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When you're the oldest daughter, you don't get to have any fun!

Witty, orphaned Tess Essex faces her duty: marry well and marry quickly, so she can arrange matches for her three sisters—beautiful Annabel, romantic Imogen and practical Josie. After all, right now they're under the rather awkward guardianship of the perpetually tipsy Duke of Holbrook. But just when she begins to think that all might end well, one of her sisters bolts with a horse-mad young lord, and her own fiancé just plain runs away.

Which leaves Tess contemplating marriage to the sort of man she wishes to avoid—one of London's most infamous rakes. Lucius Felton is a rogue whose own mother considers him irredeemable! He's delicious, Annabel points out. And he's rich, Josie notes. But although Tess finally consents to marry him, it may be for the worst reason of all. Absurd as she knows it to be, she may have fallen utterly in love …

Topics: England, London, First in a Series, Tetralogy, Sisters, Orphans, Marriage of Convenience, Bad Boy, Horses, Love, and Witty

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061797545
List price: $3.99
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I didn't like this one as much as the Duchess Quartet, but I think that's partly because it was all setup. Looking forward to the rest of the quartet anyway.more
The Duke of Holbrook has become guardian to four girls, the daughters of an acquaintance. Rafe prepares a nursery and hires nursery maids, but is shocked to discover that the girls aren't babies, but young ladies, headstrong and determined. A fast, fun and undemanding read.more
More like 3 1/2 stars - it was a slow start but once Lucius and Tess actually got together, I found myself enjoying the book much more.more
I was not crazy about this book at first. It seemed to take forever for the main romance to get anywhere. The story of the heroine's sister dominated the book. However, towards the end the romance gets better. The characters' love for each other is a gentle revelation to the main characters which is a nice change from the struck by lightning realization that is typical for romance novels.more
I enjoyed this Regency romance despite it being a variety of the marriage of convenience trope. The style wasn't bad in romance terms--not flowery or purple anyway even if with the too often seen point of view glitches. I liked the period detail, literary allusions and how life among the horsey set figured in. The author says it was inspired by Little Women and I could see that in the way the four Scottish sisters featured in the novel; they felt like sisters in how they interacted and each had a distinct personality. It was refreshing to read a romance novel where the heroine had important relationships with other women. First book in a series about the sisters. Not sure I'll ever look the rest up.more
Romantic, fun and witty - I love James' writing and adore that her heroines are smart and independent.Tess is the oldest sister of four, and realizes that now, after their father's death, it is up to her to marry well and wealthy in order to support her sisters. She's determined to marry a title to help her sisters into society (and to better the possibility that they are received well), but when her gaze is caught by a handsome and wealthy business man, she's facing a losing battle with her attraction to him.Tess is a well-rounded character, as are her sisters and the men in her life. This is sexy, funny and charming. Recommended.more
Somehow this book was much better when I read it first time, now I found myself most of the time just annoyed by the mass of minor characters, who took half of the story. Tess is my favorite of all the Essex sisters and I also like Lucius, so I would have liked the book to concentrate on them. Many books of Eloisa James suffer from the same problem: there are too many charecters and if you don't find them interesting the plot starts to drag. That's a pity, because otherwise I like the way James writes, she is witty, funny and fluent writer.more
The most fun I've had reading a book in a long time. Much Ado About You is a pure delight. I was laughing, sighing, even tearing up a bit. It is witty, intelligent, humorous, light and fun, but underscoring all this is a keen insight that gets to the heart of human emotion and tragedies both small and large. I loved how this book provides a diverse range of characters - it's just as much about the recently orphaned Essex sisters Tess, Annabel, Imogen, and Josie, their guardian Rafe Jourdain, the Duke of Holbrook and his friends Garret the Earl of Mayne and Lucius Felton, along with an engaging cast of other secondary characters, as it is about the primary romance between the hero and heroine. I thought James balanced these many different story threads very well. The book is enthralling, entertaining, and original, a refreshing take on the usual stereotypes. Part of the fun of Much Ado About You is that you never quite know how things are going to turn out and the characters are always surprising you. For a while I wasn't even sure who would end up with whom - a remarkable feat in a book. James deftly explores the sundry relationships among her characters. The sisters' relationships in particular were spot on, so genuine and real - their love for each other bound up with playful squabbling and heartbreaking ruptures. And the romance isn't half bad either, full of touching moments that are breathtaking and beautiful. My only complaint is that we don't get inside the hero's head enough - though this slight imbalance didn't interfere with my enjoyment of the book at all and I was able to get a good sense of his character anyway. To put it simply, I loved this book. It's my first by Eloisa James, and I'm definitely going to track down more.more
I wanted to like this book, I really did! But, it fell short of my expectations, I thought it was a pretty ho-hum regency romance. I've decided not to read further about the exploits of the Essex Sisters (there are two sequels out there). The characters were undeveloped and the romance was lacklustre at best - there wasn't even much humor in the book to make up for the lack of passion! The sex scenes were in that vague sort of manner - nothing explicit but they still had a hint of raciness in them. Overall, they were wanting in feeling. This book was about a family of four sisters who are orphaned when their horse-mad father dies. He was a nobleman who was addicted to horses and racing, although he had the good sense to ensure they'd be cared for by the Duke of Holbrook, a horsey friend of his. At first, I was thoroughly confused by which sister was who. Who was the pretty one? Who was the oldest? Who was the mercenary one - who was in love with Lord Maitland? I just couldn't keep them straight, there seemed to be so many of them! After I settled into the book I got them straight, and I can't say I liked any of them except Tess, who was the main heroine of this book.The setting of this book centers on horse racing. All the men in the book are really into it and will do almost anything to get a good racehorse - including marrying. Each of the sisters has a horse for her dowry and naturally they are all great equestriennes themselves. I must admit, I'm not that interested in horseracing and Lord Maitland, one of the men that younger sister Imogen is madly in love with, is hopeless when it comes to horseracing - the worst of the lot. He has a one track mind and comes across as shallow a bit stupid. He was just annoying to me and I didn't have any sympanthy for him until the very end (I don't want to spoil it.) I felt sorry that Tess' sister, Imogen, was so in love with him. I also had a problem with our hero, Lucius Felton. Good looking, blonde and rich as anything, I found him annoying because he kept on insisting he was incapable of feelings - well, maybe he was right! Why would someone want to read about an emotionless romance hero - we barely got inside his head so we could tell what he was really feeling. There wasn't enough to interest me. It's one thing for a Mr. Darcy to come across as someone who's emotions are always in check - but Pride and Prejudice is not a romance novel and we don't get Mr. Darcy's point of view in it either. In this book we do, but it was sadly lacking - sometimes he'd do something unexpected, but not until the end did he finally come to life and show some passion - but that was the point - he finally came around. It was just kind of dull getting to that point. And whatever happened to his valet? We see him in the beginning bemoaning the fact that his master is in a houseful of unmarried women on the marriage market, and then we never see or hear from him again. Not even much later in the story - I think he became a lost thread.Tess, the eldest of the quartet, seems to be the only normal one of the lot and the only character I liked. She has a romantic streak in her and learns how to get her way with her husband eventually. Is she witty as the description of the book on the back of it suggests? Maybe, but I don't recall any real indication of it. She's got a good head on her shoulders - though she has her lapses of reason. She seems to think she should marry Lord Mayne, even though the handsome Mr. Felton had asked her to marry him and she keeps kissing him (what is it with some of these nit-wit regency romance heroines who continue to kiss the men they don't want to marry?) I was so relieved when Lord Mayne ran off - sketchy about why he did, though we sort of get our answer at the very end of the book. Which reminds me, the ending really seemed to read as if it was just tacked on, kind of a family related, money doesn't buy happiness sort of thing. It ends satisfactorily - but it's not totally resolved and the epilogue is predictable. Mr. Felton still has his family problems and Tess' sisters are still up in the air - leaving room for the sequels - of which I have no interest in reading.Another little gripe I have is that I felt this book was disjointed - there were so many different characters and their little plotlines going on, some of became lost threads - Tess and Felton, Tess and Mayne, the Duke and Maitland's mother, Imogen and Maitland, young Josie, the youngest sister still in the schoolroom, Miss Pythian-Adams (Maitland's fiancee) and the fact she really doesn't want to marry Maitland - it was such a jumble - and not in a good way like a Shakespeare comedy (which I guess the Much Ado title is supposed to allude to.)I didn't dislike this book, but I felt it was a waste of my time. There are much better regency romances out there than to read this disjointed, dull and passionless *code for not enough sex* romance novel. Much ado? Hardly.more
Not much plot or dialogue. Hero and heroine appear to come together by default.more
"Much Ado About You" is the first book in the Essex Sisters series. At the opening of this book, the reader finds that the four daughters of Scottish Viscount Brydone, who is recently deceased, are moving in with their guardian, Raphael Jourdain, the Duke of Holbrook. While a good man at heart, "Rafe" is a terrible alcoholic, and not the best role-model for four growing girls. This book follows Teresa (Tess) Essex, the oldest daughter. Feeling it important to marry for the sake of her younger sisters, Tess finds herself engaged to Garret Langham, the Earl of Mayne. Good-hearted, but a total rake, Mayne is marrying her mostly for the sake of the horse that is her dowry. In the meantime, her lovesick little sister, Imogen, elopes to Gretna Green with a man she has been in love with since childhood (but who is, in fact, a bit daft). And to complicate things further Tess also discovers that there is a mutual attraction between herself and the quiet, seemingly emotionless Lucius Felton...I enjoyed this book. What I found most interesting looking back on it was that while very, very, very little actually happens in this book by way of plot, it was incredibly enjoyable and a fast read. The interaction between the sisters is charming - they each have distinctly different personalities and are all at least moderately well developed by the end of this first installment. The Earl of Mayne is also a fun character. The only problem is that the one character we want to like is somewhat poorly developed. While I am quite fond of Lucius Felton, it is hard to know him, and his relationship with Tess seems a bit forced and seems to spring out of nowhere. Eloisa James' writing is fun and witty, and I found myself giggling at points simply due to James' writing style. As in many of Eloisa James' books, there are two love stories happening simultaneously - Tess's, which is primary, and then the love story between Draven and Imogen. While in some of her other books I find the secondary love story distracting, I did not feel that way in "Much Ado About You."A good read.more
Read all 14 reviews

Reviews

I didn't like this one as much as the Duchess Quartet, but I think that's partly because it was all setup. Looking forward to the rest of the quartet anyway.more
The Duke of Holbrook has become guardian to four girls, the daughters of an acquaintance. Rafe prepares a nursery and hires nursery maids, but is shocked to discover that the girls aren't babies, but young ladies, headstrong and determined. A fast, fun and undemanding read.more
More like 3 1/2 stars - it was a slow start but once Lucius and Tess actually got together, I found myself enjoying the book much more.more
I was not crazy about this book at first. It seemed to take forever for the main romance to get anywhere. The story of the heroine's sister dominated the book. However, towards the end the romance gets better. The characters' love for each other is a gentle revelation to the main characters which is a nice change from the struck by lightning realization that is typical for romance novels.more
I enjoyed this Regency romance despite it being a variety of the marriage of convenience trope. The style wasn't bad in romance terms--not flowery or purple anyway even if with the too often seen point of view glitches. I liked the period detail, literary allusions and how life among the horsey set figured in. The author says it was inspired by Little Women and I could see that in the way the four Scottish sisters featured in the novel; they felt like sisters in how they interacted and each had a distinct personality. It was refreshing to read a romance novel where the heroine had important relationships with other women. First book in a series about the sisters. Not sure I'll ever look the rest up.more
Romantic, fun and witty - I love James' writing and adore that her heroines are smart and independent.Tess is the oldest sister of four, and realizes that now, after their father's death, it is up to her to marry well and wealthy in order to support her sisters. She's determined to marry a title to help her sisters into society (and to better the possibility that they are received well), but when her gaze is caught by a handsome and wealthy business man, she's facing a losing battle with her attraction to him.Tess is a well-rounded character, as are her sisters and the men in her life. This is sexy, funny and charming. Recommended.more
Somehow this book was much better when I read it first time, now I found myself most of the time just annoyed by the mass of minor characters, who took half of the story. Tess is my favorite of all the Essex sisters and I also like Lucius, so I would have liked the book to concentrate on them. Many books of Eloisa James suffer from the same problem: there are too many charecters and if you don't find them interesting the plot starts to drag. That's a pity, because otherwise I like the way James writes, she is witty, funny and fluent writer.more
The most fun I've had reading a book in a long time. Much Ado About You is a pure delight. I was laughing, sighing, even tearing up a bit. It is witty, intelligent, humorous, light and fun, but underscoring all this is a keen insight that gets to the heart of human emotion and tragedies both small and large. I loved how this book provides a diverse range of characters - it's just as much about the recently orphaned Essex sisters Tess, Annabel, Imogen, and Josie, their guardian Rafe Jourdain, the Duke of Holbrook and his friends Garret the Earl of Mayne and Lucius Felton, along with an engaging cast of other secondary characters, as it is about the primary romance between the hero and heroine. I thought James balanced these many different story threads very well. The book is enthralling, entertaining, and original, a refreshing take on the usual stereotypes. Part of the fun of Much Ado About You is that you never quite know how things are going to turn out and the characters are always surprising you. For a while I wasn't even sure who would end up with whom - a remarkable feat in a book. James deftly explores the sundry relationships among her characters. The sisters' relationships in particular were spot on, so genuine and real - their love for each other bound up with playful squabbling and heartbreaking ruptures. And the romance isn't half bad either, full of touching moments that are breathtaking and beautiful. My only complaint is that we don't get inside the hero's head enough - though this slight imbalance didn't interfere with my enjoyment of the book at all and I was able to get a good sense of his character anyway. To put it simply, I loved this book. It's my first by Eloisa James, and I'm definitely going to track down more.more
I wanted to like this book, I really did! But, it fell short of my expectations, I thought it was a pretty ho-hum regency romance. I've decided not to read further about the exploits of the Essex Sisters (there are two sequels out there). The characters were undeveloped and the romance was lacklustre at best - there wasn't even much humor in the book to make up for the lack of passion! The sex scenes were in that vague sort of manner - nothing explicit but they still had a hint of raciness in them. Overall, they were wanting in feeling. This book was about a family of four sisters who are orphaned when their horse-mad father dies. He was a nobleman who was addicted to horses and racing, although he had the good sense to ensure they'd be cared for by the Duke of Holbrook, a horsey friend of his. At first, I was thoroughly confused by which sister was who. Who was the pretty one? Who was the oldest? Who was the mercenary one - who was in love with Lord Maitland? I just couldn't keep them straight, there seemed to be so many of them! After I settled into the book I got them straight, and I can't say I liked any of them except Tess, who was the main heroine of this book.The setting of this book centers on horse racing. All the men in the book are really into it and will do almost anything to get a good racehorse - including marrying. Each of the sisters has a horse for her dowry and naturally they are all great equestriennes themselves. I must admit, I'm not that interested in horseracing and Lord Maitland, one of the men that younger sister Imogen is madly in love with, is hopeless when it comes to horseracing - the worst of the lot. He has a one track mind and comes across as shallow a bit stupid. He was just annoying to me and I didn't have any sympanthy for him until the very end (I don't want to spoil it.) I felt sorry that Tess' sister, Imogen, was so in love with him. I also had a problem with our hero, Lucius Felton. Good looking, blonde and rich as anything, I found him annoying because he kept on insisting he was incapable of feelings - well, maybe he was right! Why would someone want to read about an emotionless romance hero - we barely got inside his head so we could tell what he was really feeling. There wasn't enough to interest me. It's one thing for a Mr. Darcy to come across as someone who's emotions are always in check - but Pride and Prejudice is not a romance novel and we don't get Mr. Darcy's point of view in it either. In this book we do, but it was sadly lacking - sometimes he'd do something unexpected, but not until the end did he finally come to life and show some passion - but that was the point - he finally came around. It was just kind of dull getting to that point. And whatever happened to his valet? We see him in the beginning bemoaning the fact that his master is in a houseful of unmarried women on the marriage market, and then we never see or hear from him again. Not even much later in the story - I think he became a lost thread.Tess, the eldest of the quartet, seems to be the only normal one of the lot and the only character I liked. She has a romantic streak in her and learns how to get her way with her husband eventually. Is she witty as the description of the book on the back of it suggests? Maybe, but I don't recall any real indication of it. She's got a good head on her shoulders - though she has her lapses of reason. She seems to think she should marry Lord Mayne, even though the handsome Mr. Felton had asked her to marry him and she keeps kissing him (what is it with some of these nit-wit regency romance heroines who continue to kiss the men they don't want to marry?) I was so relieved when Lord Mayne ran off - sketchy about why he did, though we sort of get our answer at the very end of the book. Which reminds me, the ending really seemed to read as if it was just tacked on, kind of a family related, money doesn't buy happiness sort of thing. It ends satisfactorily - but it's not totally resolved and the epilogue is predictable. Mr. Felton still has his family problems and Tess' sisters are still up in the air - leaving room for the sequels - of which I have no interest in reading.Another little gripe I have is that I felt this book was disjointed - there were so many different characters and their little plotlines going on, some of became lost threads - Tess and Felton, Tess and Mayne, the Duke and Maitland's mother, Imogen and Maitland, young Josie, the youngest sister still in the schoolroom, Miss Pythian-Adams (Maitland's fiancee) and the fact she really doesn't want to marry Maitland - it was such a jumble - and not in a good way like a Shakespeare comedy (which I guess the Much Ado title is supposed to allude to.)I didn't dislike this book, but I felt it was a waste of my time. There are much better regency romances out there than to read this disjointed, dull and passionless *code for not enough sex* romance novel. Much ado? Hardly.more
Not much plot or dialogue. Hero and heroine appear to come together by default.more
"Much Ado About You" is the first book in the Essex Sisters series. At the opening of this book, the reader finds that the four daughters of Scottish Viscount Brydone, who is recently deceased, are moving in with their guardian, Raphael Jourdain, the Duke of Holbrook. While a good man at heart, "Rafe" is a terrible alcoholic, and not the best role-model for four growing girls. This book follows Teresa (Tess) Essex, the oldest daughter. Feeling it important to marry for the sake of her younger sisters, Tess finds herself engaged to Garret Langham, the Earl of Mayne. Good-hearted, but a total rake, Mayne is marrying her mostly for the sake of the horse that is her dowry. In the meantime, her lovesick little sister, Imogen, elopes to Gretna Green with a man she has been in love with since childhood (but who is, in fact, a bit daft). And to complicate things further Tess also discovers that there is a mutual attraction between herself and the quiet, seemingly emotionless Lucius Felton...I enjoyed this book. What I found most interesting looking back on it was that while very, very, very little actually happens in this book by way of plot, it was incredibly enjoyable and a fast read. The interaction between the sisters is charming - they each have distinctly different personalities and are all at least moderately well developed by the end of this first installment. The Earl of Mayne is also a fun character. The only problem is that the one character we want to like is somewhat poorly developed. While I am quite fond of Lucius Felton, it is hard to know him, and his relationship with Tess seems a bit forced and seems to spring out of nowhere. Eloisa James' writing is fun and witty, and I found myself giggling at points simply due to James' writing style. As in many of Eloisa James' books, there are two love stories happening simultaneously - Tess's, which is primary, and then the love story between Draven and Imogen. While in some of her other books I find the secondary love story distracting, I did not feel that way in "Much Ado About You."A good read.more
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