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Desperate Duchesses    by Eloisa James order for
Desperate Duchesses
by Eloisa James
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2007 (2007)
Paperback, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Kim Atchue-Cusella

Lady Roberta St. Giles' father is a marquess who sometimes embarrasses her with his behavior. Roberta befriends Jemma, the Duchess of Beaumont, and accepts an invitation to stay with Jemma and her husband - it also provides the perfect opportunity for Roberta to convince the Duke of Villiers to marry her. She spotted him at a party and instantly fell in love with him across the ballroom. Jemma has just returned from France and has an entirely different outlook on life from Roberta. Despite that, their friendship grows and Roberta finds herself in the company of not only the Duke of Villiers but Jemma's brother Damon as well.

Damon's illegitimate son lives with him. Though Damon has never fallen in love before, he can't seem to get Roberta out of his mind. He is not happy when he learns that she has set her sights on the Duke of Villiers, and works hard at trying to get her to change her mind. Roberta loves talking to Damon, and his son always seems to find her wherever she may be. The young boy seems quite the gossip. Though Roberta insists that she is in love with Villiers, she enjoys the time she spends with Damon. Jemma also has a motive for her own interventions - not only will Lady Roberta get her wish but Jemma will get revenge for a friend, whose husband committed suicide after losing a chess game to Villiers.

Desperate Duchesses offers romance with a touch of humor that readers will love. The secondary characters add twists to the story with chess games played between Jemma and her husband, and also between Jemma and Villiers. The romance between Roberta and Damon is fun to watch, since Roberta insists that she is in love with Villiers but her actions say something different. Eloisa James puts together a compelling historical romance.

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