Kajol's Reviews > The Ugly Duchess

The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James
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Sep 24, 2011

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bookshelves: historical-romance, favorite-author, fairytale-retelling, regency-romance

Rating: 2.7 stars

The misconception I had when I'd just been one chapter into this book: 5 stars. I know I'm going to give this 5 stars!

*exhales loudly*

This review can also be read on-
The Dark, Delicious and Dreamtastic.

When I started this book- when I was still on the 'Before' part- out of nowhere I had this thought that startled me into stopping, and then smiling for no reason, before I resumed back to reading.

BEFORE YOU CONTINUE, KNOW THAT THIS REVIEW IS CHOCK FULL OF SPOILERS. SO PROCEED ONLY IF YOU'RE OKAY WITH IT.

A quiet certainty had snuggled it's way in my heart, that I would give this book a full 5-stars rating. I was loving it, the characters were kickass and funny and so very cute, each page had something new so.. why not?

I felt warmed, all the awesomeness making me feel giddy and excited and I thought to myself that it'd been days since I had as good a read as this- so I promptly ditched all the stuff that I had to do and settled into my favorite seat by the window. Sooner than I would've liked, my expectations and happiness got shadowed by the shock and indignation of the change in story, slowly turning to disbelief and finally condensing on being incensed.

It's simply shocking how the rating fell from 5 stars to a mere 3, isn't it? I wasn't even sure about the 3. As you can see, it's even less than that.

I loved the young Daisy, the girl who was so.. colorful! Colorful- that's the description that I find her personality to be. She was funny, smart, playful, loving, sarcastic, curious, open and so sweet! She was everything, the 24 year-old Daisy or Theo as she liked to be called, was not.
I'm not begrudging Theo her success or even her svelte, but the brittle, narrow-minded lady was a far cry from the young, curious Daisy.

And James, that jackass, don't even get me started on him! He was adorable in the beginning. I loved his uncertainties, his smile and his wit.. his love for Theo, him. I loved him.

And then he turned into an idiot and broke my heart.

How is it not stupid to LEAVE BLOODY ENGLAND FOR 7 YEARS, GIVING NEITHER HIDE NOR HAIR ABOUT HIS WHEREABOUTS TO HIS WIFE- WHO HE SUPPOSEDLY BLOODY LOVED FOR GODS SAKES- AND FAMILY AND THEN RETURN EXPECTING YOUR MARRIAGE TO BE ALRIGHT AGAIN? HOW???

AND DID I MENTION HOW AFTER MAYBE 2 YEARS (OR WAS IT 9 MONTHS? PLEASE EXCUSE MY FAULTY MEMORY, I'M A LITTLE HAZY HERE) HE STARTED SLEEPING AROUND BECAUSE IN HIS EYES THE MARRIAGE WAS OVER. DAISY HAD SAID THE MARRIAGE WAS OVER SO IT WAS OKAY TO SLEEP AROUND.

I MEAN-

I'M JUST-

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I don't think the "how" I asked earlier expressed my frustrations, so I ask again: HOW WAS IT NOT STUPID? AND SELFISH? AND STUPID A COUPLE OF MORE TIMES? BLOODY FUCKING HOW?!

Also of course, when James came back his explanation was: Because you said it was over.

Yes. He literally said that, and no that wasn't the moment I threw the book on the floor and screamed like an angry banshee.

“I stopped thinking of you as my spouse some years ago, as I’m sure you did of me.”

And, also:

“Two days of marriage failed to impress itself upon me. I am fairly certain most men would understand my lapse.”

I believe my reaction was somewhere along the lines- *sputtering* OH NO, YOU DIDN'T JUST SAY THAT! ASSHOLE.

In my mind I'd stabbed him a hundred times, alternating between kicking and punching and sometimes, just yelling unintelligibly.

When Theo proposed divorce, when she firmly (or tried to, man, there were so many things that were wrong with her too) said that she wanted a divorce, his reply was:

“The marriage was over. But now I’m back.”

But now I’m back. The utter bastard.

By God, that was the moment I wished I could slap the living daylights out of him. This was the moment when I threw the book on the floor and screamed like an angry banshee.

I just never imagined Eloisa James would disappoint me as much as she did with this book. I know that not all her books end up being my favorites, they're not all awesome.. but still there's something in them that just makes it okay. Even if it ends up being just a nice read, it's still all okay. But this, this was the kind of disappointment that- if I were an overly emotional personal, I would say- just broke my heart.

Maybe I'm being too harsh, too judgmental, but I'd grown too attached to the young, completely AWESOME Daisy and James, grown too in love with their characters of 'Before', that when they separated and turned into idiots, it actually, totally crushed me. I knew there were going to be complications coming up, since James had married Daisy untruthfully, even though he did very much love her.. But the way it exploded into smithereens of convoluted logic just threw me off my balance. And of course, the loss of the awesomeness of the characters just grated.. A LOT.

By the time that the ending rolled out, it was pretty much that James helped dissolve Daisy's repressed anger worth of 7 years by seducing her and continuing the whole hot, torrid seduction for a few pages until later it was time for Epilogue and we finally got a decent ending.

If I ever feel anything like the roiling emotions of despair and heartbreak- that I felt through this book- after a breakup, I'd probably be sitting in some bar, staring into my half-full glass of Jack Daniels and indulging myself in a depressed drunken wonder: How did- When did- Why did it all go so wrong?

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Reading Progress

September 24, 2011 – Shelved
October 9, 2012 – Started Reading
October 9, 2012 –
page 51
15.27% "Hilarious! Daisy or Theodora is so utterly fun and engaging, man I wish this continues. :D"
October 10, 2012 –
page 151
45.21% "Wow, I mean, WOW.\n Loving the story and the lead characters so far.\n Theo, I have to say, is BADASS TO THE CORE. I think I have a girl crush on her.\n And James, oh the sweet, adorable, utterly gorgeous guy. I love him too."
October 10, 2012 –
page 152
45.51%
October 10, 2012 –
page 179
53.59% "Oh my God- NO!\n Whaaaaaa-\n description\n \n *deep breath* \n \n I want to knock some bloody sense into that idiot- who I once deemed adorable- James, who should now be known as the Ass, or the Shithead.\n \n description"
October 10, 2012 – Finished Reading
October 22, 2012 – Shelved as: historical-romance
October 22, 2012 – Shelved as: favorite-author
October 22, 2012 – Shelved as: fairytale-retelling
October 25, 2012 – Shelved as: regency-romance

Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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T😁 Hi kajo,

Absolutely agree with u. I has issue with his infidelity as well. I was totally rooting for them but his infidelity just disappointed me!!!


T😁 Typo error 'I had issues with his infidelity' sorry!!


Kajol Thanh wrote: "Hi kajo,

Absolutely agree with u. I has issue with his infidelity as well. I was totally rooting for them but his infidelity just disappointed me!!!"


Yes. It was really hard for me to comprehend, how the story took that sudden twist. And especially, after I'd been in love with it so much.

Anyway, thanks for reading and liking my review, Thanh! :)


Nuria I totally agree with the upper case paragraphs, and I stopped the reading when I realize that many years passed, and I skipped forward to just make sure deleting it was the best option. I will just imagine another ending after the discovering part.


Τοημεε I think you just explained what I thought of this book but far much prefer James in after to theo in after i mean a girl like daisy can't just dissolve into thin air so the reason my rating wasn't two was because o James


message 6: by KMKB (new) - rated it 1 star

KMKB I have to mostly agree. I didn't mind how he turned into a pirate and she a successful businesswoman, but it was the point in which he became someone else that I just wanted both of them to move on and be done. There was no coming back from that and I totally agree, hated them both when they got back together. It wasn't redeeming at all. Too bad because I really liked the concept of the book.


Rebeca Maybe I'm a little late on this reply but I need to write this.. I began reading with the exact same feeling you described.
I was giddy and I actually thought this was going to be like one of her first novel's, the plot has the same "lady goes through a transformation" plot device, I believe it was Potent Pleasures - that, by the by, made me so angry I said to myself I'd never read Eloisa James again - only with a much better approach to it.
Sadly, I can only say I was wrong and that I'm more baffled and enraged by this thing of a book than at the other! I screamed when I read that James was sleeping around. Just- WHY IN THE EVER LOVING NAME OF GOD?! WHY! I am still screaming at this moment! GOD!
I'm just happy I'm not alone while feeling these abhorrent things!


message 8: by Kajol (last edited Aug 23, 2016 12:14PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kajol Katrina wrote: "I have to mostly agree. I didn't mind how he turned into a pirate and she a successful businesswoman, but it was the point in which he became someone else that I just wanted both of them to move on..."

I totally agree with what you're saying. Even if Eloisa James had to include a conflict, it could've been done in a much better manner. What hurts the most is the fact that the initial few chapters were actually good!


Kajol Rebeca wrote: "Maybe I'm a little late on this reply but I need to write this.. I began reading with the exact same feeling you described.
I was giddy and I actually thought this was going to be like one of her ..."


Welcome to the club. You're definitely not alone! I actually did yell too while I read those parts in the book. I just.. *deep breath* Well. I'm glad it's over. :P


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