Today I have one of my favorites for the genre, Eloisa James with her title Three Weeks with Lady X, book 7 in the Desperate Duchesses series. There are several review stops on this tour: be sure to check the tour list and see what others thought. And you can’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway sponsored by Avon Books: you can be the lucky winner of a paperback copy of A Duke of Her Own, Book 6 in the Desperate Duchesses series by Eloisa James.
Let me start by saying that Eloisa James was my gateway to the more recent historical romances: I was a reader, but my library until recently was comprised of the titles that featured Fabio and his contemporaries as cover models, colloquially termed “Bodice Rippers”. But, my more recent reintroduction to the genre came from the pen of Ms. James, and I haven’t looked back since.
Three Weeks with Lady X is an emotional ride, from the lush descriptions to setting scenes to characters that are developed to breathe and capture your attention. Lady Xenobia India is the orphaned daughter of a Marquess. Needing to find a way to support herself after her parent’s untimely death following a highly unconventional upbringing, India is a “fixer” and caters to the toniest of the ton: her decorating prowess is legend, and her godmother’s connections and constant companionship have kept India’s reputation intact.
India is good at what she does; she has the eye for both furnishings and people, and is able to match settings and staff to the most difficult of clients. As a beautiful woman, she has learned to present herself deferentially to the woman of the house, and her inability to see just how attractive she is, even with men falling at her feet make her even more attractive. She is clever and honest, always thinking about her next move and with a strong sense of right and wrong. While she knows that marriage is a must and she dearly wants children, the idea of love is both foreign and frightening to her as she watched her parent’s love exclude her.
Thorn, or Tobias is one of several ‘wrong side of the blanket” children fathered by the Duke of Villiers. His desire to have children requires a wife, yet the circumstances of his birth will dictate the level to which he can rise in society. Having chosen a bride, and purchased a country estate, he needs the house ready for his new wife. His step-mother suggests a friend, Lady X, to manage the design.
From the first moment the sparks fly between the two: their attraction is obvious even as they snipe and snap at one another, trading barbs and quips with equal abandon. As India is trying to do her best for Thorn and his potential bride, Thorn can’t quite seem to find a reason to stay away from her. So unlike other women she challenges him and makes him think: a quality most definitely NOT what he wants in a wife.
From beginning to end, this story was full of humor and heart: characters enter and are presented with flair, and the dialogue and descriptions place the reader right into the midst of the action. Sensual scenes between Thorn and India add steam and heat to their attraction, and fuel both jealousy and regret from the characters in equal measure. Despite his refusal to “be a gentleman” Thorn is far more honorable and less the mudlark he still identifies with so strongly. With several twists and inclusions of characters that both inform and derail their tentative romance, the story was a quick read that could have continued for several more pages. I have not read the earlier books in this series, but this book is complete unto itself: characters are introduced with clear histories and backgrounds, and are presented in such a way as to encourage you to go back and read more. And I most certainly will be.
Title: Three Weeks with Lady X
Author: Eloisa James
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by: Avon, Harper Collins
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 11 Hours: 25 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦Audible
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.