Author: Eloisa James
Date of Publication: August 28, 2012
Formats Available: Paperback, E-Book
Buy This Book: Amazon
Synopsis: 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.
Last week while perusing the shelves at the library trying to find something new to read I decided that I was extremely tired of reading about paranormal fantasy heroines with chips on their shoulders and really needed to take a break from that genre. So, in a burst of eagerness to try something new I checked out several regency/historical romance novels in the hopes that the silly titles and ridiculous story lines might give me a break, or at least scare me back to my preferred genre.
Now while I wasn't expecting a work of great literary merit I was expecting a plot. The beginning of the novel starts off well enough, but the whole thing quickly deteriorates as the story takes a turn for the extremely ridiculous. In addition to having the most random story line I've ever read the characters never did anything, there wasn't a single exciting moment in this whole novel. By the end I was so bored I barely skimmed the epilogue, but I'm sure nothing exciting happened there anyway.
The worst part of this novel had to be the middle. The old rule of "show don't tell" definitely applied here, I felt like I was reading a detailed summary of what the author wanted to write instead of reading about the characters themselves. I felt so far removed from the characters that I had a really hard time even finishing this novel. I honestly wanted to like it, I really did, I thought the plot had potential but overall it just fell completely flat.
Meanwhile the characters had zero personality. When I sat down to write this review I had to go flip back through the novel to even remember their names. Theo and James both had the potential to be interesting characters they just didn't have the personality they needed to make this novel work. I just couldn't make myself care about them, no matter how much I tried. Not to mention after the extremely ridiculous plot twist I just couldn't take James (the character, not the author) seriously anymore.
I'm not going to totally write off the genre, or even Eloisa James for that matter, because I have read a few good regency/historical romances and I'm willing to give it another shot. However, the weak characters and lack of plot mean that The Ugly Duchess isn't really a novel I would recommend.