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Duchess by night / Eloisa James.

By: James, Eloisa.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookSeries: James, Eloisa. Desperate duchesses: 3.; James, Eloisa. Desperate duchesses series: ; Desperate duchesses: ; James, Eloise. Desperate duchesses: 03.; Desperate duchesses: ; Desperate duchesses: 3.; Desperate duchesses: Publisher: London : Hodder Paperbacks, 2009Description: 393 pages ; 24 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780340961087 (pbk.); 0340961082 (pbk.).Subject(s): Aristocracy (Social class) -- Great Britain -- Fiction | Disguise -- Fiction | Aristocracy (Social class) Great Britain Fiction | Regency novels | London (England) -- History -- 18th century -- FictionGenre/Form: Regency fiction. | Historical fiction. | Romances. | Romance fiction. | Regency fiction.DDC classification: 813.6
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Originally published: London: Hodder & Stoughton.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Disguise is a dangerous game . . .

After a lifetime as a wallflower Harriet, the Duchess of Berrow, is finally seeking a little pleasure of her own. And where better to begin than at the house of one of the most disreputable men in the country, Lord Strange?

The high-stakes games of lust and chance that rule Strange's household, however, mean that even being seen crossing his threshold could ruin her reputation forever. So Harriet swaps her hoops and corsets for a pair of breeches and transforms herself into a young male relative of the Duke of Villiers.

Before she knows it, Harriet is writing bawdy missives on behalf of a young actress, not to mention winning card games played by the most powerful men in England.

But when she starts attracting male attention, Harriet must decide whether to stay in her disguise - or to reveal that she's really a duchess by night . . .

Originally published: London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Originally published: London: Hodder & Stoughton.

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Excerpt provided by Syndetics

Duchess By Night Chapter One In Which Cinderella Dresses for the Ball and Her Fairy Godmother Brings a Goose Instead of a Pumpkin January 6 (Twelfth Night), 1784 A Costume Ball The Country Seat of the Duke of Beaumont Nursery tales are full of fascinating widows, although they aren't always the nicest characters. Cinderella's stepmother likely put on a dazzling gown for the prince's ball, even if her daughters did inherit her big feet and sharp tongue. Harriet, Duchess of Berrow, realized soon after her husband died that there are glamorous widows, and then there are widows who live in shoes with too many children, like poor Loveday Billing. There are widows who dance all night with younger men, and then there are dowdy widows who are offered only pinched smiles. Harriet had no illusions about what kind of widow she was. She was the kind who lived in a shoe, and never mind the fact that she had no children and her estate was much larger than a shoe. Her husband had been dead for two years and no younger--or older--men were lining up to ask her to dance. Most of her acquaintances still got a tragic sheen in their eyes and promptly moved away after greeting her, as if sadness was catching. Apparently, if one's husband committed suicide, one automatically became the unappealing type of widow. Partly it was her fault. Here she was at the Duchess of Beaumont's impromptu costume ball--but was she dressing as a glamorous character? Or even an evil one? "Who are you?" her friend Jemma (the aforesaid Duchess of Beaumont) asked. "A nursery rhyme character. Can you guess which one?" Harriet was wearing a motherly nightgown of plain cotton that her maid had recruited from the housekeeper. Underneath she had three petticoats, as well as four woolen stockings in her bodice. Just to show off a bit, she arched her back. "A nursery rhyme character with big breasts," Jemma said. "Very big breasts. Very very--" "Motherly breasts," Harriet prompted. "Actually you don't look motherly as much as wildly curvaceous. The problem will be if one of our houseguests lures you into a corner and attempts a cheerful grope. Wasn't there some nursery rhyme about lighting the way to bed?" "I'm not on my way to bed," Harriet said, somewhat deflated. "And no one ever tries to grope me. What character are you?" Jemma's gown was made of a clear pale pink that looked wonderful with the dark gold color of her unpowdered hair. There were small silk poppies sewn all over her skirts, and poppies tucked in her hair. She managed to look elegant and yet untamed, all at once. "Titania, Queen of the Fairies." "I'm Mother Goose. Which fairly sums up the difference between us." "What are you talking about!" Jemma scolded, wrapping an arm around Harriet. "Look at you, darling. You are far too young and fresh to be Mother Goose!" "No one will know who I am," Harriet said, pulling away from Jemma and sitting on the bed. "They'll think I'm a fat white ghost." Jemma started laughing. "The ghost of a murdered cook. No, all you need is a clue to your Mother Goose status, and people will admire the cleverness of your costume. Wait until you see Lord Pladget as Henry VIII: he has a hearth rug tied around his middle and he looks as big as a barn." "I already look as big as a barn, at least on top." "A goose!" Jemma said. "Of course, you need a goose and I know just the one!" "Oh, but--" Two minutes later, Jemma was back. With a goose. "Is that real?" Harriet asked warily. "In a matter of speaking. I'm afraid it's a little stiff. It usually flies along the wall in the south parlor. My mother-in-law has a morbid attitude toward decorating that involved arranging all kinds of dead animals on the walls. You can use the poor goose tonight, darling, and then we'll set him free to fly to a better place, if you understand me." Harriet took the goose in her hands rather dubiously. It was stuffed so that its neck stayed stiff, as if it were in flight. "Just tuck it under your arm," Jemma said. Harriet stood up and tried it. "Not like that. Here, turn his head upright so he looks like a friend whispering in your ear." Harriet stared down at the bird's glossy eyes. "This is not a friendly goose." It looked ready to lunge from her hands and peck someone. "There is no such thing as a friendly goose," Jemma said. "I must go see how Isidore is coming with her costume. I checked on her earlier and her maids were frantically tearing apart two dresses. She says she's going to be a queen, but I'm afraid she's going to enter the ballroom wrapped in a handkerchief." "Why doesn't Isidore go by her title of Duchess of Cosway?" Harriet asked. "Last night she was announced as Lady Isidore Del'Fino." "I don't think she's ever met the duke. Her husband, I mean," Jemma said. "Or if she did, it was for five minutes years ago. So she uses her own title, although for tonight she's the Queen of Palmyra." "If you had told me that you were planning a Twelfth Night costume party," Harriet said, putting the goose down, "I could have been a queen as well." "Apparently queens don't wear much clothing, so you'll definitely be more comfortable this way. And I'm sorry about not warning you, darling, but it's so much fun doing it last minute. You should see people rushing about the house looking for costumes. The butler is going mad! It's wonderful." And with that, Jemma sailed out of the room leaving Harriet with the goose. It was absurd to feel so sorry for herself. Every time she walked into Judge Truder's court she heard of people whose lives were far more desperate. Why just last month there was a girl who stole half a jar of mustard and six oranges. Truder had actually woken up and wanted to give the poor child hard labor, fool that he was. Duchess By Night . Copyright © by Eloisa James. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Duchess by Night by Eloisa James All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Widowed and bored, dispensing her version of justice in the Shire Court and thinking she's missed out on life's adventurous side, Harriet, Duchess of Berrow, decides some changes are in order and sallies forth disguised as young Harry Cope to a rather disreputable house party. The problems arise when her host, the scandalous rake Lord Strange, is attracted to "Harry." With a nod to Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and other classics, this insightful, bawdy Georgian escapade is filled with memorable characters (including a meddlesome yet precocious eight-year-old) doing outrageous things and is the third title in the author's "Desperate Duchesses" series. James (An Affair Before Christmas), a Shakespearean scholar in her other life, lives in the New York City area. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

Harriet, the young widowed duchess of Berrow, longs to escape the elaborate wigs and skirts of Georgian society and have a true adventure. Opportunity arises when friend Isidore wants to lure her long-absent husband back from his Far East explorations with a grand scandal. Accompanied by the trusty duke of Villiers, the two women visit the home of the scandalous Lord Strange whose home is (gasp!) regularly filled with actors and actresses. Though it's Isidore's plan, it's Harriet who flirts with real danger: dressed in breeches, she poses as Harry, a mama-protected young relative of the duke's. With her characteristic wit, James details Harry's bravado as "he" rides without a sidesaddle for the first time, learns to fence with the formidable Lord Strange and fends off the amorous advances of an actress. Harriet revels in the freedom offered by her male identity, but her heart remains traitorously female, especially in the presence of Lord Strange, who finds himself uncomfortably attracted to the beautiful young lad. James delights with seduction, surprise and humor on every page. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

It had been more than two years since her husband, Benjamin, committed suicide, and Harriet, the Duchess of Berrow, is ready for a change. Tired of her respectably dull and lonely existence, Harriet decides what she needs is some pleasure and excitement. So she agrees to accompany her friend Isidore, the Duchess of Cosway, and the Duke of Villiers to one of Lord Justinian Strange's notoriously scandalous house parties disguised as Villiers' nephew, Harry Cope. Harriet's newfound freedom as Harry is intoxicating, but there is a problem: Harriet finds herself falling for Strange, who is busy trying to teach Harry how to be a man. The latest addition to best-selling James' Duchess Georgian historical series is a lusciously sexy and wickedly witty tale of disguise, deception, and desire that will dazzle readers.--Charles, John Copyright 2008 Booklist