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Much Ado About You

(Essex Sisters #1)

by
3.81  ·  Rating details ·  9,015 ratings  ·  488 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 beg
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Paperback, 391 pages
Published December 28th 2004 by Avon
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  9,015 ratings  ·  488 reviews


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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
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Melindam
Another of those instances where I wrote quite a good review (even if I say so myself!), but because I tried to do some update on that ghastly GR App on the phone (I cannot tell you how much I loathe it) it's just gone. :(

OK, so it wasn't exactly Shakespeare or Hardy, but I did work with it. :(((((
Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell

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I buddy read this with Karishma and it was a very satisfying read, reminding me in terms of style of authors such as Meredith Duran, or Lisa Kleypas circa her Gamblers duology. MUCH ADO ABOUT YOU, which is apparently inspired by Little Women according to the author's note, is about a family of sisters who are the daughters of an impoverished lord who spent all of his money on horses. Now all of them are basically penniless, with only rac
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Jilly
Mar 05, 2017 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 on horses
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Jacob Proffitt
Jan 07, 2014 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
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Ruth
Jul 19, 2010 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
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Karishma
Aug 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-before-2020
Reading with Nenia

Good beginning- boring 100 pages - then slowly better till a good but somwhow unsatisfying ending.

I would have loved this book if so much time wasn't spent on the sisters.

I liked the parts with the Lucius, Tess and Rafe.

Not so much the other sisters especially Imogen. I completely disliked her and want to cross out her lines in black.

I may still read the other books but don't want to read Imogen's book although she ends up with (view spoiler) and I reall
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Mimi Matthews
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a book I've read over so many times entirely because I love revisiting the scenes between Tess and Lucius. Their romance is a masterclass in emotional subtlety. Every weighted glance, every unspoken word, means so much. And as their relationship progresses and Lucius begins to express himself more and more, and to allow himself to love and be loved, WOW. Just wow.

I'm an absolute sucker for a romance with a sensible, loving heroine and a strong, silent hero (especially when that hero's s
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Caz
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
Vivian
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance-hist
Too many competing storylines.

"I'm not used to the responsibility of being a guardian. There can't be a worse guardian in all Christendom than I!"
Tiny bit of hyperbole, but Rafe is correct. Even so, there's something rather charming in his dissipated character. A man who cares for naught but horses and brandy, nonetheless, lives up to his duty to take on the responsibility of four female charges. The nursery is perfect, overdone and no expense spared and his conclusion that sharing leads to res
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Kathleen
Oct 25, 2012 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
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Krystle
Oct 14, 2013 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
Katyana
Jul 15, 2010 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
Ace
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Lucius Felton walks into Tess Essex's life she is falling for him even before she understands what's happening. I was falling for him a bit myself too, and not just because he was filthy rich (well maybe a little bit).

Miranda Davis
Apr 21, 2013 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
...more
Hannah // Book Nerd Native
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Almost a 5 star book - this was one of the best romances I’ve read this year. Very wholesome, reminiscent of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility and Little Women. This was a slow burn w/ lots of focus on the side characters/relationships & I loved that. ...more
Kelly
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, romantical, owned
Look, I DEVOURED books for the first two months of quarantine. I was eating them up. But then a few weeks ago I absolutely hit a wall and couldn't bring myself to pick up a book. I strongly suspect it had a lot to do with the amount of time I spent digesting the increasingly depressing, horrifying and tragic events and further daily proof of the racism in this country in addition to the decreased energy from quarantine anyway. (I'm American, for anyone disconnected from the news lately.) I spent ...more
Lauren
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
...more
Katie
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.

Th
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Sarah
10/12 - I found this entirely too unfocused on who was supposed to be the main couple. In the 90 pages I read I never did work out who the hero was - not a good sign in my opinion. I was reading it on my laptop (that's the only way my library's eBooks are available to read : / ), so that may have added to my reluctance/forgetfulness to read this (it returned itself sometime during the week without me even noticing, so that tells you something). If my library ever gets a physical copy of it I mig ...more
Sadie Forsythe
I have to be honest. I finished this by force of will alone. I didn't particularly care for it. The writing is wonderful (as is the narration), but the story itself irritated me. For over half the book I kept thinking, "This isn't a romance, it's just a book about being on the marriage market." Then, a dedicated bachelor suddenly and seemingly at random decided he was going to marry the main character and that was that. From there it's just filler and unnecessary drama that I read thinking, "Why ...more
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 (w
...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
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Marielle
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
...more
KimberlyRose
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
...more
Seffra
Nov 03, 2015 added it
Shelves: did-not-finish
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
...more
Carol
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exceptional romance

I rate books by how much I enjoy reading them. There are not enough stars to rate this one. Every character stands out - the sisters, the men, the mothers - it’s a veritable feast of personalities. You will love and hate, laugh and cry, smile and seethe in equal measure as you journey with Tess and the others, all the way through to the end.
It’s not difficult to see the Shakespearian influence in Eloisa James’ writing - reason versus emotion, hamartia, conflict, catharsis, c
...more
October
Jan 22, 2018 added it
Shelves: dnf
I cleared out my previous rating because there wasn't anything wrong with the book per se, so it may be a little unfair to give this a one star. The plot felt boring and rehashed and my attention wandered after 35% but that could also be due to me picking this up at the wrong time.
kris
Nov 29, 2015 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
...more
WhiskeyintheJar
Oct 12, 2010 rated it liked it
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
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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

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)

Articles featuring this book

She’s an expert at true love, the master of scenes that make readers sigh and swoon. She is a fearless champion of happily ever...
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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.”
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“If anyone deserves an apology, it is Miss Essex, whose infant sister was stolen by your depraved offspring!” 2 likes
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