Olivia Lytton has been betrothed since before she was born to the also yet unborn son of a duke, Rupert. Thanks to a promise made between her father and Ruperts father when they were friends in Eton, she has been 'duchified' since she was a child, along with her twin sister Georgiana. Olivia knows all the proper rules and etiquette but it is just not her personality. Olivia is bawdy, sarcastic, and far too witty to truly be contained in a perfect duchess box. But as she was born seven minutes earlier than Georgiana, who is exactly what one looks for in a duchess, she has accepted her fate to marry the five years younger Rupert. Olivia knows she will bear the marriage to the much simpler Rupert as she plans to dower Georgiana right away so her perfect, beautiful sister can find her true happiness. As the betrothal papers are signed, as Rupert is finally eighteen, and scandalous promises are made by Ruperts father, one of the funniest scenes in this book happens. As Rupert heads to war to achieve the glory he so desires, Georgiana is invited to the home of Tarquin Brook Chatfield, Duke of Sconce by his mother as a potential new wife for Tarquin. Georgiana, with Olivia at her side, heads to his home with hope alight in her heart.
After his disastrous and heartbreaking first marriage, Quin knows it is his duty to remarry and he is more than willing to turn the process of choosing a wife over to his mother. She invites out two prospective women and is intent of putting them through a series of tests. It becomes clear quickly that Georgiana is the obvious choice but his mother continues on with her tests and in the process, asks Quin to entertain Olivia who is not in the running being betrothed already and totally unsuitable. The slight problem with that is Quin is quite attracted to Olivia but knows it can never be but the more time they spend together sparring and trading wits she slowly uncovers Quins hurtful past and together their hearts know they belong together. But the road to happiness has quite a few hurdles to overcome including Rupert, Georgiana, Quins mother and even Olivias belief that she is not good enough.
This is a fun, quirky, delightful retelling of the fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea. I adored the beginning, it had me laughing quite a bit. Olivia is smart, sassy, and unconventional but honest, fierce, and protective at the same time and it was a delight to meet her. Quin is a bit proud and stuffy but he suffered a great loss and Olivia is the perfect balm for his heart and she, along with some words from Rupert, makes him complete again. I am sure there will be a bit of discussion about the situation that Quin and Olivia find themselves in. She is engaged to Rupert who is off at war and Georgiana thinks that Quin will be the perfect husband. But, I have to say in my opinion, Eloisa James handled the delicate situation well and the resulting actions are something that I could believe happening. I do not want to say to much because I don't want to give away to much of the storyline and I want you to be able to judge for yourself, but I believe fans will be happy with the situations. And then we get to the ending and it ties it all up perfectly. I was wondering how a pile of mattresses would fit in with this story but Eloisa James found a perfect solution so fairy tale fans will be pleased. Overall, a true delight that will make you laugh out loud. sigh, and root for this couple. 4 1/2 stars
I received this ebook from Avon via netgalley.com
Happily Ever Afters series
All are standalone but enjoyable reads :)
Ugly Duchess Later in 2012
And on a totally unrelated note, every time I see this title this song pops into my head. Like I said, totally unrelated but here it is to get it stuck in your head now :)