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The Ugly Duckling Debutante (The House of Renwick, #1)
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The Ugly Duckling Debutante (House of Renwick #1)

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  1,574 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
Since childhood Sara has lived with the reality of being ugly. Something her awful family never ceased to remind her. After her sisters run off to Gretna Green, she's left with one choice--go to London and take their place for a Season. It's up to her to marry well and save her family from financial ruin.

A distant aunt decides it's in her best interest to sponsor Sara for
Nook, 247 pages
Published September 26th 2011 by Astraea Press
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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
I wrote a review, but my mom borrowed my computer and closed the browser before I saved it. My fault for not saving it. I wasn't that happy with the review, so here's my second chance.

I enjoyed this book a lot, and it almost got five stars, but things sort of fell apart around the climax. I don't like manufactured drama, and the blowup near the end felt like that to me. While I agree that keeping secrets from people and being dishonest is wrong, it was clear that the situation that makes Renwick
Nikki  Peterson
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Historical Romance Lovers
Main Character Sara, has always been told by her demeaning parents and sisters that she is ugly. She has come to accept that she will be a spinster, who would marry her? Her parents have already made it well known of her worthlessness and haven't even settled a dowry on her.

Then her sisters elope with twin brothers "of no means" to Gretna Greene. It is then left up to Sara to go to London for her first (and only) season and land a husband. She is the only hope for her lousy family. Her Aunt, Lad
Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was ok
I would most likely have loved this book, had I read it when I was in elementary school. The Ugly Duckling Debutante is super simple, in every way that it is possible to be so. The characters are not bright (in neither description or intellect)...they are not well developed or evolved. The plot has been done so much better so many times before. It's unclear, but I think that this book was attempting to be a religious romance, but the only indication of it was the lack of sex, the characters some ...more
Jan 09, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a DNF. First, this is a Christian romance. While there is a market for that, I'm not a member. I like my romances gritty and to have some sex in it. Otherwise, what is the point of reading??? Anyway, I am really upset that this was not marketed as having a Christian slant, because I don't think that historical dukes really gave a rat's ass about their immortal souls in that particularly Calvinistic way we have today. I also don't mind heroes looking for redemption/spirituality, but I'm p ...more
Kathy * Bookworm Nation
Overall, I thought this was a fun regency story. I liked our main characters Sara and Nicholas. I was sucked in from the beginning and really felt bad for poor Sara and the horrible childhood she had to endure with her awful parents. I also respected our reformed rake Nicholas. I loved that he was regretful of his past and made a very conscience effort to live a better, more moral life. I thought Sara and Nicholas had good chemistry together and that together they could help heal each other’s pa ...more
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
I couldn't in good conscience give this more that 2 stars due to content. I wouldn't call it a clean book by any stretch of the imagination. But it wasn't a Harlequin either.

Sara has been told her whole life she is ugly and strange. When in actuality she is beautiful. The whole book is Sara thinking she is ugly and "supposedly" this innocent girl, but turned into a bit of a skank to me.

Nicholas is a reformed rake. And when I say rake he didn't care if they were married or not, he "bedded" them
I read this, paperback, (I know!!!)and bought it online.
This is one of my very favorite regent books, maybe because he is the regent equivalent of my bad boys I love in leather and seal gear!
This is a must read, you will forget the time and crave the story, sexy funny and I did cry. The best.
There are spin offs
Jun 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
A rake reformed by finding god and a beautiful debutant who has been raised to think she's ugly but doesn't have any complexes. I don't think a longer book who have saved this. I found myself going WHAT?? And then WTF?
Nov 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
With Christmas readily approaching, we now turn to the fun (or not so fun) task of having to be around family for the holidays. While some of us love our families, some are less than thrilled at this prospect, hoping to be able to glide through without a snide remark uttered or awkward silence encountered. It is with this spirit that we turn to The Ugly Duckling Debutante, by Rachel Van Dyken. Sara, our heroine, has one of the latter previously mentioned families. To say that her sisters demean ...more
Romancing the Book
Reviewed by Marissa
Book provided by the author for review
Review originally posted at Romancing the Book

I love stories about the odd one out and Sara fits the bill perfectly. She’s intelligent and witty and she prefers country life to dresses and balls. Thanks to her parents, she believes she is the ugliest girl that ever existed yet she is resigned to the fact that she will likely never marry and doesn’t seem disappointed by it, much preferring to read about love and romance (and loving families
Emma L Smith
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
After I gushed like a soppy fangirl about Rachel yesterday in a review of Entice, I felt like this HAD to be the book I read today. I thought the magical spell cast on me might have been broken with an historical novel, I secretly had my fingers crossed for it a little bit as let's be honest, I'm getting embarrassing now. If I ever get in the same room with her, well, it'll be like when a twelve year old kid meets One Direction. There will be tears and uncontrollable shaking and possibly removal ...more
Oct 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book was beyond amazing! I laughed, cried and even yelled; and when i wasn’t doing any of these, I had a smile on my face. The characters and the story flowed and kept me hooked. (Ok, more than hooked. Ive already bugged Ms. Rachel for part two. I feel like an addict who needs more. lol) Once I started reading this, I couldn’t put it down. I stayed up all night just to finish it. lol This book is one of those perfect ones that make you feel every emotion. By far, one of my favorites this ye ...more
Amanda Sheila
3.5 stars, amazing historical romance from a contemporary romance author.

Reading this book is like reading historical romance from Julia London but with simple language and less confusing plot. I think that's why I quite enjoyed it better. Though again, as much as I liked it, I don't really feel the classic or the sense of historical in this book. I don't even know what era or what year the event's happening. So yeah.

Nicholas Renwick's fall head over heels with Sara--or Sai Ames, a maiden who
Dec 12, 2011 rated it liked it
I've been reading period romances for 27 years, some great and some atrocious. I read all the reviews here before I began reading the book (just in case). This book was OK, not terrible but also not terrific. I did, however, like certain aspects of the story. The things I didn't like about the story were several and it is up to you whether you feel this is something you don't or do want to read.

One of the issues I had with the book is that I was unclear what period it was supposed to be in, they
Jewels ♥ My Devastating Reads
Originally reviewed at
I wasn't able to resist the premise of this book. It sounded too sweet, and sexy. An ugly duckling heroine? A reformed rake? These are characters I can never resist. I'm such a sucker for outrageous premises. Anyway, I just had to read this book. It was a quick read, I found, light and easy to read and less than 300 pages long.

I think I'll begin with the writing got on my nerves. Van Dyken's writing varied from polished and clea
This is my first book by this author, to tell the truth it was god but not that great.

In here I liked the Heroine more than the Hero, she was like a solid pillar that can't be tipple, she might get bruised and scratch but she will never fall or crumble. But the Hero was a different matter, throughout the book he sounded like a hypocrite: he wants he, but says he doesn't. He demands her trust, but doesn't give his. He was so afraid of pain, rejection and humiliation, and never gave a second thoug
Rachel- Goodbye Borders
This looked interesting. Then I started to read and I just kept getting pissed off.
The double standard is alive and well in this book.
"It was why he never talked to women; naturally, they never really had anything intelligent to say."
"If he ever did marry, he would want her to be innocent enough not to push him past his physical limitations, and sweet enough to be a good mother." WTF?
I didn't make it very far, but this seemed to be more of a preachy Christian romance.
"Most of the ton looked at C
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Ugly duckling by Rachel van Dyken

Highly enjoyable and entertaining. A very fast read and lots of twists and suspicions.

Sara Ames born under unusual circumstances and given away at birth was constantly told by her family that she was ugly and unwanted by anyone.

Nicholas Devons, Earl of Renwick, man of means and wealth, looks and a few secrets he hoped stayed hidden. She has secrets to that she only just found out that she wished would stay hidden, if only for a little while longer.

They get m
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed Sara and Nicholas, good couple. Liked the ups and downs and how they played out. I think this story needed a little more details in the sex area, could have added more depth to the story and characters. Sad that Sara was treated they way she was but luckily she became a beautiful, caring woman.
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book, it was a good twist on an original story, I found I loved both of the main characters and I wanted them to get their happily ever after. The final parts of the book feel slightly rushed but I am also glad the author did not keep us in suspence or expectation of the finalie. I am looking forward to reading the next one in this series.
May 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
I liked the premise of the book and most of the story, but by the end I was sick of hearing again and again how unworthy Nicholas was, how ugly Sara thought she was, and how many times/ways Nicholas could be misunderstood as saying Sara was ugly when he really meant she was beautiful. WE GOT IT, you don't need to beat it into us.
Ruth Hartman
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Sara has been told all her life she's ugly. She doesn't realize until she's grown and away from her family that they'd branded her with that term because of jealousy.

I loved the interaction between the hero and heroine. Their conversations sound real, and human. Something I could definitely identify with.

We should all be so lucky to be ugly ducklings turned into beautiful swans!
Mana Drake
Dec 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this refreshing take on the Ugly Duckling story. The characters were compelling and I wanted to learn more.
Jennifer (random jendsmit)
This was ok... not my preferred genre but it was ok. Not bad just not my thing
Jan 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
Almost impossible to find writing worse than E.L. James, but here you go.
Parvati Maharaj
Nov 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Sara has been called ugly all her life. Living with a family that treated her like a burden she is forced to enter the Season to catch a husband to help pay off their debt. There she meets Nicholas who has no wish to be married. Her aunt gets him to be Sara's bodyguard during the Season but he can't seem to keep his hands to himself. Caught in a compromising situation they are forced to be married. Insults and hurt feelings are thrown around but they eventually come to love each other. However, ...more
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is an enjoyable, clean (no sex scenes) read. My only rub is that the heroine is far too forgiving for my tastes.


She's far too forgiving of her family and barely blinked at her birth mother who was deplorable to continue the lies about her appearance.


If you can stomach knowing the vile people prosper without penitence, then you can enjoy this read. I'm apparently not Christian enough not to want to see them get their comeuppance.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Nicholas Renwick is a frustrating man. He is so hard on himself that it is difficult for him to trust, forgive and love.
Amra Isović
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Zabavna, vesela, uzbudljiva jako, jako dobra historijska limunada. Ako vam treba bijeg od svakodnevnice , da se fino odmorite i uživate u čitanju , ovu knjigu toplo preporučujem :)
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Sep 20, 2015 01:37PM  
  • Two Turtledoves (The House of Renwick)
  • The Blackmailed Bride
  • To Win His Wayward Wife (Scandalous Sisters #3)
  • A Matter of Choice
  • Beauty for Ashes
  • Wallflower (The Old Maids' Club, #1)
  • Heartless
  • Lord Beast
  • Her Counterfeit Husband
  • Captain Corcoran's Hoyden Bride
  • Violet (Come By Chance Mail Order Brides #3)
  • The Bride Sale
  • Alma's Mail Order Husband (Texas Brides #1)
  • A Lot Like A Lady (Lady, #1)
  • An Earl Like No Other
  • The Spinster & The Beast
  • The Governess and Mr. Granville (The Parson's Daughters, #2)
  • The Guise of a Gentleman (Rogue Hearts, #2)
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances.

Hey guys I'm rarely on Goodreads, if you need to reach me feel free to email!

More about Rachel Van Dyken...

Other Books in the Series

House of Renwick (4 books)
  • The Seduction of Sebastian St. James (The House of Renwick, #2)
  • The Redemption of Lord Rawlings (The House of Renwick, #3)
  • The Devil Duke Takes a Bride (The House of Renwick, #4)

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“was absolutely delighted. Sara” 1 likes
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