‘The Ugly Duchess’ by Eloisa James

TUD EJSTORY: How can she dare to imagine he loves her…when all London calls her The Ugly Duchess?

Theodora Saxby is the last woman anyone expects the gorgeous James Ryburn, heir to the Duchy of Ashbrook, to marry. But after a romantic proposal before the prince himself, even practical Theo finds herself convinced of her soon-to-be duke’s passion. Still, the tabloids give the marriage six months.

Theo would have given it a lifetime…until she discovers that James desired not her heart, and certainly not her countenance, but her dowry. Society was shocked by their wedding; it’s scandalized by their separation.

Now James faces the battle of his lifetime, convincing Theo that he loved the duckling who blossomed into the swan.

And Theo will quickly find that for a man with the soul of a pirate, All’s Fair in Love—or War.

REVIEW: It appears that Ms. James is well on her way to give us her take on many fairy tales most of us have grown up with. After A Kiss at Midnight’ [her take on Cinderella], When Beauty Tamed the Beast [her take on The Beauty and the Beast] andThe Duke is Mine [her take on The Princess and the Pea] we’re now on The Ugly Duchess [her take on The Ugly Duckling] and coming in May 2013, Once Upon A Tower’ which will be her take on Rapunzel.

Personally, I found out that I’m not such a fan of authors relying on ‘tried and true’ stories to give them a spring-board for retelling of them. It’s like taking a much-loved movie and remaking it over and over making me wonder if anyone out there has or can come up with an original idea.

That said I am here to tell you that Ms. James had managed, despite the predictability and underlying thread through this series, to surprise me with a fresh, entertaining and compelling retelling of each fairy tale story so far.

If you’ve never read this author, picking up any of these stories will give you a pretty good idea as to her writing and voice. Both are very good and this story is no different.

I liked the characterization of both hero and the heroine, decant pace and that which this author excels the most in, the dialogue. As for the plot development, after much deliberation with myself and deeper look at the motivation of both characters, I decided that it was plausible for these young people to be rash at the start of their romance and act according to their assumptions of each other. After all, what would a fairy tale be without suspending our beliefs and give into believing Eloisa’s wonderful story weaving?

And now I find myself looking forward to Ms. James’ take on Rapunzel and her May 2013 release of  ‘Once Upon a Tower’ which is a“…version of Rapunzel (though she says there’s a little Romeo and Juliet thrown in as well).”

Now how can I say NO to that?!

*Book provided by AVON through EDELWEISS.