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Welcome to a world of reckless sensuality and glittering sophistication … of dangerously handsome gentlemen and young ladies longing to gain a title … of games played for high stakes, including—on occasion—a lady's virtue.

A marquess's sheltered only daughter, Lady Roberta St. Giles falls in love with a man she glimpses across a crowded ballroom: a duke, a game player of consummate skill, a notorious rakehell who shows no interest in marriage—until he lays eyes on Roberta.

Yet the Earl of Gryffyn knows too well that the price required to gain a coronet is often too high. Damon Reeve, the earl, is determined to protect the exquisite Roberta from chasing after the wrong destiny.

Can Damon entice her into a high-stakes game of his own, even if his heart is likely to be lost in the venture?

Topics: First in a Series, London, England, Scandal, Love Triangle, Nobility, and Heiress

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 13, 2009
ISBN: 9780061800467
List price: $4.99
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Lady Roberta St Giles is a woman who has lived with the fact that her family isn't in any way normal or ordinary. Her father is a poet who lives with women openly in a way that makes people ask questions about his family. She calls on a relative to try to get herself on the market. When she sees the Duke of Villiers, a notorious rakehell, she decides he is to be hers.Damon Reeve, the Earl of Gryffyn thinks differently, but can he win?It's fun, full of complicated relationships, chess and duels. It was a fun, light read.read more
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Lady Wombat says:A larger cast of characters than the typical romance novel makes for a more nuanced read. Also, the setting (1780s rather than the more typical later Regency) gave this a more 18th century feel. An appealing change of pace from the other Regencies I've been reading of late. Will have to try others by James.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is one of my favorite of Eloisa James's books. Set in the Georgian period instead of the Regency like most of James's books, this book has a charming story, memorable characters, and a touching love story. Damon is one of my favorite of James's heroes, and Villiers is a fascinating character as well. While James does fall into her traditional trap of not concentrating enough on the main story, it's not as destructive here as usual - probably because the other characters are interesting as well. A good book!read more
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Lady Roberta St Giles is a woman who has lived with the fact that her family isn't in any way normal or ordinary. Her father is a poet who lives with women openly in a way that makes people ask questions about his family. She calls on a relative to try to get herself on the market. When she sees the Duke of Villiers, a notorious rakehell, she decides he is to be hers.Damon Reeve, the Earl of Gryffyn thinks differently, but can he win?It's fun, full of complicated relationships, chess and duels. It was a fun, light read.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Lady Wombat says:A larger cast of characters than the typical romance novel makes for a more nuanced read. Also, the setting (1780s rather than the more typical later Regency) gave this a more 18th century feel. An appealing change of pace from the other Regencies I've been reading of late. Will have to try others by James.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is one of my favorite of Eloisa James's books. Set in the Georgian period instead of the Regency like most of James's books, this book has a charming story, memorable characters, and a touching love story. Damon is one of my favorite of James's heroes, and Villiers is a fascinating character as well. While James does fall into her traditional trap of not concentrating enough on the main story, it's not as destructive here as usual - probably because the other characters are interesting as well. A good book!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
As a general rule of thumb, I greatly enjoy Eloisa James. She has a fun, snappy style of writing, her dialogue is great, and she has plots that aren't the norm. Those three things automatically garner my attention and repeat reading. This book, while I enjoyed it, wasn't quite up to James' standards, I feel. There were a couple of times when she almost immediately contradicted herself (at one point Roberta says that thinking about her prospective fiance's debauched life makes her wince, and at the beginning of the next chapter, she says it doesn't bother her a bit because his indiscretions are nothing compared to the craziness of her father). Things were occasionally confusing, as there were a lot of peripheral characters that only marginally touched on the plot itself. But it was a decent plot, and I enjoyed reading it. It was everything I look for in a romance novel (taking my mind away from this world into a different one and keeping me amused), but it also wasn't as well written as some others.
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This book started off really badly and I almost didn't finish it. It felt like all the duchesses were whining brats that were married but had affairs that weren't even secret from their husbands. In fact is was like it was expected! It felt like it was a Victorian age Melrose Place and it was a giant soap opera. Not really my thing. I would have given it one star but it did get a little better in the end and I was happy with the ending. I don't think I will be reading the rest of this series though.
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I love, love, love Eloisa James! (If a Shakespearean professor can write Regency romances, then it's okay for a lowly junior high English teacher to read them voraciously, right? That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it!) This is the first in her Desperate Duchesses series, and it's definitely setting the stage for the rest of the books to come (I'm not sure I'm going to be able to stick to the chronological order, though, because after this one I *really* want to see Jemma and Elijah's story! I'm going to attempt to be good, though.); even though this is Roberta and Damon's story, James gives you a wealth of other characters to enjoy and look forward to reading more about. As usual, her research really shines through in this book without it reading like a textbook, and the numerous allusions to Shakespeare and other literary personages just make it even more fun. I can't wait to continue on with the rest of the series...good thing I'm on break!
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