The Taming of the Duke (Essex Sisters Series #3)

( 56 )

Overview

Imogen, Lady Maitland, has decided to dance on the wild side. After all, she's in the delicious position of being able to take a lover. A discreet male who knows just when to leave in the morning.

But Lady Maitland is still under the watchful eye of her former guardian, the wildly untamed Rafe, the Duke of Holbrook. He believes she is still in need of a "watchdog." She laughs at the idea that someone so insufferably lazy and devoted to drink ...

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The Taming of the Duke (Essex Sisters Series #3)

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Overview

Imogen, Lady Maitland, has decided to dance on the wild side. After all, she's in the delicious position of being able to take a lover. A discreet male who knows just when to leave in the morning.

But Lady Maitland is still under the watchful eye of her former guardian, the wildly untamed Rafe, the Duke of Holbrook. He believes she is still in need of a "watchdog." She laughs at the idea that someone so insufferably lazy and devoted to drink can demand that she behave with propriety.

It's Rafe's long-lost brother, a man who looks precisely like the duke but with none of his degenerate edge, who interests Imogen. To Imogen, he's the shadow duke . . . the man who really should hold the title. But when Imogen agrees to accompany Gabe to a masquerade...whose masked eyes watch her with that intense look of desire? Who exactly is she dancing with? The duke or the shadow duke? Rafe . . . or Gabe?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
James's delightful third installment in her successful Four Sisters Regency series (Much Ado About You; Kiss Me, Annabel) revolves around Imogen Maitland, the mischievous sister of Kiss Me, Annabel's titular heroine. Now a widow residing at Holbrook Court in Suffolk, England, Imogen lives under the care of her guardian, Rafe Jourdain, the stubborn, drunken duke of Holbrook charged with the parentless Essex sisters' care. As she clashes with the controlling, brutish Rafe, Imogen believes she is uninterested, but helping Rafe through painful alcohol detox helps spark the attraction between them. When Imogen meets Rafe's illegitimate half-brother, Gabe Spenser, however, she becomes determined to pursue an illicit affair with Gabe; soon, Rafe is impersonating Gabe-complete with a fake mustache-in a scandalous nighttime outing with Imogen that pushes them to the edge of temptation and forces Rafe to seriously consider the delicate proposition of seducing his own ward. Before long, Rafe becomes determined to pursue Imogen-for his wife. James's intelligent, believable dialogue rises above the often trite language found in historical romances, giving the characters depth and substance. James's considerable talents for clever prose and tight, breezy plotting are on full display, promising a perennial delight in each coming adventure of the Essex sisters. (Mar. 28) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060781583
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Series: Essex Sisters Series, #3
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 446,523
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Eloisa James

Eloisa James is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author and professor of English literature, who lives with her family in New York but can sometimes be found in Paris or Italy. (Her husband is an honest-to-goodness Italian knight!) Eloisa's website offers short stories, extra chapters, and even a guide to shopping in Florence.

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Read an Excerpt

The Taming of the Duke


By Eloisa James

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Eloisa James
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060781580

Chapter One

In Which the Curiosities of Courtship
are Reviewed

August 1817
Ardmore Castle, Scotland

"I wish I were a queen," Miss Josephine Essex said to two of her elder sisters. "I would simply command an appropriate man to marry me by special license."

"What if he refused?" Imogen, sometimes known as Lady Maitland, asked.

"I'd remove his head from his body," Josie said with dignity.

"Given that men make slim use of their heads," Annabel, the Countess of Ardmore said, "you don't have to threaten decapitation; simply allow the fellow to believe that he made up his own mind about marriage." She was tucked in Imogen's bed and appeared little more than a tousle of curls peeking from under the bedcovers.

"That is precisely the kind of advice I need." Josie snapped open a small book and poised her quill. "I am making a study of the skills required to succeed in the marriage market and since you two are both married, you are my primary sources of information."

"I'm a widow," Imogen said. "I know nothing of the marriage market." She was sorting silk stockings and didn't even look up from the dressing table.

"One should be able to dance," Annabel noted. "You really must practice harder, Josie. You were stomping on Mayne'stoes the other night."

"I need better advice than that," Josie said to her. "You are the only one of us to have actually gone on the season, and you married into a title. You do remember that I'm to have a season next year, don't you?"

Annabel opened one eye. "Only because you mention it every other minute. Lord, but I'm sleepy!"

"I've heard that marriage rots the brain," her youngest sister told her cheerfully.

"In that case, I wonder that you're so interested in it."

Josie ignored that unhelpful comment. "There's more to gaining a husband than not tripping over his feet while waltzing. I want to understand the challenges beforehand. I can't rely on beauty, the way the two of you did."

"That's ridiculous. You are lovely," Annabel said.

"I was in London for the better part of April," Imogen said, "and I saw plenty of young ladies in your situation, Josie. It seemed to me that the primary requirement for a debutante is a smirk. An innocent simper," she clarified. "Smirk," Josie noted in her book.

"And listen to everything your suitor says as if God Himself is speaking. Of course, sometimes it's difficult to stay awake."

"Men can be very boring," Annabel agreed. "They have such a penchant for discussing themselves. You have to learn to endure, which is not one of your best qualities, Josie."

"To this point, you have shown no ability to suffer fools gladly," Imogen said. "Yet fools have the deepest pockets. It's a proven fact that lack of brains and a large estate go hand in hand."

Josie had been writing busily in her book but she looked up at this. "So I smirk at the fool as he talks about himself? Essentially, toe-curling boredom buys a spouse?"

"I think Imogen is overstating the importance of a smirk," Annabel put in. "There are moments in courtship that can be rather interesting. In my view, for example, a prospective groom might prefer engaging in a mildly scandalous activity to a mutual smirk."

"Annabel has a point. I suppose you might occasionally engage in an impudent act," Imogen said, "but only if you found yourself in the company of a truly engaging young man."

"That's a bit steep coming from you," Josie said. "You devoted yourself to outrageous efforts from the very moment you saw Draven Maitland. Remember how he kissed you, after you arranged to fall out of a tree at his feet?"

Imogen's hands stilled for a moment. "Of course I do. It was spring and the apple tree was in bloom."

"And then you fell off a horse, and finally you fell into marriage. Your example seems to go against the model of the innocent simper," Josie said. "I intend to be practical about this business, and I have no particular disinclination to creating a scandal, if that is the most efficacious route to marriage."

"My foolishness is nothing to emulate," Imogen said, returning to her task and folding two pale blue stockings together. "You would do better to find a husband by a more conventional means."

Josie made a note in her book. "Employ an innocent look, no matter how imprudent one's private conduct may be. It sounds like that gentleman thief who is always getting described in the Times. One moment he appears as a fine gentleman and then with a twist of a dish clout, he's transformed into a beggar."

"In fact, the reverse of Imogen's style," Annabel pointed out, a hint of mischief in her tone. "Since Imogen specializes in appearing debauched, no matter how innocent her private activities may be. According to Griselda, all of London now believes you are carrying on an illicit amour with Mayne, whereas in truth the man has achieved slightly more intimacy than a footman."

"Every woman should have an occupation," Imogen said. "Mine is to provide interest to the old biddies." She tossed a few stockings over her shoulder. They gently drifted to the bed and fell on Annabel's legs.

"Well, as to that," Josie said thoughtfully, "you seem to be slightly behind the times, Annabel."

"She's more than behind the times. She's utterly out of style," Imogen said. "Last night she was flirting with her husband at supper. That kind of behavior is beyond unfashionable; it's practically indecent. No one is supposed to pay attention to her spouse in public. Or," she added, "in private either." Annabel grinned and said nothing.

"I saw Ardmore kissing you in the breakfast parlor yesterday," Josie remarked. "Your husband has lost his head, which suggests that you should be able to help me. You must have better suggestions than improving my dancing."

Continues...


Excerpted from The Taming of the Duke by Eloisa James Copyright © 2006 by Eloisa James. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 56 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(28)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A wonderful book!!

    The Taming of the Duke was my favorite of the Essex sisters books! I loved Rafe's character as well as Imogen. This book is full of fun, sassy characters, lessons learned, and of course...great romantic scenes that Eloisa James is so great at writing! I loved seeing Rafe get his life together and how he pursued Imogen in disguise! It keep me reading til the wee hours of the morning. You won't want to put this book down!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 17, 2011

    One of my favorites

    Loved it. Funny, engaging....good read for those who like simple fun books

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastic

    In 1817 Suffolk, England, widow Imogen Essex lives at the home of Duke Rafe Jourdain, guardian to her and her remaining unmarried sister Josie her other siblings Annabel (see KISS ME ANNABEL) and Tess (see MUCH ADO ABOUT YOU) recently wed. Imogen believes her contrary host is a drunk as he imbibes at any time. However, she feels a debt to Rafe who took them in when their parents died she tries to help him overcome his alcohol dependency even as he obstinately rejects her aid because Rafe feels a forbidden attraction that is disloyal to the trust Lord and Lady Maitland bestowed on him.----- After meeting Rafe's illegitimate half-brother Gabe Spenser, Imogen decides he is perfect for a tryst. In order to thwart her attempts at illicit behavior and the subsequent scandal, Rafe pretends to be Gabe rendezvousing with Imogen but instead he finds himself in freefall needing to make love with his ward. To do that he will need to change the relationship of his protection from that of to a ward to a wife if he can persuade Imogen of his love for her.----- THE TAMING OF THE DUKE is a great Regency romance that stars two delightful lead protagonists whose flaws seem real and make them vulnerable (and perfect for us readers). The charming story line is as always in an Eloisa James¿ tale a battle between the sexes in which there can be only two outcomes possible, either both win or both lose, with the betting line at Whites being the latter. Book three of the Essex sisters¿ tales is a wonderful novel that sub-genre fans will appreciate, but also romance readers in general will enjoy THE TAMING OF THE DUKE as the ¿Professor¿ has another winner that is a sure shot bestseller.----- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2014

    so entertainung but

    The ending made NO SENSE. I had to keep checking i hadnt accidtaly skipped ahead.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2013

    Great series

    Good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    Liked it

    Liked the main characters, good storyline. I enjoyed this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    Good

    Awesome!

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  • Posted March 8, 2013

    Great read....need to read all their stories of the Essex sisters

    I couldn't wait to find out what happens with each of the sisters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2012

    AM

    The hero is a drunk, and has a Regency times beer belly, an overweight girl is called a sow, a hog, etc.... Bleh. No more money wasted on these books.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 20, 2010

    skip this book

    Imogen hogged too much of the spotlight in the first two books. She's selfish and downright mean. The author added the last chapter that was not there before. She didn't know it was him and had no signs of it until the new chapter was added but it was too little too late. I like the other three sisters but how on earth someone interesting like Rafe could end up with Imogen...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Eager for More

    I am glad that Imogen married Rafe. I like the Essex girls a lot and can't wait to see what happens to Josie.

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  • Posted December 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Boring!

    I finished this book in a matter of months, it took me so long to finish it because there was nothing in the story compelling enough to keep me going. I did not like it much at all. Sorry.

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

    Posted June 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A little slow, but worth it in the end

    I definitely did not particularly care for Imogen, but this book definitely shed her in a different light. While it's not the best in the series it's still a really good read. I felt like it kind of dragged a bit in the beginning but the end more than made up for it! I'm so happy that Ms. James incorporates characters from her previous books in the series as well as their happy endings!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I came to LOVE Imogen just like Ms. James said!

    I absolutely love the Essex Sisters Series! I have too say I hated Imogen just like Eloisa James said on her website in Much Ado About You and Kiss Me, Annabel but came to greatly love her in The Taming of the Duke. I loved seeing Imogen progress throughout the series. The scene between her and Josie pulled at my heartstrings. I have a little sister and Ms. James showed the relationship between sisters who have a strong bond perfectly. I was so enraptured with all the characters that when the end came I didn't want it to end.

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

    Posted February 3, 2007

    Loved it!

    I absolutely loved this book! I admit, there were times when I wasn't as 'entralled' with it, but I am glad I finished it it turned out to be an excellent book!

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

    Posted July 9, 2006

    OVERALL... I WOULD HAVE TO SAY DISAPPOINTING

    I WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO READING THIS BOOK AND WAS SADLY DISAPPOINTED. IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A GRIPPING, SIZZLING, PAGE-TURNING ROMANCE, THEN THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR YOU. HOWEVER, IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR RESEARCH MATERIAL ON THE REGENCY PERIOD IN ENGLAND, THIS BOOK WILL DO JUST FINE. I FOUND MYSELF WADING THROUGH A LONG, LONG - DID I SAY LONG? - LIST OF POINTLESS CHARACTERS, IRRELEVENT TO THE MAIN PLOT. THERE WERE LOTS OF CHAPTERS I MERELY SKIPPED, AND WHEN I RETURNED TO THUMB THROUGH THEM AFTER I READ THE WHOLE THING, I REALIZED I COULD HAVE SKIPPED THEM ALTOGETHER. THE LANGUAGE AND BACKDROP DESCRIPTIONS (SUCH AS FURNITURE AND CLOTHES AND THEATRES IN THIS PERIOD) WERE FABULOUS, BUT THE MAIN CHARACTERS' STORY TAKES UP NO MORE THAN MAYBE 20% OF THE VOLUME. I AM SORRY TO SAY I'VE READ BETTER... AND ANOTHER THING - DON'T EXPECT ANYTHING REMOTELY SEXY FOR THE FIRST, SAY, 300 PAGES.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2006

    There's only one thing missing

    Overall I enjoyed reading this book, Eloisa James weaved an interesting story which kept me gripped. Both the Duke and Lady Maitland were interesting and rounded people not your typical historical romance stereotypes. I have to admit though there is one piece of the puzzle that I think she omitted, I can imagine why she chose to as it might have been difficult to include it, but that's the only reason this book did not get 5 stars from me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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