Move over ladies of Wisteria Lane, the Desperate Duchesses created by Eloisa James, in a six installment book series, put your antics to shame. Set in the delightfully decadent Georgian period, when the word “naughty” was more than an adjective but a way of life, this series follows the lives consecutively and independently of six strong and sensual woman and the men who have a hard time trying to decide if they wish to tame them, bed them or wed them.

Inspired by the ABC series Desperate Housewives and rich with the scintillating taste, style and atmosphere of Georgian era England, this series created by the marvelously talented Eloisa James is one any true lover of historical romantic fiction couldn’t help but love.

The first book in the series, DESPERATE DUCHESSES was released in May of 2007 and is a wonderful introduction to many of the cast of characters who appear throughout the stories, either as the focused leads or the always entertaining extras—not all of which are human. Each consecutive novel begins within a scene from the previous novel creating a unique flow from one story to the other, although each has no problem standing on its own either.

A Duke of Her Own

Published: July 28, 2009

Throughout, one particular character stands out and often times finds himself unknowingly playing a cupid-like role in the Duchesses’ lives—Leopold Dautry, Duke of Villiers. In the final novel, A DUKE OF HER OWN, it is finally Leopold’s turn to get the girl and he has to make a choice between the woman who stirs his desire and the one he believes would be the perfect mother for his lost brood of illegitimates.

When the Duke Returns

Published: November 25, 2008

If forced to pick a favorite of the six, I would have to choose WHEN THE DUKE RETURNS  (book 4).

“Married by proxy as a child, Lady Isidore has spent years fending off lecherous suitors while longing for her husband, Simeon Jermyn, the Duke of Cosway, to return. But when the prodigal duke finally returns, ready to take on his obligations, he finds the woman they call his wife too ravishing, too headstrong, too sensual to be a proper duchess. But Isidore will not give up her claim to the handsome duke without a fight.”

The beautiful Duchess of Cosway has been waiting more than a decade for her husband to return from his adventures, in search of the source of the Nile, and finally make her a wife in truth. Despite years fighting off the temptations and flirts of men determined to end her chastity, Isidore remains an impatient virgin eager to consummate the marriage once events force Simeon to come back and claim her—but there is a little problem.

Simeon is also a virgin.

The Duke behaves nothing like a proper aristocrat should and rumors quickly begin to fly that he’s not quite right in the noggin—a brain fever, perhaps? (So says his mother). Dukes do not run around the countryside in short breeches, fight ruffians with their feet or live by a heathen’s teachings of emotional self control, especially when it keeps him from bedding his own wife.

She even makes CHESS sexy. Read and you will see what I mean.

On the surface this couple is the most unlikely match imaginable, but you know what they say about opposites? You couldn’t touch the sexual tension with a chainsaw! When they finally come together it’s a wonderful mesh of “sweet” and “sensual” that sears the page and sparks the emotions that make them realize, with a little compromise they might be each other’s perfect match.

Eloisa James has created an unforgettable masterpiece with this series that should not be missed by any lover of great romantic fiction so, be sure to indulge yourself a little by adding the Desperate Duchesses books to your collection as soon as possible.

P.S.  She even makes CHESS sexy. Read and you will see what I mean.

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About the Reviewer

Teresa Spreckelmeyer
Teresa St. Mary - Teresa, is a wearer of many hats (figuratively) including, mother, wife, graphic designer, event planner, web developer and a self-admitted, avid reader of historical romance novels. Although Teresa is a “small town girl” (again, figuratively) from Missouri, through her various workings with clients and events, in and out of the west coast entertainment industry, she laughingly refers to Los Angeles as her second home. Teresa has produced marketing design work for actors, directors, writers and film studios, among others and played a strong behind-the-scenes role in the creation of entertainment oriented, fundraising events in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas over the past nine years.