Duchess in Love (Duchess Quartet Series #1)

Duchess in Love (Duchess Quartet Series #1)

by Eloisa James

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A Duke in Retreat

Gina was forced into marriage with the Duke of Girton at an age when she'd have been better off in a schoolroom than a ballroom. Directly after the ceremony her handsome spouse promptly fled to the continent, leaving the marriage unconsummated and Gina quite indignant.

A Lady In the Middle

Now, she is one of the most well-known ladies in London ... living on the edge of scandal—desired by many men, but resisting giving herself to any one.

A Duchess in Love

Finally, Camden, the Duke of Girton, has returned home, to discover that his naïve bride has blossomed into the toast of the ton. Which leaves Cam in the most uncomfortable position of discovering that he has the bad manners to be falling in love—with his own wife!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061794995
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Series: Duchess Quartet Series , #1
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 13,281
File size: 861 KB

About the Author

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. She is the mother of two and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight. Visit her at www.eloisajames.com.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

A Brief Conversation
The Duchess of Girton’s Bedchamber

Lady Troubridge's House Party
East Cliff

"Well, what does he look like?"

There was a pause. "He has black hair, I remember that," Gina said dubiously. She was sitting at her dressing table and tying a hair ribbon into small knots. Ambrogina, Duchess of Girton, rarely fidgeted. Duchess is as duchess does, one of her governesses had insisted. But Gina was panicking. Even duchesses panic, on occasion.

Esme Rawlings burst into laughter. "You don't know what your own husband looks like?"

Gina scowled. "It's easy for you to laugh. Your husband isn't returning from the continent to find you in the midst of a scandal. I've been insisting that Cam annul our marriage so that I can marry Sebastian. After he reads that dreadful bit of gossip in The Tatler, he'll think I'm a loose woman."

"Not if he knows you," Esme chortled.

"That's just it! He doesn't know me. What if he believes the talk about Mr. Wapping?"

"Fire your tutor and it'll blow over in a week."

"I won't fire poor Mr. Wapping. He came all the way from Greece to be my tutor, and the poor man doesn't have anywhere to go. Besides, he hasn't done anything wrong, and neither have I, so why should I act as if I had?"

"Being seen with your tutor at two in the morning by Willoughby Broke and his wife was not the soundest policy."

"You know we were simply observing the meteor shower. At any rate, you're not answering me. What if I don't recognize my own husband?" Gina turned around on her stool and fixed her eyes on Esme. "It will be the mosthumiliating moment of my life!"

"For goodness' sake, you sound like a bad actress in a melodrama. He'll be announced by the butler, won't he? So you'll have time to collect yourself. Oh my dearest husband," Esme said, casting Gina a melting look of welcome. "What a terrible, terrible sorrow your absence has been to me!" She began fanning herself languidly.

Gina grimaced at her. "I suppose you employ that sentence frequently?"

"Naturally. Miles and I are always polite, whenever we meet. Which is rare, thank goodness."

Gina put down the ribbon, now knotted in fifty places. "Look at this -- my hands are shaking. I don't know anyone who has experienced such a horrendous meeting."

"You're exaggerating. Think how poor Caroline Pratt felt when she had to tell her husband she was pregnant -- and he away in the Low Countries all the previous year!"

"That must have been difficult."

"Although she really did him a favor. What in God's name would have happened to the estate if she hadn't managed to produce an heir? They have been married over ten years, after all. Pratt should have thanked her very nicely, although I have no doubt but what he didn't, men being the boors they are."

"My point is that meeting Cam is going to be prodigiously difficult," Gina said. "I'm not sure I will know him from Adam."

"I thought you spent your childhood in his pocket."

"That's not the same as meeting him as a grown man. He was just a boy when we married."

"There are plenty of women who would love to see their husbands move to the continent," Esme pointed out.

"Cam is not really my husband. For goodness' sake, I was raised to think he was my first cousin, until the very day we married."

"I don't see how that changes things. There are plenty of married first cousins, more's the pity. And you are not truly first cousins, given that your mother merely raised you, as opposed to giving birth to you."

"Just as my husband is not truly my husband," Gina added promptly. "Cam jumped out the window within fifteen minutes of his father forcing him to say the vows. It has simply taken him twelve years to return and annul the marriage."

"At least my husband left through the front door like a civilized man."

"Cam was hardly a man. He turned eighteen only a few days earlier."

"Well, you look glorious in that rose gown," Esme said, smiling at Gina. "He'll weep to think that he ever leaped out your bedchamber window."

"Nonsense. I'm not beautiful. I'm too thin and my hair resembles nothing so much as a carrot." She peered at herself in the mirror. "I wish I had your eyes, Esme. Mine are the color of mud."

"Your eyes are not muddy, they're green," Esme corrected her. "And as for not being beautiful -- look at you! You look like a Renaissance Madonna today, all slender and composed and a bit teary. Except for your hair, of course. Do you think you inherited all that red hair from your scandalous French maman?"

"How should I know? My father refused to describe my real mother."

"Actually, a Madonna is a perfect description," Esme continued with a wicked twinkle. "Poor dear ... yet another married virgin!"

There was a knock at the door, and Annie, the duchess's maid, answered it. "Lady Perwinkle would like to visit for a moment, Your Grace."

"Do ask her to come in," Gina replied.

Carola Perwinkle was small and deliciously rounded, with curls that bounced around her heart-shaped little face. She let out a squeal of delight at the sight of Esme.

"Darlings! I had to come even though it's past time to dress because Lady Troubridge told me the most astounding tale about Gina's husband -- "

"It's true," Gina put in. "My husband is returning to England."

Carola clasped her hands together. "How romantic!"

"How so? I see nothing romantic about my husband annulling our marriage."

"All the way from Greece, simply to free you, to allow you to marry the man you love? I've no doubt but that his heart is secretly broken at the thought."

Duchess in Love. Copyright © by Eloisa James. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Duchess in Love 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 89 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read A Duke of Her Own, and it was decent, so I thought I'd found a new author. Then I tried this book....just not good. There were moments that were good, but for the most part, it was all over the place and felt very much like it was wtitten by an amateur. I find this to be a disappointing trend...one good book, and then the next few are horrible, almost as if they were wrtten/slapped together by a different person. I found this to be the same with Julia Quinn...a marvelous book and then another which was almost unreadable. I am looking in vain for another Judith McNaught.
deborah197 More than 1 year ago
Cute story, but ended up being one bedroom/seduction scene after another. Way too much sexual information.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could not even read the entire book. It was very slow and too many characters to keep track of. I skipped to the end of the book just to see how it ended. Not worth buying.
bukadikt More than 1 year ago
i usually like the books by eloisa james but this was not good. there were too many characters with poor development of who they were and the story while amusing at first fell apart and became ridiculous and unbelievable. i think i skimmed the last several chapters just to be done with it. on the other hand really liked her newest one 'when beauty tamed the beast'
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Duke of Girton fled his 11 year old wife Gina on their wedding night and escaped the luxuries of Greece, now 12 years later he has returned to grant an annullment to Gina who believes herself to be in love with the extremely stuffy marquess Sebastian. But the attraction is immediate...and you can guess how it turns out. However, Ms. James takes an age old plotline of lust and love and recycles it into something new and fresh and altogether sexy. You know that all will be well in the end but he details in between are so sweet, you cannot help but gasp in delight at Cams and Gina first kiss. Its like true love for the first time, and you can't get enough of it. -rsb
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1802 England, his father forced Cam to marry his childhood friend Gina when both were still ¿children¿. Rather than consummate the marriage with the woman he thought up to the ceremony was his first cousin, Cam Serrard fled through the window fifteen minutes after saying ¿I do¿. He went to the continent and remained overseas for the next dozen years. Gina asks her spouse to annul their vows so she can marry someone else. Her husband in name only, the Duke of Girard, comes home to annul his marriage so Gina can move on with her life. His plan is to return immediately to his studio in Greece. However, when Cam meets his wife as an adult for the first time, her beauty, charm, and grace stun him. Shockingly, he finds himself falling in love with Gina just as she too surprises herself by being a DUCHESS IN LOVE with her husband when she thought her heart belonged to Sebastian. Though the basic theme has been used too often in Regency novels, fans of the sub-genre will enjoy Eloisa James¿ latest tale, DUCHESS IN LOVE. The key to the delightful read is the cast from the strong bewildered lead couple to secondary characters who cause havoc on the married couple¿s relationship and enable the audience to understand the motives of the Duke and Duchess. The audience will kick back their shoes, relax, and bask in the fun of this well written historical romance. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was an alright book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in 3 days. Good story. Well written.
doxiemomx2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed Duchess in Love. It is true that there was quite a cast of characters and it got a little complicated at times. I will also admit that it took reading the second book in the series (Fool in Love) to completely warm up to some of the characters. However, I enjoyed Gina and Cam and all the adventures.
phyllisd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a complicated plot with a lot of relationships. I liked it but I felt it wrapped up a little too quickly. When and why did Gina decide to follow Cam? I did enjoy what I would consider a triple epilogue. Happily-ever-after does take a little bit of adjustment.
crashingwaves38 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel simply wasn't up to the standards that exist in my mind for James. It wasn't as witty or snappy as her earlier works are. The plot was so convoluted, and I found several of the characters to be hard to sympathize with. Their reasoning simply made no sense, or they were ninnies. I have no real desire to read about any of the other characters save one, which is surprising given that I usually am driven to know all about the various characters. Maybe I am simply becoming a more discerning reader. I'm fairly certain that I will be tossing this one back to the used bookstore. There are other books she's written that are good; this simply wasn't one of them.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gina was married too young and her husband ran away to the continent. Now she's older but she'd like a life, a romance, something. Her wanting something has lead her almost to scandal. Now her husband is back and they have to deal with their feelings and whether or not they want to actually stay together.It's pretty predictable but fun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like most of Ms. James novels, they should be read in order. Wonderful adventure. Thank you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I kinda liked the all over the place story plot of several couples in the midst of deciding if they would stay married...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a bunch of rambling, hard to follow trite. The secondary characters so dominated the story that Cam & Gina were lost in the pile of rubbish. Really Eloisa you can do better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kronan1 More than 1 year ago
Just OK..................................................... Not one of her better efforts.  This is the third book I've rad by her where the couple have been separated by so many years and are living such different lifestyles I can't believe they would ever get together.  The other two were her pirate series.  Too much water under the bridge.  No chemistry. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eloisa James is one of my favorite romance writers, especially of the Regency genre. I enjoyed Duchess in Love and will read the next in the Duchess Quartet Series. Would have liked to have seen a little more passion but overall good character development. The Essex Sisters series is superior and if you enjoyed Duchess in Love, the Essex books are worth the time!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not bad but definitely not up to the same level as the desperate duchesses series. Hope book 2 is better.
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