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Duchess by Design

(The Gilded Age Girls Club #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,051 ratings  ·  243 reviews
In the first novel of Maya Rodale's enthralling new series, an English duke vows to make an American seamstress his duchess...

In Gilded Age Manhattan, anything can happen...

Seeking a wealthy American bride who can save his family's estate, Brandon Fiennes, the duke of Kingston, is a rogue determined to do the right thing. But his search for an heiress goes deliciously awry
ebook, 384 pages
Published October 23rd 2018 by Avon
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  1,051 ratings  ·  243 reviews

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Joanna Loves Reading
3.5 Stars — it took me along time to read this, but that was primarily due to it being hard copy. Otherwise I enjoyed. In terms of romance, there was too much back and forth, will they? Won’t they? But I thought the h&h well suited, and there is cute and witty dialogue.

It was focused on women’s rights and the positions they hold and small and large ways to liberate women. These are themes that have appeared in her previous books, though subtler, but I was happy with the setting of this book. Th
2.5 to 3 stars. My first book by this author, and I won't be racing out to read any more :( The description of the book sounded quite appealing. The plot and characters were reasonably interesting and *should* have worked.

But sadly, the whole thing fell a little flat for me. I never fully engaged with the MCs - somehow they just didn't come alive. There was plenty of romance, although not a lot of actual kissing and passion - I would have liked to see more on that front. Also, there was a littl
4.5 stars!!!!

Quick fun read!! Highlights situations that are still present today! Having to laugh at bad jokes by paying customers lol!

Loved the premise & authors writing style! Very well done! I did not give it a 5 star as it was very cliché which is not a bad thing, but highly predictable & the ending felt rushed literally few pages to the end & still the misunderstanding of will I won’t I kinda thing! I knew it would end happily every after that part was a given, but did not get to really r
I've given this an A- for narration and a B for content at AudioGals

Duchess by Design is the first entry in Maya Rodale’s new Gilded Age Girls Club series of historical romances, set – not surprisingly – in New York’s Gilded Age at the end of the nineteenth century. While the premise – an impoverished duke who needs to marry money falls for a penniless woman instead – is a well-worn one, Ms. Rodale gives it a fresh coat of paint while also encompassing the many changes in society that were h
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lovely story. A very good begin of the new series.
Blodeuedd Finland
Have I ever read a romance set in the Gilded age? I honestly can't tell. I think not. I have read historical fiction set then, but no romance. Oh and where is that tv series they talked about that would be set at this time? I need it.

Adeline is a seamstress with big dreams of her own shops, and she has this crazy idea in her designs. Pockets! Yes I told you that she is insane. Pockets, like why would women need pockets? (oh this makes me so sad, we still do not get pockets. I need pockets.) Her
Tracy Emro
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars, rounded up.

Brandon Fiennes, The Duke of Kingston needs to find a rich bride, he inherited a failing estate, two unmarried sisters and a mother with an expensive sense of style. He consults with his cousin Freddie and is told that if he wants a heiress, New York is the place to go hunting.

Adeline Black is a seamstress with dreams of opening her own shop and creating her own designs, her dreams do not include love, marriage or handsome dukes - until a chance meeting in a hotel lobby. Sh
Leigh Kramer
This was such a fun, insightful historical romance! When it wasn't making me swoon, it was making me cheer on the inclusion of pockets in dresses and female empowerment in the Gilded Age.

Adeline was a winner of a heroine. She was so determined to become a dressmaker and for her designs to come to life. I loved the way she talked about fashion and the way she could show others what power lies in the way clothing is designed and who's wearing it. Fashion isn't just fashion and a dress is so much m
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I don’t know that I’ve ever read a historical that so explicitly calls out toxic masculinity. The Duke of Kingston has come to America to find a wealthy heiress to wed. When he meets Adeline at a fancy hotel, he assumes she’s a guest (and therefore rich) and is head over heels for her, thinking he can solve his money problems and marry for love in one fell swoop. In reality, Adeline is a seamstress, and she does not have the time or inclination to soothe Kingston’s ego when he discovers she does ...more
This is a fantastic historical romance that I highly recommend. Although it's a great romance, what I loved even more was the time period (the Gilded Age) and the rich/poor and male/female dynamics going on. I loved how the heroine was challenging the world in which she lived and how the hero grew into a better man as a result of his meeting her. It really is one of the most successful romances I've read in awhile - the focus on female empowerment alone was 5 star worthy as it was handled so def ...more
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, adult, historical
I have read quite a few historical romance novels, but only one other that was set in the Gilded Age. When I found out about Duchess by Design being set in America as opposed to the usual setting of Britain, I was quite intrigued. Duchess by Design was a surprising read for me. I loved the focus on independence, feminism and chasing dreams.

Brandon, Duke of Kingston, is broke and is in desperate need of a wealthy wife to make amends on his estate. His search for a bride brings him to America whe
Joanna Shupe
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is fantastic. Full of Rodale's wit and feminist spin, set in the glitz and glamour of New York's Gilded Age. I loved that the feisty American heroine designs dresses (with pockets!). The hero is a stodgy duke looking for an heiress to save his crumbling English estate. This was a fascinating look at class politics at the time, as well as the contrasts between the Victorian Brits and the Gilded Age Americans.

It's a fun, easy read with plenty of steam. I devoured it!

*I was given an adva
Maureen Carden
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, romance
I'm not actually doing a real review, just a few comments.
Duchess by Design actually had more depth than most historical romances that I read. Took on some historical truths of that period. Characters with some depth and inner lives, characters willing to make actual changes.
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. I try to make a point of reviewing the books I win, but I'm so afraid that my myriad of thoughts about this book will never get organized into a coherent review that will do this book the justice it deserves. I'll give it try anyway.

I adored this book. It's so well-written and relevant. Adeline was a wonderful heroine. She has goals that don't involve getting married, but instead revolve around her talent and passion as a dressmaker. Kingston, or the duke
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've read a few Maya Rodale books before, and they were fine. Enjoyable. Well written. But this one, THIS ONE, made my whole day better. It's clever and irreverent (and anachronistic, sure...if occasional modern sounding language or speech patterns are going to throw you off, then maybe Ms. Rodale isn't for you), lighthearted without being lightweight, bolstering and adorable and kickass and hilarious. Best.
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"His grace, Brandon Alexander Fiennes, the Duke of Kingston, had the good fortune to inherit a prestigious title, exceedingly good looks, and an impressive though impoverished estate. One might think this was enough, but in an ever-changing world, it was not. He also required a fortune. And for that, he needed a woman."

Enter American Adeline Black, a seamstress that the duke mistook for an heiress when he arrive to New York to hunt for a wife. But no matter how attractive the man is and how much
Kayla Brunson
DNF @ 104 pages.

I had been looking forward to reading this book as soon as I picked it up the bookstore a few months ago. I was expecting this to scratch my Historical Romance itch and it was doing so… in the beginning. Towards the middle though, things started to shift and I got so annoyed. First things first, Adeline is an angel and I adored her! She was witty and had dreams for herself that women shouldn't want back in that time.

My issue resides with our Duke. He really didn’t realize how pr
Moon Love
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Passion, drama and female empowerment set in The Gilded Age? Yes, please!
Books on Stereo
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
A progressive, romantic gem.
Jun 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Came for the romance, stayed for the commentary on privilege. The romance was both a tad too insta and too flat for me.
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Gorgeous clothes, social consciousness and a great love story - really fun read!
Jen Davis
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you’re looking for a historical with a somewhat different flair, look no further. Duchess by Design features the requisite duke the title suggests, but it takes us out of Regency England to New York’s Gilded Age, while he searches for his bride. It’s fresh and fun, and it’s filled with the kind of feminism and empowerment that made me want to cheer out loud.

Brandon is the stereotypical impoverished duke, in need of an heiress to help fill the coffers of his estate. The well of women who fit t
Sissy's Romance Book Review
Duchess by Design by Maya Rodale is the First book in The Gilded Age Girls Club series. This is the story of Adeline Black and Brandon Fiennes, the duke of Kingston.
Brandon has inherited a Title with some rundown estates which are in need of money to repair them. Then he has a mother with expensive taste and two sister that will need to soon have their 'coming out'. So what Brandon settles on is getting a heiress wife which leads him to run into Adeline. Adeline is a seamstress who out to desig
Julie (Jewlsbookblog)
I loved Adeline! She wanted a chance to better herself, keeping her eye on the goal of owning her own dress shop. Her stubbornness and determination was admirable and I liked her pluckiness! Brandon, Duke of Kingston, was rather adorable himself. His stiff Britishness was such a contrast to Adeline’s American upbringing and I enjoyed their playful teasing with one another in regards to their backgrounds.

Their chemistry pulled me in from the first met cute and lasted to the final page! Brandon s
Erica Chilson
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this title to read and review for Wicked Reads

4 Stars.

Duchess by Design is the debut in The Gilded Age Girls Club series, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next installment.

Just a decade until the turn of the twentieth century, the world is changing. Women are striving to find a voice and a life to call their own. Taking place in a thriving New York City, many impoverished entitled peers are flocking to America to marry heiresses to fund their failing dynasties bac
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
White’s Club, London - 1895

Brandon Alexander Fiennes has just become the fifth Duke of Kingston. The man is broke and needs to marry a wealthy woman. When his father died, Kingston was left with huge debts, estates needing monetary support, his large ancestral home, Lyon House, his widowed mother, and two sisters. With him at White’s is his cousin, Freddie, Lord Hewitt. The two had grown up together are best friends. Now, Freddie is suggesting that Kingston consider a marriage of convenience, bu
Tracy T.
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am a Maya Rodale fan so of course I have to get all her books. Great narration by Charlotte North (audible review)

I enjoyed this book. Maybe a little overboard with the word"pockets" LOL but still good.

The story line was fun and different. From London to New York, I really liked the women's club that helped Adeline with her shop and the women's movement they were pushing for. I really liked Adeline, she was smart, witty, funny and a strong female lead character. Always a bonus. I liked Kingsto
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
I read historical romances because they give me a glimpse of different time periods. I've read regency for so long and I really enjoyed seeing how times were changing for women in the late 18 early 1900s. I loved watching the heroine want more for herself and fight for her dreams and how the hero slowly came to see that things could be different than how they'd always been.

I love authors who can deliver on both plot and romance and I appreciated the authors note and the information about the tim
Shannon Dyer
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Round up to 4.5 stars. Utterly charming!
Jennifer Brown
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars

Enjoyable start to this series. I liked Adeline's character and how she did her own thing and wanted to be a strong woman. Her and the Duke were lovable from the get go. I hope I like the characters in the next two novels like I did these! My favorite part...all the talk of dresses with pockets!! I love my pockets and was amused by that story line!
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Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence. She is now the author of numerous smart and sassy romance novels. A champion of the romance genre and its readers, she is also the author of the non-fiction book Dangerous Books For Girls: The Bad Reputation Of Romance Novels, Explained and a co-founder of Lady Jane’s Salon, a national reading series devoted to romanti ...more

Other books in the series

The Gilded Age Girls Club (3 books)
  • Some Like It Scandalous (The Gilded Age Girls Club, #2)
  • An Heiress to Remember (The Gilded Age Girls Club, #3)

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“It’s simple. Women are raised to be seen and not heard; why, it’s still scandalous for a woman to speak publicly. So we make ourselves heard with our clothes. We wear full skirts to take up space in the world that wants us to be shut away in drawing rooms and kitchens. We wear bright colors to remind mankind that we exist. For example.” “An interesting perspective I had not considered. It does have a ring of logic to it,” he conceded. “But what is the message that a dead bird on a hat is trying to convey?” “That one feels trapped and powerless in their existence.” 0 likes
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