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Duchess By Night

(Desperate Duchesses #3)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  8,592 ratings  ·  538 reviews
One night's disguise could lead to a lifetime of passion...

A Mischievous Charade...

Harriet, Duchess of Berrow, is tired of her title and the responsibilities that come along with it. Enough with proper tea parties and elegant balls; what Harriet really wants is to attend an outrageous soiree where she can unleash her wildest whims and desires. But to attend such an event—e
Mass Market Paperback, 366 pages
Published June 24th 2008 by Avon (first published January 1st 2007)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,592 ratings  ·  538 reviews

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Jan 30, 2016 rated it liked it
This book had many high points and some annoying points but overall it was a descent book. Really sweet characters but at times it was just too lengthy when it didnt need to be. Overall though the storyline was really good. 3.4 stars
Aug 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
I thought this one would be a snoozer, Harriet was always pretty yawn-y in the other books, so imagine my surprise when the author took a bunch of cliches (girl dressed as guy anyone?!) and made it sooo good! I really really enjoyed these characters MUCH more than I thought of! Other than a somewhat MEH ending (which actually I think is the only weakness in these books, the endings are always so HEA anti-climactic since they're stand-alone and you know they're gonna end up together). I think thi ...more
✨ Gramy ✨

Duchess By Night is the third installation of The Desperate Duchesses, focusing on Harriet, Duchess of Berrow, and Lord Strange, who has a house filled with illicit occupants that come and go at will.

Unbeknownst to Lord Strange, a visitor dressed as a young man accompanies the debonair Duke of Villiers.

This series is suitable for


A Mischievous Charade . . .

Harriet, Duchess of Berrow, is tired of her title and the responsibilities that come along with
Ezinwanyi Chinyere
This audiobook was a romantic comedy set in the Ton.
Widower Duchess Harriet Berrow is still coming to grip with her husband’s suicide over his failure as a chess gamer when she decides to aid her friend, another Duchess, in a plan to lure her husband back to London.
The plan involved Harriet dressing up as man named Harry Cope and accompanying her friends to reside at Lord Jem Strange’s estate.

Part of the amusing part of this story was trying to pull off the ruse as well as the inner musi
Aug 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Harriet, Duchess of Berrow, is lonely so she dresses as a man to go to a wicked party with her friends. Lord Justinian Strange hosts these wicked parties and mostly ignores everyone. Except the new party-goer who is just distracting. Once he figures out that Harry is a lady suddenly his boners are A-OK. So then there's sex and also feelings because what kind of romance novel would this be without those?

1. This was better than I was expecting, which sets the bar low (where it belongs) and doesn'
Anzu The Great Destroyer
Jan 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of the genre, series, author, etc
Recommended to Anzu by: Aly is so frigging bored
After reading too much paranormal romance I decided to take a break and try something else, you know, change the air and all that, and I thought that a historical romance will do just fine. Having already started this series I was a bit reluctant at first because I got a bit meh towards the previous book, An Affair Before Christmas, and I was afraid that this one won’t be so good also. A friend of mine insisted on it and told me a bit about what happens in the story and I became more excited. No ...more
Duchess by Night is my second Eloisa James book and I again thoroughly enjoyed it. It was very funny and witty - especially the horseback riding and fencing lessons. I read the first in this series, Desperate Duchesses, and then this one - so I already knew the heroine, Harriet d/b/a Harry in this book. I really felt bad for her as she's a widow, her husband committed suicide, and her life is in limbo - some people blame her for his death, she feels tons of guilt and sadness, and leads a very lo ...more
This one took me a while to get into. Despite my love for Alanna, I'm not the biggest fan of romances where the woman disguises herself as a man. There's too much deceit inherent in the premise and too much, "Oh noooo, I'm attracted to a man."

But it did eventually grow on me! I like the relationship and I liked the kid.

I did not really understand the final conflict.
*4+ Stars*

I really liked this book! One reason was that there were less characters than the previous book and more focused on the single story, with only one main side story. I loved Harriet, her character was delightful to watch evolve through the book. Jem took a while to come around, but he finally did. The epilogue was wonderful - I love a good epilogue! Looking forward to more in the series!

The audio was great! Susan Duerden did a fabulous job!
Aly is so frigging bored
Re-read: September 2016
Jun 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
This was a struuuuuuggle to read. There was so much I disliked about it, and there were a few bits I liked, but mostly it was boring interspersed with offensive.
I was full of hubric excitement for this book, having adored the preceding An Affair Before Christmas. Upon finishing, I am giving it 2.5 stars. That'll teach me to get excited about things.

It isn't bad, exactly. To summarise: Harriet, duchess of Berrow, is bored of her staid life and decides to have some fun by dressing up as a young man and attending the Most Scandalous house party of Lord Strange, accompanied by Isidore (heroine of the proceeding book) and Villiers (hero of book six and a ma
Sharon Robards
I don’t often read romances but decided to play in a challenge this month on goodreads…a big romance feast during the season of love, Spring, and in particular September.

A little way in, I kept thinking I have heard of these characters and thought I was reading a book I had previously, only to discover I did previously read a book by the author that appears to follow on from this and enjoyed it greatly.

I was drawn into this out of a few I had on hand because of the dedication to Georgette Heye
Can a dissolute widower and an upstanding widow find love and happiness with all the Ton watching? Well, yeah, except the Ton isn’t aware of what was happening. I am not a big fan of the switching identities tropes and Harriet’s reasons for doing it aren’t the best. Of course the big reveal sends Tem into a tizzy. The whole plot was rather predictable.

Harriet, Duchess of Berrow, is bored. She is tired of being an upstanding, virtuous, hardworking widow and the scandal of her husband's suicide tw
Rebecca (everyday reader)
May 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Being proper and reserved has been Harriet's life, until now. She goes to a well-known, improper house party dressed as a man, and the host, Jem, is greatly disturbed by the fact that he finds himself attracted to another man. Until he finds out the man is really a woman and is free to lavish attention on her. Scandals, proper behavior, a little girl, and untamed passion. Great read!!
Anne Boleyn's Ghost
🎃 Halloween 2017 Reading Challenge 🎃 6/10: A romance with a costume party.

"There's something about you that's just - mine," he said. "Male, female...I'm not so sure it would really have mattered."

Hmm. I’m torn.

As a novel? The writing quality is unquestionable. Humorous, engaging, likable (for the most part) characters.

As a romance? The romance is slooow to develop. Harriet and Jem don’t spend all that much time together in the first half of the book. We also lose Jem’s point-of-view for much of
I enjoyed Duchess By Night more than An Affair Before Christmas (Book 2), but it still wasn't as good as Desperate Duchesses (Book 1).

Using the cross-dressing trope to get Harriet to find herself again really worked for me, her self-discovery seemed more genuine than Poppy's.

I did think Strange's attraction to Harriett/Harry was a bit, well, strange. His mindset seemed to be something along the lines of "I think this guy is attractive, I must be turning gay in my old age."

I'm also really star
Jan 06, 2009 rated it it was ok
Nothing special, but, noteworthy for the genre, at no point made me whack myself in the head with the paperback, or throw it across the room.

(Whack myself in the head = "Why is this character still alive when clearly she is too dumb to live?"

Throw it across the room = "Ew, you got misogyny/patriarchy in my dumb entertainment reading.")

Well, maybe at one point there was some mild head-whackage, but that's practically a pass.
Jan 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Oh god. This book is dumb, but it draws you in and makes you read it and for some reason it makes you like it. It's not that it's great, but that all the characters are so endearing.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2018
I had higher hopes for this one, especially after knowing some of Harriet's backstory. I will say that the last 25% or so did make me emotional, but I was disappointed by how it took so long to get to the bigger plot points. I also missed having some of the other POVs the way we did in the previous two books. I think having those moments would have helped me with my impatience for the earlier parts of this story.
Jul 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of: Georgette Heyer; Georgian period; Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire; historical romance
Eloisa James is one of a handful of authors of historical romance (read: 'bodice rippers') who can engage my attention for the length of a novel, let alone sustain it through an entire series. Not that I have a deep acquaintance with the genre, but the few times I have tried a book that falls into this category, more often than not they amount to little more than soft-core porn, with a two-dimensional plot and no character development.

Not so Desperate Duchesses. Despite the salacious covers, muc
Feb 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed a lot about this book. First off, it was nice seeing old friends again, like Roberta and Gryffyn and the Duchess of Beaumont, and my personal favorite, Villiers. I was intrigued by the premise of a woman taking control and dressing like a man in order to experience more exciting things in life than embroidery and sitting on a sofa. I especially liked how physically she was able to pull it off, because usually in my experience with romances, when the heroine goes dressing like a man, sh ...more
3.5 Sinfully Free Stars

”Embrace sin as if it were a friend, and run to meet it.”

Take a lonely widow eager for an adventure dressed as a young man, a rich man with a sordid reputation and a house filled with sexually free people and you have one helluva story!

I absolutely loved this book. Henrietta was brave and brilliant. Lord Strange lived up to his name in so many ways. Villiers, Isidore and the rest of the household kept the story interesting and very amusing. If there is one book to read
Loved it!!! I think so far its my favorite one from the DD series. Loved Jem and Harriet. I did wish at times that her disguise would be revealed sooner. I felt it dragged out a bit too long but the reveal was amazing and made up for it. Eloisa managed to make something so incredibly awkward into something really intense and sexy. The sword fight scene was my favorite scene in the book! And Jem is just such a sexy hero, far from perfect and stubborn headed but so much fun. Awesome read. Really f ...more
Ann Keller
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Harriet, the Duchess of Berrow, is bored with her privileged life. She needs a challenge. Thus begins her elaborate plan to disguise herself as a notorious rake at one of Justinian Strange’s unique parties. Lord Strange entertains actors and actresses, rakes, scoundrels and ladies of questionable character. His parties are lively, scandalous and the talk of the town. Harriet is both shocked and intrigued.

Jem Strange watches his new arrival with curious interest. Although the gentleman seems but
A fun fun read!!! Witty naughty and sensual, a great read from start til end, I love how Harriet fitted in so well in the house, she was a great lead, strong, loving and ready for anything, Lord Strange is such a great complex character, he is the type that makes u think not to great at the start but builds up into a real man with fear and love that surrounds himself with people with all different title and ranks, u understand slowly why he does that and it makes c why Harriet fell in love with ...more
Apr 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wolfed this book down in less than 24 hours - unusual, given that last night was a school night and today was a work day - and what a tasty morsel it turned out to be.

With every Eloisa James book I read, I end up delighted and craving more and Duchess by Night continues the trend. Harriet was wonderful and the freedom she finds in breeches was great fun to watch. Jem was an oddball but all the more lovable for it. Though the crisis driving the finale was a bit abrupt and jarring, I still found
Julie (jjmachshev)
Jun 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008-reads
Eloisa James tends to be hit and miss with me and I'm pretty bummed that "Duchess By Night" was a miss. I thought the premise of a Duchess dressed as a man and privately exposed (definite pun there) was a winner, especially when the Duchess in question was Harriet whose boring husband offed himself after losing a game of chess! But this one seemed very confusing to me. I think maybe it was just too much going on and too many characters. Maybe it was the over-layered plot, but whatever...I really ...more
While I like Eloisa James's writing I tend to find her books very hit and miss for me. I either really like them a lot or can't get past the first chapter or two. I was lucky with Duchess by Night as even through it sounded like it doesn't have anything original about it, it was a really fun and enjoyable read. I tend to be somewhat of a sucker for the "woman dresses as a man" trope too. The only complaint I have is that I didn't like the last few chapters as I feel like it was just tacked on co ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 3 Mar 12, 2015 10:16AM  

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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

Desperate Duchesses (9 books)
  • Desperate Duchesses (Desperate Duchesses, #1)
  • An Affair Before Christmas (Desperate Duchesses, #2)
  • When the Duke Returns (Desperate Duchesses, #4)
  • This Duchess of Mine (Desperate Duchesses, #5)
  • A Duke of Her Own (Desperate Duchesses, #6)
  • Three Weeks With Lady X (Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers, #1; Desperate Duchesses, #7)
  • Four Nights With the Duke (Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers #2; Desperate Duchesses #8)
  • Seven Minutes in Heaven  (Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers, #3; Desperate Duchesses, #9)

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