cover image The Ugly Duchess

The Ugly Duchess

Eloisa James. Avon, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-202173-1

James’s fourth fairy tale–inspired Regency romance (after The Duke Is Mine) puts an enchanting twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling.” James Ryburn, earl of Islay, is forced by his father, the duke of Ashbrook, to marry his best friend, the sweet but notoriously unattractive Theodora Saxby, so her dowry can cover Ashbrook’s gambling debts. When Theo overhears her new husband arguing with his father and realizes all they wanted was her money, she demands that Islay leave her—and leave England. For almost seven years, Theo doesn’t know whether her husband is dead or alive, and she runs her life to suit herself. When Islay returns to England, he is a very different man, and Theo must decide whether to let him into her heart and disrupt her carefully ordered solitary existence. James’s patented clever dialogue and complex characters make the unusual situation completely believable from setup to denouement. (Sept.)