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    Book Review: Duchess by Night by Eloisa James
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  • Published: Jun 28th, 2008

james_duchessreview.jpgReviewed by Maria Lokken

5 out of 5 stars

Harriet the Duchess of Berrow is in need of a change, an escape from the ton, from the sympathetic faces of those that look upon her as the poor widow. She wants desperately to get away from what her life has become since the death of her husband. She decides to go for an extended holiday with her friends Isidore and the Duke of Villiers to the estate of Lord Strange.

The infamous Lord Strange doesn’t socialize with the ton, in fact, his home is known for it’s wild parties filled with actors, actresses and politicians – about as far away from an evening with the ton as one can get. While Harriet yearns for a new experience, she isn’t willing to throw away her good name, which is why she arrives at the Strange estate in breeches pretending to be the young Harry – an over protected mama’s boy, who is woefully ignorant of the ways of wine, women and fun.

While Lord Strange, also a widow, has witnessed all sorts of people and risqué behavior at his home, he finds the emotions he’s developing toward the young Harry a bit odd. All the while, Harriet/Harry is finding herself more liberated being a man, unencumbered from the restrictions imposed on the women of her time.

I’m not usually one for charades. In fact, I don’t really like the whole character mix up thing. However, this is the exception to the rule. Ms. James has created a clever, clever well written romance. What could have been a farce, instead, delves deep into emotions, viewpoints, desires, and breaks the barriers on the ‘should’ and ‘should nots’ in ‘proper society’.

The author artfully describes Harriet in such a manner that you’re not altogether sure she is a ‘young’ widow. She had become dowdy and ready for eternal widowhood. As the book progresses we get a sense of who our heroine is as she too discovers what she’s capable of. It would have been easy for the author to have the heroine be the sole benefactor of ‘growth’. Instead Ms. James takes it one step further, allowing several characters to benefit from Harriet’s transformation, giving the book rich, emotional layers.

Duchess by Night is Ms. James at her best, with terrific story telling, and dialogue that is droll, witty and altogether a pleasure to read. I heartily recommend this book!

6 Responses to “Book Review: Duchess by Night by Eloisa James”

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  1. MaryKate
    on Jun 29th, 2008
    @ 9:20 am

    Great review, Maria!! For some reason this series hasn’t really worked for me, but you make me tempted to try again, that’s for sure!

  2. Maria Lokken
    on Jun 29th, 2008
    @ 12:18 pm

    You really should Mary Kate – because this book absolutely worked!

  3. Buffie
    on Jun 29th, 2008
    @ 2:34 pm

    Maria, great review! I’m not one for mix-ups either, but I’m looking forward to reading this one.

  4. Gannon
    on Jun 29th, 2008
    @ 7:57 pm

    Excellent review, Maria! I’m really looking forward to reading this one. Eloisa is one of my faves!

  5. AndreaW
    on Jun 30th, 2008
    @ 7:56 am

    Great review, Maria! I have the first two in this series (haven’t read them yet) and I need to pick this one up.

  6. Christine Wells
    on Jun 30th, 2008
    @ 4:24 pm

    Love this series! Thanks for the review. I can’t wait to read this one.

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