Series: Desperate Duchesses #7
Published by Avon on March 25, 2014
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Romance
Source: Advance Reader Copy, Avon Addicts
Having made a fortune, Thorn Dautry, the powerful bastard son of a duke, decides that he needs a wife. But to marry a lady, Thorn must acquire a gleaming, civilized façade, the specialty of Lady Xenobia India.
Exquisite, head-strong, and independent, India vows to make Thorn marriageable in just three weeks.
But neither Thorn nor India anticipate the forbidden passion that explodes between them.
Thorn will stop at nothing to make India his. Failure is not an option.
But there is only one thing that will make India his—the one thing Thorn can't afford to lose...
His fierce and lawless heart.
Lady Xenobia India St. Clair is a 26 year old heroine who for once, isn’t “on the shelf” or “nearly a spinster.” Instead she’s the daughter of a marquess (who may have been mad), and she has a profession.
Tobias (Thorn) Dautry is one of the previous hero’s sons. The hero from A Duke of Her Own had several bastard children and Thorn is one of them. But here, he’s all grown up. And he’s decided he should marry. He chooses the most beautiful and sweet girl in the ton, a girl named Laetecia (Lala). Lala has beauty in spades, but nothing in her head. Whispers run rampant that she’s a simpleton. She can’t follow the conversation and she can’t read, so she must be stupid, right? Well, not really. Let’s just say that her storyline was so sweet and I just loved her as a character, which I wasn’t sure I would.
Well, Thorn knows that to marry her, he’s going to have to impress her mother, who at one point had been a lady-in-waiting for the queen. To start with, he’ll need a country house, and a great presentation. His stepmother Eleanor hires India to renovate his new country estate.
I love how India and Thorn immediately have a chemistry and sexual tension. I love it. Thorn loved it too, although he didn’t realize it at first. He had a lot of growing up to do, and I do wish he’d realized what he felt for India was love a bit sooner. I don’t think it would have changed the plot any.
I hated how Lala was used to keep them apart. I didn’t like how India kept saying “Oh Lala is so sweet and kind, she’ll be perfect for you, and she’ll soothe your broody, battered soul, you poor emo man, you!” (?-not an actual quote) It led to my next complaint.. It drove me nuts that either the hero or heroine claimed to be just friends when they were so obviously fooling themselves. It wasn’t even sweet, it was obnoxious.
I loved India. I absolutely loved her. She was a fabulous, hard working heroine who knew the value of being able to rely on oneself for everything. But at one point she acknowledges that even though she can take care of herself, she doesn’t necessarily want to, and it’s a great scene.
I do think that if this is the last book in the Desperate Duchesses series that it’s a shame, since Vander has been set up so splendidly as a hero. I’d really like to see him get a Happily Ever After of his own.
Eloisa James is hit or miss for me, and this one was a hit. With wonderful characters and old characters coming back in, this is a must read for any Eloisa James fan.
***ARC courtesy of Avon Books through Avon Addicts