The Ugly Duchess is part of the Fairy Tale series however all of the books are stand alone.
From Goodreads: Theodora Saxby is the last woman anyone expects the gorgeous James Ryburn, heir to the Duchy of Ashbrook, to marry. But after a romantic proposal before the prince himself, even practical Theo finds herself convinced of her soon-to-be duke’s passion.
Still, the tabloids give the marriage six months.
Theo would have given it a lifetime…until she discovers that James desired not her heart, and certainly not her countenance, but her dowry. Society was shocked by their wedding; it’s scandalized by their separation.
Now James faces the battle of his lifetime, convincing Theo that he loved the duckling who blossomed into the swan.
And Theo will quickly find that for a man with the soul of a pirate, All’s Fair in Love—or War.
Characters: I loved James and Theodora especially in the first part of the book. They grew up together and are best friends. James calls Theo “Daisy”. He doesn’t think she is ugly and never has. James loves Theo but is full of guilt for not telling Theo about the money his Father embezzled from her trust fund before the wedding. Theo is full of insecurity after being labeled “The Ugly Duchess” by the papers in London on her wedding day. Both react very badly when the truth comes out. I really did want to reach in the book and give both of the a good shake for the way they acted. There are secondary character that play a part in the story but each is a part of the story for a very short time and there is little character development.
Plot: James leaves and disappears for 7 years. Theo works hard and make a life for herself but it is a empty life based on the work required to bring the Duchy of Ashbrook out of debt. Just as Theo is having James declared dead he reappears. It is easy to guess the rest.
Tension: I really felt the tension in the first part of the book. I did not feel it that much in the second part. For me 7 years was too long for strong feeling to survive.
Writing: The story did move very smoothly. Eloisa James knows who to tell a good story and even though I felt part of the story line was weak it was still an engaging story.
Avon published The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James in 2012.
I received a free eARC of The Ugly Duchess from Avon through Edelweiss. The Ugly Duchess is scheduled for release on August 28, 2012.