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'Nothing gets me to a bookstore faster than Eloisa James' - Julia Quinn
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 desires not her heart, and certainly not her countenance, but her dowry.
Society was shocked by their wedding, but it's scandalized by their separation. James heads to sea where he becomes a notorious pirate, and Theo builds their estate into a flourishing concern. Back from the seas, a scandalous tattoo of a poppy under one eye, James now faces the battle of his lifetime: convincing Theo that he loved the duckling who blossomed into the swan. Theo will quickly find that for a man with the soul of a pirate, all's fair in love - or war.
'Eloisa James is extraordinary' - Lisa Kleypas
'Romance writing does not get much better than this' - People
James's fourth fairy tale inspired Regency romance (after The Duke Is Mine) puts an enchanting twist on Hans Christian Andersen's "The Ugly Duckling." James Ryburn, earl of Islay, is forced by his father, the duke of Ashbrook, to marry his best friend, the sweet but notoriously unattractive Theodora Saxby, so her dowry can cover Ashbrook's gambling debts. When Theo overhears her new husband arguing with his father and realizes all they wanted was her money, she demands that Islay leave her and leave England. For almost seven years, Theo doesn't know whether her husband is dead or alive, and she runs her life to suit herself. When Islay returns to England, he is a very different man, and Theo must decide whether to let him into her heart and disrupt her carefully ordered solitary existence. James's patented clever dialogue and complex characters make the unusual situation completely believable from setup to denouement.