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

(Essex Sisters #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  8,431 ratings  ·  432 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
Paperback, 391 pages
Published December 28th 2004 by Avon
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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,431 ratings  ·  432 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 w
Nenia ☠️ Hecka Wicked ☠️ 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 racehorses as their dowries. One of the chief complai
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the first regency romance book I read by Eloisa James and also my favourite.
It is a perfect guilty-pleasure read: delightful, witty, light, wicked, steamy aaaaand surprisingly and importantly, it gets most of the regency p's and q's right. It also contains explicit sex scenes, so if you prefer clean romances, you may want to look elsewhere.

Rafe, the Duke of Holbrook promised the Earl of Brydone to become guardian to his daughters should the need arise. As the Earl -a kind, but fec
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 fourclass="gr-hostedUserImg">
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, a
Jacob Proffitt
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: steamy, romance
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
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 wi
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 thought ...more
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 mind the fabulous R
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
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
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
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. ...more
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 fa
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 (what els
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 s
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. Tho
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
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.
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 16, 2008 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 rated it liked it
Weak beginning, but strong ending. I will continue with the series :)
Farshana S A
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: vr-lib
The author says in her book that Essex sisters series is like Sex and the City meets Little Women and that's exactly what it felt to read this novel by Eloisa James, an author I think I haven't read any so far. There's something about sisters fighting and loving each other that makes for good reading. In Much Ado About You, Tess and her sisters arrive at Holbrook Hall as wards of Rafe with hopes of getting things done and giving security to her sisters. I loved how the author has already establi ...more
Jun 10, 2017 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
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
I thought the drama with the sisters was much more interesting than the romance in this one. In fact, the romance was pretty boring and uninteresting...
Jun 27, 2019 added it
Oh my god, I’m 40% into the book and literally nothing has happened. No one has died, fainted or brought dishonor to their family and it calls itself a regency romance tsk tsk.
Jun 29, 2019 rated it liked it
I think i understand why Younger Lexie considered this so sublime - the idea that as an older sibling you make sacrifices for your younger siblings was a notion I was i obsessed with. Putting aside the psychological reasoning there, I admired Tess.

That said, I cared very little for any of the sisters and while Draven certainly cut a nice figure (and James' sexy scenes were, as always, well done) this doesn't hold my interest now.

I found myself annoyed that Tess spends so much time w
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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 repeatedly received star ...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)
“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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