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When the Duke Returns (Desperate Duchesses, #4)
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When the Duke Returns (Desperate Duchesses #4)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  5,973 Ratings  ·  385 Reviews
The Duchess of Cosway yearns for a man she has never met . . . her husband.

Married by proxy as a child, Lady Isidore has spent years fending off lecherous men in every European court while waiting to meet her husband. She's determined to accept him, no matter how unattractive the duke turns out to be. When she finally lures Simeon Jermyn back to London, his dark handsomene
Paperback, 375 pages
Published November 25th 2008 by Avon
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Rating details
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Nov 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: romance
RAGE warning for: abuse of Buddhism, Orientalist stereotypes that just stepped out one of Edward Said's footnotes.

This is the first book I've read by Eloisa James, so I don't know whether it's representative of her work.

I bought it randomly at a used book store because I'd heard good things about James's writing and the premise appealed to me: The heroine was married to the hero by proxy as a child, but it's been years and they haven't met. She has been waiting patiently for him, but when they m
Julie (jjmachshev)
Dec 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Reviewed for; book release Dec08

Just how long is ‘too’ long to wait for your man? In times of yore (it’s a historical!) there existed a practice of marriage by proxy. Meaning one member (usually the man) wasn’t actually present at the ceremony but the couple was considered legally wed. Then once the absent member showed up and consummated the marriage, all was normal. Eloisa James uses the concept of a proxy marriage in her latest book, “When the Duke Returns”. Her heroine has
Mistress   ~ ♠ Mistral's Kiss ♠ ~ (Mist)
Isadora has been married to the duke of cosway for 11yrs
never in that span of time has he bothered to meet the young lady he married by proxy. She played the meek wifely role for sometime
waiting for his return but as the years passed she said to hell with it
and indulged in seemly wicked activities to get his attention.
Well it worked, his Duke-i-ness has finally decided to make his presence known.

The very beginning of the story is enchanting which was entriely unexpected; since I hadn't cared for
3.5/3.75 stars
When the Duke Returns kept me engaged from start to finish and I read it in a day - but it was my least favorite in the series so far. Maybe it was because I just didn't like the premise and the hero. Isidore and Simeon were married by proxy 12 years earlier - she was 12 and he was 18. He then left to go to Africa and kept no contact with her and virtually no contact with his mother. Isidore is Italian, both her parents died suddenly and she was left alone in the world, save for he
Laura the Highland Hussy
Nov 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
This wasn't quite a 4 star read, but the ending of it was just fabulous, so I bumped it up.

I haven't read the rest in the series (I know, I know, bad Highland Hussy! Read in order!) so I'm hoping that would help as well.

I think that from the first page I just adored Isadore. She is beautiful, spunky, witty, and fun to read about.

I didn't like our Duke, though.

I liked him in the first few pages, but then as I got to know him, I began to dislike him. A lot. And not because he's a virgin at 30 (Se
Tammy Walton Grant
I like this author, I liked the story, I even liked the premise - both virgins. I was surprised how sexy she was able to make Simeon -- and how sensible his decision to remain chaste was. Their scenes together were well done but the dirty girl in me would have liked it a bit steamier. I wondered too, how the author would explain Simeon's knowledge of things like oral sex and where his fingers should go, when the author told us next to nothing about him. Guess he was born knowing; this is fiction ...more
Aug 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
Lady Isidore Del'Fino's husband-by-proxy returns to England from far away lands. Simeon, Duke of Cosway, decides that Isidore won't do as his wife because she dares think she's her own person with ideas and opinions like some kind of man or something. Also, his boners are uncomfortable because his bastardized """Eastern""" religion says that he should not succumb to lust. Except he totally does and they bone. The end.

1. I'm going to address the shit-covered elephant right away: I'm pretty sure
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As a general rule, I dislike being told how I should feel or view a character/relationship. So, the more James tried to tell me that by the end of the story Isidore and Simeon had become partners, the less inclined I was to view them as such. If an author feels the need to spell it out, they're either not doing a very good job of showing it, or they must consider their readers too dumb to figure it out on their own. Either way, it sucks, and it ruins my reading experience.

For me, Isidore and Sim
Cik Aini
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Despite the lower rating compared to Duchess By Night, I found myself enjoying reading this book.

Isidore had been married by proxy at the age of 12, and her husband, the duke, at the age of 18. For such at tender age, the marriage was never consummated and the duke never returns home. He went adventuring somewhere in the Sahara dessert, or at Nile river. Isidore got tired of waiting and coveted for her husband to return to her, went to Lord Strange's scandalous home in ensuring that the duke ret
This was a pretty good one! I liked that both characters had rather wrong expectations of each other and weren't entirely sure they wanted to make their marriage work. And I liked that they were both virgins.

I liked the central conflict of the hero thinking all successful marriages involve a "biddable" wife (!!!) and the heroine being like, "Uh, no," but I don't think it was ever quite resolved. In real life, I'd need a lot more from him.

The portrayal of "The Middle Way" that the hero followed w
Jun 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Well...I think my cravings in this genre are satisfied. I was a little yawnsville because I read 3 of them in a row. Don't get me wrong, enjoyable, but not challenging. This is a series I might pick up sporadically when I'm bored because the world is interesting enough fluffy-guilty pleasure.
This wasn't bad but wasn't great either. There were things that didn't work for me and just a few inconsistencies that didn't add up and kept throwing me off...

-Simeon’s tyrannical lunatic mother is so severe in formality and propriety that she doesn’t even address her own son by his given name in her own bedchamber. She’s the worst kind of penny pincher who is convinced people are out to scam the ducal family into paying outrageous bills. So obsessed that she doesn’t lift a finger to get the wa
Quirky Omega
I was so sure I was going to regret reading it. BUT NO!

Isidore was.....dumb sexually starved idiot less than perfect at first. All she's focused in on is how all the men she meets would drop at her feet and worship the dirt under her feet. Yet her husband continues to roam around the world, without sending one letter to her. I would sympathise with her, if she wasn't so solely focused on how her virginity was such a burden. Frustrating dunce, I know. I kept staring at her dialogues in the book a
Dec 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance
I guess I must have liked this book, because I read it straight through in one sitting (forsaking various useful tasks). James' books can seem scattered, and this one is no exception--the constant jumping between characters and locations can be maddening, but it keeps you turning pages. Isidore is alternately charming and grating, as is her maybe/maybe not husband (although he's been laden with all sorts of anachronistic new-agey beliefs he picked up in foreign climbs). What makes James' books s ...more
Kathie (katmom)
Sep 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
I found this one on a VIRGIN HERO list. Yep, Simeon is 30 and a virgin. And yet, very hot...his wife, by proxy, is 23 and has been married to him since she was 12. Don't worry...he's been GONE this entire time.

To say they were both PRIMED by the time they actually meet would be an understatement.

Their snark was run to read.
Apr 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4 out of 5.

I didn't like the ending so much. I wish it could have been simpler. I also wish that we got to see the Duchess solving other issues in their area and her explaining to the Dowager that her behaviour is unacceptable... Except we get an ending about convicts escaping..
Aly is so frigging bored
Re-read September 2016
I really enjoyed this one, and very glad to get Isidore's story! I thought the hero hung onto his issues a bit longer than I would have liked though. Glad to continue this series and looking forward to what is coming next!

I listened to the audio and really enjoyed it! Susan Duerden is wonderful to listen to!
Ana T.
Jul 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-book, read-in-2009
Although I have already reviewed This Duchess of Mine I did read this one first and so in the correct order. Isidore has been a secondary character in the previous books but besides being very beautiful there isn't anything else to make her stand out and I must confess I had no great expectations for this book. The most original thing seemed to be the fact that the hero was a virgin at 30 which, while original if we consider the amount of romances published, sometimes works and other times doesn ...more
Oct 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I read another review from a reader stating that James's "Desperate Duchesses" series improves with each book. I think she finally hit her peak with this one. It really was the perfect historical romance with a hot blooded Italian and an eccentric, reluctant duke who runs about the countryside in short trousers (oh, the scandal!).

I loved that our heroine, Lady Isidore, was completely unwilling to compromise her beliefs, opinions, and ideas because a man and--more specifically--her husband told h
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Ah, Eloisa James. What can you say? She knows her history. This book, " When the Duke Returns" is a part of the Duchess series. ( can be read out of order). This is a light historical romance set in the late 1700's, regency England. Lady Isidore was married by proxy as a child. Her "husband" Simeon never came to claim her on her 16th birthday. She is now 23 and the Duke has finally shown up. However, he has been changed by his "middle way" life in Africa. He attempts to control his feelings, ang ...more
Oct 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance
This is actually 3.5 to 3.75 stars. I would have marked it 4 stars, but something about the end turned me off a bit.

Isadore was more fun than I would have imagined after the last book, and Simeon was seriously drool-worthy.
(view spoiler)
Angie ~aka Reading Machine~
Duchess of Cosway, Lady Isidore hatches a plan to bring home her errant husband Simeon Jermyn from his travels abroad. Lady Isidore didn't know that to expect in her husband yet promised herself that she'd make it work for the both of them. When Simeon retrieves his wife Lady Isidore from Lord Strange's home finds that she isn't what he expected in a way. Simeon proposes that they get an annulment since the marriage isn't consummated. Isidore is floored at Simeon's suggestion without even trying ...more
Sep 29, 2010 rated it liked it
I was disappointed. I love Isidore, but I think Simeon doesn't deserve her.

Look, at the end of the day, Simeon is a selfish piece of shit. Are we supposed to feel sorry for the spoiled man-child who neglected all of his responsibilities - including a wife who was orphaned suddenly - for a decade? He is the very embodiment of pretentious, rich male entitlement. And as far as I'm concerned, this book failed because it didn't have him face that reality - that he's a spoiled, selfish, judgmental di
Of the first 4 books, When the Duke Returns comes in as my second favorite after Desperate Duchesses.

Isidore is my favorite lead heroine thus far in the series (though I suspect Jemma might oust her from that position as I continue to her book), she's a fiery Italian with a big heart and some realistic insecurities about her husband of eleven years that she's never met! Simeon has spent those years adventuring in Egypt and picking up some eccentric behaviors (in the mind of the English court at
Susan (susayq ~)
4.5 stars

Why has it taken me so long to get back to this series? I think this is my favorite so far. Isidore and Simeon demonstrated the old adage of opposites attract to perfection. She tried his patience and his calm with her fiery personality. They had me laughing at their snarky conversations.

If you've read my reviews for the previous books in this series then you know of my love for Jemma, Duchess of Beaumont. She once again shined in this book. As did Villiers. I'm excited that her book
Elis Madison
I was all set to hate the hero of this book (and I kinda did) until we got to meet his mother. If I called the scary mother in Affair Before Christmas a dragon, well this mother is something that scares dragons

And flying monkeys.

Backstory: Lady Isidore and Simeon, the Duke of Cosway, were married by proxy like a decade ago, sight unseen. He was abroad, you see. And he stayed abroad. And stayed. And now, at 23 years old, Isidore is pretty much fed up with it. In the last book she decided to pay
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
(From my book blog)

Yeah, there is no mention of a masked ball at any point in the book. Excellent cover choice.

Okay, so Isidore and Simeon were married by proxy when she was 12 and he was … older, and she expected him to show up and collect her when she turned 16, but Simeon was too busy off traversing the globe and learning the ~*~ways of the world~*~ to make it back. The book opens when Simeon has finally got his (sexy, sculpted) ass back to England to see Isidore. Isidore has never met Simeon
May Mostly Romance
Oct 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
When the duke returns ของเอลอยซา เจมส

หนังสือเลมนีเปนเลมทีสีในชุด Desperate Duchesses ทีเลาเรืองเหลาบรรดาดัชเชสจอมวุนทังหลาย และเลมนีกเปนเรืองราวของไอสิดอเร ผูทีเปนดัชเชสตังแตอายุสิบสองปี (โดยการแตงงานดวยตัวแทน) และรอคอยการกลับมาของดยุคของเธอจนกระทังบัดนีเธอกอายุไดยีสิบสามแลว

ตอนตนของเรืองนีเปนฉากหนึงในเรือง Duchess by night (ซึงเปนเลมทีสามในชุด) แตไมจำเปนตองอานเลมกอนหนาทังสามเลมหรอกนะคะ เพราะยังไงกรูเรือง มันไมไดเกียวพันกันมาก อาจจะยกเวนกตรงเรืองราวของตัวละครรองอยางเจมมา และวิลาดย (ซึงจะเปนนางเอก
Author: Eloisa James
First published: 2009
Length: 376 pages
Setting: London and regions, 1784 (Georgian).
Sex: Not frequent, reasonably explicit.
Hero: Has spent the last 12 years travelling Africa, now back in England to claim his title and wife. Virgin.
Heroine: Married by proxy at 12, now 23, has never met her husband. Virgin.

This book is part of a series. There is no question about that. Other characters begin or extend their stories, weaving them through Isidore and Simeon's. They affect each ot
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 25, 2015 09:24AM  
  • Only a Duke Will Do (School for Heiresses, #2)
  • Before the Scandal (Notorious Gentlemen, #2)
  • Your Scandalous Ways (Fallen Women, #1)
  • The Lady Most Willing... (Lady Most..., #2)
  • To Seduce a Sinner (Legend of the Four Soldiers, #2)
  • Some Like It Wicked (Kincaid Highland, #1)
  • Seducing an Angel (Huxtable Quintet, #4)
  • Mad about the Duke (Bachelor Chronicles, #7)
  • Just Wicked Enough (Rogues and Roses, #2)
  • Trial by Desire (Carhart, #2)
  • Sinful in Satin (The Rarest Blooms #3)
  • The Accidental Countess (Accidental, #2)
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
More about Eloisa James...

Other Books in the Series

Desperate Duchesses (9 books)
  • Desperate Duchesses (Desperate Duchesses, #1)
  • An Affair Before Christmas (Desperate Duchesses, #2)
  • Duchess By Night (Desperate Duchesses, #3)
  • 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)
“I don't want to have to earn love by giving up my ability to make decisions that determine how I live.” 15 likes
“They were partners. She would always make impulsive decisions and he would make slow, reasoned ones. He would always be a little terrified that she would look at him with the scorn he saw in his mother's eyes. And she would always be a little terrified that he would look at her and not love her enough.

In short, they were made for each other.”
More quotes…