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The Taming of the Duke (Essex Sisters, #3)
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The Taming of the Duke (Essex Sisters #3)

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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  3,792 ratings  ·  167 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
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Paperback, 392 pages
Published March 28th 2006 by Avon (first published January 1st 2006)
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Dukes... Bring 'em on!
22nd out of 331 books — 566 voters
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My Favourite Historical Romance
99th out of 1,349 books — 1,755 voters


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Community Reviews

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♥ Melody
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
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skein
awkward awkward awkward awkward.

SCENE ONE!
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

SCENE TWO!
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
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Ruth
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
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Sarah MacLean
these are all 5 star books...but I so loved the last of the series...so 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.
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
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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)
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jenjn79
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Yackie
2.5 Stars

CAUTION SPOILERS

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
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Amber
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
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
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Katie
I was looking forward to this one because the guardian/ward trope is one I enjoy (so much so that I had to make sure this series included it before I started it!) and I liked a lot of the romance, but I don't think it QUITE worked and to talk about it, I'll have to talk spoilers. (view spoiler) ...more
Thenia
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
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Kyraryker
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
Liz
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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Jen
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
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Cazzychaps
I haven't read this author before. The story was okay, but I found having so many characters distracting from the main storyline with Rafe and Imogen. I didn't mind a secondary couple, but then having all the sisters, the actress etc., I thought made the book overstuffed. I know the author is threading in characters to hook you to the other books in the series but I felt it was overkill.

I loved the character of Rafe and thought he was very well written. Imogen was okay but I didn't really get a
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Roewoof
THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN TO READ!

Ok, a little bit of background. I have a deep love for Victorian and early English literature. I feel like I was a little backwards in my love for literature, in the sense that when my peers were reading fairytales and C.S. Lewis, I was sleeping with a well worn copy of Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyre under my pillow.

I love Victorian literature. So what can be better than Victorian literature than historically correct Victorian romance with sex and all? I tell ya.
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Kathy
Rafe and Imogen

several of the reviews of this book were condemning the way that Imogen didn't know the difference between Rafe and Gabe. That she basically was clueless or that Elosia didn't even show what Imogen was thinking.
To me,I think Imogen knew but could not quite grasp what was before her. It took the whole book but isn't that the point in making the plot thicken?
It showed that Imogen havivg loved,but not desired by her husband, not desired by another that she was interested in could be
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Trudy Miner
Rafe Jourdain is the Duke of Holbrook. He's also a second son beset by guilt, a drunkard and the guardian of Lady Imogen Maitland, a young widow, who he's lusted after ever since he laid eyes on her. Now that she's widowed, Imogene is living at Holbrook Court along with Gabriel Spenser, Rafe's newly discovered half-brother who looks enough like him to pass as his twin. But Gabe is illegitimate and has an illegitimate infant daughter by an actress. Imogene has decided that she wants to walk on th ...more
Amy
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.
Shelley
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.
Martha
Too much side stories I think. With that Ms. Gillian & Gabriel, Josie & Crogan, not too mention Griselda and Loretta Hawe. They made the story slighly unfocused. More portion of the story attributed to the hero and heroine would more preferable. Hey, this book's title is 'The Taming of The Duke', remember? Which is Rafe.

Moreover, I didn't like the hero's character. With Rafe being drunkard, having a 'lil bit gut, and in his mid-thirties (eventhough just in the beginning). Why couldn't we
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Jillian
Loved this addition to the series. I wasn't a big fan of Imogen.. not exactly sure why. But in the end the story line was perfect, love the twists that James puts in her writing... especially with the Essex sisters.
Ron
Mar 16, 2008 Ron rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: romance
Eloisa James wraps up the Essex Sisters series by putting Rafe in the romantic spotlight, and acknowledging all that drinking he's been doing over the last three books in the series... a fun ending to a fun quartet.
Vicki
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...
Kelly
I loved this one. I've loved Rafe from the start and when I realized he was going to end up with Imogen I was all OH HELL NO. But Imogen has grown so much and gone through so much, she ends of being a perfect companion for Rafe. It's incredible how much they have both grown and evolved since the first Essex Sisters novel.

I loved the bathtub scene when Rafe was in alcohol withdrawals. It felt so authentic and so perfectly encapsulated the friendship between Rafe and Imogen -- that would lead to
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Tatiana
3.5

I have to be clear and say that I did not like Imogen, I don't think I hated her, but she was definetely my least favorite Essex sister. Of course, that changed a little bit after reading this book, even thought I still don't like her completely.

Now, about the story, I only have to say that I would have liked to know more about the moment when Imogen found out the truth about Gabe/Rafe. Trying to look for some kind of indication of it happening, I read again the last couple of chapters and
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Spuffed
This was the best of the series, IMHO. I listened to the audio version and the narrator was fantastic, as usual. I happened to read this book first and then went back in order. The evolution of the Chick in this book was very enjoyable to read throughout the series and she really shines in this book. I also liked the real life struggle the Dude went through in this book. There was quite a transition in the relationship between these two MC's and I thought the author did a really great job with i ...more
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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)
  • Much Ado About You (Essex Sisters, #1)
  • Kiss Me, Annabel (Essex Sisters, #2)
  • Pleasure for Pleasure (Essex Sisters, #4)
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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“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.”
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“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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