Desperate Duchesses

9 books in series
4.5 out of 5 stars 4,682 ratings


Enter the world of the wealthy aristocracy in Georgian London, where royals fight for love and power - and play for keeps.

In a world full of reckless sensuality and glittering sophistication, Georgian-style, there are plenty of opportunities for interesting and dazzling matchups. Sheltered Lady Roberta St. Giles is struck with love for a handsome duke - and notorious rakehell - across a ballroom. Meanwhile, the Earl of Gryffyn knows these sorts of games are played with high stakes. Can he protect Roberta from running headlong into the wrong destiny? This audiobook series explores various royal relationships and romantic gambles, from an alluring duchess trapped in an arranged marriage and desperately trying to seduce her husband to a wild duchess dressing as a man to enjoy a lord’s debaucherous party without fear.

Narrator Rosalyn Landor draws us into the lives of the rich and their love games in book one, Desperate Duchesses. But it’s the voice of Susan Duerdan that carries us through aristocrats’ affairs of the heart in books two through nine. Her spot-on performance brings the steamy romance and intricacies of high-ranking nobility to life in a swirl of satin skirts and sensual delivery. With her smooth tone, Duerdan leaves little to the imagination and the passion of each scene is unmatchable.

Desperate Duchesses marked an interesting shift from author Elosia James’s usual setting, Regency England, to the looser, more openly raunchy Georgian era. Her series offers various homages to and echoes of other works, including the poetry of Christopher Smart, Shakespeare, and Christopher Marlowe. The intricate plot of book one was inspired by the game of chess, and several real-life games are featured throughout the series.

In its review of Desperate Duchesses, Publishers Weekly declares, “If Shakespeare had written an 18th-century romantic comedy, it might look something like this novel...a colorful, spirited romance that will leave readers desperate for a sequel”. Booklist calls the series debut novel “gracefully written, lusciously sensual, delectably witty, and exquisitely romantic historical romance”.

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