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The Duchess of Cosway yearns for a man she has never met . . . her husband.

Married by proxy as a child, Lady Isidore has spent years fending off lecherous men in every European court while waiting to meet her husband. She's determined to accept him, no matter how unattractive the duke turns out to be. When she finally lures Simeon Jermyn back to London, his dark handsomeness puts Isidore's worst fears to rest—until disaster strikes.

The duke demands an annulment.

Forsaking his adventuresome past, Simeon has returned to London ready to embrace the life of a proper duke, only to find that his supposed wife is too ravishing, too headstrong, and too sensual to be the docile duchess he has in mind. But Isidore will not give up her claim to the title—or him—without a fight.

She will do whatever it takes to capture Simeon's heart, even if it means sacrificing her virtue. After all, a consummated marriage cannot be annulled.

Yet in forcing Simeon into a delicious surrender, will Isidore risk not only her dignity—but her heart?

Topics: Arranged Marriage, England, London, Bawdy, Spirituality , and Family

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061980152
List price: $6.99
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Isidore was married by proxy at the age of 12, but hasn't seen her husband since she was a child. Tired of waiting she tries to entice him back home by attending a scandalous house party at Lord Strange's, it works and now suddenly Isidore has to make a life with a strange, unconventional, Duke who has the mother from hell. Another fun read in the series.more
Isidore has waited for her husband to return from his travels and to claim her for himself. They were married by proxy when she was 12 and now she wants a husband, and if she has to divorce him to get one she's willing to do just thatThe Duke of Cosway is different, his life abroad has taught him a lot, however it's taught him nothing about women, by his choice. Now he doesn't fit in the world of English nobility. He also finds that while his father was rich, he's left a lot of debts and a lot of ruffled feathers, along with a house whose water closets aren't working properly.I really enjoyed this read, the characters are great fun, though Cosway is almost a time traveller, he's almost modern in his attitude but in other ways he's quite behind the times. The characters sparkle and the stories of other people, involved in the series, are quite entertaining.I'm looking forward to more in this series.more
When is a duchess not a duchess? When she was married by proxy at 12, and her world-travelling husband has yet to return 11 years later. He finally shows up, and then the feathers fly. Fun, and funny, one of James's better books (and they're all good).more
Book promised more than delivered. Heroine was irritating, supposedly a clever independent lady, by the end she whiney and pathetic. Way too much talk about her clothes and jewellery. ( she literally nearly sinks under it all ) Oh and enough about the toilets already.more
Reviewed for queuemyreview.com; book release Dec08Just how long is ‘too’ long to wait for your man? In times of yore (it’s a historical!) there existed a practice of marriage by proxy. Meaning one member (usually the man) wasn’t actually present at the ceremony but the couple was considered legally wed. Then once the absent member showed up and consummated the marriage, all was normal. Eloisa James uses the concept of a proxy marriage in her latest book, “When the Duke Returns”. Her heroine has waited twelve years for her husband the Duke to return and validate their marriage. Twelve years?! Isidore is a Duchess…well, kind of…and she’s fed up with waiting for her errant husband to come home to England. Her plan is fairly simple. She will feign misbehavior to bring him home and then seduce him. It doesn’t really matter what he looks like, after all he is a Duke. She won’t have any problems seducing him, after all she’s been lauded as a beauty since she first put her hair up. She’ll have her children, do Duchessy things, and then, as far as Isidore is concerned, her husband the Duke can go right back to Africa or wherever. She’ll continue her London life fully invested as a Duchess. See, simple plan. What man doesn’t want to ‘do it’?Simeon has returned to England to take over his duties as the Duke. His first duty is to take charge of his wife, er…future wife. See, Simeon wants to get to know and develop feelings for his ‘wife’ and then remarry before consummating their union. He has held on to his chastity to stay healthy but he has always dreamed of what his wife would be like. She’ll be quiet, demure, and docile and he’ll have no problems keeping to the philosophy of ‘the Middle Way’…no strong feelings like anger, lust, or fear. When he first catches sight of his ‘wife’, he’s pretty sure he just lost the ‘lust’ part of his ‘Middle Way’. And after only a few meetings, he’s pretty sure that with Isidore, anger and fear won’t be far behind. I spent quite a bit of time laughing as I read about the titanic struggle between these two. Their verbal exchanges were sharp and scintillating, but it was the author’s revelation of their inner dialogues that explained the most about their motivations and intentions. The plot intensifies as each character figures out what they really want as opposed to what they’d always ‘thought’ they wanted…and why. Very nicely done. There are also several appearances by (mostly) heroines from earlier books who help move the plot along. An evolving secondary romance is just the icing on the cake.Eloisa James’ historical romances are always a treat to read. The witty wordplay between primary and secondary characters and her wonderfully descriptive period vocabulary draws the reader into the world of her heroes and heroines…and it’s a very fun place to visit. “When The Duke Returns” is another engaging story from one of historical romance’s bigger names.more
One of the better books in this series to date. Though the premise was similar to one of Eloisa James's earlier books, this story is original and the characters are unique. Plus, the triangle of Jemma/Elijah/Villiers takes a turn. The next two books should be very interesting.more
Read all 6 reviews

Reviews

Isidore was married by proxy at the age of 12, but hasn't seen her husband since she was a child. Tired of waiting she tries to entice him back home by attending a scandalous house party at Lord Strange's, it works and now suddenly Isidore has to make a life with a strange, unconventional, Duke who has the mother from hell. Another fun read in the series.more
Isidore has waited for her husband to return from his travels and to claim her for himself. They were married by proxy when she was 12 and now she wants a husband, and if she has to divorce him to get one she's willing to do just thatThe Duke of Cosway is different, his life abroad has taught him a lot, however it's taught him nothing about women, by his choice. Now he doesn't fit in the world of English nobility. He also finds that while his father was rich, he's left a lot of debts and a lot of ruffled feathers, along with a house whose water closets aren't working properly.I really enjoyed this read, the characters are great fun, though Cosway is almost a time traveller, he's almost modern in his attitude but in other ways he's quite behind the times. The characters sparkle and the stories of other people, involved in the series, are quite entertaining.I'm looking forward to more in this series.more
When is a duchess not a duchess? When she was married by proxy at 12, and her world-travelling husband has yet to return 11 years later. He finally shows up, and then the feathers fly. Fun, and funny, one of James's better books (and they're all good).more
Book promised more than delivered. Heroine was irritating, supposedly a clever independent lady, by the end she whiney and pathetic. Way too much talk about her clothes and jewellery. ( she literally nearly sinks under it all ) Oh and enough about the toilets already.more
Reviewed for queuemyreview.com; book release Dec08Just how long is ‘too’ long to wait for your man? In times of yore (it’s a historical!) there existed a practice of marriage by proxy. Meaning one member (usually the man) wasn’t actually present at the ceremony but the couple was considered legally wed. Then once the absent member showed up and consummated the marriage, all was normal. Eloisa James uses the concept of a proxy marriage in her latest book, “When the Duke Returns”. Her heroine has waited twelve years for her husband the Duke to return and validate their marriage. Twelve years?! Isidore is a Duchess…well, kind of…and she’s fed up with waiting for her errant husband to come home to England. Her plan is fairly simple. She will feign misbehavior to bring him home and then seduce him. It doesn’t really matter what he looks like, after all he is a Duke. She won’t have any problems seducing him, after all she’s been lauded as a beauty since she first put her hair up. She’ll have her children, do Duchessy things, and then, as far as Isidore is concerned, her husband the Duke can go right back to Africa or wherever. She’ll continue her London life fully invested as a Duchess. See, simple plan. What man doesn’t want to ‘do it’?Simeon has returned to England to take over his duties as the Duke. His first duty is to take charge of his wife, er…future wife. See, Simeon wants to get to know and develop feelings for his ‘wife’ and then remarry before consummating their union. He has held on to his chastity to stay healthy but he has always dreamed of what his wife would be like. She’ll be quiet, demure, and docile and he’ll have no problems keeping to the philosophy of ‘the Middle Way’…no strong feelings like anger, lust, or fear. When he first catches sight of his ‘wife’, he’s pretty sure he just lost the ‘lust’ part of his ‘Middle Way’. And after only a few meetings, he’s pretty sure that with Isidore, anger and fear won’t be far behind. I spent quite a bit of time laughing as I read about the titanic struggle between these two. Their verbal exchanges were sharp and scintillating, but it was the author’s revelation of their inner dialogues that explained the most about their motivations and intentions. The plot intensifies as each character figures out what they really want as opposed to what they’d always ‘thought’ they wanted…and why. Very nicely done. There are also several appearances by (mostly) heroines from earlier books who help move the plot along. An evolving secondary romance is just the icing on the cake.Eloisa James’ historical romances are always a treat to read. The witty wordplay between primary and secondary characters and her wonderfully descriptive period vocabulary draws the reader into the world of her heroes and heroines…and it’s a very fun place to visit. “When The Duke Returns” is another engaging story from one of historical romance’s bigger names.more
One of the better books in this series to date. Though the premise was similar to one of Eloisa James's earlier books, this story is original and the characters are unique. Plus, the triangle of Jemma/Elijah/Villiers takes a turn. The next two books should be very interesting.more
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