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Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers #2

Četiri noći sa vojvodom

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Još dok je bila mlada devojka, Emilija Gvendolin Karington, poznatija kao Mija, zaklela se da nikad neće zaboraviti koliko ju je ponizio arogantni budući vojvoda Vander.

Mnogo godina kasnije, igrom sudbine, Mija neće imati drugog izlaza sem da uceni tog istog Vandera da se oženi njome. Potreban joj je društveni položaj i suprug kako bi dobila starateljstvo nad svojim bratancem. Sa druge strane, ugledni vojvoda od Pindara ima svoje razloge zbog čega pristaje na ovaj neuobičajeni predlog, ne propuštajući da doda još jedan, svoj uslov – provodiće samo četiri noći godišnje sa suprugom. I te četiri samo ako ona bude molila za njih.

Iako Mija planira da posle godinu dana braka vrati Vanderu slobodu, kada se budu probudila osećanja i rasplamsale strasti, lovac će biti uhvaćen u sopstvenu zamku

272 pages, Paperback

First published March 31, 2015

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About the author

Eloisa James

129 books8,855 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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Displaying 1 - 30 of 964 reviews
Profile Image for UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish.
1,166 reviews1,636 followers
November 20, 2015
HAPPY RELEASE DAY! Have you gotten your copy yet?!?

Full review now posted...

5 Vanderlicious stars!

I'll be honest, I wavered between 4 and 5 stars with this one, but Vander and the absolutely amazingly wonderful Charlie made this a 5 star read! Mia is a fun, unique heroine, but it's the two leading males who made this a joy to read!


As a young girl, Emilia Gwendolyn Carrington told the annoying future Duke of Pindar that she would marry any man in the world before him—so years later she is horrified to realize that she has nowhere else to turn.

Evander Septimus Brody has his own reasons for agreeing to Mia's audacious proposal, but there's one thing he won't give his inconvenient wife: himself.

Instead, he offers Mia a devil's bargain...he will spend four nights a year with her. Four nights, and nothing more. And those only when she begs for them.

Which Mia will never do.

Now Vander faces the most crucial challenge of his life: he must seduce his own wife in order to win her heart—and no matter what it takes, this is the one battle he can't afford to lose

My thoughts...

I adore Historical Romances because I find it hysterical when the women of the era are trying to live within the boundaries "polite" society has set for them, all the while trying to live their lives the way they want to - by being themselves. Four Nights With the Duke is just such a story, and even though there were times I wanted to strangle Mia, I also loved her for her determination to get what she wanted.

Vander's struggle to understand - and cope with - his own feelings toward Mia was fun reading. He's not inclined to operate within societies rules, either, but those rules are not the same for men as they are for women, and create an entirely different set of...obstacles. And watching Vander with Charlie was heartwarming! And funny! Charlie is an absolute hoot and he needs his own story one day.

The bottom line...

Four Nights With the Duke had me sighing, laughing, and even almost shedding some tears. It's steamy, entertaining and, even now, months after reading it, has me smiling as I write this review. Can't ask for more than that!

An ARC was provided by Avon Books via Edelweiss. In appreciation I'm giving them an honest thoughts.
Profile Image for Tracy T..
985 reviews19 followers
April 2, 2015
Geez I am glad this book is over. I will probably catch grief for this review but I have to be honest, and in my opinion this was a struggle to get through.

The book started out good, but by chapter 10 it started going down hill. I want to delete chapter 25 completely from the book. Actually I would have liked chapters 11-32 deleted and this been a novella, it would have been better..

He is a total jerk for the entire book until the last 5 minutes. She is so insecure it's pathetic. You can't save a character in the last 5 minutes or 5 pages of a book.

He talks to her like she's a piece of crap at the same time all he thinks about is plunging into her. He is constantly talking about sex, sex and more sex that it becomes annoyingly repetitive. (don't get me wrong I like sex in my books, but his constant thoughts were just bad or badly written? hmm...)

She is constantly talking about herself being ugly, fat, not good enough, hates her breasts, hair, stomach, legs, butt and everything else on her body. She is also somewhat of a prude, surprisingly to me because she is an author. Even the crippled boy wasn't as insecure as she is. She had some back bone at times but then contradicted herself the next sentence by saying she wasn't good enough! Ugh ...

This story was a big disappointment to me. I just finished Three Weeks with Lady X a few days ago (loved it by the way, great story) and Vander's character was completely different in that story than in this story. He wasn't a total A-Hole in that book, Sorry to say, but the author ruined a great character from her previous book and made him the hero!

There is way to much angst in this book. The "chemistry" is forced and did not seem genuine. Not sure but maybe it was because of the characters themselves. (he's a jerk, she's overly insecure). So I couldn't even enjoy that progression.

There is lots of dialogue (I like lots of dialogue) however, the dialogue suffered because of the characters themselves... getting that repetitive feeling yet? Good, because that's what your getting with this book repetitive A-holeness and insecurities.

The story that our heroine, Mia, is writing throughout the entire story was better. It was fun reading her "notes" at the beginning of each chapter. So there is that.

In my opinion a sex maddened A-hole, hero and an insecure prudish heroine do not make for a good historical romance story. Just sayin....

I have read several Eloisa James books and this one was just not good, it was annoying and frustrating hoping for these characters to change or something, anything, before the last 5 minutes.

As for the narration, it was great! Susan Duerden did a fantastic job. She is becoming a favorite narrator. She reads with lots of emotion and the men sound like men.
Profile Image for Sita.
28 reviews32 followers
April 9, 2015
The hero is a man-child, who constantly runs around spewing cruel things & then, runs around to make amends. I like my heroes well-adjusted. Vander is a grade-A asshole. He's also very horny. So he makes the heroine cry - turned on. She runs away to her room & is sobbing 'like her heart is breaking' -turned on. Then he calls her ugly - turned on; ad nauseam. Sex is first on his mind, he says the cruelest things imaginable and while the heroine is crying about it, he fantasizes about how sexy she is & how he wants to do it with her while trying to get her to calm down. Dude's the kind of guy I'd warn my future daughters to stay the hell away from, who'd probably turn out to be an emotional vulture.

Now, my feelings have been run over by many a men which probably explains the pang in my chest every time the girl was called fat, or ugly, or had her breasts compared to cabbages.Her confidence issues are resolved by the end, of course but lately, I've been craving for a romance heroine who doesn't rely on how attractive her man finds her in order to develop a modicum of self-confidence. She blackmails the hero into marriage, but she does explain her (noble) reasons for it,which by the way, the hero tosses into the fire promptly without reading.

I'm not usually one to go 'there are no likeable characters!!!1!' but the romance novel relies on romance, i.e.heros in these books are constantly romanticized, even if they are jerks. Not a good read.
Profile Image for Desi.
537 reviews94 followers
June 27, 2020
Not sure how I managed to finish this. Save to say, there is nothing wrong with the quality of the writing, only the content, which leaves a whole darn lot to be desired.

To begin with, there was nothing romantic about this book, but worse than that, it was actively unkind.

I felt like I was party to an abusive relationship.

I was very, very disturbed.

Mia was bearable and had her charms. Her nephew was cute. But Lah, the Hero was vicious and emotionally abusive.

Also way too much focus was placed on arousal and bedding. No one put any effort into getting to know anyone else on a less superficial level.

Problème Majeur
The Hero, Vander, was a jerk with his constant throwing of insults at his "chubby", already insecure bride.

It says a lot that he had her thinking things like this-

“She would have put it down to dislike of her figure, but although Vander thought she was dumpy, he had kissed her that one time. Well, two times. Men were like that, by all accounts. Merely being in the vicinity of a woman made a man eager to bed her.”

Please, as a society can we stop telling our girls that when a boy treats her badly or hurts her feelings it's because he likes her?

And that men are uncontrolled animals led about by their pee sticks?

I'm tired of women being held responsible for men's actions, reactions, thoughts and supposedly uncontrollable animal urges.

Men literally have to hold it and place it somewhere, if that's not agency, something the individual can be held personally accountable for, I don't know what is.

I hated Vander from the get go. And he really did not improve in enough time to save himself in my estimation.

Thinking nice things is pretty much useless if you convey bile to the world and the people weaker than you.

Also he was a full-of-himself, prideful pr*ck who was completely lacking in charm.

“Once he managed to seduce Mia, he would dispense with the four days proviso and give her access to his bed whenever she wanted. Hell, maybe he would even let her sleep with him”

See how very generous he is?? My, my I am just blown away

“The feeling lent itself to what he said, sharpened his voice though he didn’t mean it that way. “You’re greedy for me,” he said bluntly. “I had you pinned against the wall and you wanted more. Hell, if—” He stopped. What was he doing, talking to a lady like that? Not just a lady, but his wife? Mia’s cheeks first turned red, and then pale. She swallowed so hard that he saw her throat ripple. She bent her head and hair fell across her face; when she looked back up a second later, her eyes were calm and her face empty.”

He didn't mean it that way? What other way can it possibly be meant? He's Madonna-whore-ing her. He is the ultimate self righteous D*ck.

The author kept having him lust after her. Then be a belittling pr*ck to her two minutes later. It was extremely disrespectful. Especially the way he expected her to "get over it" and fall in line with his wishes. He frankly was hella rapey and aggressive in ignoring her "no's" in many of their scenes together.

“He ached all over, his body telling him that there was only one thing he wanted. Mia. Thanks to his being an ass, he had exactly three nights in the rest of the year to enjoy her.
One would have to be tonight. Tonight . . . the promise of it sang in his blood. She was angry, but she would get over it.”

He was supremely disrespectful to her personal agency. Grabbing her and molesting her whenever she confronted him about the way he treated her. Never listening when she said no or stop.

“I don’t want you to say any more unkind things to me,” she told him. “If I don’t behave like a doxy, I can’t be labeled one. Please, Vander, let me sit up.”

He is exactly the type of man the rape within marriage laws were put on the books for.

“His wife was standing before him, telling him to leave, but he would not leave. She was his. With that thought, he picked her up, ignoring her gasp, and carried her to the bed, following her down”

Any woman tied up with this man is best off leaving because he has the potential to be extremely physically abusive

“Go now, Vander. Please.” Vander followed and swung her about, not gently. “Everything you’re saying is wrong. It’s rubbish.”


Minor Quibble
I really disliked the "notes on Mia's novel" gimmick the author used. I would have much preferred to have read excerpts from Mia's previous books. We all know how difficult writing is. I do not enjoy reading disjointed scribblings. They were more of a distraction than anything and added no value to the novel. Frankly they were nonsensical.

There is also no way anyone in their right mind would ever compare Mia's work to that of Jane Austen's. Comparing the hysterical gothic nonsense that would have emerged from Mia's scribblings to Austen's deftness and social commentary, is the height of insolence (harsh, yes, but I felt insulted on Ms. Austen's behalf seeing as she's not here to turn up her nose herself, lol).


Side Note
The shout-outs to the author's real life author friends i.e. Mrs Lisa Klampas (Lisa Kleypas) and Miss Julia Quiplet (Julia Quinn) references, were cute, though a wee tad repetitive.

Favourite Lines
“There wasn’t much conversation; Sir Chuffy was humming to himself, and Vander was eating a beef steak in the devotional way that men eat large slabs of meat.”

“A good smith will say that a ‘job well done is a job never seen again,’”

“He had the bone-chilling air of a man who would kill for a triviality”


Resumed Rant
Everything Vander wants from Mia is physical. It is literally the only reason he wants to spend time With her-

“It was merely that his irrational fit of lust had turned her from a near stranger to the only person he cared to spend time with.”

He claims he doesn't want her to change yet he repeatedly insults every possible aspect of her? Hmm...

“She was sequestered with a seamstress. Making herself into a duchess, by all accounts. It was ridiculous. He didn’t want her to change”


On The Heroine
Mia was a bit much to be honest.

“Her brother was fond of her, but didn’t trust her with his most prized possession, his son.”

I don't understand this gripe. During this time period it was unheard of for a woman to retain sole custody of a child. Particularly a child with a title. Mia knows this. Even had her brother given her full custody it would mean nothing. The minute it was challenged by any man with even the vaguest relationship to the child, a day in court would be sufficient for the judge to rule in his favour and take custody from her. The judge would inarguably have chosen the man.

So I don't know why she's bewailing her brother's perfectly logical decision, as if everything is always about her, and someone or other not loving her enough.

Why anyone should love her when this entire book she never even learnt to like herself I don't know. It was sickening and she is a depressing and rather desperate seeming character.

I hope Edward had time in his two years of knowing her to see aspects we haven't been exposed to, because I don't see how Vander had time to supposedly be in love, in under a week.

More likely he didn't want anyone taking away his s*x doll. Because that was all she was to him, and he certainly treated her like one, throwing it aside when he wasn't in the mood to play.

Vander was no piece of cake, callous and crude and likely to turn out as mad as his father. I don't think he did one nice thing for her the entire book, much less said a single positive thing to her. Although to be honest I believe he did once compliment her hair.

He spent the lion's share of his time belittling Mia.

“His words hit her with all the force of a slap. As if a passerby on the street had given her a blow to the chin or called her a whore.”

And this negativity was pretty much all he dished out, all book long.

“She literally could not survive any more humiliation courtesy of the Duke of Pindar”

If Vander hadn't had the nephew to be kind to I would have thought him irredeemable. Why Mia would stay in that toxic relationship I cannot fathom. They deserve each other I suppose.

“Something about him was destructive to her. It was pitiful, she reminded herself, to want a man who was not only disrespectful, but unkind”

(Glad she acknowledges what a fool she is)

“The mortification cut like a blade: it seemed that even her eight-year-old nephew was more valuable than she was. She had never felt more unlovable”

Mia- “When you lose your temper, you say things I can’t forgive.”
“I can change,” Vander said, his eyes fierce”

(She says she can't forgive yet she keeps going back for more. As for him changing ...ha! Get thee away Mr. Fierce Eyes!)

She admittedly stood up for herself for a bit near the end.

“What we shared is not good enough to sustain a marriage.”

(Oh how I agree with that statement)

“You have repeatedly expressed your low opinion of me, no matter what you say now.”

(Boy has he!)

“My feelings are not rubbish, Duke. Just because you do not agree does not mean that my feelings are invalid. In fact, you just confirmed what I already told you: at the heart, you think my opinions, my feelings, are unimportant”

But she left it way to late to be just now be playing at growing a backbone. She had already taught him how to treat her, that she had no value and what a very very high level of crap she would accept.

Deliberately obtuse Vander thinks he isn't romantic enough for Mia. He still doesn't see the problem even when he is finally told outright. It isn't that he isn't romantic. It's that he is abusive. Yes Vander. You Are Abusive.

Even his friends play into his nonsensical romance notion...
“I’ll take it as a given that you’ve made a royal hash of it. That means you’ll have to make a truly grand gesture"

As if a gesture, grand or otherwise, could make up for his consistent digs.

“You don’t measure up to a Lucibella hero.” Chuffy’s voice was muffled by the tablecloth.”

I hate that the author framed this as an issue resulting from Vander not measuring up to Mia's fictional hero from her rather stupid novel writing. This is not an issue about a naive woman too silly to realize that real men aren't like the wonderful fake ones in books.

The problem isn't some fantasy man of Mia's. It is that Mia has never been shown any respect or even a modicum of consideration by Vander. He does not show her even basic courtesy. He is downright cruel, in a sly emotionally draining way that she would have trouble explaining in words to anyone not actually present when he makes his mean comments.

And he treats her like a piece of meat, one that isn't even his favorite cut! He insults her figure repeatedly and sl*t shames her for sleeping with him enthusiastically, her own husband. She's going to have issues about her sexuality for ages because of him. It really alarms me that the author thinks this is excusable behavior in a man.

“He loved Mia. In fact, the truth was that talking about f*cking her was just a way of saying that he wanted to be in her. The feeling that she was his . . . it was the same. A crude way of saying he loved her. A way of insisting that she could never be taken away from him.”

I really, really dislike this dude. First off, he is twisted... and secondly love is not about words, crude or otherwise. Love is about exhibiting care. Care of, for and towards another human. Something I'm not too sure he's capable of.

For Mia to finally try standing up for herself in chapter 32 out of 34 chapters is way too late in the game. My distaste for the lot of them remains.

All of Mia's grand self-affirming actions were negated by the supposed "happy ending" where she goes back to him and will live suffering-ever-after with that oh so delightful man.

I highly recommend you read something else.

On Author-dom

“She may have lost faith in love, but readers needed her novels, especially when they were sick at heart, desperate, nearing death, or watching a loved one fade. They needed to believe in the fairy tale that she no longer believed in herself”

One does have to wonder how much of this line is the real author's view and how much is Mia's. Because this kinda regurgitated tripe for the sake of the fans is nowhere near a fairy tale.

As a one-time fan, I can testify that I would much prefer to be spared her novels, particularly during times of tribulations, and be left in peace to hold on to my memories of prior fabulous books.
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,796 reviews487 followers
April 8, 2015
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life.

4 Stars!

I had a lot of fun reading this book! I have had Eloisa James on my radar for quite a while but somehow never have read one of her books. I did read a novella length piece by this author several years ago and really liked the writing style. I think I even bought a couple of her books that are patiently waiting for me to get to the chance to read them. I wish I could tell you why I waited so long to finally read a full length novel from this prolific author but I honestly don’t have any kind of valid reasoning. I can tell you that I sometimes will go long periods of time without reading any historical romances. I like the genre but usually only pick one up when I need a break for another kind of book.

This story opens when Mia and Vander are 15 years old. The pair have a rather unusual connection – Vander’s mother had a long term affair with Mia’s father. Vander has in his possession a love poem written by Mia about him. They don’t see each other again for many years until Mia shows up at Vander’s home to propose marriage. She makes sure that her offer is one that Vander cannot refuse and the pair are quickly married. They each bring conditions to the marriage. Vander will spend four nights per year with Mia if she begs for those nights. He thinks that she is still infatuated with him after all those years and does not realize that Mia has no intention to ever beg for a single night.

I was a little worried when I started this book that I might be lost since it is listed as the eight book in the series but it reads just fine as a stand-alone novel. I liked the characters a lot in this book. Mia had a lot of love to give and was willing to sacrifice herself in order to protect those she loves. She wasn’t the kind of character that waited for other people to come and save her or complain about a situation. She took care of herself and worked to change situations that she didn’t like. She only came to Vander for marriage when she saw no other choice. Vander is equally likeable. He is determined to make the most of his situation. He is really a good man who knows that sometimes the best way to change a situation is to teach others to take control of their own lives. I absolutely loved the secondary characters in this book, especially Vander’s uncle and Charlie.

I liked Mia and Vander as a couple even thought I initially wanted to smack them both for their thoughts and behaviors. They eventually came around and I really liked the chemistry between them. Since this is a romance novel, I knew going in that they would most likely fall for each other but I still enjoyed how everything played out. There were a few other things going on in the story that kept me very interested. The pacing was perfect and I just loved the dialog. I will admit that I was not a fan of the pieces of Mia’s book that started out most of the chapters. I didn’t feel like the inclusion of the notes and drafts of Mia’s book added much of anything to the story except to maybe show that she had the means to support herself financially if the need arose. Other readers may enjoy those parts but I would have preferred for the novel to stay focused on the story.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical romance. This was a wonderfully written novel that I think will appeal to a large audience. I definitely plan to read more from Eloisa James very soon.

I received a copy of this book from Avon via Edelweiss for the purpose of providing an honest review.
Profile Image for WhiskeyintheJar.
1,319 reviews543 followers
February 12, 2016
2.5 stars

"So you are looking for a husband," he said agreeably. "And you thought, hey ho, I'll have a go at a duke?"

This had some humor to it through the couple's commentary back and forth that I liked. The whole story takes place pretty much within a week and I think this caused the lack of relationship I felt between the two. The hero Vander spends a vast majority of the time saying clueless slightly mean things to the heroine Mia while she spends the vast majority weeping and hurt. They're angry, they are lustily attracted to each other, rinse and repeat. The additives to the story, the evil uncle wanting to inherit Mia's nephew's inheritance, Mia's fiance who maybe maybe not jilted her, and the ending danger scene, felt disjointed. It seemed the last 30% or so of the story didn't know where to go and felt dragged out. There were some heartfelt moments though, with Charlie, Mia's nephew, and Vander that will melt your heart.
Profile Image for Samantha.
248 reviews75 followers
October 12, 2022

1 star.

➕ What I liked:

Curvy heroine.

➖ What I disliked:

Lacking chemistry.
Lacking romance.

The lack of confidence from the heroine. (about her body)

The heroine was very insecure and self-conscious about her body. (self-deprecating, internalized fat-shaming/body-shaming etc.)

Annoying “hero” and unlikable “hero”. (a emotionally abusive man-child)

Consent issues.

Abusive/toxic relationship.
Profile Image for Becky.
110 reviews
February 3, 2015
One of my favorite authors hits it out of the park again! I loved this book and had to fight with myself over sleeping or reading every night. The characters were wonderful and I looked forward to the book notes at the beginning of each chapter. The romance was very sweet and satisfying and I loved tiny tim...oops, I mean Charlie's story. I was so happy with the epilogue as well. I would def. recommend this book to my patrons.
Profile Image for ♥ℳelody.
633 reviews660 followers
December 29, 2017
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I'm thoroughly confused on how to go about rating this. On one hand loved the chemistry between the leads, on the other hand was not a fan of the contrived super-fast-paced plot and character motivations. What happened to sweet and sexy Vander? He was definitely sexy in here but sweet? This guy is not considerate or sweet by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t mind jerk heroes but I feel like the author did a disservice to his character to push the plot along. I honestly couldn't recognize the Vander that was portrayed in this book with how he was presented in the last book, very different characterization IMO. I felt Eloisa confused Vander for Thorn here. This was not the same thoughtful kind best friend of Thorn who swooped in and romanced India. I didn't mind his hard rough edges, but something about his attitude and crudeness didn't suit him, it felt very false. And again, I looooove sexy gruff brutes so I can't say I minded it, but the lack of 'sensitivity chip' if you will seemed really forced. Being deliberately mean and crude to hurt our fragile heroine into a blubbering mess and give her another reason to not trust him is not really a fair trade, just saying.

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And as for the heroine, Mia, she’s a big part of why I had to take a star off for this. She was way too sensitive, insecure, brittle and prudish for my liking. Like EXTREMELY uptight and fragile that I found it so silly and tiring. Some don’t like dirty talk, that’s ok. But having the heroine get miffed and scold the hero endlessly for saying anything dirty just kinda ruins it. Uptight prudes just ruin the romance. #sorrynotsorry This girl takes every little thing that Vander does or doesn't say as offensive and rude and is running away crying like a wilting lily. I found it very juvenile and pitiful to be honest. Yes Vander had his jerk moments but what annoyed me to no end is how she would blow things way out of proportion and misunderstand his words when he was trying to be sweet and complimentary to her. Whatever he would say or do she would run off like a scared blubbering child, the guy could never win. Like suck it up and grow some self esteem girl. And some thicker skin while you're at it. You can't be attracted to me because I'm fat and short! You can't touch my breasts because they are cabbages, you said so! (no he really didn't) You don’t respect me because you tupped me in the stables and think I'm greedy! You don't love me because you call me your Duchess! WTF? Really?! I found her reasons to why she thinks he doesn't want her really absurd. She's so insecure about her full figure and big breasts and all because of one stupid isolated incident when they were kids, she overhears a boy making fun of her breasts (see cabbage comment) to Vander. I guess I could have related and understand it better if this was a consistent problem for her, if it was something she was ridiculed and tormented over all her life. But it wasn't. I just found it highly unrealistic for someone to have such little confidence and zero self-esteem based on some flippant comment made by a hormonal 15 year old idiot boy. Not saying it doesn’t happen but the author took one silly hijinks moment and used it to drive the heroine's manufactured conflict and self-doubt along. She overhears this conversation and uses it as shroud over her head thinking she's ugly and fat through her adult life. I needed more backstory than this. She thinks her breasts are disgusting and her husband wanting to have sex with her any time or place is disrespectful and unladylike. RME so hard. Seriously? Give me a guy who can’t get enough of me. I’m sorry but I seriously struggled with this warped logic. I don't like silly melodrama with OTT reactions and Mia severely tested my patience with her whiny attitude. The number of times she is screeching this isn't proper! or Did you just say that to me? made my eyes go cross. Enough. Your hair won’t catch on fire if you hear the word cock. You’re a married woman.
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Put on your big girl panties and deal with it.

I did enjoy Vander's relationship with Mia's nephew Charlie, really sweet, fun and utterly charming, and the h/hr did have great sexual chemistry. Emphasis on sexual. Everything else? Contrived and super rushed. They literally get married and fall in love (again) in 4 days, she thinks she's hideous and fat because of a remark by a brat bully made years ago, so on and so on. I needed a little more meaningful moments between the h and hr outside of the bedroom, like 90% of the time Vander is thinking about or talking about sex. Guys are horndogs but come on. lol There was very little room for actual meaningful substance between the two which I didn't understand. I love good tension and conflict but the source of contention has to make sense and make it worthwhile and don’t cram it down readers’ throats. There were a hundred easy loop holes that Vander could have used to get out of the blackmail letter Mia presented him to get him to marry her, but he didn't. What lovely little moments they had was ruined with prudish Mia scolding him and crying over what gentlemen should and shouldn't do. It's a buzzkill to this romance reader. *shrugs*
Profile Image for Hannah B..
881 reviews1,315 followers
April 3, 2022

I dunno… if I wrote this in 2015 and I had the choice of promoting it in 2022… I would be embarrassed and try to destroy every copy rather than make a tiktok about the hot stepback that doesn’t even represent the heroine (tbh this is the LEAST of the book’s problems and it’s at least more or less out of Eloisa’s control). Story is probably 2⭐️s but the consent issues and horrible language used throughout made me cringe horribly and none of it was Hot as a result. This book is a Not. 1⭐️ star because the beginning had potential and the setup was again, great, but, again, the execution was severely lacking.

Mia is a whiny chicken and Vander is an abusive, suspicious bread crumb. Idk what happened to me but by the end I was even annoyed with Charlie like everything he did was nails on a chalkboard to me… I feel bad lol. Actually scratch that, the epilogue says he turned into a Vander clone as he aged so yeahhhh no dice for Chuck. Oh and Vander’s end poem was so bad 😭

Mia was so weird surrounding sex (both because of her insecurity and just inherent squeemishness whenever it was mentioned (even after she had had sex at this point)). So much so that I cannot believe she was a successful novelist? Not sure how risqué her books got but her ideals were all weird and the snippets we got were funky too (weird smell funky not Scooby & Shaggy in the live action Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed funky). Like she completely rewrote the hero by the end of the book because he was a wet blanket but I’m assuming the rest of her previous heroes were too?

Vander just wanted to sex her all the time and I’m absolutely not convinced he loves her or anything close. He was like I need to grovel because I’ve been a twat burger in the past and present (good!) but I’m only groveling bc I want to eat her for dinner not because I actually feel bad (less good!).

“If at any point she’d have said no, Vander would have stopped.” Ththththshshshthpthpthhhppp. That is simply not correct. This is Eloisa trying to placate us by adding the line but she’s done zero work in showing us he would stop. She told him to stop when he was taking her virginity and he was like “don’t ask me to stop now it’s impossible.”

⭐️.25/5 🌶🌶🌶/5
Profile Image for Treece.
521 reviews141 followers
January 23, 2018
Rating: 3 1/2

A sweetly delightful romp of a book with an annoyingly insecure heroine who grew on me (somewhat) and a ruff-tumble hero with just the right amount of vulnerable and sexy grit. Horses, over-the-top villains, bedroom heat w/out being too much, eccentric supporting characters, angst-ridden history, clear/clean motivations and a plot-moppet keep the story line wheels and character development churning.

I will definitely try something else by this author. She knows her history and writes fluidly and well.
Profile Image for Susana.
988 reviews247 followers
Shelved as 'its-not-me-book-it-is-you'
February 14, 2016
since I am not a big fan of punishment reads, I think I'll pass this one.
The "hero" sounds like a total jerk, and I would probably spend the whole book wishing he was dead, so there: Mia, you're a widow, rejoice! :D
Profile Image for Cee (The Mistress Case).
253 reviews161 followers
November 21, 2015
Reviewed on January 15, 2015:

To those who are familiar with my taste in historical romance, you may know I’m not a big fan of Eloisa James. Never have been. May never will. I don’t dislike her, but I don’t like her either. I still don’t have a reason to like her. Her writing doesn’t have the “awe factor” to woo me and oftentimes her characters turn me off more than humanely possible. Eloisa comes up with these splendid synopses to lure me then once I’m snatched up by her book, I realize it’s already too late when I end up getting beat down by Disappointment. (Yes, the capitalization is intended.)

Disappointment is my constant companion with every Eloisa James novel I pick up. It’s always around the corner waiting for me to notice no matter how hard I try to ignore it. However, Disappointment doesn’t sneak up on me or slowly sink into my skin uninvited anymore. I regret to say its presence is now familiar and comfortable to be around.

What are my problems with this book (and most of Eloisa’s books for that matter)?

1) Lackluster attempt to do justice to an exciting plot. The plot of Four Nights with the Duke sounded like something special but is, in fact, tiring and dull to follow.

2) Characters are as flat as bosoms which obviously don’t belong to Mia. *rolls eyes because Mia’s overly large breasts are mentioned at least a hundred times*

I don’t connect with anyone.

Emilia has no personality. She is characterized by a small abundance of self-worth and that’s about it. Even though I’m aware of how realistic Mia’s low self-esteem is (A female is allow to have low self-esteem, you know? She doesn’t have to love every inch of her body.), I don’t find it attractive in a heroine who regularly has to remind herself how big, lumpy, and unattractive she is. Am I supposed to take pity on her or something? It’s pathetic and I expected her to be a strong-headed woman. Not this unimpressive, whimpering little girl. From what I understand, she’s 28, the same age as our hero.

Vander is a tantrum-throwing fool with a potty mouth. Enough said.

3) The mind numbing drama that compels me to put down the book on several occasions. Towards the end of Four Nights with the Duke, the drama escalates to ridiculous and I was laughing like an insane person. Even the serious moments are amusing.

When the characters fight, their arguments are repetitive to a fault. They go round and round in circles and it leaves me to conclude Eloisa is better off writing something interesting instead of repeating spoken and inner dialogues. I’m not wasting my time and money for this.

Suddenly, these characters’ necks look good to throttle.

4) Insta-lust.

He was still hard as a rock and had been since he loomed over her in the chair. “If I want a whore, I pay for her,” he said, thrusting forward with his hips in a rough motion that she could not mistake.

Is the heroine supposed to feel flattered? Is this how all women should act when we unintentionally turn on the opposite sex? At one point in the book, the hero is still turned on when the heroine is sobbing.


I find Eloisa’s books lacking in romance. Her characters’ possessive love for one another is unconvincing. It isn’t love. It isn’t romantic. It’s lust and lust alone. And it’s not even steamy good. It’s bleh.

5) No sense of humor. It’s not a rule to be funny, but it wouldn’t hurt to try.

Yet no matter how ardently Jafeer courted her, Mia adamantly refused to ride a horse that size.

I stand corrected. The only sentence to make me laugh out loud.

6) Happily Ever After? More like Okayyyyy Ever After? It’s a last feeble effort for dramatic danger, but fails miserably to pose a threat. The ending for Four Nights with the Duke is a bit silly and sweet too and I like it.

The Book Saviors: Charlie, Jafeer, the subtle shout outs to HR authors Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas.

Favorite Quote: “They needed to believe in the fairytale that she no longer believed in herself.”

Conclusion: The book cover is better than the book contents. #sorrynotsorry. I LOVE the cover. It’s one of my favorites of 2015.
Profile Image for Aly is so frigging bored.
1,631 reviews273 followers
February 12, 2017
2nd read: 11-12 February 2017

1st read: 11 April 2015
I loved it! I took breaks only to pee, otherwise I didn't even need food... it was that good!

I haven't read many historicals with the heroine working as a novelist(that I liked and finished), but EJ doesn't disappoint. Mia was great: she's loving, smart, has a great sense of humor and she's an amazing writer. Vander is a bit scared by his past(his father had bipolar disorder, or that's what it reads like, and his mum cheated on him with Mia's dad... both characters were shaped by this), he's kind of antisocial, kind, gets well with kids; but he also has, let's call them bursts of assholish behaviour. He feels threatened by what he feels for Mia and tries to demean her with barbs whenever he's vulnerable. I like that in the end Mia makes him work for it and makes him voice his feelings, not accepting less then she deserves.

EJ wrote another of her amazing books and I can't wait for more!
Profile Image for Jaclyn.
789 reviews163 followers
March 25, 2015
All I can say after finishing Four Nights with a Duke is that I loved this book. As soon as I started the prologue, I knew this one was a keeper. The novel starts off when both the hero and heroine are fifteen years old, not an easy age, and James captures the awkwardness of those teen years in a way that is truly inspired. The prologue (which you can read on the author's website) caught my attention, but the remainder of the book kept my interest with it’s well developed characters and delightful romance. This "enemies to lovers" romance is sure to please Eloisa James' fans and win new ones (like me!).

At fifteen, Emilia Gwendolyn Carrington already had a pretty good idea of what hell was like. Mia’s governess had taught her all about Dante’s nine infernal circles.

Mia’s first circle had required her to make her debut at fifteen, under the aegis of a hired chaperone, because her mother was dead. Her second circle had added a far worse indignity: her charming, widowed father was conducting a flagrant affaire with a married duchess that everyone in the fashionable world knew about.

She had entered the third circle over the last year or so, when against all reason, she had fallen desperately in love with the same duchess’ son, Vander (p. 10).

It can’t be easy to fall in love with your father’s mistress’s son, especially when you’re fifteen. And especially when the object of your affections finds that poem (appropriately titled The Love Song of E. Septimus Brody) that you wrote about him and proceeds to show his friends…

After the humiliation that Vander heaps upon her with the reading of her admittedly bad poetry, Mia quickly falls out of love with him, at least, until she blackmails the man into a marriage of convenience thirteen years later. The blackmail isn't about revenge, but you can't help but cheer that Mia's getting the duke back all these years later.

Having no other choice but to marry in order to become the guardian of her nephew, Mia resorts to desperate measures to make this happen. She’s been jilted so she has very few choices, and while she would rather not resort to blackmail, it’s her only choice. Vander is predictably not impressed with the blackmail scheme. His family has endured its share of scandal and he’d rather avoid having his father labeled treasonous. Reluctantly, Vander agrees to Mia’s scheme with some conditions of his own.

Four Nights with a Duke was a delightful romance. For me, what stood out strongest was the character of Mia (the duke was a tad overshadowed by how awesome she was). Mia is a successful anonymous author, but she still has her insecurities, especially regarding her appearance. I loved how being insecure characterized Mia; it was not something that author just stated, you really understood how and why Mia felt the way that she did. And the duke certainly did not help matters:

“As we have discussed, you are not who I would have chosen for myself,” he continued, his gaze drifting from her fact to her shabby dress. “But there was always the chance that I would have made my father’s mistake, and married a beautiful woman who could collect loves the way squirrels gather nuts."

Mia could feel her face growing hot. There was part of her, the part that wrote love stories, that wanted to believe that not every man found her unlovely. The shallow, naïve side of her (p. 80).

Initially, Vander seems quite the cruel hero. He doesn’t mince words with Mia and contributes to her continued feelings of inadequacy. But thankfully the readers are treated to Vander’s point of view and are aware that the hero’s thoughts do not match his words. Our hero is not one to think before speaking, which is endearing in it’s own way, especially when readers are aware of that fact.

Mia and Vander have a very rocky start to their marriage. He believes she’s infatuated with him and is not at all impressed that he’s merely convenient. In fact, Mia considers the marriage to be temporary. Vander has other thoughts on the matter, and that’s when things start to get interesting. Both Vander and Mia start to learn about the other. Vander slowly comes to realize that Mia is very sensitive about certain things and because of that he’s going to have to make some alterations to his behaviour. In turn, Mia comes to realize that despite his ill considered comments, Vander actually does respect her and considers her a competent woman, something that she never received from her father and brother. Just as the romance seems to be moving into serious territory, Mia’s erstwhile fiancé returns, forcing both Mia and Vander to really consider their future together, or not, as the case may be.

I really can’t recommend this one enough. Four Nights with a Duke was a lovely romance between two convenient characters and the author spins a tale that shows readers that this romance is not convenient, it’s meant to be. The heroine, insecurities and all, has to be one of my favourite in quite a while. She's strong and vulnerable and I think her actions and thoughts will resonate with a lot of readers. So, if you’re looking for a fun read, steamy romance with great characters, give Four Nights with a Duke a try. It’s certainly made me consider checking out more of the author’s older books.

Originally reviewed at The Book Adventures.

*Review copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.
Profile Image for Mahima.
468 reviews108 followers
April 29, 2021
**** 4.25 stars ****
This book was so emotional.
The story deals with some issues of being ignored, not loved and left alone by one's own family.

Plot and storyline were amazing. I loved the timing of all the events that took place.

Mia had her confidence broken at the tender age of 15 but I was glad to see that she atleast knew how to make her armour strong so that anyone can't just simply come and belittle her.
Whereas the hero Vander was a complete douche back at 15 but now after knowing the real feelings and intentions of Mia he starts to fall for her.

Side characters made the story more lovable. Chuffy was exceptionally accepting.
Jafeer stole my heart ❤️

AND there was a reference to Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas , how can I forget the names of my favourite historical romance writers mentioned in this book.
Profile Image for Izy.
838 reviews77 followers
June 14, 2016
Rating~ 4 charming stars

Emilia ‘Mia’ Gwendolyn Carrington is going to do something none of her heroines do, she is going to ask the duke to marry well, technically she’s going to blackmail him but lets not go there. Mia at the age of fiffteen had a crush on Vander, which ended up pretty badly to say the least and resulted in a outbrust; ‘she will not marry him even if he was the last man on England’. Mia wishes she could now take back….

Duke of Pindar Evander ‘Vander’ Septimus Brody has no plans to marry whatsoever especially after the fiasco related to his adulteress mother and a mad father. Vander is arrogant enough to believe that the reason Mia wants to marry is because of the said crush she had on him years ago. Which of course has no bearing why Mia actually wants to marry him but this lead to some pretty funny scenes.

I really enjoyed their relationship, especially the parts where Vander is completely surprised and dumbfounded by his wife. I was smiling every time they would bicker. Vander was pretty arrogant but you couldn’t help but like him. His parents marriage had a pretty bad impact on his views on women and marriage in general which Mia by being herself overcame. Mia was a wonderful heroine, a bit a naive when it came to her writing her heroines and her romance novels but she was also caring, intelligent and beautiful inside and out (no matter what she actually thought of her physical attributes).

Quibbles: I did want to smack Vander for his behaviour at times, especially near the end of the book but he came to senses soon enough. Maybe it was just me but some parts of the felt very modern-ish….

It was a fun, low on angst book with very interesting characters that you couldn’t help but love. I also loved Vander’s drunk uncle and his relationship with Mia. He was a romance novel fan, so how can you not love his enthusiasm and fangirling over authors :D.

Random thing that I liked: The mention of other romance authors and their books which is I suppose a nod to her fellow authors by the author herself.

Overall, this was a great and very charming historical romance book. Happy Reading!

Copy generously provided by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Profile Image for Bj.
1,217 reviews262 followers
September 16, 2015
I gave this audiobook a B+ for the story and A- for the narration at AudioGals*

As a romance junkie, I’m somewhat embarrassed to say that I had never listened to an Eloisa James romance until now. With dozens of published historical romances since 2000, and as a professor of creative writing with degrees from Harvard, Oxford and Yale to boot, it’s safe to say that Ms. James is a highly qualified, prolific historical romance writer. With this for a background, and after having taken one look at the blurb of her latest, Four Night’s with the Duke, I just knew it was time for my first Eloisa James audiobook. Four Nights with the Duke proved to be a humorous, witty, historical romance with a suspense twist that kept me on my toes and chuckling throughout. Perhaps one of the largest accomplishments of Four Nights with the Duke, in addition to the entertaining and highly skilled narration by Susan Duerden, is Ms. James’ facility with character development. In that regard, I was highly amused and impressed with her ability to transform what you are initially led to believe is a pompous, self-centered duke into deserving, desirable hero. Moreover, Ms. James was able to take advantage of what at first appears to be the hero’s grandiose view of himself, to add satire and humor, especially given the dual point of view in which this story is written, which allows the listener to know what the heroine is really thinking. Ms. James also weaves in some clever secondary characters that add depth to the story and boost the entertainment factor, such as a drunken uncle whose inebriated declarations many times end up having more truth and social consciousness than anyone else’s polite, sober discourse.

For the full review see AudioGals.
Profile Image for Jessica Grogan.
470 reviews20 followers
April 24, 2015
Ah, yes, that's why I stopped reading Eloisa James' books. Mia is constantly described as "fat" yet is somehow also tiny and easily hoisted up and carried around by her husband. He's an ass, by the way, and only cares about screwing Mia. EVERY argument is solved with sex. "Mia's mad at me. What shall I do? Talk to her? Or screw the anger out of her?" "I'm so angry with Vander but he's made me horny so I'll give up all my self respect as long as he gives me an orgasm. Without touching my breasts!!" Rinse and repeat.
Profile Image for Morgan.
73 reviews21 followers
April 6, 2015
This was my first EJ novel and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it! I will be absolutely be putting more her books on my TBR list.

Things you should know:

1. I adored Vander- he got me from his first “showing.”
2. Vander’s uncle is a hoot!
3. The dialogue was awesome! It really captivated me- I laughed out
loud a few times.
4. Moonbeams and pearly portions.
5. This can absolutely be read as a stand-alone.
6. This book is steamy!
942 reviews
March 29, 2015
At fifteen Mia Carrington declared she would not marry Evander Brody, future Duke of Pindar, if he were the only man in England. Thirteen years later, Evander Brody, Duke of Pindar, proclaimed that he would not marry Mia Carrington, daughter of his mother’s long-time lover, if she were the last woman in the world. Life proves them both wrong. Vander responds to Mia’s blackmail that threatens him with a scandal that makes the exploits of their disgraceful parents pale in comparison. Mia thinks their marriage will be strictly a convenience soon ended. Vander thinks she’s mad for him and that restricting her to four nights a year in his bed will prove suitable punishment. Life—and love--prove them both wrong.

I loved this book! From Mia’s comparison of her experience with Dante’s circles of hell and the reading of her effusive poem to the even worse poem that ends the book, Four Nights with the Duke was a joyous reading experience. Mia may be my favorite Eloisa James heroine ever, and this status is based on more than the fact that I too wrote some truly embarrassing poetic effusions as a teenager. I loved Mia for her insecurities, her writing struggles, her love for her nephew, and her tangle of feelings for Vander. I loved Vander for his vulnerabilities, his arrogance, his relationship with Charlie, and his growing love for Mia.

The secondary characters were wonderful. The appearances of the Duke of Villiers and Thorn and India (Three Weeks with Lady X) were anticipated treats, but one of my favorite scenes was unexpected--the meeting of Rose and Charlie, who became not immediate BFFs but more believably “intrigued acquaintances” at first sight. Vander’s uncle, Chuffy, a fan of romance novels, was equally endearing, and Jafeer, Vander’s Arabian stallion, certainly belongs on my list of favorites from this book.

The list of all the references that made my reader’s heart dance with delight are too numerous to mention but they include Charlie’s name (Charles Wallace, surely a nod to Charles Wallace Murry, Meg’s youngest brother in Madeleine L’Engle Time trilogy), Mia’s enthusiasm for the novels of Miss Julia Quiplet and the mention of Mrs. Lisa Klampas, and the conversation about Twelfth Night, my favorite of Shakespeare’s comedies. Then there were the links to two of Ms. James’s earlier novels. I was particularly pleased to see Edward Reeve.

If you are in search of a book that will leave you smiling and sighing and feeling grateful that you are a romance reader, add this book to your must-buy list now.
Profile Image for Caz.
2,761 reviews1,033 followers
September 10, 2016
I've given this a B at AAR.

Eloisa James returns to her Desperate Duchesses universe for Four Nights With the Duke, the second in the series to feature characters we met as children in the earlier books. Emilia Carrington – known as Mia – is, at fifteen, infatuated with the handsome young Septimus Evander Brody, heir to the Duke of Pindar. Humiliated when she overhears him making fun of a romantic poem she has written about him, she refuses to be cowed, telling him that she wouldn’t marry him if he were the last man in England.

Years later, Mia is forced to eat her words when, following the tragic deaths of her brother and his wife, she must marry in order to retain custody of her young, disabled nephew and protect him from their avaricious uncle. But when her fiancé abandons her at the altar with only a few weeks to go before the one-year deadline Mia has only one option. She has, in her possession, a letter written by the late Duke of Pindar in which he admits to treason – which she plans to use in order to blackmail the current duke – Vander - into marrying her.

Needless to say, Vander is furious. Mia daren’t tell him the reasons behind her scheme, and because in his anger, he burns the letter she has written setting out her terms, he doesn’t realise that what Mia wants is a temporary marriage in name only. When he calms down after her visit, he acknowledges to himself that, as he has to get married sometime, she is as good a choice as anyone, and, more importantly, she’s not the sort of woman likely to cause gossip. His family name is already mud thanks to the twenty-year-long scandal of his mother’s extramarital liaison with Mia’s father, and Vander is determined to make sure that his own marriage is above reproach. As far as he’s concerned, he’s only getting married once, but he’s not going to make it easy for Mia. Still fuming over her audacity in threatening him and believing her to be still madly in love with him, he determines on his revenge. He’ll marry her, but will limit her time in his bed to only four nights per year (I have no idea why four – it seems rather arbitrary!) and even then, he’ll only come to her if she begs him to bed her.

There is quite a lot going on in the book, and there are many obstacles Vander and Mia must surmount if they’re going to be able to make a life together. Their family background is fairly complicated, as Vander is still incredibly bitter over what he sees as his mother’s betrayal of his father and the resulting damage to their family name. When Mia points out that perhaps their parents were lucky to have found a long-lasting love, Vander is sceptical. He sees love as destructive, and doesn’t want it, so whenever he finds himself feeling affection for Mia, he lashes out verbally and says something horrible to her. In addition, Mia struggles with feelings of inadequacy; about her looks (she’s small and curvy when the fashion is for tall and willowy) and the fact that others have never seen her as “good enough”, typified by her brother’s decision not to appoint her as his son’s guardian.

When Vander finally meets her nephew Charlie, he very quickly deduces that Mia’s need to protect the boy was at the root of her desperation to marry him – and also realises that the boy is in danger of being overly-coddled. The scenes between the pair are some of the best in the book, with Vander treating Charlie in the same way as he’d treat any other boy of his age, something the lad has never experienced before.

I have a weakness for forced-into-marriage stories, and confidently expected to enjoy this one. For the most part, I did enjoy it, but for a couple of things that didn’t quite work for me. For one thing, I couldn’t quite reconcile Vander’s fury at Mia’s machinations with his almost instantaneous lust for her. He’s dying to get into her knickers from pretty much the get-go, and the speed at which he progressed from irate incredulity to insta-lust made me feel dizzy!

I also found the pacing in the last part of the book to be a bit off. While most of the story deals with the newlyweds’ navigation of their shaky relationship, the last 10-15 percent veers off in a different direction and feels a little disjointed. The ending, too, is somewhat jarring and melodramatic, which may have been the intention given the number of different literary associations which abound, but it’s nonetheless abrupt and a bit contrived.

Apart from that, the writing is excellent and the motivations and emotions of both central characters are skilfully conveyed to the reader even as they are at pains to conceal them from each other. The protagonists are very well fleshed-out, and there are also a couple of stand-outs among the secondary characters – Vander’s uncle Chuffy, an habitual drunkard, obviously an unhappy man who drinks to numb his own sorrows, but who means well; and Mia’s nephew Charlie, a charming and very bright boy who, unlike the character of Rose in the previous book, isn’t precocious to the point of implausibility.

There are lots of little literary in-jokes dotted throughout the books. Mia is the author of half-a-dozen romantic novels published under the name of Lucibella Delicosa and most chapters are prefaced by some of the notes she is making for “her” new book. There are some amusing winks in the direction of some of Ms James’ fellow authors, and, I believe, a reference to the novels penned by the hero of Julia Quinn’s Ten Things I Love About You. Mia’s evil uncle is a lip-smacking, moustache-twirling villain, surely a nod towards the gothic novels which enjoyed such popularity at the time the book is set – there was always an evil uncle plotting to steal an inheritance from the heroine or her family somewhere along the line in those!

Overall, Four Nights With the Duke is an angsty and absorbing read, in which the raw emotion is well-balanced out by the humour and more tender moments. Mia is an admirable heroine – intelligent, determined and perceptive – and Vander, while there were times I wanted to hit him, is just the sort of wounded, sexy hero one can’t help falling for. Fans of Ms James will undoubtedly enjoy this story, and I’m sure it will appeal to those who are new to her books as well.
Profile Image for Marilena ⚓.
633 reviews75 followers
June 14, 2019
Δεν μου άρεσαν ούτε οι χαρακτήρες, ούτε η πλοκή!
Profile Image for Marilyn Rondeau.
492 reviews24 followers
March 29, 2015
In the past, as 15 year old youths, Vander, the future Duke of Pindar and Emilia “Mia” Gwendolyn Carrington the daughter of Vander’s mother’s lover were thrown together at different functions. Mia had developed a crush on Vander and had written a poem (not very good either) to him. As it turned out Vander got a hold of it and he and his school chums read it and they had great fun spinning it in a decidedly boorish and disgusting translation. Unfortunately, they did this in the library where Mia had been sitting hidden from sight as they totally tore into it. Finally, having heard enough of their disgusting comments Mia came forth; told the boys off and told Vander she wouldn’t marry him if he were the last man on earth.

Years later, Vander has become the Duke, and Mia has come into her own. Mia has a dowery, but more importantly, she has a career as a writer of fabulous romance novels that is paying her very well. However, ins spite of all that, Mia has come to the Duke of Vander’s home to ask him a great favor, she asked him to marry her. Vander was aghast - not only was this out of the blue but he had no intention of marriage and certainly not to the daughter of the man who openly cock holed his father. But Mia was desperate, she needed this marriage but not for her benefit. She needed Vander to marry her in name only, for a year at most so she could obtain guardianship of her nephew, Charles Wallace. And if took blackmailing Vander to accomplish it, so be it!

Stubbornly, Vander never read the provisions which explained what Mia expected with their marriage but with his back against the wall - Vander counters with his own provisions stating he would spend only 4 nights a year with her and only if she begs for them! However shortly after the marriage, things changed and Vander decided he must work on seducing his own wife!

What follows is another profoundly and brilliantly executed historical romance from the always exceptional pen of Ms. Eloisa James, who has personally given me so much pleasure from reading her marvelous Desperate Duchesses series. Her brilliant dialogs give this story great humor and I loved Ms. James use of chapter intro’s using Mia’s notes of an author plotting her for her latest novel’s storyline. Very cleaver and quite amusing!

Bottom Line: I’ve never been disappointed with Ms. James effervescent wit, fabulous plotting and wonderful storytelling. A winner every time!

Marilyn Rondeau
Profile Image for The Lusty Literate.
723 reviews39 followers
March 30, 2015
4/4.5 Stars | Hot Steam

Feverishly frisky and wildly romantic, FOUR NIGHTS WITH THE DUKE delivers one of this year’s most astonishing and provocative couples. From their hasty, scandalous and deliciously debauched union until their emotional and heart-poundingly perfect happily ever after, Mia and Vander’s tantalizing love story enthralls and blissfully entertains page after sizzling page.

Still harboring an appreciative crush from meeting dashing and gentlemanly Duke of Pindar, Vander, in THREE WEEKS WITH LADY X, I was excitedly shocked and unprepared for the formidable, commanding and unflinchingly unrefined Vander that we discover in this novel. This new and delectably coarse Duke shook my lingering infatuation until I was dizzy with lust for his savage demeanor, filthy mouth, and insatiable drive to possess his blackmailing bride, Mia.

Initially enraged and embittered by his new petite Duchess’s cunning success in forcing their marriage, Vander soon realizes that the rebellious and utterly luscious “pocket venus��� who stole his freedom is perhaps the greatest thing to have ever happened to him. Not only does Vander find Mia surprisingly and admirably intelligent, clever and courageous, he goes utterly mad for her alluring curves, innate sensuality and wondrous responsiveness to his touch. His fury is swiftly forgotten as acute attraction to Mia grows to dominate his every waking thought and action.

Vander’s relentless pursuit filled with raw admissions and bone melting kisses gradually encourages reluctant and insecure Mia to embrace her wanton curiosity and wicked desires, allowing her to triumphantly emerge an emboldened and glorious enchantress. Their once terse agreement transforms into four scorching nights that ignite a singular passion so intense, volatile and all-consuming that it’ll singe your fingertips!

Desperate Duchesses Devotees are sure to adore this entirely addictive addition to their beloved series. And, for those unfamiliar with Ms. James’ unparalleled writing and crave high heat in their historicals, look no further! Not only is FOUR NIGHTS WITH THE DUKE a phenomenal introduction to one of the genre’s finest authors, it’s also a decadent gateway read to your next series obsession!

Bottom Line: Read this book!

Complimentary copy provided in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Raffaella.
1,194 reviews123 followers
April 23, 2021
I really loved this one. When the heroine was a teenager she had a crush on the hero, his friends found it out and bullied both hero and heroine about it, the heroine was also the daughter of the hero’s mother’s lover, so the hero hated her by osmosis. After the episode with his friends he hated her ever after. Years later the heroine is back blackmailing H. She asks him to marry her for some months, if he won’t she’ll reveal his father’s madness, since she’s in possession of some very compromising letters. The hero is incensed. He thinks she’s obsessed with him and accepts only with a clause that he will have sex with her 4 nights a year. The heroine accepts and leaves him the details of their agreement. Obviously the H doesn’t read it. So he doesn’t understand that the heroine has to marry to have her disabled nephew’s custody and save the boy from their evil uncle that wants to inherit their money. Her fiancé disappeared on their marriage day, so she must find a man to marry hastily. The hero plays the victim because he thinks he’s a real prize, while shames her because she’s not good enough for him. The hero here is one of the most stupid and arrogant men ever, but the funny thing is that he receives so many slaps in the face about his beliefs that eventually I pitied him. First he finds out he’s attracted to her more than she’s to him, then he understands that she doesn’t want to have sex with him at all, and that she wants the marriage to be annulled, then he realizes that she wants to protect her nephew and she’s not interested in him, and the best part is where he finds out that her fiancé really was in love with her, that he’s a handsome and intelligent man who was kidnapped by the evil uncle and convicted, and that he wants her back. So this is a revenge book for all the girls/ women scorned and shamed for their body, since the poor heroine has still little self esteem and is still suffering for the body shaming from her teenage years, and the hero with his caveman ways does not seem to realize how to behave with her. Eventually the hero is humbled and shamed when he realizes how things really are. The H is not one of the smartest but he’s handsome and good in bed, the heroine is smart enough and lovely, even if she’s some self esteem issues. I enjoyed this book very much. Safe, no cheating.
Profile Image for Michelle.
615 reviews1 follower
December 15, 2015
This is the most fun historical romance I've read in awhile. The heroine is a somewhat secret romance writer who admired the duke as a fifteen-year-old girl. But she was humiliated in front of him and his friends when they discovered a love poem she had written about him. Now (about ten years later) she needs the duke to marry her in order to protect her nephew Charlie. So she blackmails him. And...they fall in love, of course.
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