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Once a Duchess

(Once A... #1)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  1,815 ratings  ·  195 reviews
Isabelle Lockwood was a duchess, until her husband of only a few months wrongfully divorced her for adultery. Since then she’s been a pariah, living in anonymous exile to escape the prying eyes and wagging tongues of the ton. More than anything, Isabelle longs for a family of her own, and so has to marry again. But society is ruthlessly unforgiving. To clear her name, Isab ...more
ebook, 168 pages
Published October 15th 2012 by Crimson Romance
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  1,815 ratings  ·  195 reviews

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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jacqueline's Reads
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ku, 4-star-books
4.5 I love historical romance novels

Once a Duchess popped up on my Amazon feed and I really got hooked into the summary. I was a little hesitant at first because of all of the mix reviews on Goodreads (I’m a Goodreads junkie so I trust those reviews) but I kept on going back to the book and the summary was really interesting.

I’m glad I took a chance on this because I REALLY enjoyed it. From start to finish it was a pleasant read. It was really well thought-out, the characters were really well-ro
A young woman is left destitute when her husband divorces her based on the lies of his mother. Her brother, in a fit of anger, stops her allowance.

This made for an interesting read, but I never warmed up to it. The heroes sins were truly unforgivable (in most other books he have would been the villain). The brother was a sorry excuse for a man. The mother-in-law and siblings were self-absorbed, callous, human beings.

The heroine should have run for the hills and found herself a decent man. Thoug
Preeti ♥︎ Her Bookshelves
*Spoilers* This is weird enough without having a duchess, okay a divorced ex-duchess, who loves to cook. First, the country people come out in hordes to enjoy her meals at this tavern/inn. And later, she conjures up meals for a party full of people - all alone. Meals that leave people - of fashionable society - licking their fingers. I felt like I was reading a chicklit.

(view spoiler)
Really liked this one. Strong female characters (characters, plural!), smooth writing, three-dimensional villains.

The first villain is the dowager Duchess of Monthwaite, who never really liked her daughter-in-law Isabelle, so three years ago she Iago'ed it up and told her son that Isabelle was cheating on him. Marshall divorced Isabelle, who was promptly cast out of society, and she eventually had to get a job as a cook in an inn. At the beginning of this book, Marshall and Isabelle run into eac
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I have had this book presented more than a few times, and each time I fall for the blurb or whatever.

I read it a few years ago and could not get past the general injustice of it all. The hero for being so stupid as to fall for everything without asking questions. The vile nature of the evil doer (view spoiler). The heroine for forgiving both brother and ex-husband.

No bueno.

This was pretty good, but the hero was kinda blah to me. He divorced his wife thinking she unfaithful based on his spiteful mother's BS. The poor girl ended up broke and working in an Inn. Her own brother cut her off too! I would have liked to have seen the H & the brother grovel. ...more
Ivy H
This H needed a kick in his ass ! I hated the way he believed everything that his lying snobbish c**t of a mother told him about his wife. His mother should have died. She was such an evil nasty old bitch. She acted more like a thwarted OW than a mother. The H was too beta for my tastes too. He was sexy but his preoccupation with his botanical studies was so fucking boring. It just didn't translate into the type of hero I usually come to love in Regency romances. This heroine was treated so badl ...more
Nov 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fans of Pride and Prejudice will devour this historical romance that does an amazing job of combining realistic actions/reactions for that era with a modern description of the intimate moments between the characters.

Isabelle Lockwood is a spirited, opinionated and talented woman who grew up without the guidance of a mother to explain what boundaries had to be maintained in a male/female friendship to maintain proper decorum. Though perfectly innocent, her relationship with a childhood friend lea
Steven Truong
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and heart-wrenching, a tear-jerker for the heart and soul.
In her debut novel Elizabth Boyce blends the standards of 19th century romance blended with her creativity and ingenuity. The theme of divorced couple is rare in Historical romance, Boyce created a high standard for the sub category for the romance genre. Her heroine Isabella is strong willed and great pride befitting of being Duchess, in the face of adversity and social isolation, she strives with head held and a broken heart t
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
If you are fond of weak, easily-deluded heroes who make you want to take an anvil to their head and equally weak, easily forgiving heroines who are misty-eyed instead of angry when said hero ruins their life, this is the book for you.

If you like a couple whose combined powers of perception, deduction, and general reasoning equal to that of a not particularly bright three-year-old and who can be confounded by a villain who has the cunning of a rather small shrub, this is the book for you.

If you
C. Clark
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'll read anything by Elizabeth Boyce after Once a Dutchess, which is not a remark I make lightly. The writing is alive, intelligent, historically accurate, visual and oh so sensual. The effort Boyce puts into making her writing effortless is apparent, and though my genre of preference is mystery, this is a romance author I intend to follow. She paints worlds I can get lost in, using seamless phrasing and characters that you hear once you've closed the book. Congrats on your debut, Ms. Boyce, an ...more
Sep 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Let me start by saying I don't normally read romance books. I was a bit skeptical, but dove in. Wow! I couldn't put it down. The story was fast-paced, flirty, and had tons of ups and downs. I loved the strong female characters, not something I picture when I think of a romance novel. The characters were interesting and I found myself really caring about what happened to them. All in all, a super fun quick read!
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical, romance
On the plus side: heroine isn't a doormat! Eventually she forgives but doesn't forget :-) I am not sure why she still pines for him, but hey it's romance :-)

On the minus side I found the villain a caricature with no real growth and the book verging more on melodrama than drama.
Small pet peeve: I am not sure I believe she can cook and save the day.
Dec 06, 2012 rated it did not like it


/drags down everything/
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When will authors of Regency romance stop with the divorce or annulment trope in their stories? Divorce doesn't really play well historically at that time when it was so difficult to get one. From 1670 to 1857 only 325 divorces were granted in England. True, the plaintiff here was a duke and had the money for an Act of Parliament but divorce was very uncommon even in the upper classes. The divorced female became a pariah and even the male was left with some social stigma.

But that's not all that
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Think you aren't a romance type? Think again! This is a Regency romance in the tradition of Austen; it satisfied even this demanding "literary" reader and left me wanting more.

It is such a pleasure to find those gems of historical romance that not only weave a story of love and lust that keeps you on the edge of your seat, but do so with exacting historical detail, brilliant wordsmithing, and thoughtful consideration of the complexities of life for men and women at the time. Elizabeth Boyce has
Sep 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was a can't-put-down kind of read. I love the heroine - who wouldn't? - and rode the ups and downs with her through the course of the story. Of course, liking her doesn't mean that I always agreed with her, and at times I was a little irritated with her... but that just made it a bit more interesting, knowing that she wasn't behaving exactly as I would. Or maybe she was??
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some books might not be perfect for everyone but this one was perfect for me. It is different than most regencies in that it deals with divorce during that era and the horrific consequences it exacted on the woman. At times the story was hard to read because of the callous, uncaring attitudes of the men in Isobelle's life but the fortitude with which the author endowed her heroine kept me glued to every single page! I did wish there was more backstory as to how exactly Isobelle and Marsha
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
While romance novels are not usually what I choose to read, I'm a sucker for character driven stories. And Once a Duchess was exactly that! I loved all the strong women in this book! The heroine, Isabelle, was such a lush character, full of strength and charm.

I also really enjoyed the writing in this book. Boyce's words are so artfully chosen. Meaning and descriptions are perfectly conveyed and amplified through the author's lovely writing.

This was a pleasure to read and I devoured the entire b
Sep 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
I literally devoured this book. Every spare minute I had went into reading it because I just couldn't put it down. From the very first page you are pulled into the grasp of the book, never to be let go till the very end. The detail in the book is exquisite, making me feel like I was in there with the characters. I'm a person that gets bored very easily with books but I was delighted to finally read a book that I just couldn't read fast enough because I wanted to know what was going to happen nex ...more
Jan 06, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This may be the worst book I've ever opened. I bought it, on impulse, knowing it might be a mistake. Oh, it was. There is nothing redeemable in the entire volume. Trite plotting, bad writing (including writing that doesn't match the period), characters who are inconsistent, unbelievable and boring. I cannot think of a single kind remark to make. Anyone encouraging this woman to write should have to return their college diplomas.
Debbie DiFiore
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Monica Tillery
Mar 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I always forget that I love historical romance until I pick one up! Once a Duchess is a beautifully crafted, unique story that I had a hard time putting down. I particularly enjoyed the author's ability to craft a hero who seemed despicable and irredeemable...and then turn it around so the heroine could love him without being a wimp. Elizabeth Boyce has a place on my auto-buy list from now on!
Debbie "Buried in Her TBR Pile"
This one did not work for me. I prefer to read historical romances that are somewhat authentic. For example, if the context is regency England then the manners, customs, forms of address should be accurate. It seems to be a trend to put almost modern characters, thinking and speech in "historical" stories these days. 1.5 stars.
Heather Smith
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved it! I am looking forward to many, many more works by the brilliant Elizabeth Boyce!
I really liked this one, but Marshall seriously got on my nerves: he was such a coward!! Didn't own it after what he did to Gerald, couldn't even properly fix things between Isa and him after he found out she was really hurt like she said. Instead, he tried to marry her off to someone else in order to save her reputation he ruined. And he had the nerves to be mad at his brother, when he didn't give her a little something after the divorce...
I'm glad she didn't take him that easily when he wanted
Started so good but then became a little unrealistic

The book started very good with Isabelle having to fend for herself after being unjustly divorced by her husband and cut off by her brother.
From there things got a little unreal. I liked the characters very much, and the story was full of potential, but it was impossible to believe in some of the events that took place. It’s my first book by this author and I intend to read other titles by her.
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