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My American Duchess

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The arrogant Duke of Trent intends to marry a well-bred Englishwoman. The last woman he would ever consider marrying is the adventuresome Merry Pelford - an American heiress who has infamously jilted two fiancés.

But after one provocative encounter with the captivating Merry, Trent desires her more than any woman he has ever met. He is determined to have her as his wife, no matter what it takes. And Trent is a man who always gets what he wants.

The problem is, Merry is already betrothed, and the former runaway bride has vowed to make it all the way to the altar. As honor clashes with irresistible passion, Trent realizes the stakes are higher than anyone could have imagined. In his battle to save Merry and win her heart, one thing becomes clear: All is fair in love and war.

432 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 26, 2015

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About the author

Eloisa James

129 books8,852 followers
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 starred reviews from Publishers' Weekly and Library Journal and regularly appear on the best-seller lists.

After graduating from Harvard University, Eloisa got an M.Phil. from Oxford University, a Ph.D. from Yale and eventually became a Shakespeare professor, publishing an academic book with Oxford University Press. Currently she is an associate professor and head of the Creative Writing program at Fordham University in New York City. Her "double life" is a source of fascination to the media and her readers. In her professorial guise, she's written a New York Times op-ed defending romance, as well as articles published everywhere from women's magazines such as More to writers' journals such as the Romance Writers' Report.

Eloisa...on her double life:

When I'm not writing novels, I'm a Shakespeare professor. It's rather like having two lives. The other day I bought a delicious pink suit to tape a television segment on romance; I'll never wear that suit to teach in, nor even to give a paper at the Shakespeare Association of America conference. It's like being Superman, with power suits for both lives. Yet the literature professor in me certainly plays into my romances. The Taming of the Duke (April 2006) has obvious Shakespearean resonances, as do many of my novels. I often weave early modern poetry into my work; the same novel might contain bits of Catullus, Shakespeare and anonymous bawdy ballads from the 16th century.

When I rip off my power suit, whether it's academic or romantic, underneath is the rather tired, chocolate-stained sweatshirt of a mom. Just as I use Shakespeare in my romances, I almost always employ my experiences as a mother. When I wrote about a miscarriage in Midnight Pleasures, I used my own fears of premature birth; when the little girl in Fool For Love threw up and threw up, I described my own daughter, who had that unsavory habit for well over her first year of life.

So I'm a writer, a professor, a mother - and a wife. My husband Alessandro is Italian, born in Florence. We spend the lazy summer months with his mother and sister in Italy. It always strikes me as a huge irony that as a romance writer I find myself married to a knight, a cavaliere, as you say in Italian.

One more thing...I'm a friend. I have girlfriends who are writers and girlfriends who are Shakespeare professors. And I have girlfriends who are romance readers. In fact, we have something of a community going on my website. Please stop by and join the conversation on my readers' pages.

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5 stars
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159 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,038 reviews
Profile Image for Seon Ji (Dawn).
1,033 reviews227 followers
July 9, 2020
It seems I am in the minority with my review.

My first observation was the multiple times the words "Well Spit!" was used. I also felt that there could have been better terms used for certain male and female parts."Honey pot,""tool", "gooseberries,""milky way," and her "tender territory" just didn't seem romantic, nor suit the time period.

I was put off by the heroine's repeated excuse of "Well, I am American!" I also was confused as to why the heroine compared any muscular man she saw, to this mysterious Mohawk tribesman she met once. We never hear about that story, it's just some obscure reference.

The h's attempt at proving her intelligence by randomly stating "facts" that had little connection the the current dialogue was odd. I suppose this was to make her appear intelligent even though all she was doing was repeating things she read in the newspaper, (Then admitting she did not truly understand what it was about).

The hero was likable in the beginning, until there was mention of his former "highly skilled" mistresses who were all courtesans. Then he continues to compare Merry, (now his wife), to these mistresses.

The plot seemed unorganized and there were many sections that did not make sense. It appears the author tried to cover them up, but perhaps a rewrite was in order.

It felt like the book was going to end at about 60% because all the conflict with Instead we get another 20% of sex and 20% of Trent trying to figure out if he loves her. Was the author trying to fill time?

Trent's "I don't believe in love" and "I will never fall in love with you" talk, made the sex shallow, loveless. Why? How is this romance?

It felt like the second half of the book was an entirely different story and by the time I neared the end, I found myself disliking the h & H so much, that I didn't care anymore if they lived "happily ever after."
Profile Image for Duchess Nicole.
1,258 reviews1,547 followers
March 16, 2016
I simply adored this book!

Wonderful, quirky, sweet, sexy, so memorable, and an American heroine...I'm in love with Eloisa James all over again! I love a pining hero, I love that instant attraction, that slow descent into fascination, the burn that leads to sizzling sex, and this book delivered! A heroine betrothed for the third time and determined to stick with it till the end, the hero the brother of the groom and falling harder and harder. She's a bit flighty and immature, he's a little too worldy. A match made in English heaven. <3<3
Profile Image for Warda.
1,208 reviews19.7k followers
December 14, 2021
I just adored everything about this. Every moment, every page was a great time.

The writing, the characters, their development, the plot, the damn romance, it was all epic and grand and amazing storytelling over all. I couldn't get enough of it.

April 28, 2016
Rating Clarification: 4.5 Stars

"She leaned closer. "If you were an elephant you would have a magnificent tusk."

My first Eloisa James HR and I absolutely loved it! It was just the right combination of angst, humour, romance and a nice dose of sensuality. I rarely say this but I absolutely loved Merry, but most importantly I loved Trent, the duke.

Merry and Trent meet at a ball, and while Trent tends to abhore everything about America he's immediately taken with Merry. Of course Merry has no idea that Trent is her fiance's twin brother (although there are similarities they don't look exactly alike) and Trent has no idea he is lusting after his future sister in law!

Merry is engaged for the third time, and is convinced that its third time lucky and even of it weren't she has promised herself that she will make it to the alter this time. You see Merry has jilted her first two fiance's and because of this her reputation is not doing very well. So whatever her her feeling towards Cedric's brother they will have to be squashed.

She had the ripest pair of lips he'd ever seen.
He'd like to kiss her until they looked bee stung, the lips of woman who had been bedded hard and furiously, who had-
Bloody hell. He ad to take hold of himself.
"Your Grace?" the lips asked.

Being the sort of man that he is, Trent is used to getting what we wants but he loves his brother, regardless of the kind of man he is. So he has to endure the constant yearning whenever he is in Merry's presence and Merry has to fight her confusing emotions when she's around him.

Anything else I say will be a spoiler so I'll stop but I absolutely loved these two together! I loved how Trent learned to love the facts that Merry would spontaneously drop during conversation. I loved how protective he was of her, and I love how I could feel his love and devotion in the words used by the author.

I'll say this again I will be reading more of Eloisa James work because there is nothing like a well penned epilogue and this book met every expectation. I loved how it could go from sweet, sensual words to heart wrenching emotion within a couple of pages. Highly recommended!

"My love for you... it's bigger than a river." She colored. "That sounds stupid."
"No, it doesn't ." Trent kissed her again, almost compulsively, as if he couldn't stop. "Mine is deeper than a tanner's pit."
She choked with laughter.
"Higher than a flax plant,"
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,261 reviews8,753 followers
February 5, 2016
I'm going to have to call it quits . . .

I've seen lots of complaints over the years that Eloisa James is either fabulous or cornball, but I don't think I'd ever encountered the cornball until now. I make allowances for historical romance, you have to make allowances for historical romance, but this was so far past that . . .

If you want to know specifics, I spoiler-tagged it in the comments, but that's all I can make myself say about it right now.

Profile Image for Jessica .
2,129 reviews13.8k followers
September 26, 2021
HELLO ANGSTY AND FORBIDDEN ROMANCE. From the moment Trent saw Merry, I was so invested in their romance. Trent is immediately entranced by Merry and decides she would make his perfect wife. She's an American and spunky and doesn't adhere to England's strict standards. He soon learns, though, that his brother had proposed that day and they were now betrothed. Merry has already called off two engagements and is determined to see this third and finally one through. But the more she spends with her betrothed, who is obsessed with propriety and manners, the more she realizes she might like his brother...

I loved everything about this book. I loved how much Merry tried to convince herself she loved her betrothed no matter how drawn to his brother she was. I loved how Trent just couldn't help himself from seeking out Merry and they just got along so well. And there were dogs! Merry was so refreshing as a heroine because she couldn't even get titles right when talking to anyone in the book. Trent liked that about her and it was so cute how they just clicked with each other. I do think they ended up getting together a tad bit too early, but there was an additional conflict added until they truly admitted their love for each other, so I didn't mind too much.
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
3,000 reviews1,643 followers
May 28, 2016
This book has two problems, one major, one minor. The major is why I abandoned it about halfway through.

The biggest problem at the halfway point is that all the conflict is predicated on one of the two main characters being either stupid or weak. Or both. Neither trait is attractive or engaging to me. So while I enjoyed Merry well-enough, it's kind of hard to sympathize with her being so very clueless. Trent is a complete no-show. His kowtowing to his brother is obscene and his treatment of Merry is stupid.

Speaking of the brother, that's the minor problem. The man is a pile of puke and since we start off with Merry in love with the waste of skin, we see him a lot. Worse, as Trent's twin, we see him in both perspectives and since he's such a nasty, arrogant slime it means we have a double dose of the worst contrivance of the story (that both main characters tolerate the jerk).

So yeah, this is a dead loss and I regret the purchase. Fortunately, Audible has a generous return policy, so all I'm out is the time. Wish I had a refund on that, too...
Profile Image for Bookishrealm.
2,085 reviews5,061 followers
December 25, 2020
Ya'llllll this book was hilarious (in a good way). I'm not sure if that's what was intended, but I found quite a few moments where I was laughing out loud. I had some technical issues with it, but overall a decent introduction to Eloisa James. 3.5 Stars

As a newbie to historical romance, My American Duchess was a newer experience to me. I've mostly read books that feature English characters whereas this book specifically focuses on an American heiress as she navigates English socialites. There were quite a few elements that I enjoyed about this book specifically it's humor, the conflict of our heroine having to choose between twin brothers, and the level of attraction that occurs between Merry and Trent. I'm not sure why and I'm sure I wasn't supposed to do this, but Cedric was a hoot. Don't get me wrong, he's a complete jerk to Merry in every way, but there were moments when he said things that were so ridiculous that I couldn't help but to laugh out loud. It showed his immaturity and his inability to maintain a relationship.

One thing that is extremely interesting about this book is that it's not an HEA. I'm used to reading romance books where we have the opportunity to see the characters develop into having a relationship of sorts, but we never receive details about the nature of their relationship after they have gotten together. James created a romance novel where that is exactly what happens. While I won't discuss who Merry ends up marrying (this is probably clear from the context of the story), the reader has the opportunity to see how their relationship works after their union and it was interesting in some ways and others not so much. While I did appreciate this different perspective, it made the book too long. The previous conflict becomes resolved too quickly and then it felt like extra fluff added to the books for no apparent reason. There is a minor conflict at the end that leads to the hero confessing his fear of falling in love. While I thought that this definitely could have been included earlier and that the conflict was unnecessary, I actually understood where he was coming from. Merry had been engaged two time prior to this marriage so he was unsure whether her love was true or just a means of convenience. I just wish James would have created this conversation in a way that wouldn't have extended the length of the novel.

This historical is hot! I was not expecting the level of steam that occurs in this novel. While I enjoyed the steams there were a few moments where I wished the hero would have stopped talking and just engaged in what he was physically doing to Merry. The more he talked the more awkward the scenes became. I could not help but laugh at the terms used to described human physical anatomy. There was everything from gooseberries to milky way. I was laughing so hard the entire time.

Overall, I thought that this was a pretty decent historical. I'll definitely check out some more of James' works.

Profile Image for Mei.
1,882 reviews424 followers
February 5, 2016
For me this was a 2 and 1/2 stars rounder to 3 (just becuase I'm such a nice person!)

I confirm what I wrote in my progress: this book, up until almost half, is boring!
Nothing happens... except hero having a boner when thinking/seeing/ speaking/dancing etc with the heroine and heroine not having a clue what was happening around her...

The complete emptiness in their life is appalling!!! How one could live and do nothing beisdes drinking endless tea/lemanode, I really don't know!

Later on, things become more interesting and Ithought: OK, now something will change, and it did, up to a point. Merry and Trent starting becoming friends and there're many funny, lovely moments during that time.

But soon Merry returns to being a stupid little ignorant girl with all the consequent insecurities just when I started liking her!

Also Trent re-starts acting the ass and denying what is obvious!

The writing style didn't help at all: very stiff even when trying being witty...

All in all I was expecting somethign fantastic and insted got something below average... :(
Profile Image for Lindsay.
222 reviews36 followers
May 21, 2016
Wow. This was just not a very good book. I'm honestly not really sure why I bothered to finish it, but for some reason my OCD would not let me abandon it. For starters it has serious plot issues. The female lead, Merry, is an American heiress from Boston (in 1803! because...that's accurate- oh wait, no) who got engaged to and dumped two men there before coming over to England to find yet another fiance. Which she quickly does....and then almost as quickly realizes he's the worst yet of the three. He's a drunk, he's rude and spiteful, and he treats people like crap. Now, if one has been scandalized by already making and breaking two engagements, wouldn't ya think that one would be a bit more careful before diving into yet another engagement? She really didn't know him at all, had no real need to marry quickly (she had 20,000 pounds), and she knew the stakes were high in terms of not being able to weather yet another broken engagement, lest she then become too risky to attach to. She also was unrealistically naive about men wanting to marry her for her fortune....she really shouldn't have been under any misapprehensions about that. Merry is super unlikeable, at least to me, early in the book due to her complete stupidity and naivete. She keeps saying she's "in lurve", but it's obvious (in the immortal words of Jack White) she doesn't know what love is. She does at least admit several times that she made a stupid mistake, but too little too late, honey. We also have to hear ad nauseum how different she is because she's American. I mean, well, yeah, but they act like she's freaking Annie Oakley instead of a Bostonian heiress raised with an English governess. Dumb.

Anyhoo, back to the awful story- So she's engaged to this awful, awful man, but that's not even the best part. Completely unbeknownst to her (I think- or she'd never met him at least), he has a twin! Who sometimes resembles him and sometimes...doesn't? We're never really sure. And said twin is a duke. Duh. She meets him, not knowing who he is, the night she gets engaged to his brother. Duke is immediately full of lust and wants to marry her. Oops. She likes him, too. Wahhhh wahhhh.

Cedric (awful guy) keeps showing his true colors and gets worse and worse. Brother (The Duke of Trent, whose real name is Octavius but also goes by John or Jack?) keeps getting thrown together with Merry and wants her for himself. Merry wants him back. Shiz gets real, and then.....huge plot gimmick #1: Um, WHAT? Anddd...turns out that her aunt helped orchestrate the switcheroo and didn't bother to clue her in. Just....no.

So yeah....the whole first half of the book? Really stupid. And, wait for it.....

The second half isn't any better. Why? Merry and husband are actually getting along great, things are going super smoothly, but there's 100 pages of book left to fill. So, let's fill them up with husband insisting that romantic love is made up and that they never love each other, even though they actually do deep down and act like it. (And show it like a LOT. There are like 50 pages of them going at it like rabbits in various locations around the estate. To the point of just page flipping and being over it.) Then, when Marry realizes she actually is in love for the first time ever, he gets grumpy when she tells him so, and things are strained and weird between them. He doesn't want to hear that shit! Because who wants their spouse to love them, amiright? *facepalm*

Plot gimmick #2... But...she recovers after a few days, and by then, husband is cheesed that she DOESN'T say she loves him or acts like it. She acts the perfect English lady and does exactly what he wanted, but screw that. He doesn't want that anymore! ??????

So blah blah blah, emerald tiara, diamond ring, letter from asshole arrives, the end. Thank the lord! So stupid. The only reason this is 2 stars and not 1 is because no one made me so angry that I wanted to throw it against the wall. I just contemplated stopping reading and never coming back to it. I definitely can't recommend this.

On a final note, there is a ridiculous amount of references to pineapple in this book. Pineapple is like a third MC. It even shows up in a love scene. I can't make this shiz up. So I retract my lack of recommendation....maybe if you're erotically obsessed with pineapple, this would be for you!

(Is it bad if one laughs at one's own review? I hope not.)
Profile Image for Holly.
1,449 reviews1,090 followers
June 4, 2018
3.5 stars

Maybe it has a lot to do with the fact that the narrator, Kate Reading, was also the narrator for V.E. Schwab's Shades of Magic series which I adored (the second book in that series anyways), but I found this (audio)book to be rather pleasant. This is a tale of a runaway bride who is newly engaged, for the third time, who finds herself attracted to another man. Oh and that other man turns out to be her fiance's (non-identical) twin brother. Awkward. There's some other drama stuff too thrown in, which gets to be a little much at times honestly, but I still liked this book enough overall. Plus, it has an American marrying into British nobility and that's a rather timely premise considering Meghan's marriage to Harry in real life.
Profile Image for Susan Phillips.
Author 46 books14.7k followers
May 18, 2016
The kind of spirited heroine I like best, plus pages hot enough for the steam to rise from them.
Profile Image for Lacey (laceybooklovers).
2,068 reviews10.5k followers
July 20, 2017

Originally posted at Booklovers For Life

Oh my god!!! This is my first Eloisa James book and I. Loved. It. It was sweet, funny, heart-warming – everything, from the wonderful story, to the incredible writing, to the intelligent characters, was brilliant. I love reading a good historical romance every once in a while, and My American Duchess turned out to be the perfect book for me – I adored every single thing about it!

Merry Pelford, an American heiress, has broken off two engagements, but she’s sure third time’s the charm. As an American in London, even if she is an heiress, having two jilted fiancés doesn’t bode well for her marriage options, so she’s determined to follow through with her engagement and make it all the way to the altar, this time with Lord Cedric Allardyce.

She was everything he’d ever wanted in a woman, and nothing he’d ever thought to find in a lady.

After a balcony encounter filled with chemistry and wit, the sixth Duke of Trent has found the woman he wants to marry. The only problem is that the woman turns out to be Trent’s twin brother’s betrothed… Merry. As much as she fires up his blood, as much as he doesn’t like Cedric, Trent won’t betray his brother and steal his fiancé. But every time Trent sees Merry, he has to remind himself that he can’t want her. Then, when Cedric’s true colors make their appearance, Trent is finally free to have the woman he desires more than anything. But with his aversion to love, can a marriage between them last, or will he fall for his American duchess?

With him, she wasn’t American, or a duchess, or even Merry.
She was home.

I adored the romance between Merry and Trent. It’s sweet, beautifully-written, and a delight to read. The chemistry sizzles between them, especially in the beginning of the book when it’s forbidden for anything to happen between them with Merry’s engagement to Cedric. I also loved that this book doesn’t end at a HEA proposal. Instead, Eloisa James gives us insight to Trent and Merry’s marriage. Merry is the total opposite of what Trent expected to find in a wife. She speaks her mind, doesn’t follow society rules, has a few adorable quirks, and definitely isn’t a shy wallflower. She’s a fantastic heroine I absolutely loved to read about. Trent himself is a dark, sexy, lovable hero who’s so sweet to Merry. It’s clear that he’s fallen for Merry through every word and action, even though he doesn’t believe love is a real, lasting thing. He’s seductive, passionate, and worshipping to his new wife, but can he accept love in their marriage?

“You are my American duchess,” Trent said gruffly, his finger tracing the shape of her cheek. “You pour milk into tea at the wrong time, but you do everything else the right way. I love the way you speak. And I love what you say. I’ve never met another woman who is as fascinating.”

This book charmed me beginning to end and I couldn’t put it down. I loved the witty banter between Merry and Trent and the steamy scenes between them set me on fire. If you love romance, you must read this book. I already know it’s going to go on my list of favorite books of the year!

Thanks to the publisher for generously providing me an ARC to review.

Quotes are taken from the ARC and are subject to change in the final version.

Amazon Ebook: http://amzn.to/1RS9nyK
Amazon Hardcover: http://amzn.to/1JX03Xm
Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.to/1lt58Lu
Audible: http://amzn.to/1lt5i5w

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Profile Image for Chrissy.
1 review2 followers
November 29, 2015
I read this incredible novel before it was available due to the good fortune of receiving an ARC (galley). Eloisa is my #1 favorite author because she is such a master of her craft. She tangles her readers up so sweetly in her web of characters, environment, and storyline. You don't realize until it is too late that the book is nearly over and you've been living vicariously through the lives of characters who (GASP) don't actually exist!

I enjoyed the "race" of scenes, emotions, and personalities to the middle of the book. I always find delicious moments of tragic love, bittersweet despair within her books and am mollified when the second half buttons everything up in such an wonderfully imperfect, but always perfect to me, way. Yes, there will be an HEA, but only after the reader is convinced the hero's and/or heroine's heart will break beyond repair. Sometimes into tiny pieces similar to the reader' tears falling on the pages.

It is my fondest desire that Eloisa James turns this into a new series and shows us new and glorious ways to break into the Ton.

If you enjoy an experience, not "just a good read", then I suggest you invest yourself in Eloisa James. She has so many wonderful series, and although her novels can be read as standalone, you will find satisfaction in "glomming" her entire backlist (if you're new to her books). I know I did when I stumbled across her halfway through the Desperate Duchess series.

Treat yourself to this "gift" post-Christmas and holiday/New Year season.
Profile Image for Caz.
2,761 reviews1,033 followers
March 22, 2016
I've given this an A+ for narration (it's Kate Reading - nuff sed!) and a B for content at AudioGals.

I don’t mind admitting that Eloisa James is one of those authors who is a bit hit and miss for me. I know she’s got a huge following who absolutely adore her books, so this is probably one of those times when “it’s not you, it’s me”, but of the books of hers I’ve read (which is by no means all), there have been more misses than hits. As a result, I wasn’t intending to pick up My American Duchess, thinking that I’d just move on to something else rather than risk another disappointment – until I saw that Kate Reading had been engaged to narrate it.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.
Profile Image for Lover of Romance.
2,990 reviews870 followers
January 26, 2016
This review was originally posted on Addicted To Romance My Review
Merry Pelford, is an American Heiress and has come to England to find a man to marry. It is expected of her, but she is hoping to find a man that she can love. When  Lord Cedric, starts courting her, she finds herself intrigued and she begins to feel affection for him. When he proposes with flair and plenty of poetry, Merry believes that she does care for him. But on the eve of accepting Lord Cedric's proposal, she meets a man in the dark and out on the balcony. A man that is definitely an aristrocrat, has the arrogance and the appeal. But Merry finds herself drawn to his aura, his laugh and his inquisitive questions that seem more curious than anything else. The Duke of Trent, is content with his life and trying to keep his brother out of trouble. When he meets a mysterious american woman that makes him think of nights on silk sheets of passion and desire, he wants her. He is drawn to her honesty and openess. But when he learns that she is engaged to his brother Cedric, he is appalled that he has feelings of lust for his future sister in law. But through various events, he sees the true Merry and he wants her for his own.
The Hero 
The Duke of Trent, has always known his duties and responsibilities. Despite being a twin, he and his brother Cedric have always been at odds except when they were children. Trent grew up in a home, where his mother favored her attentions on his brother and couldn't be bothered to show any affection for him not even as a child. His father was a drunk and he has always stayed away from drinking. His parents were killed in an accident because his father was drinking. He sees his brother going the same way that his father did and is doing everyting in his power to keep him from killing himself from drinking. What I liked most about this hero, was pretty much everything. He doesn't believe in love, he feels its temporary and not worth the hassle or the pain. Considering how his mother rejected him, it was very understandable. He is practical, but isn't your average duke. He doesn't have his hair styled in the usual way, he likes to stay physically active ( I totally approve), and loves to help out the tenants with their farms and improve his estates. He is loyal and honorable and very stubborn when it comes to emotional sentiment.
The Heroine My American Duchess
Merry Pelford, grew up in America, she was raised by her aunt and uncle. After having to jilt two previous men, her aunt and uncle thought it best to come to England, have a fresh start and get away from the gossip and find Merry a titled man. Merry isn't ashamed of her heritage, she is proud to be American, especially since coming to England. She finds her American ways to be a lot more simple and easier in many respects. What I really liked about Merry was her openess and honesty and boy is she smart and doesn't seek to hide her intelligence. I was worried that this heroine would seem a bit contemporary, but I didn't feel that at all which I was pretty glad about. I really enjoyed seeing how she balanced out who she is, with trying to conform with British society which isn't easy at all. I admired her tenacity and her easy going charm. She does try to go with the Ton, but in all honesty, she is way too intelligent to fit right in. She isn't ashamed of who she is, but she does attempt to make concessions which I admired the ways that she goes about it. Her character was fresh and I really liked her.
Plot and Story Line 
My American Duchess is the newest book from Eloisa James. And this author has always been a personal favorite of mine. She writes simply wonderful regency romances, and this one won me over from the first chapter. I was a bit anxious to read this one, because I noticed the rating and reviews weren't as high as I was expecting. So I was expecting a story that I would have difficulty read...but not I had a difficult time putting this down at times. I just wanted more of the Duke and his American lady. The first half of the book, we have the conflict of seeing the chemistry between them, however nothing can happen because Merry is engaged to the brother of our hero. We see how much that they try to deny what is happening between them. And at first they are successful. But circumstances lead them to discover true emotion with each other.

What I enjoyed was seeing the fun interactions between Merry and the Duke and even the brother Cedric---he was quite a hoot! I had a ball of fun with his character. He was so funny at times, (I am not sure if the author meant him to be) but boy did I have fun with him and he entertained me so much. Even though technically you could see this as a love triangle trope---I never got that feeling from this story at all. Because quite frankly, Cedric just wants money and wealth and Merry is an heiress. He doesn't really see any other qualities to make her his wife other than that. I feel like this is more "forbidden romance" theme. We have two people that desire to be together but are unable to due to certain obligations. The second half of the book, we see these two try to balance out a new type of relationship. They have ended up married, and now have to work out through some issues. At first, there is plenty of sexy sensuality between them, and we see how well they do together on a physical level. But on an emotional level...it takes work. It isn't for them to find their HEA, and it does take a while for them to reach a point, where they are willing to be fully open and honest with each other. A couple of misunderstanding's do occur, but I didn't feel it detracted from the story...I felt like it only made the moment where they both admit their true feelings to each other, a more satisfying end and we are left with a bit of a teaser about the brother. I am hoping that Eloisa James will write his book so we can see his journey.
The Cover 
I do adore this cover. I loved both of the covers that were chosen. The first cover, (after reading this) I felt suits the heroine way more. It has a more garden like background, and she is more open and free in that cover. So I will admit I like the first cover because it suits the story best. But this cover, I do admire quite a bit....it's classy and elegant. I love her sparkling dress and the staircase behind her. And the stepback cover is simply gorgeous.
Overall View 
My American Duchess is a enjoyable and sensual regency romance that is like a breath of fresh air. An unrequited love story that will keep you laughing and entertained from beginning to end.

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Profile Image for Crystal's Bookish Life.
823 reviews1,438 followers
December 18, 2021
Truly delightful historical romance from Eloisa James. Midway through all the tension dissolves and it slows down a LOT. Other than that pacing issue I really loved this.
Profile Image for Dani.
601 reviews176 followers
January 23, 2022
3.5 stars ⭐️
Wasn't bad at all, the story just didn't knock my socks off like I wanted it too.

The entire time listening to the audio, I didn't know where the story was gonna go and was surprised how early the couple got together. I felt that the book should've ended at 60% and everything after just felt like filler, too.

Though I loved how unapologetic the h was (definitely reminded me of Lillian from It Happened One Autumn), I didn't like how whiplashed I was when the H was denying his love for her and then wanted her love back just as quickly.

The narrator Kate Reading did a marvelous job as always though.
Profile Image for Jen Davis.
Author 7 books705 followers
April 3, 2016
This almost felt like two different books in one. The first half deals with an American heiress, betrothed to the wrong man. I didn’t enjoy this half very much. The book is called My American Duchess, so it’s no big leap to realize that Merry’s engagement to the Duke’s brother isn’t the way the story is going to end. In fact, when she meets the Duke of Trent that very same night, it’s obvious that he is the better match. There’s a great spark between them, that sits completely unattended for more than 150 pages.

That’s a long time to wait. A long time without a single kiss. A long time without even so much as an acknowledgement between them that there is… well, anything, except a future as in laws. Meanwhile, we watch Merry contort herself into what she thinks would be an acceptable spouse for Trent’s brother, Cedric. I should mention that Cedric has virtually no redeeming qualities. He is a drunk. He is marrying Merry for her money. And he constantly berates her.

No, I didn’t enjoy the first half of this book at all. Merry is a secure, intelligent woman, belittled over and over by the man she is supposedly in love with, for the very things that make her interesting. I loathed Cedric. But the fact that Merry stayed with him made me like her less. Her personality is bold and fun. But she is also emotionally immature and her grand love for Cedric made this even more apparent. The only character that I could respect was Trent.

The second half of the book is the actual romance between Merry and Trent. I liked this half much more, simply because we made it to the romance part. It’s clear that Trent and Merry are a good match. It’s obvious to the reader that they love each other, even if it takes Trent a bit longer to catch on that what he’s feeling actually has a name. I felt like the conflict over the word “love” was a little contrived. But the spark was good between the hero and heroine. The love scenes were sexy. And I wanted these two to make it work, so it was satisfying when they finally did.

Unfortunately, it just took too long to get to the part of the storyline that I cared about. And when we did get there, there just wasn’t enough substantial development to overcome the first half. Maybe if there was a conflict beyond Merry’s fickle heart and Trent’s fear… but, alas, there was not.

Not the best I have read from this author.

Rating: B-/C+

*ARC provided by Avon
Profile Image for Bj.
1,217 reviews262 followers
January 26, 2016
4.5 “What is Love?” Stars!
My American Duchess explores the age old question of what is love. A question that has perplexed those who believe in it and don’t alike. Too frequently confused with infatuation, a response to trinkets bestowed on a courted one (poems, flowers or jewelry), or a reaction to passion; could it be possible that some individuals are more prone to this emotion, while others are incapable of it? Amidst this the philosophical existential backdrop, My American Duchess is also a comical journey through some of the more glaring differences between English and American society at around the turn of the nineteenth century. Both of these explorations, make for one incredible irresistible read, and when combined with Eloisa James’ talented prose and intuitive understanding of romantic love, make My American Duchess a must read for the historical romance enthusiast.

My American Duchess is set in London in 1803. After a string of engagements that all ended in a rather unfortunate set of events, Merry Pelford, an American heiress, has found herself in a dire situation. Having gained a reputation as being fickle in her affections, due to multiple engagements that never made it to the altar, her guardians have determined that her fate will fare better in England (where they believe the gossip hasn’t spread). And in fact, it doesn’t take very long after her arrival, for Merry to find another man that she is sure she is in love with. Within a few short weeks she finds herself engaged yet again.

In fact, it is at the party at which her new engagement is announced that she stumbles upon another man that completely enthralls her. Perhaps even more distressing is the fact that he seems equally enthralled by her. There is something so different about his nature that begins a new battle within her. A war between what her heart desires and what her mind judiciously tells her she surely must need. Moreover, above all else, Merry is determined not to waste this one-time chance to segue into British society. After all, isn’t it bad enough, that her boisterous personality is so at odds with the refined and reserved British culture? It’s almost impossible to think that a respectable Englishman would take on the project that curbing her “American” ways into a refined and proper Englishwoman will no doubt be. Therefore, she is greatly afraid that if sh gives in to her capricious love whims, she will no doubt lose this last chance at marriage.

The Duke of Trent can hardy believe his luck. A reserved and conservative man by nature, who learned as a young boy how painful unrequited love can be, his plan is to find a well-bred Englishwoman who will be able to fulfill her wifely ducal responsibilities with absolute aplomb. Emotions, fanfare, and speaking without a culturally acceptable filter, never were on his agenda. Yet, strangely, in many ways it is these same traits that seem to kindle his inevitable fascination with the deliciously, tempting Merry Pelford. And as her affections are rumored to be fickle, surely she will fall out of love as easily as seems to fall in love thereby ensuring that she will hardly notice that he is incapable of love. But once decided, it remains to be seen whether he can even win her over. And that’s before even factoring in an unexpected conflict of monumental proportions that will render even his attempt to persuade Merry to jilt her present fiance, scandal prone material. Can there possibly be a future, much less a HEA, under this peculiar set of circumstances?

My American Duchess was an absolute treat! Ms. James’ facility with words, and use of interesting historical facts to add depth to her story–be on the lookout for a “rented pineapple”–further make this read a true treasure. I can’t wait to read more of Ms. James’ romances in the future!

Source: Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Aly is so frigging bored.
1,632 reviews273 followers
November 17, 2020
2nd read: November 2020

1st read: 27 January 2016
It was so good! EJ writes another amazing book. I just couldn't put it down; I literally didn't move till I finished it :)

The story is about an American girl that came to London and the cultural differences she faced... It's also about how she fell in love, for good this time. Merry is a fun heroine, who speaks her mind and makes some small gaffes. She has a talent for remembering obscure trivia and also spouting it off when she maybe shouldn't.

Trent, the hero, seems to be a bit of a stick in the mud, he's heroic, isn't like the other aristocrats afraid to work and he was also infatuated with the heroine from the moment he met her. That's when he decided he'll marry her, without knowing that his brother proposed first. You can imagine that caused a bit of a problem.

I recommend this with an open heart to anyone who loves historical romance with a quirky heroine, a serious hero and a pineapple.
Profile Image for Diane Peterson.
1,060 reviews78 followers
August 12, 2017
A really, really good book. Eloisa James' writing style shines through once again. The Duke of Trent (our hero) is a deliciously stuffy, confused guy who knows what he wants, sort of. You gotta love Merry (our American heroine). She is fun, irrepressible, and is sure she knows what she wants until she realizes she doesn't. In spite of all of the confused emotions these two are incredibly attracted to each other. When the roadblocks break down and they get together the sexual interaction is explosive. BUT...great sex doesn't always mean all connections are made. We have misunderstandings, wrong thinking, and emotional ruts to climb out of. Both characters have to make some significant modifications to make everything work. In addition to the great sex the book is full of great dialogue and meaningful interactions between our H and h. This is Eloisa James at her best. I loved it.

This is an honest review provided in exchange for the privilege of reading an ARC of the book.
Profile Image for Justin Chen.
421 reviews370 followers
December 15, 2021
4 stars

The witticism is on fire in this one, My American Duchess digs deep into its cultural clash setup, and repeatedly finding inspiring jabs at British stuffiness (such as the running gag of the court's unanimous love for quoting Shakespeare), as well as American's forwardness and lack of tact.

The 'falling for the brother's betrothed' trope also unfolds in a slightly different cadence than I expected, which keeps me engaged without ever feeling like the plot is reverting to an expected historical romance template. Still, there remains some minor narrative hiccups, preventing My American Duchess from becoming a new favorite historical romance:

**Minor spoiler ahead**

- The sudden (and convenient) removal of the character Lord Cedric from the narrative, especially when he was about to become the 'villain' of the story. His departure felt at odd with his character arc up to that point (even though it did pave path for a nice surprise reveal in the following chapter).
- The third act conflict centering on Trent's insistence of not willing to 'fall in love' with Merry was a bit of a whiplash, and too narrowly focused on technicality — then why was he actively pursuing her for the first 2/3 of the novel?
- The plot went off on a tangent between the 70-80% mark, where nothing crucial happened and read like obvious padding to fatten the book.

**Minor spoiler ends**

The observational humor really bumps My American Duchess to the next level; even with the plot shortcomings (supposedly it was meant to be a novella, according to the author's website, which might explains the inconsistency), I still find it to be a thoroughly delightful read with ample memorable moments (the pineapple, lol!), a definite upgrade to my previous experience with this author's work (The Taming of the Duke).

***The Rake Appreciation Society Book Club | December 2021 Selection***
Profile Image for Rhode PVD.
2,372 reviews24 followers
January 28, 2016
Drinking game: Do a shot every time the heroine's rounded breasts or lower lip are mentioned and you'll be schnozzled in no time!

Hell. I know and respect plenty of people who adore Eloisa James. In fact I respect them so much that every once in awhile I give her another try. And then I am the negative meanie amidst the squees.

But I Just Don't Get It.

We have a heroine with violet-ringed eyes (flashback to bad romances from the 1980s), who licks her lower lip when she's attracted to a man (so tired of this overused code for female lust), who is a virgin (I'm so f-ing over historic novel deflowering scenes), who "falls in love" and gets herself engaged to men she barely knows repeatedly, only to break up when she sees their true nature. So: immature and not a thinker. Also freakishly naive - she's repeatedly surprised when men want her for her money.

Then there is our hero the Duke who is unrealistically tall, broad and muscly, not to mention a self-made millionaire who is great at business (he inherited a bankrupt estate and turned it around) and he likes to wear Puritan-style unadorned black clothing and cares naught for the rules of society. So, he's basically American in every way except for being English...which makes no sense.

He falls for our heroine and decides to marry her based on a 10 minute conversation plus breasts and lower lip. He's never cared for another woman, but her! She's The One! Breasts!!!! Lip! Oh, now she's licking the lip! As they later get to know each other (barely), he adores that she speaks baldly and looks directly into his eyes without manners because she's a gauche American. So, this is infatuation or maybe just lust and not anything to do with sustainable love.

The other man, his brother Cedric, is a heavy drinker. Which was absolutely unremarkable for the place and period. And yet the Duke talks about it repeatedly, when trying to dissuade our heroine from marrying his brother, as though it was 21st century America and we all know what alcoholism is and despair of it.

This wasn't the only historical misstep. The heroine's family is from Boston where they made their money through inventions. But in the real 1803, wealthy New Englanders mostly made their money from shipping - they were whalers, slavers, merchants. The industrial revolution was only barely on the cusp of launching. They also tended to have accents quite close to British accents, after all Boston had been British just 25 years prior.

And the idea that a Bostonian woman of that era would write reams of silly poetry, as the heroine's aunt does, is fairly far fetched. A generation later, sure. But not then.

Plus, the notion the Duke has that the courtesans he pays for share his passion completely? Yeah, no. Well, I suppose Johns of all eras fool themselves about the reasons for a woman's willingness, but this doesn't speak well for his discernment.

I just have no interest in the tale of a silly, immature virgin with big breasts who shares an infatuation with a big manly "Duke" in a fictional world unrelated to our own. Also, if these two were real people, I bet you a million dollars they would dislike each other after a few years of marriage, because when infatuation and lust wears off, they would annoy each other.
Profile Image for Jo.
957 reviews205 followers
November 14, 2016
“You have been mine since the moment we met on the balcony.”

I adored Merry with her fierce loyalty, her honesty and passion. I loved that she wasn’t demure and shy like most HR heroines. And I loved that she wasn’t perfect, that she became infatuated quickly by the men who pursued her, who showed her only their good sides, until she realised that they weren’t who she thought they were. She might have had two broken engagements, but that didn’t make her fickle as she thought she was, in my eyes it showed that she was smart enough to call things off before she made a mistake she couldn’t fix.

He had had no idea that he’d been waiting for a particular woman, but it turned out he had been waiting for an American with glossy curls who would look him straight in the eye and not give a damn that he was a duke.

Jack, the Duke of Trent, I loved from the beginning until nearly the end. I loved how besotted he was right from the start, how he thought Merry was perfect for him before even knowing that she was his brother’s fiancé and I loved that by the middle of the book he did everything he could to make her his, although I wasn’t happy that she wasn’t told the truth of what was going to happen beforehand.

She fit his hands as if she’d been made for them.
This was ridiculous. One look, one touch, and he felt starkly possessive.

I loved their passionate chemistry, how Jack couldn’t stop wanting Merry, and once they got married I really liked their marriage, how well they connected outside and inside of the bedroom. And I loved the pineapple incident, and how it contributed to their HEA. Of course with Jack’s past and his distrust about love I knew the drama was coming, but I didn’t expect him to make her feel so insecure, and that upset me greatly. Luckily he did come to his senses and they had the HEA that I always love.

This was a difficult book to rate. I loved everything about the book up and to the 80% mark, where my issues mentioned before happened, and I just couldn’t regain my love for it after that. But I still loved most of the book, and I really liked the author’s writing. This was my first book by this author, and it won’t be my last.

Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,416 reviews144 followers
June 26, 2016
3.75 Stars

I always enjoy Eloisa James's historicals and this book is no exception to that rule. It isn't my favorite of hers, but I found it to be enjoyable and entertaining. I found the characters to be unique and well-developed while the romance was quirky in the way that I expect from this author.

My American Duchess focuses on the theme of an American heiress who travels to Great Britain in order to get a titled husband. The titular American is Merry who has already broken two betrothals and is determined to actually make it to the church this time. So she is ecstatic when she falls for and becomes engaged to Lord Cedric. Shortly after accepting the proposal, she has a fascinating conversation with a simply-attired gentleman that enchants both her mind and her body. Things get complicated when her mystery man is later introduced as the Duke of Trent, her future brother-in-law.

Merry and Trent are, as they should be, the stars of this book. I loved how genuinely Merry was and the intellectual way that she dealt with learning about British society. Trent is a sexy and surprisingly lovable hero who was fascinated by Merry from the start. The sexual tension between them is well-written and, I think, all the more powerful by their intellect and senses of humor. I was afraid that the love triangle part would drag on, but that part of the book is resolved quickly which made me happy.

There are plenty of interesting side characters in this book which is something else I love about Eloisa James's writing. I particularly liked Merry's Aunt Bess who adores her niece and spends her time writing long poems (900 lines, anyone?). And there are also two adorable dogs, Snowdrop and George, that provided comic relief and insight into the other characters especially the irritating and snobbish, Lord Cedric.

If I could rate My American Duchess based on the first half, I would give it 5 stars without reservation. Unfortunately, once Trent and Merry got married, I thought the story went downhill a bit. I liked the parts where they were learning to live as husband and wife while dealing with one another's quirks. Then the plot started to resort to communication issues and, I felt, unnecessary drama which pulled me out of the story. I enjoyed the book, but I wish it had stuck the landing.

I received a free copy of this book from Avon via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for AlwaysV.
480 reviews
April 10, 2022
I just edited my rating up from 4 to 5 stars. I previously took away one star because of the torturous way Merry traveled to become who she was meant to be. It wasn't smooth at all. Her path was so insane.

I felt like I started out relaxing in a passenger seat. It was so fun and entertaining for a while. Then she had to swerve to avoid falling rocks. My head snapped back! WTH! Luckily, Merry was a super determined driver. She made everything wonderful and hilarious again. Yet, before I could breathe easy & congratulate her, she ran off the road! Into a ditch! WTH 2!3!4! Back and forth. . . you got how the story went. 😀

The big picture? The story totally deserved my 5 stars! It was historical, a lousy time when a female couldn't control her own destiny. Merry was relocated to London in 1803, to live in a new country complete with new culture, new rules, and practically new everything. Even a new language! American English sure wasn't British English. So, yeah, she was understandably lost. She took the entire book to hold on to who she really was. I was so very proud of 💕Merry's success! Bravo to 💕Octavius Mortimer John Allardyce, the Sixth Duke of Trent 💕, who loved her exactly the way she was.

Sharing my favorite Happy Ending scene:

"He looks just like you, doesn't he?" she asked softly.

So much joy filled his heart that it felt as if it might crack. He sat down beside her, arranging Thomas so that he could see his mother. Or could see his mother if he cared to open his eyes.

"I love you, " Trent whispered. "God, Merry, I love you so much." . . .

That love got them through another baby, Fanny, and then a third, Peter. After Fanny learned to walk, she loved nothing more than to pull a small red wagon containing her brother Peter.

No one except Trent understood why his wife laughed so joyously at the sight of her beautiful children trundling about in that shiny red wagon.
Profile Image for Dragana.
1,681 reviews142 followers
June 6, 2016
Eloisa James is one of my favorite historical romance authors. I like her Fairy Tales & Desperate Duchesses series. I was looking forward to My American Duchess.

Wedding is not the end. The book does not stop at the HEA marriage, Eloisa James gives us insight into those first tricky months.
Sizzling chemistry between Merry and Duke from their first encounter. I loved how passionate they both were.
Fun facts. "When she was nervous, Merry dropped facts like an oak did acorns." She reminded me of MC from Neanderthal Seeks Human.
Quirky side-characters. Like Bess, Merry's aunt, who likes to write poetry in her free time. 900 lines poem? Coming right up!
Cute pets. There are two dogs. George for those who like casual wrinkled muts and Snowdrop for fans of little hoity-toity cuties.

Insta-love. For mature characters they do seem to fall too quickly in love.
Unrealistic characters.

If you are searching for accurate historical fiction My American Duchess is not that. But if you are looking for a cute, fun, quick read in the signature style of Eloisa James, then you don't need to seek any further.

Disclaimer: I received this ebook from Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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