien was sweating, his nightshirt wet and clingy. It was hot, so hot, and his heart was beating like a trapped woodpecker against his ribs.

Behind him, he heard someone running. Mon Dieu! They had found him. He whirled, squinting through the gray smoke. But he could see nothing. Inside his chest, his woodpecker heart stuttered and flapped its wings while the rapid footsteps grew closer. Julien raised his drooping sword, attempting to strike. But before he could swing, his mother's face was before him. "Julien! Oh, thank God. Thank God!"

"Ma mère?"

She was dressed in a long white robe, streaked with blood and soot. Her hair, always perfectly coiffed, now streamed about her white face in black waves, making her look slightly deranged.

Julien focused on the blood. "Ma mère, are you alright?"

"We have no time. Your brothers." She took his hand and pulled him behind her. Julien noticed that beneath the skirts of her robe she wore no shoes. Even more troublesome: her robe was torn in the back.

The heat around them expanded, the air so thick and pulsing Julien could feel the heat singe his lungs. He fought for each gasping breath. "Hurry!"

They heard footsteps, and she pulled him aside, flattening them both against a tapestry on the wall.

But it was not the peasants. It was a groom and Albertine, his mother's maid. "Duchesse," the maid cried. "You must not go that way. The flames. They are too much."

"Come with us, Duchesse," the groom offered.

"No, thank you. I must reach my sons first."

To Julien's surprise, she spoke calmly and with composure. Despite the chaos and the choking smoke and the approaching cries, his mother managed to appear unruffled.

She put a hand out, touched Albertine's arm. "You go on without me. Get out, and quickly."

Without another word, she pulled Julien past the servants and along the corridor. They were both coughing now, the smoke so thick it was a wall they had to fight through. Julien hardly knew where they were anymore. He was confused and disoriented. His head hurt, his eyes smarted, and he could not stop coughing.

"We're almost there," his mother reassured him. "Don't-"

He heard the shout of angry voices ahead, and his mother slid to a stop, pushing Julien behind her. She retreated until their backs were pressed against the corridor wall. Julien peered behind him and recognized the painting hung there. They were close to his brothers' rooms now. So close.

Through the smoke the enraged voices rose and fell. "Move out of the way."

"Join us or die."

"You think you can protect the aristos? Mort à l'aristocratie!"

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Meet the Author

Shana Galen is the author of 5 Regency romances and 2 light women's fiction novels. She is a three-time Rita Award finalist (RWA's most prestigious award for published romance fiction). Shana teaches 7th grade English, is active in RWA, and lives with her family in Houston, Texas.

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Making of a Duchess 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
gl More than 1 year ago
The Making of a Duchess grabbed me from the start. It opens in France during the time of the French Revolution. Julien is the eldest of the Duke's three sons and he wakes up to the sound of peasants attacking their home. He runs to help his brothers and his mother but is surrounded by angry peasants -- some of which he's known all his life. Although Julien is able to escape, the violence and hatred of that night marks him forever. He and his mother are able to rebuild their lives in England, but Julien cannot forget his brothers who might still be in France. Despite the danger, Julien plans visits to France to search for his brothers and help them escape. Julien is deeply committed to fighting the Revolutionaries who have taken so much from him and his family. When a young French aristocrat -- whose family barely survived the Revolution -- writes his mother, he is willing to marry the young woman. The mingling of noble French blood will be one more victory against the thousands of people that have tried to eradicate his family. The young woman, Sarah Smith, is actually a governess who has been manipulated by her employer into acting as an amateur spy. Her mission is to pretend to be an escaped aristo and to find proof that Julien Harcourt is spying for France and against England. Her "handler" is brutal and mean -- and clearly dangerous. As Sarah tries to fulfill her mission, she can't find proof of Julien's disloyalty. Instead, she is drawn to his sense of honor and kindness. But if they work together, they must still find a way to overcome the hostility and accusations from the spymaster that is Sarah's employer and handler. The book is such a fun read. Each part develops the characters of Julien and Sarah so that I found myself cheering for them and hoping that they'd quickly find a way out of their dilemma. The plot twists, drama, and suspense all come together and make the most of the drama of the French Revolution. The Making of a Duchess is a thoroughly fun historical romance! ISBN-10: 1402238657 - Mass Market Paperback Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (June 1, 2010), 384 pages. Review copy provided by the publisher.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm annoyed that I paid for this book. I tried it because B&N suggested it was similar to Joanna Bourne. It isn't. Don't let the gripping first chapter fool you; the balance of this novel is neither engaging nor particularly well-written. The heroine is one of the " too stupid to live" types. Drafted as a last minute spy, because somehow every other female operative in England is busy, she bumbles her way through an attempt to impersonate a French aristocrat. In the first few hours of her mission, she 1) fails to speak with a French accent, 2) forgets hugely important details of her cover story (like the fact that her "father" is supposed to be dying), and 3) becomes so nervous that she vomits into the furniture. I guess her incompetence is supposed to be cute? The hero is little better; he ogles her figure even as he helps her up from vomiting (ick) and refers to her as "the chit" in his internal monologue (double ick). The plot is about as engaging as the lame, two-dimensional chacters. 40 pages in, I had already guessed the "surprise" ending. My advice: skip this in favor of a romance that doesn't insult your intelligence and that of women everywhere.
RomancingRakes More than 1 year ago
***review originally posted at Romancing Rakes*** The first book in The Sons of the Revolution series and it's definitely a keeper. Ms. Galen has a way with throwing the reader into the midst of the action from the very first page. As Julien and his mother tried to get away from the burning barn, I could almost smell the smoke, hear the angry voices of the peasants and feel Julien's adrenaline and fear spike. Oh, the smoke might've just been from my candle but hey, it set the mood. While reading, I may have jumped a few times due to the thumping noises made by my neighbors as I was reading a suspenseful scene. My heart went out to Julien as he lost his father, his home and his family, except for his mother, at such a young age. He never for once, believed his brothers were dead and has never stopped looking for them; his mother has given up hope. The search for his brothers has been brought to the attention of the Foreign Office. Enter the lovely, orphaned governess Sarah Smith. She's never had a real family, she was left on the steps of the Academy. She takes a position as governess to one, Lord Northrop. He coerces her into acting a spy. She becomes Serafina Artois, the daughter of family friends. Sarah is instructed by Northrop to find evidence that Julien is selling national secrets. She is not allowed to return to her post as governess until she does so. As Sarah gets closer to the truth, she must join forces with Julien to help find his brother while trying not to get killed. Julien isn't a fan of Serafina, unlike his mother. She's refused his marriage proposal twice even though their families wanted them engaged. His friend Rigby even brings up that Serafina doesn't speak much Italian even though her family's been living in Italy. There's just so much about Serafina that intrigues Julien but after finding her several times poking around his study, he gets suspicious. After finding out that Sarah isn't really Serafina, Julien tries to keep his distance but well, he's a man, she's pretty and he won't be able to stay away for long. While trying to get out of the country to find Armand, his brother, Julien must keep Sarah safe. Their journey to France not only brings them closer, but they both soon realize that station didn't matter if they were meant to be together. After all, his mother wants him to be happy and Sarah makes him happy. I went backwards reading this series. I started off with The Making of a Gentleman so there was a spoiler or two. No matter, this book had me wanting to know how Sarah and Julien overcame their differences and problems to a happily ever after. Once again, Ms. Galen has captured my attention from the first page to the last with heart pounding action, adrenaline inducing danger, gasp worthy plot twists, and book gripping and spine breaking worthy seduction. I am looking forward to the last book in the series. ***book won from Rants-n-Scribbles blog hop giveaway***
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story captured me right from the beginning and I did enjoy it. I really liked the characters and the plot of the story. I did, however, feel that a few things were a little unrealistic, but overall enjoyed the story and plan on reading #2.
Anonymous 5 months ago
This was another great read by Galan. This author knows how to write suspenseful romance novels. I did not love this book as much as other books I've read by her. It felt a bit rushed and lacked the intense chemistry Galan usually creates. Still a great and well written book.
skelley55 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book.  There are components that are unbelievable but this is fiction.  The characters are  interesting and the storyline quick paced.  
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This is not your typical 'romance' novel so don't judge it against the others who tout sex over romance and relationship building. Galen's grasp of what it takes to build a real relationship is dead on. This first book in the Valere series got me hooked on a wonderful family who drew me in to their lives.
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Tamela Bustillos More than 1 year ago
Must read, very good story . Looking forward to book three, this book and book 2 were both exciting to read.