Bringing to light the Georgian era in all its sly and earthy cleverness is Desperate Duchess by the always masterful Eloisa James. Lady Roberta St. Giles has endured a lifetime of living in the country with her eccentric poet of a father and his many scandalous mistresses. At a country dance, she spies the devastatingly handsome Duke of Villiers, known to be quite the rake, and it's love at first sight. Roberta is not a woman to stand by and wait for life to happen to her. She finagles a letter from her very wealthy father and heads to London to find a mentor in her mother's cousin, seven times removed (or so). There ensues a lively comedy of manners wherein no one is in love with the person they should be, and the shifting landscape is the backdrop for a dazzling and vividly intelligent romp.

Barbara Samuel writes women's fiction, romances and many other things, including a blog at

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