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The Taming of the Duke (Essex Sisters #3)

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  5,104 Ratings  ·  241 Reviews
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 laug
ebook, 400 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by Avon (first published January 1st 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jessica's Totally Over The Top Book Obsession
While I did enjoy this book I didn't enjoy it as much as the other two. Eloisa James did do a good job of redeeming Imogen from the selfish unlikable bitch I felt she was in the first two books. Although Imogen grew she was still a little selfish so it felt more realistic. I really loved Rafe. I was glad he got his hea. The things that didn't work for me was the weird hmmm what do you call a love triangle with four people? A love quadrangle or a love square or diamond or something. Lol whatever ...more
This was supposed to be the book where the bitchy sister is redeemed and we end up liking her and wanting her to have a happily ever after. And, although I was okay with her ending up okay, I just hated this book so much that I didn't really care. It was stupid. And, I mean, seriously stupid.

Expert level achieved..

So, Imogen, her royal bitchiness, decides to become a slut and wants to have sex with her guardian's brother. Half-brother. But, her guardian wants in on all of that, so he goes along
Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads
4.5 stars . . . 4.85? 4.95? CLOSE TO PERFECT.

There's a reason why I love Eloisa James. ReasonS. And all of them are present here. Oh gawd, my FEELS are broken.


Full review to come.
awkward awkward awkward awkward.

A Duke (Raphael) meets up with long-lost-half-brother-doppleganger (Gabriel) who has unintentionally sired a child on an actress who doesn't want the baby at all but will only give it up if her career is catapulted by Gabe's brother's fortune

The brothers invite a bevy of ladies to visit and act in the play -- Rafe's mother had a playhouse and it was very popular in the ton -- naturally. One of them (Imogen) was married briefly to a man she stol
I really really love the character of Rafe. Love and adore him. Eloisa James is one of my favorite authors so it kills me to say this because I was really looking forward to reading this. I was disappointed with this one and it's only because of the plot and set up of the story and how it was dragged out. Still a great read I'd recommend it but compared to the other in the series this was disappointing for me.

*SPOILER ALERT* I really liked the idea of Rafe's long lost brother Gabe coming into th
Dec 02, 2015 kris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imogen Essex Maitland would like to get jiggy with it, preferably with new-man-in-town Gabe Not-The-Duke Spenser. Rafe Jourdain (for real) would like Imogen to get jiggy with him. Gabe would like to get jiggy with Gillian Pythian-Adams. Gillian would like to get jiggy with someone who isn't an idiot. TIME FOR CHAOS AND BONERS!!!

1. First, I liked so much about this. So you're probably thinking, "kris, if you liked it so much, why only 3 stars?" And the answer to that, my friends, is because it di
I loved, loved, loved this book. I loved the way it was written, the hero and heroine, the secondary characters, the plot, the epilogue, everything!

Where to start?

The heroine is a passionate, but soured widow, guilty for luring her deceased, arrogant husband into marriage, and embarrassed for the lack of passion in their short marriage. That's a lot of emotion for one person to walk around with, and she retreats into a bitter, bitchy exterior to hide her pain. She's also smart and sassy.

The hero
Elis Madison
This is one of those books where the title has nothing to do with the story. Well, there is a duke, but I can't see where he was tamed.

Imogen, the widowed Lady Maitland, lives with her guardian, Rafe, the drunken Duke of Holbrook. Rafe’s illegitimate brother Gabe and Gabe’s illegitimate daughter Mary have just moved in, and the rest of the cast of the series is coming to stay so that Gabe’s ex-mistress, an actress who lost a big part in London because of her pregnancy, can put on a showcase pla
Sarah MacLean
Oct 24, 2009 Sarah MacLean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
these are all 5 star books...but I so loved the last of the so so loved it, like dogeared copy loved it...that i have to give the other sisters 4 stars in order to officially show my devotion to Josie & Mayne.
A book I had a very hard time getting into, since I disliked the main heroine since the first book and really didn't want to read her story.

Imogen is bitter and spreads her misery around by being judgmental and snapping at everyone, whether they deserve it or not. Rafe is one of her favorite targets, and even though I understand that up to a point she targets him because she cares for him, I really didn't care for her mean, sometimes cruel comments to him.

Rafe, on the other hand, is an easy goin
Dec 14, 2012 Amber rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can't explain my feelings about this series. I start hating the plot, characters, everything. The I love the last third of the books. I eventually like the main hero and heroine and am satisfied with the ending. However for this book, I kept hating Imogen. I thought I might grow to like her like I did Tessa and Annabel but no, I hated her. I felt no sympathy for her, Nothing. I feel that Rafe is too good for her. Actually, all the characters are better than Imogen. Not to mention that I didn't ...more
Jun 20, 2016 Angela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My final verdict: the story has merit, the writing isn't my style.

After two books that supposedly weren't about Imogen, but were pretty much about Imogen, I really didn't know what to think going into this one. I truly didn't like her character in the other books, but so much time was spent in her head I felt like I needed to follow through with her story.

In the end, I actually liked the bones of this book, if not the execution. As always with EJ, the writing is sloppy and inconsistent, which t
2.5 Stars


I wasn't fond of the younger Essex sisters since reading the first book in the series. Book 2 changed my mind on Annabel and I was hoping that this book would change my thoughts on Imogen (even though they'd gotten even worse after the second book). Unfortunately, my dislike of her did not go away in this book, it just kept getting worse.

I'm in no way a prude. I'm all for a woman making the first move and going after what she wants. But the way Imogen threw herself firs
Blodeuedd Finland
I didn't even know that there were two other books about the main characters sisters, and you really don't have to know that to read this book.

Lady Imogen Maitland is a widow and in the position of taking a lover. A man who knows how to keep quiet.

But she is still under the wathcful eye of her former guardian, rafe, the duke of Holbrook. he believes that she still needs someone who watches her. But she laughs at the idea that a lazy drunk of a man can do anything. Why should he have anything to
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sheila Melo
FINAL DECISION:  I liked this book but there was just too much going on with too complicated issues to be resolved so quickly.  Despite that, I liked the romance between Rafe and Imogen which has been going on since book one of this series.

THE STORY:  Imogen, Lady Maitland, has been widowed for a year and is ready to take a lover. She targets Gabe Spenser, the illegitimate brother of her former guardian, Rafe, Duke of Holbrook.  Imogen has had a contentious relationship with Holbrook especially
Suzie Quint
I can't decide if this book deserves 2 stars or 4 stars.

On one hand, I very much enjoyed Rafe. I liked that he doesn't come on stage initially looking like the classic romantic hero. He also made me laugh. That's the 4 star part of the book.

The two star part of the book (view spoiler)
Lita Bouquard
Imogene is the Essex sister that is the least likable to me. Most of the time she has been relentlessly pursuing the duke, or being hateful to her sister Tess. Imogene widowed young and has been careless about her reputation which has affected her sisters. In this book 3 she agrees to return to her guardians home as she was only married 2 weeks before becoming a widow.
Rafe has been a drunk for 6 years since his brother died. He discovers he has another brother and a niece. While he comes to te
Dec 17, 2015 Hamasat rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What do I think?
1) Finally I'm done :)
2) I still hate Imogen
3) I dont know what Rafe saw in Imogen
4) I really wished the main character will be Gabriel and Gillian.

My rating
Imogen+Rafe= 2 stars.
Gabriel+Gillian= 4 stars.
That why though this book deserves 1 star, Gabriel and Gillian made me intrest in their story and made me continued reading though I really wanted to drop it.
Dec 15, 2011 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I loved the first two in this series. I love Eloisa James. But Imogen was the worst heroine I've read in a long time. She was horrid throughout the first two books, and even during the third she never really took on any redeeming qualities. Rafe was a fantastic hero, but by the end I was rooting for Miss Pythian-Adams to get the guy.
I liked a lot of the writing & parts of the story. Then there were the unrealistic & super cheese parts. So, 3 stars. Not bad but not fantastico.
Apr 08, 2010 Vicki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, historical
Thoroughly enjoyed Rafe in the prior books in the series and was disappointed to see his character wasted in a pairing with heroine who thoroughly annoyed the crap out of me in the entire series...
Jun 03, 2017 Jess rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me enamoró el personaje de Rafe desde el primer libro, y después de todo lo que pasa con las hermanas Essex y demás desventuras me atrae más aún. Imagen sigue pareciéndome insoportable, aunque gracias a Rafe en menor medida. Josie promete...
Liz F
Apr 06, 2012 Liz F rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ok, so I am seven chapters in and haven't come up with anything to really discuss about this book. It is not grabbing me at all yet. The storyline of Rafe trying to stop drinking and why he is doing it is probably the aspect of the book I like the most so far. I guess I can be happy about the fact that this seems to be all Imogen's story as her other sisters aren't honing in on her time so far. The author does seem to be bringing back the character Gillian ( Draven Maitland's fiancée before Imo ...more
Dec 08, 2008 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I love most about Eloisa James is her ability to take unlikely heroes and heroines and turn them into extraordinarily likable protagonists. In this novel, our unlikely hero is Rafe--the alcoholic, careless Duke of Holbrook. And our heroine is the newly widowed--and recently spiteful--Lady Imogen Maitland.

It can't have been an easy task to create a hero out of an alcoholic. But James managed to do it with finesse. While I initially disliked Rafe earlier in the series, I learned more about hi
I finally finished it. It seemed like it took a long time to read. But I don't read as much or as fast as I used to. I had a difficult time getting into it. There were several different storylines going on at once, it seemed. But when finally it focused on Rafe and Imogen, it was delightful. He really was sweet and so head-over-heels in love with her. She eventually realized that she felt the same way. It was a unique story in that the hero, Rafe, had to overcome alcohol addiction. You don't see ...more
Jul 27, 2016 Suz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, romance, audio
It had a bit of the flavor of a farce. I was surprised to enjoy it as much as I did, given that for all the previous books I found the heroine (of this book) insufferable, but the author did an admirable job of slowly helping me to forget what bitch the heroine has been for the previous books.

I was happy to see the hero get some happiness and, in truth, was rooting for him more than her.
Sep 05, 2013 Lorka rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: never-ever-never
This was my first book by Eloisa James, and it was a good read... Just not a lot of soft, loving moments. The girl was bickering a lot it seemed.... and it wasn't until the last page until things were clear btwn everyone. And I really didn't care for the parts about the play/theater.... skimmed past that.
Imogen falls for her former guardian - or maybe his near twin brother. Or maybe her guardian pretending to be his near twin brother. It was fluffy and enjoyable until the end when the main plot point (guardian pretending to be his near twin brother) never actually got resolved. Last line, surprise! Cop out. Total cop out.
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New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James writes historical romances for HarperCollins Publishers. Her novels have been published to great acclaim. A reviewer from USA Today wrote of Eloisa's very first book that she "found herself devouring the book like a dieter with a Hershey bar"; later People Magazine raved that "romance writing does not get much better than this." Her novels have repeat ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Essex Sisters (4 books)
  • Much Ado About You (Essex Sisters, #1)
  • Kiss Me, Annabel (Essex Sisters, #2)
  • Pleasure for Pleasure (Essex Sisters, #4)

Share This Book

“End the affair briskly, and without allowing the slightest room for doubt,' Griselda continued. 'Tell the gentleman that while you are grateful for the lovely time that you spent in his company, you have seen the error of your ways and wish to lead a celibate existence. You can add some flummery about his having given you pleasure you never experienced before, if you wish.'
Imogen nodded, wishing she had Josie's little book to take notes in.
'On occasion, a hitherto rational man might act in a thoroughly distracted fashion when you inform him of your wish to end the relationship. I generally inform them that while I am not betraying poor Willoughby (he /is/ dead, after all), I have decided, upon reflection, that I am betraying myself. They never have any adequate rebuttal, and you can part on the best of terms.”
“She gave a sigh and turned to meet Rafe's sardonic glance.
"He's not for you," Rafe said, leaning close to her.
"I can't think what you mean," Imogen said loftily, accepting a glass of lemonade from Brinkley.
"You know precisely what I mean, you little witch," Rafe said, and there wasn't even a gleam of amusement in his eyes. "You mean to have him, don't you? I've seen that look in your eyes before. That look has had you in trouble before.”
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