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Desperate Duchesses (Desperate Duchesses, the Original Six #1)

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3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  5,181 ratings  ·  429 reviews
Welcome to a world of reckless sensuality and glittering sophistication . . . of dangerously handsome gentlemen and young ladies longing to gain a title . . . of games played for high stakes, including—on occasion—a lady's virtue.

A marquess's sheltered only daughter, Lady Roberta St. Giles falls in love with a man she glimpses across a crowded ballroom: a duke, a game play
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Published July 6th 2010 by HarperAudio (first published May 29th 2007)
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Anne
I'm not sure about this one.
It wasn't unreadable, but it is definitely not one of my favorite Elosia James novels. There are too many points of view, and too many different story lines going on at the same time.
I didn't feel connected to any of them in particular.
I guess this story is about Roberta and Damon, but I couldn't really muster up enough emotion to care.

Roberta was a bit of an idiot, but I probably could have forgiven her of that if she had been crazy about Damon's son, Teddy.
I und
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Felicia
Trashy fun! Love it! Corsets!
Kate
Ah, Ms. James.. you certainly know how to make a girl want to stay up all night reading your entire series! As the first installment in Ms. James' "Desperate Duchesses" series, Desperate Duchesses managed to introduce most of the characters we will be seeing in the coming books, and still have time to fully develop a romance that was so sweet I will be grinning about it for days.

Roberta is, to be honest, a bit of a brat. She feels that her father is unfair to her and that because of him she will
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Susan
Awesome book! I loved the characters, manners, storyline, fashions, everything. Ms. James has a way of writing dialogue in that I felt I was there listening, rather than reading about the conversations.

I was cheering for Damon all the way. Determined to get his girl, but a gentleman all the way.

I like the way the story was open-ended for more adventures about the characters involved. I certainly hope that Villiers has his own book and I look forward to the woman who will finally steal his hear
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Samantha
Well, I wish I could have loved this novel as much as the other Elosia James books I've read. I sadly didn't become intrigued with it until page 190, which was when I didn't have to force myself to continue reading anymore. The first half of the novel revolves more around Roberta's distant cousin, The Duchess of Beaumont. I found myself more interested in her character than the main heroine, Roberta. However, it was very difficult for me to read and want to continue reading the book for those fi ...more
Jen
This is my first Eloisa James' novel. Did I start with the right one? Probably not. Her writing is witty enough although sometimes it's cringeworthy (but aren't they all?) but you can see that she's taken the time to get the historic detail correct. However, my main annoyance is really that her supporting characters are so much more interesting than the main ones. This wouldn't have been the case if she'd focussed more on a single plot rather than having 3 or 4 things going on at once; even if t ...more
Zumbagirl
I've wanted to read a book by Eloisa James for a long time and finally have had the opportunity - and I LOVED IT! I can't believe how much I loved it. This book has something very special to me in it and wins my two favorite tags - world's greatest father and world's greatest husband - which, let's face it, some men can only be one or the other, and often neither. This is a story which sets things up for the six books in the series. That's a tough job because it has to lay the groundwork and ...more
Liz
I enjoyed this book. That about sums it up! It wasn't knock-me-down-amazing and it wasn't horrible at all. It was just fine. I think that you could tell that this was the first book in a series; the author had to introduce so many characters here in the first book that it was maybe a little confusing at first. Maybe that's the difference between a good writer and a not-so-good writer? In just a short time, I knew who was who and how they related to everyone else...for the most part. My only majo ...more
Juliet
just about 3 stars. There were a lot of things I liked about this book, but it was kind of a mess. First of all (and I don't usually complain about this but it was too much to ignore), the typist and proofreader must have been either high or hungover when they went over the book. In general I think that Avon Romance don't really give a fuck when they are publishing books and their covers, but this was ridiculously sloppy. Just annoying.
About the story- I actually thought it was genuinely funny a
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Wendy
I finished this in one day, largely because it's an e-book from the library that's due back in two days, and I have to work both those days, so I devoted my Sunday to devouring it.

This is an outstanding historical romance. Georgian, so there are powdered wigs and panniers under wide skirts, corsets and beauty patches. The background is fantastic - the period detail, the social structure, the haut ton stuff. Interestingly, there is also a lot of description of clothing and finery, and against al
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Lisa Creane
Here we have the interlooping stories of the desperate duchesses, with our focus on Roberta (the poet's daughter) who wants to marry the obvious Devil (Duke of Villiers) and gets a proposal while living with Jemma (married unhappily to Beaumont but engaged in scandalous chess games with him and Villiers) and playing a dangerous game of passion with Jemma's brother (Damon Reeve, Earl of Gryffyn).

Scenes are stolen by Gryffyn's streetwise son Teddy, who is ruthlessly taught grammar by the poet's d
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Susan (susayq ~)
4.5 stars! I bet you're wondering what kept it from getting all 5, aren't you? Let me explain. This was Roberta and Damon's story. And their story was wonderful...fun, flirty, romantic, hot. But there wasn't enough of them in the book. As far as I'm concerned, Jemma stole the scene every time she was mentioned. She was intriguing enough to make me want to skip ahead in the series and read her and Elijah's story. And I'm sure I'll have 238475943923 million comments about their story since he was ...more
JoAnn
As I was reading I was torn between 4 and 5 stars. The conversation in the epilogue was making me think 4 because it seemed a bit awkward to me, though it conveyed a lovely thought, but it was the final two paragraphs that bumped it right back up to 5. Even so, A Duke of Her Own is still my favorite in this series that I am reading backwards and inside out and generally all wrong.

I really liked Roberta and Damon and their story. I like that Roberta knew so much and so little about sex. I liked
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Vicky
I'm not normally a fan of straight romance, so this book pleasantly surprised me. The story overall is nothing special, but I absolutely love Eloisa James' writing style.

The dialogue has a comedic aspect that is reminiscent of Oscar Whilde and Shakespeare's comedies (not surprising since James is a professor of Shakespeare) that makes it great fun to read. It's witty and intelligent and just plain awesome.

I liked that instead of focusing on just one relationship, there are hints at others throug
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Suzie Quint
I think I'm burning out on Eloisa James. This wasn't a bad book, but this series seems like it never ends. I'd really like some fresh characters instead of having to remember who's who from other books.
Katyana
Lovely, trashy fun. It was nice to see a heroine with a little bit of snap and fire, and how can you not love Damon?

Ronel
This first novel in the Desperate Duchesses series was a bit of an odd book in the beginning. I guess I’m still very prudish (as a romance reader) but the characters did not start off very likeable for me. The main character Roberta seemed like a desperate idiot, but I did love her eccentric father. The Duke of Villiers was dislikeable from the very beginning through to the end, and Jemma and Damon both seemed to be more interested in their own little games than anything else.

But I guess this is
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Cherie
It's been a few years since I read this series. My reason for reacquainting myself is the upcoming Three Weeks with Lady X which stars Villiers son. Villiers is a hero/anti-hero in this first book of the Desperate Duchesses series.

The real hero is Damon who falls in love with Lady Roberta almost from first sight. She, unfortunately, has fallen in love at first sight with the Duke of Villiers. He gets his chance to woo her after Villiers tells Roberta that he finds her virtue boring and she decid
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Jacqueline
Roberta wants Villiers, Villiers wants Jemma badly but she, Jemma, who is also the sister to Damon, and he, Damon, wants Roberta while she, Roberta, only wants Villiers, though Villiers, remember, only wants Jemma, while she, Jemma, is estranged in marital hell with her husband, Elijah, who he, Elijah, pulled Ass-Hat-Number-Four by cheating on her, Jemma, years ago but who she, Jemma, still loves, but who he, Elijah, was also once friends with Villiers, who he, Villiers, only wants Jemma, and no ...more
Joy
Jul 14, 2011 Joy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Joy by: Johanie
3.5 stars

This is the first Eloisa James book I've read and all I can say is...what a mess! While the plot is in shambles, Ms James sure does like to muddy the story with a lot of characters, sly manipulations, it won't stop me for reading her other works. I find that I missed reading historical romance, but sometimes I'm lost in translation like I don't exactly get what "made a leg" means, and she uses it most often; but enough with those.

This historical take on "Desperate Housewives" was quite
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Belldandy
I wish I could give this two and a half stars, but alas, it is not to be, so I'm going to go with ok instead of like. Lady Roberta falls in love with the worst possible person for her, so she hies herself off to London to impose herself on a distant relative so she can be introduced into society and marry him by hook or by crook. Will she manage to get her man, or will another win her heart? Well, it's a romance novel, so need I say more?

(view spoiler)
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May Mostly Romance
Desperate Duchesses ของเอลอยซา เจมส

หนังสือเลมนีเปนเลมแรกในชุด Desperate Duchesses (หลายคนคงจะเขาใจแลวนะคะวา ทำไมชุดนีถึงไดชือนี) แตในฐานะทีเปนเลมแรกของชุด เลมนีสอบตกอยางแรง เพราะแมกซตองใชความพยายามนานมากกวาจะอานใหจบ สวนหนึงคงเพราะมันเปนเลมแรกในชุด จึงมีการแนะนำตัวละครมากมาย มากจนกระทังบดบังตัวพระเอกและนางเอกของเรือง

และแมจะมีชือเรืองวา Desperate Duchesses แตนางเอกของเราไมใชดัชเชส หรือจะไดเปนดัชเชสเลยคะ เธอชือโรเบอรตา เซนตไจล เปนบุตรสาวของมารควิสทีมีนิสัยประหลาดสักหนอย (ซึงกคือชอบกลอนมากขนาดทีพูดอ
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Jeanne
Very entertaining! I loved the way love is portrayed; could totally picture myself in Roberta's shoes. ;)

When most historical romances are set either in the Middle Ages or the 19th century (Regency-Victorian), Eloisa James preferred the late 18th century. Probably so she could describe the outrageous clothing and hairdos aristocrats favoured at the time. Be my guest! I've always had a guilty soft spot for the 18th century myself... Things were all so much more... decadent, weren't they? Men got
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Katherine St. Vincent 黄爱芬
Mungkin aku gila...tapi aku menyukai buku ini hihiihihihiii... Bagi yang tidak menyukai perselingkuhan di awal cerita, lebih baik tidak usah membaca buku ini.

Menurutku, dari segi tema dan jalan cerita cukup unik dan strateginya menarik seperti permainan catur antara Jemma, Duchess Beaumont dan Duke Villiers. Mungkin ini juga yang bikin pusing sebagian pembaca yang tidak suka alur berbelit. Digambarkan pada awalnya, Roberta, tokoh heroine di novel ini, ini jatuh cinta banget-banget pada Duke Vill
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Susan
I found it extremely hard to believe that Roberta would fall so madly in love with the Duke of Villiers that she would leave home and travel to London to find and pursue him. After all, she had spoken a few sentences at the most with him at a party they had both attended. He, thinking she was a nobody, tried to bed her within moments of meeting her. (Nice guy)
Roberta was lucky enough that when she arrived at her very distant, never seen before cousin Jemma's door, that she was not turned away.
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Jaime the Wizzard
Eh, I wasn't too impressed by this book. I used to read a lot of romance novels when I was a teenager and this one felt really "Meh" to me.

The main character (what was her name?) was so incredibly bland and boring compared to her cousin Jemma, who actually had a plot driving her actions. The way the MC fell in and out of love with Viller's seemed too fake me, and that fact than Damion fell in "love" with her right after she set her cap on Viller's was just so tropey I literally rolled my eyes.
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Stephanie
There was a lot about this book that I enjoyed, like the swirl of couples that always seemed to be in flux for me. I didn't know if Roberta was going to end up with Villiers or Damon, I wasn't sure if Jemma was going to succumb to her attraction to Villiers or stay faithful to Beaumont or if Beaumont himself was going to pick up another mistress. Teddy was super cute, gross like little kids can be. What I didn't like was that this felt like a contemporary romance with just the trappings of Regen ...more
Hanife
Allahım Ben Bu Kadar Bir Kitabın Sonunu Merak Ettiğimi Hatırlamıyorum :D Her Zaman Okuduğum Kitapta Sonunun Güzel Biticeğini Bilipte Okuduğum İçin Bir Endişe İçerisinde Olmazdım Ama Söz Konusu Bu Kitap Olunca Bir Çok Tabu'mu Hali Hazırda Yıkmış Bulunmakta. Öncelikle Kitapta İnce Bir Mizah Anlayışının Göstergeleri Bizleri Eğlendirmek İçin Bulunuyor. HikayeAşırı Duygusal Salak Patavatsız Şair Bir Baba Tarafından Taşraya Kapatılan Bir Kızın Evlenme Umudunu Ruhsuz Bir Adama Bağlayıp Çok Uzak Bir Akr ...more
Kaarina
This book was exactly what I hoped for: fun, decedent, witty and delicious - it was like candy!

I love the little details about the clothing and powdered wigs almost as much as I love the flirtation and verbal sparring between the characters. I also love the research put into this seemingly fluffy book - the chess matches, England's political situation with the mention of Fox and also the little snippets about Marie Antoinette.

Damon's character was both roguish and gentlemanly but didn't fall i
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Mel
I love Eloisa. I truly do. However, the ending of this book leaves much to be desired. I loved the theme of 'chess' and playing one's opponent on and off the board. I loved Damon from the get go, and couldn't imagine Roberta with any other Rake. However, I have a few issues with this book.

1. We never learn who Teddy's mommy is! I can't deal with not knowing. So, if someone out there knows, please help a girl out.

2. Does the story of Gemma and her hubby continue in the other Duchessess books?

3. W
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« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Lady Most Willing... (Lady Most..., #2)
  • Not Quite a Lady (Carsington Brothers, #4)
  • The Perils of Pleasure (Pennyroyal Green, #1)
  • Twice Tempted by a Rogue  (Stud Club, #2)
  • Beware a Scot's Revenge (School for Heiresses, #3)
  • My Lord and Spymaster (Spymasters, #2)
  • To Seduce a Sinner (Legend of the Four Soldiers, #2)
  • Unveiled (Turner, #1)
  • Untouched
  • Sinful in Satin (The Rarest Blooms #3)
  • Tempted All Night (Neville Family #4)
  • After the Kiss (Notorious Gentlemen, #1)
  • Devilish (Malloren, #5)
  • Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet, #2)
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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
More about Eloisa James...

Other Books in the Series

Desperate Duchesses, the Original Six (6 books)
  • An Affair Before Christmas (Desperate Duchesses, #2)
  • Duchess By Night (Desperate Duchesses, #3)
  • When the Duke Returns (Desperate Duchesses, #4)
  • This Duchess of Mine (Desperate Duchesses, #5)
  • A Duke of Her Own (Desperate Duchesses, #6)
When Beauty Tamed the Beast (Fairy Tales, #2) A Kiss at Midnight (Fairy Tales, #1) Paris in Love The Ugly Duchess (Fairy Tales, #4) A Duke of Her Own (Desperate Duchesses, #6)

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“A fit encomium for marital bliss," Beaumont said, putting down his knife and fork. "Dancing to a tune one neither likes nor understands, with a partner who thinks you a cadaver.” 4 likes
“It was also bitterly true that a person who doesn’t want you is twice as desirable.” 4 likes
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