Theodora Saxby has never been considered pretty, in a world full of pocket Venuses and where blondes are the fashion, Theodora’s slim build and brunette locks put her outside the fashion of the Ton. So when Theodora marries the gorgeous James Ryburn, heir to the Duchy of Ashbrook, everyone is shocked in Eloisa James’ The Ugly Duchess. Theodora and James have been best friends forever so when James proposes at eighteen, Theo is shocked but jumps at the chance to marry the one man she has loved her whole life. The tabloids have dubbed her “The Ugly Duchess” and have given the marriage only six months before the Duke starts to stray…
James has known Theo forever, calling her by his special name Daisy, James has always enjoyed her company but didn’t plan to marry for sometime. But when James’s father discloses that he has misused all of Theo’s dowry and if James doesn’t marry Theo the Ton will find out and they will be ruined, James does what needs to be done. The marriage goes through and James starts to realize what a treasure he has in Theo but it could all come crashing down on him at any time. When it finally does, James escapes to sea until he realizes that it is up to James to convince Theo that he loves her but will she forgive him, especially now that the Ugly Duchess has become the beautiful swan?
I loved that Theo and James have known each other forever, that they had a great relationship prior to sex entering into the picture and part of what James wanted back was his friendship with Theo. My heart ached for both of them as they both made stupid mistakes that pushed the other one away. The Ugly Duchess is the sixth book in the Fairy Tales series but there isn’t any cross overs with the other novels so you can just jump right into the series. Eloisa James’s writing style is both entertaining and fast paced, I whipped through the novel in a single afternoon. I have to admit that when I was reading about James becoming a pirate I just kept thinking about “The Dread Pirate Roberts” off The Princess Bride, and it brought a smile to my face. Interestingly while the novel has quite a few secondary characters, most of the dialogue and scenes involve just Theo and James, with fabulous results. Theo’s transformation from the ugly duckling to the swan was not what I expected but I loved, especially all the rules that came along with her transformation. I highly recommend this updated version of the classic fairy tale.
You can read an excerpt here.
Fairy Tales Reading Order:
Title: The Ugly Duchess
Author: Eloisa James
Format: Paperback, eBook
Page Nos.: 384
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Available for purchase: Amazon
**I received a copy of this book from the publisher but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.