Sunday, March 23, 2014

Early Review of Three Weeks With Lady X (Desperate Duchesses, #7) by Eloisa James

    Title: Three Weeks With Lady X (Desperate Duchesses)
    Series: Desperate Duchesses
    Classification: Adult Fiction
    Genre: Historical Romance
    Format: Paperback; 400 pages
    Publisher: Avon (March 25, 2014)
    ISBN-10: 0062223895
    ISBN-13: 978-0062223890 
    Author's Website:
    Notes: I received a eARC loan from the publisher.

Tobias 'Thorne' Dautry was looking for a woman who'd warm his bed, have and nurture his children, and was gently bred to counteract the unfortunate circumstances of his own birth. His children would not be treated with the disrespect that society had shown him. He thinks he's found the perfect woman to do just that-- Miss Laetitia Rainsford. He just needs to convince her parents, and he'll do whatever is necessary to gain her hand.

Lady Xenobia 'Lady X' India St. Clair wants to start a family and the thing that scares her the most about marriage is the fact another individual, her husband, would be in charge of every aspect of her life--what she could do, whom she could see, where she could go, etc. She is looking for a man who will let her be in charge and won't try to control her.

One letter, however, will put these two in each other's path and change everything:

"I know how much your are in demand, but I write with the faint hope that you are free. His Grace's eldest son, Tobias Dautry, has recently acquired a country estate just outside London called Starberry Court. It likely needs some refurbishing, although Tobais bought it with its contents intact. He is courting Miss Laetitia Rainsford and he wishes to ensure that the house is in suitable condition before he invites her parents to the country. Naturally, I told him that you were the only person I would trust in such an endeavor." 

Lady X and Thorn will spend the next thee weeks in close proximity of one another at Straberry Court, a residence carrying the previous owner's taint from using it to entertain guests in a most inappropriate fashion (some would liken it to a house of ill repute which guests didn't have to pay for) and transform it into a suitable household for a wife and family.

 Sometimes what one thinks they want is not always what they need.


This is the 7th book in the Desperate Duchesses series. It should be noted that this is not the first we've seen of Tobias. As a young street urchin, he was known as Juby and as such made an appearance in two of Eloisa's earlier novels--'The Duchess of Mine' and 'A Duke of Her Own'. While it's unnecessary to read any previous books in the Desperate Duchesses series, it might be enjoyable to see the before and after versions of Tobias side by side. I believe I've read both the books Tobias is mentioned in, but may have to read them again just for that sneak peek at how he was in younger years.

Lady Xenobia India St. Clair is in high demand not only by the men in society but by the women too. She has spent the past ten years building a career out of refurbishing and reordering the households of London's most elite with the help of her godmother, Lady Adelaide Swift. Over that time, she's received both indecent and respectable proposals from various male members of the ton. She's never been tempted to accept either type of offer. Goodness knows, once she marries, her husband would have total control over all she does and that is a scary endeavor. She'd learned a valuable lesson as a child when she had to rely on her parents for everything. They often forgot to do the little things--like feed her--and she never wishes to be that vulnerable ever again. The whole experience had left her with issues of trust. Now she's decided it's time to face her fears and settle down and start a family. She just needs to find the right man. A man who is malleable and easily manipulated. The one thing I love about Lady X is that she knows her own self worth and has managed to survive on her own terms since the age of 14 or 15 (double check) when her parents left her practically penniless.

Tobias Dautry comes from humble beginnings. He is the bastard son of a Duke and an Opera singer who'd both abandoned him early on in life. He lived a life on the streets for twelve years that very nearly killed him before his father decided to take an interest in his illegitimate offspring. He's grown into the type of man who likes to control all aspects of his life and everyone in it. Being as he's rich as Midas, he usually gets away with it.

While wise in many respects, Tobias' thoughts of women are that they are interchangeable, with the exception of his stepmother, whom he's grown very fond of and whom he feels they broke the mold after she was made. So his requirements for a wife are rather lax in that he only wants three things in a wife--someone who comes from a good family, someone whom he is attracted physically to, and most importantly someone who will never abandon her children as his mother did him. What I don't think he realizes is that he would like a love match like his father and stepmother have. To him, however, it seems like something out of his reach perhaps due to the lack of affection he received as a child. I think his mother's abandonment affected him more than he realizes and  he doesn't have a good grasp on how to show his affection.

What I loved about these two is that both thought they knew exactly the kind of individual they wanted to marry, but were both wrong. I liked seeing these two get to know one another over the course of three weeks. They're first impressions of one another were not very high, but through correspondence and meetings they get to know each other in a way they probably wouldn't have otherwise. Each needs someone who will challenge as well as respect them. I enjoyed seeing Tobias realize a woman could do more than warm his bed, she can be someone he could confide in and have valid opinions worth considering. I admit at times I wondered what each was thinking as they did things which had me shaking my head, but in the end everything gets ironed out. Additionally, the grand gesture Tobias makes at the end while incredibly foolhardy was also incredibly romantic and for this reason I gave this book 4 1/2 out of 5 roses.  On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one scores a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

1 comment:

  1. I read the whole Desperate Duchess series & loved it! I remember Tobias & I am looking forward to his story. Thank you for the review!


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