Stages of Desire

Stages of Desire

by Julia Tagan

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Overview

To be or not to be—in love. . .

As a ward of the Duchess of Dorset, Harriet can hardly expect more from a match than the ringing endorsement of "from what I've heard, the man is financially secure and his teeth are quite regular." After all, she's only the lowly daughter of traveling actors, not the actual daughter of the duchess.

William Talbot, Earl of Abingdon is set to marry the duchess's daughter. After his elder brother's scandalous death, his family's reputation is paramount, and he'll allow nothing to damage it again. But when Harriet disappears to save her father from debtor's prison, the scandal threatens William and his intended's family. The simple task of fetching the duchess's runaway ward turns complicated when Harriet insists on traveling with her father's acting company. William's forced to tag along, and finds himself entranced. The stage transforms Harriet into a free-spirited, captivating beauty. But, someone's been sabotaging the theater company, and instead of facing scandal, William and Harriet discover a threat not only to their growing passion, but to their lives. . .

74,897 Words

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616506667
Publisher: Lyrical Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 01/05/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 148,494
File size: 539 KB

About the Author

Julia Tagan is an author and history buff who loves nothing more than a dry martini after a long day of writing.

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Stages of Desire 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
HeidiSenesac More than 1 year ago
There is so much to love about this book. Harriet, a spunky heroine, is torn between her birth family and her adopted one. William, is a stuffy peer of the realm whose only desire is to pursue a career as a physician. At least until he meets Harriet. Harriet receives word early on that her father is in trouble and yearns to go to his aid. But helping him would mean disgracing the Duchess who adopted her as a companion for her own daughter, the Lady Marianne. Who by the way is nearly engaged to William. Harriet runs away to save her family of actors and William's is sent to bring her back home before scandal can taint the Duchess and the rest of their families. Spending time with William, Harriet begin to fall for him. And when it's time to actually return home, Harriet isn't so sure she can face a life where she'll have to live with William being married to someone else. I can't tell you how many times I found myself smile and cheering for Harriet. Tagan did a masterful job of making me care about her characters and holding my attention for the duration of the story. There was just enough suspense to keep me turning the page. Well done, once again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not your typical historical romance. Very good read.
gaele More than 1 year ago
In my continuing obsession with historical romance this story of a young girl torn between her adopted and birth families, with only her childhood memories and desire for ‘more’ as her guideposts.  Julia Tagan brings readers into the world and explores the differences between the more socially acceptable life that Harriet is leading with her guardians versus the somewhat scandalous life of a troop of actors.  Harriet is a wonderful character: full of life and heart she wonders about her father and the fun times she remembers of touring with the Farley Players.  What she is soon to realize is that a child’s memories are often rose-tinted, and not necessarily a solid basis for a grand life choice. A possible engagement to a much older man leaves her disappointed, as not a true member of the ton she doesn’t expect a titled match close to her age, but her suitor Mr. Hopplehilll just bores her.   As the ward of the Duchess of Dorset, she has been a companion to her daughter Marianne, and treated much as a member of the family.  Marianne and Harriet are fast friends, with Marianne’s excitement in her upcoming betrothal to Will, the Earl of Abingdon. Will is newly arrived at the title, and has put his schooling for medicine on hold: far more uptight and restrained, Will is more typical of the men of his stature, a bit too concerned with appearances and very buttoned up.   But Harriet is told of her father’s ill health and failing finances, she is hard pressed to help, but not having the financial or social means herself. She decides to step in and help, with memories of the fun she had as a child foremost in her mind.  Here we find an unusual twist, it is Will who dashes off to convince Harriet to return before her actions tarnish the reputation of the Duchess of Dorset, and jeopardizes the match with her daughter.  And we then get the first twist: Will Is unable to resist Harriet’s heartfelt pleas to aid her father, and agrees to travel with her to mitigate scandal.   Will opens up in their travels: with many events that appear to be coincidental but are jeopardizing the Farley Players, while allowing Harriet and Will to develop feelings, even as he often makes it clear that they will not make a match.  For her part, Harriet is realizing that  her father is not as she remembered, that traveling from show to show means irregular meals, long hours and few moments to call your own, let alone feel secure.  With an ongoing threat to the players there is tension, but it is very fun to see Will let down his stuffy exterior: his exposure to things he’d never seen and his reactions are cleverly written, and show just how sheltered he is compared to most. They are getting closer and then…. Will and Harriet cross words, and he is back to London to marry Marianne as arranged. With the questions about the immediate future of  the Farley Players settled, she returns to face the music with the Duchess and her daughter.  And the music is harsh – Harriet’s rash decisions put the family reputation in jeopardy, not to mention her own. With Marianne furious about the betrayal, things couldn’t be much worse for Harriet: even the loss of Will’s affection seems insurmountable.  But Julia Tagan adds in so many unexpected twists and about-faces with hidden agendas and unspoken desires that readers are constantly wondering if they have followed the story at all – in all the best ways.  Characters breathe in this book, becoming layered and  as real as if standing in front of you. I thought I knew where the story would lead, and I was wrong every time! A masterful twisting of the plot with unexpected doors opening leads readers on a journey that is engaging and intriguing, with no flat or dull moments.  A really wonderful read.  I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. 
Bookworm2Bookworm More than 1 year ago
London 1808 Harriet Farley is the ward of Eleanor, the Duchess of Dorset.  Harriet’s parents were actors.  Her father still works with Farley’s Players but is slowly losing his business due to his constant drunkenness.  After her mother passed away, Harriet, age 12, went to live with the Duchess and her daughter, Lady Marianne.  Since Eleanor’s husband passed away 3 years ago, she has come to realize that she is suffering some financial woes.  Harriet has also acted as companion and hand maiden to Lady Marianne who currently has her eye on marrying William Richard Talbot, the Earl of Abingdon.  He is a very wealthy man who also owns Poundridge Hall, the family’s estate outside London.  As for Harriet, the Duchess is pushing to pair her with Mr. Hopplehill, the sixth son of a baron and who works at Barings Bank of London.  A tall girl with fairly large feet, Harriet towers over most men she meets.  But when she met Mr. Hopplehill, she was appalled.  He was much shorter than she, older, balding and sweating.  Yuk!  As the soiree is at the home of the Earl of Abingdon, Harriet decided to escape the party and find a place to hide out.   William Talbot is a very intelligent man who studied medicine and has a passion to find cures for diseases.  His biggest goal is to find a cure for the malaria that has long plagued his sister, Claire.  So, when he finds Harriet alone in his library enjoying his books, they strike up a conversation and begin discussion plays. When Harriet learns that her father is indeed on the verge of losing his acting business, she decided to flee to him and see if she can help in some way.  William Talbot is enlisted to go after her and bring her back.  Thus begins a comedy of errors that throws Harriet and William together trying to keep the acting company together.  In doing so, thus begins an attraction and romance between them.  But what about Marianne to whom William is supposedly betrothed?  Will Harriet’s reputation be ruined? There were parts of this story that I enjoyed but I must admit that it dragged for me at times and it took a lot of concentration to keep up with the characters and plot twists.
celticmaggie More than 1 year ago
I liked this story. It was a heartbreaker and made you breathe deep every once in awhile. There was a good choice of how to portray her characters. There is a show of the Elite and a traveling theatre show. Harriet is a ward of the Duchess of Dorset. She was a companion of Lady Marianne. Harriet came from the Farley Players. Marianne is set to marry Lord Abington. He is an Earl and wants to follow medicine and surgery. There are so many spoilers in this book. You think it goes one way and then find it coming from another direction. It is a hard to put down read so it goes quickly. Give it a try! I have this book for an honest review for NetGalley.
JoanneWadsworth More than 1 year ago
She’s the ward of a duchess, and an actress at heart. This is a sweetly sensual historical romance that will sweep you away. I just adored this book. Harriet is a strong heroine, the daughter of an actor and the ward of the Duchess of Dorset. When she learns her father’s acting company is falling to pieces and her father’s about to go to debtor’s prison, she sets out to save him and get the show back on the road. William, the Earl of Abingdon is set to wed the duchess’s daughter and comes to the duchess’s rescue by agreeing to find and retrieve Harriet before there can be any threat of scandal. A wonderful story then unfolds as William becomes entranced by Harriet and she with him. There is plenty of mystery and intrigue as well. Someone is sabotaging the theater company and Harriet’s attempt to make things right. The villain needs to be found. The author brings to life the scenery and the historical time period to perfection. I loved the sweetly sensual romance that bloomed between Harriet and William and kept cheering for them along the way. There are so many obstacles for them to overcome, from their differing stations to the various people and issues standing in their way. If you enjoy historical romance and the art of playright, you’ll be swept away with this story.