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Much Ado About You (Essex Sisters, #1)
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Much Ado About You (Essex Sisters #1)

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  7,235 Ratings  ·  356 Reviews

When you're the oldest daughter, you don't get to have any fun!

Witty, orphaned Tess Essex faces her duty: marry well and marry quickly, so she can arrange matches for her three sisters -- beautiful Annabel, romantic Imogen and practical Josie. After all, right now they're under the rather awkward guardianship of the perpetually tipsy Duke of Holbrook. But just when she

Paperback, 391 pages
Published December 28th 2004 by Avon
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Jessica's Totally Over The Top Book Obsession
3.5 cute stars

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I really enjoyed this book and all the characters that got introduced in this book except for Imogen. I couldn't stand Imogen. I thought she was selfish, childish and a all around naive airhead. Mrs. Eloisa James has her work cut out for her to get me change my mind on Imogen when I get to her book. The main couple of this book Tess and Lucius were both very likable. I enjoyed their relationship. Lucius reminded me a little of Mr Darcy of Pride and Prejudice. But all that being sa
Mar 05, 2017 Jilly rated it it was amazing
This one had everything you want in a Historical Romance. There were so many times that I felt a little flavor of Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice, but really no feeling of the book's namesake, Much Ado About Nothing. They do quote the play a few times, but I didn't feel there was a storyline connection. And, that's fine with me.

not a "happy ending" kinda guy

So, we have four sisters whose father recently died. He was a major horse-guy.

um, no. Not like that.

He owns horses, bets o
Jul 19, 2010 Ruth rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this one. It had some touches which made it more enjoyable than most, although the plot was somewhat predictable.

Things I liked:
- The four sisters are like real sisters. They love each other, but also drive each other nuts, argue, sulk, bitch and complain a bit. This is soo much better than all those romances where sisters just love each other and think the the sun shines out of each other's #@!*. Nope. Sorry. I've never met sisters who are like that. There's always tension there, and
Jacob Proffitt
Jan 07, 2014 Jacob Proffitt rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, steamy
This was a very fun Regency romance. Tess and her three sisters find themselves orphaned and thrown into the wardship of a kind, though indolent Duke. The obvious solution is that one of them should marry well, quickly, so that the others can be presented under her auspices. Tess, being the oldest, feels this responsibility keenly and begins looking about her for suitable candidates. Naturally, their guardian's friends are first up for consideration.

The book's scope is pretty limited, really, be
Oct 25, 2012 Kathleen rated it really liked it
Series opener, each book featuring one of four orphaned Scottish sisters: Teresa (Tess), the eldest at age 25, Annabel, 22, Imogen, 20, and Josephine (Josie), only 15. This is Tess's book. The last half is top notch, beginning with her marriage to Lucius.

Susan Duerdan narrated this audiobook. Great job!! And a British accent is suitable for this riff on Much Ado About Nothing (it reminded me more of Alcott's Little Women -- an old fave). Also, horses play a big role in Much Ado, bringing to min
Jul 15, 2010 Katyana rated it liked it
Mmmm, it was okay. Sort of bland, honestly. There didn't actually seem to be any major central conflict in this book. And the secondary characters were all largely flat and 2 dimensional... with Annabel being the only *possible* exception (and that's really a stretch, honestly). I know this series carries on and follows each of the sisters as they fall in love, but I am so uninterested in the sisters that I don't imagine I will read the others. Maybe Annabel's book. But frankly, I find Imogen (s ...more
First of all, I have to take my hat off to Susan Duerden for pulling off something which, to my mind, would have been quite a daunting task. In Much Ado About You, there are four (possibly five) principal female characters and four principal male characters as well as various servants and other secondary characters. She managed to voice them all reasonably distinctly and clearly. Almost all those eight principals will appear in the other three entries to the series too, so I imagine a lot of tho ...more
Oct 14, 2013 Krystle rated it did not like it
I have not had time to write any reviews as of late but I had to on this book. Let me just say, I read this book from this author because they were promoted by an author I enjoy a great deal, but from now on I will only be enjoying that authors books and not taking their reccomendations because this book killed me...SLOWLY!! I made absolutely no connections with the characters and the ones I found a semi conncection were not even the main two. She was setting up her series and instead of making ...more
Miranda Davis
Apr 21, 2013 Miranda Davis rated it really liked it
Shelves: 3-4-stars
I read this and was delighted by the author's wit and voice. And I really slipped into the time period, thanks to her command of Regency realities (or her completely convincing interpretation of them). There were many, many sharply observed moments I enjoyed. But...

The characters took me a while to warm to, though I did understand their different personalities with the fair/dark, romantic/mercenary, gorgeous/even more gorgeous/pudgy, etc. differences between the sisters delineated a number of ti
Much Ado About You
3 Stars

Following the death of their father, the four Essex sisters become the wards of the Duke of Holbrook who soon realizes that they re not the demure children he was expecting. The eldest, Tess, has her hands full keeping exquisite man-magnet Annabel, foolishly romantic Imogen and highly intelligent Josie under control, so it comes to as no surprise when all hell breaks loose and Tess finds herself married to someone completely unsuitable in order to save her family from di
Hmm. Conflicted about this one in some ways. Silly me, who should really know better, believed what the description said, especially this line: "one of London's most infamous rakes. Lucius Felton is a rogue whose own mother considers him irredeemable!" which led me to having incorrect expectations. (It also turns out I forgot some of the description when I got around to reading the book! That one's my fault.) He . . . doesn't seem to be a rogue at all and that's not his mom's problem with him.

Elis Madison
If I could've called it, this book would've been titled Something Wanton. You'll see why in a bit.

The Essex sisters are orphans. Their mother died years ago, and their father, an avid horseman, took a fall and died a rather more lingering death. His madness for horse racing has left the young ladies penniless—their only dowry is his stable—each of them has a prize-winning Thoroughbred as her portion.

And their guardian is Rafe, the Duke of Holbrook, who agreed to take them on in exchange for (wh
If you had a childhood living with several siblings, you will relate to this book: the four girls are believably imperfect, often immature and unlikeable, but teeth-barringly defensive and loyal to one another; you can feel their love and closeness, their comfort and belonging, despite their regular dislike and dismay over one another.

The four men were interesting and individual too. Initially.

About half way in, the characters stopped developing and became repetitive. Those quirky idiosyncrasies
DNF @ 52%
= no stars...

I really REALLY tried to stick it through until the end...Alas, I could not.

I don't see Lucien and Tess as a couple at ALL...yeah sure they made out a couple times but there was no connection. They both had that "out of sight, out of mind" mentality but once they were in each other's company..ALONE, then they would be all over each other.

Tess was an alright character...nothing too special which made her boring.... She was the oldest of all of the sisters but she had no char
May 14, 2017 Jess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Las hermanas Essex prometen. Este es el primer libro de la saga y por lo tanto la presentación de todas ellas, centrándose en Tess y su historia, que a mi se me ha hecho corta, pero dando pinceladas de el resto. Tanto los personajes principales como los secundarios son geniales, todos me atrajeron para bien o mal desde el principio. Las hermanas tienen personalidades muy diferentes, así que espero que el resto de la saga me guste al menos tanto como éste. Felton como personaje masculino me parec ...more
Sheila Melo
FINAL DECISION:  This book started out slowly because there are so many characters and situations to set up as this book kicks off the Essex Sisters series. Once the story focused on Tess and Lucius, however, I loved how it went.  Took too long to get there, however.

THE STORY:  When their father dies, the four Essex sisters become wards of the Duke of Holbrook.  The duke means well, but he is a drunkard and a bit clueless about what to do with his four unexpected wards.  The oldest sister Tess r
Mar 16, 2008 Ron rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
It's the start of a fun new series from James, as a bachelor duke suddenly finds himself the ward of four orphaned sisters, one of whom is preparing to marry for practicality's sake and another desperate to marry for love...
Dec 19, 2016 Laura rated it liked it
Weak beginning, but strong ending. I will continue with the series :)
Jun 10, 2017 Alex rated it really liked it
It was a little slow to start, but given that it's the first in a series and was working to set up following books, I don't especially mind! It picked up a lot in the latter half, and I ended up really enjoying this story: so much of it is not only about romantic love but also familial love, and that's a refreshing point of view in a romance.

Lucius and Tess were perfectly suited, and I liked the fact that they got on immediately, as opposed to gradually coming to like one another! Also, I reall
Nov 29, 2015 kris rated it liked it
Tess Essex is the oldest of four absolutely stunning sisters. Lucius Felton is the richest non-titled dude in all of England. They both end up at the Duke of Holbrook's estate for different reasons and sparks fly! After Tess's convenient groom-to-be disappears, Lucius steps up to the plate and then tries to convince everyone that somehow only having sex at night means he's a shallow monster that can never feel love. What will happen when the sex creeps into the daylight???

1. No, seriously: Luciu
I like how this book started out with describing the Essex sisters and how they are all different. Series which have lead ladies with different personalities are always fun reads for me. (Wallflowers anyone?)
I don't mind when it becomes apparent right off the bat who the heroine is going to fall in love with, in fact I kind of enjoy how giddy I get when they are about to meet or are meeting for the first time. When Lucius is about to walk into the dining room and meet a slightly tipsy Tess the
Sep 24, 2015 Angela rated it really liked it
Overall I enjoyed this book a lot, even though the writing gets a little messy towards the end.

What I Liked:
The narration was spot on. Better than most I've listened to.

I enjoyed how the beginning of the book is introducing all the players for the series, with multiple POV's. You're getting to know everyone, and it's fun trying to figure out who will be paired with who.

I liked both the H/h; Tess isn't an overbearing or bossy older sister, which you might expect from not only the eldest girl, bu
Jan 12, 2011 Wendy rated it really liked it
I am really liking reading Eloisa James's historicals. Desperate Duchesses was my intro to her work, and it hit so many right notes I'm digging into more in that series, and other series as they come to my attention.

I'm not sure of the exact timing of this book, but probably early 1800's. No, wait, there's mention of Waterloo. So, sometime after 1816 then. No panniers and powdered wigs, anyway. There is a lot of talk of horses - breeding them, racing them, riding them, betting on them. Horses a
This wasn't for me. I try again and again to love Eloisa James' books, but for some reason they are more miss than hit.

I loved some of the fairy tales, but this first Essex sisters book just couldn't keep my attention. I got distracted by the many many POV's, I checked the blurb some time into the book to find out which one of the men would become the hero only to find out he hadn't made an appearance yet and then so much time was spend on Imogen, one of the other sisters that this book felt mo
Mar 01, 2013 Thenia rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable, as are all the author's books! The characters are vivid, flawed and likable, the relationships painfully realistic and the plot engaging.

I liked Tess and admired her patience. Siblings can be very frustrating and hers were exceptionally so, but she managed to hold her temper in situations where I know I wouldn't be able to.

I liked Lucius even more, with his laconic and mysterious ways. Just because he appears to be cold and unfeeling it doesn't make him so and I loved seeing behi
Apr 21, 2015 sharon rated it really liked it
A fun Regency romance that manages surprising depth despite its formulas. I really enjoyed the inclusion of strong, realistic female friendships between Tess and her sisters. How often do you see a heroine in a romance with any women friends, much less three different fully developed relationships with three different (fully developed) women? Every scene where the Essex sisters are interacting with each other was engrossing, particularly their dialogue with each other. The romance between the tw ...more
Perdani Budiarti
Cerita dengan banyak tokoh, empat saudari yang di"waris"kan kepada saudara jauh mereka setelah ayah keempat gadis tersebut meninggal. Tess sebagai yang tertua mendapat beban lebih untuk meneladani adik-adiknya yang punya karakter berbeda-beda.

Seperti biasa, untuk menyelesaikan masalah keuangan dan agar mendapat status, Tess harus menikahi seseorang yang dianggap potensial, tak lain Earl of Mayne. Namun kenyataan tidak seindah harapan saat pria tersebut meninggalkan Tess di altar. Untung saja ada
Aug 19, 2013 Shelley rated it really liked it
Flight read, and I was so pissed the book was longer than the flight - I kept whipping it out whenever I could. And got frustrated when my luggage came so damn fast. Seriously, airport? Seriously?

Charming, mostly funny and definitely fun story about four Scottish sisters, 15-22, who end up as wards of an English Lord. Within a week, there are engagements and feelings where there ought not to be. Miss Pythian-Adams was hilarious: "I have done my best to repel my fiancee. I have learned reams of S
Erica Chilson
Loved the book. Read the majority of it when I should have been sleeping. Couldn't put it down. What made it a 4 star vs a 5 star book for me was the lack of contact and connection between the 'heroine' and the 'hero' because of the amount of POV change-ups. If you can call the change of narration when it was in 3rd person a POV change-up. A better way to describe it: there were too many people being narrated about, taking away from the main characters. Yes, I want to connect with the characters ...more
Liz F
Apr 06, 2012 Liz F rated it liked it
**** SPOILERS *****

Liked it. Wasn't blown away. Ended a little abruptly. Maybe I missed something. Weird story. The girls are "orphaned" but since they're in their 20's for the most part, they go to live with a guardian they don't know. Guardian is a drunk but is still a good, sweet man. Tess is betrothed to one guy but then he bails. The guy she REALLY likes steps in and marries her but tells her he isn't capable of love, yadda yadda. After lots of great sex they fall in love with each other. H
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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

Essex Sisters (4 books)
  • Kiss Me, Annabel (Essex Sisters, #2)
  • The Taming of the Duke (Essex Sisters, #3)
  • Pleasure for Pleasure (Essex Sisters, #4)

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“She pulled back, but not abruptly. His eyes were the darkest indigo blue that she had ever seen. She let a faint smile curl on her lips. "You inquire how many kisses of yours would be enough, and more to satisfy me," she said, and was startled to hear a husky catch in her voice. "As many as the grains of Libyan sand that lie between hot Jupiter's oracle… as many…" She paused. The look in his eye had made her forget what she was saying. What came after hot oracle!
He didn't look sardonic now, but truly surprised. She had to leave. This was all entirely too intimate and uncomfortable.
"Alas," she said, gathering up her skirts again and turning toward the rockslide. "I have quite forgotten the next line, so we shall have to delay this learned discussion." He was at her shoulder in a moment, helping her over the stones.
"As many as the stars," he said, conversationally, as if they were talking of gardening, or Romans, or any number of polite topics. "As many as the stars, when the night is still, gazing down on secret human desires.”
“He had told her that he would never care deeply for her, that he was incapable of strong feelings. Tess would - would /spit/ before she believed that nonsense.” 1 likes
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