Summary: “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?
Heroine: Roberta is really not that likeable. First of all, she claims instalove after a not so romantic first encounter. I guess I can throw her a bone and say she’s a very determined young woman, but she really needs to get her senses straight and go for the right target.
Hero: The Earl of Gryffyn is the “true” hero of DESPERATE DUCHESSES by Eloisa James but I guess it would be hard to figure this out if it weren’t for the book summary. I’m a sucker for Daddys with Cute Little Kids and the Earl of Gryffyn definitely falls under this category. It’s not his fault that he had such a sucky plotline. He would have been a more dashing hero if the circumstances had been different and the heroine had been more interesting and less naive.
Supporting Cast: I think the fact that I enjoyed the supporting characters and the subplot a lot more tells a great deal about how much I enjoyed Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James. I much rather would have liked to just focus on Jemma and the Duke of Beaumont but apparently, that’s another book! I don’t know why they played such a big part then, because it ended up just being a really big teaser of a book to come.
Plot: The plotting of DESPERATE DUCHESSES by Eloisa James is unfortunately somewhat a mess. Really, I had a hard time figuring out who the true star of this little soap opera was. There were subplots aplenty, and sadly, the least interesting one ended up being the main highlight of DESPERATE DUCHESSES.
Romance: The Duke of Villiers is such an anti-hero that there really is no romantic tension. There’s not even a pseudo love triangle. So obviously when you are introduced to the Earl of Gryffyn, there is a clear winner already. I guess they have banter and good chemistry, but nothing mind-blowing and quite memorable enough to make a lasting impression.
Love Potion Strength:
I guess every author has their not-so-great book. DESPERATE DUCHESSES by Eloisa James is not my favorite work by this author. Though disappointing, I am certainly not discouraged to pick up more books by her.