I’m a fairy tale fanatic. (It’s no secret that Beauty and the Beast is my absolute favorite. I mean, in the Disney version, monster or not, he gives the girl a library. A library, ladies and gentlemen, a library. Case closed, heart melted, what I wouldn’t give.) But I don’t just like the mainstream tales of royalty in disguise and magical high jinks. Give me some Snow White and Rose Red, rock me an adaptation of The Wild Swans or The Twelve Dancing Princesses.
So clearly, I’ve been watching Eloisa James’ fairy tale-inspired books with an eager eye. James started out on the more well known princesses, however, slowly but surely she’s working her way toward the lesser known characters and I can’t get enough of these books. She’s just announced that book four in the Happily Ever After series will be The Ugly Duchess and Iet me tell you, fellow romance lovers, this book looks like a solid gold winner.
This is Theodora Saxby’s story, the woman who married the heir to a Duchy, James Ryburn. James convinced Theo that she simply had to marry him, during what the book’s back cover blurb describes as “a romantic proposal before the prince himself.” (One that I’m guessing was probably even more intense than this, as it was born from the mind of one of the best historical romance authors writing today.) And despite the fact that the scandal rags call the quickly-married Theo “The Ugly Duchess,” she knows that with James, she’s found happiness that will last a lifetime — until Theo discovers that her one true love was only interested in her one truly impressive feature, her bank account.
Now the couple has packed up and moved to the metaphorical Splitsville, population two (on the opposite sides of town, of course). And that’s when it happens, James discovers that the prerequisite marriage, which he thought was a hoop to jump through his financially secure happiness, is actually a requirement — the one thing he can’t live without. Now James is determined to win Theo back, but since she gained her independence (and she has literally become the wind beneath her own wings) this is going to be what the book blurb describes, “the battle of his lifetime.”
I think this cover perfectly captures the Theo’s struggle to go at life on her own or risk letting James break her heart a second time. With Theo in a white gown that conjures up the dare we call it swan-like beauty she’s grown up to be, we see an image of a woman who is striking out on her own. She isn’t looking out at the cover begging for attention, instead her stance says, “I don’t give a duck!” Life has taught her not to rely on the kindness of others, both strangers and people who say that they love her. However, with the dress partially undone, it is unclear if Theo is getting ready to put on her armor, or perhaps — if James is very lucky — take it off.
Either way, I can’t wait for The Ugly Duchess’ release date:
Dear August 27, 2012,
I plan to buy and read Eloisa’s new book during you.
What do you think of The Ugly Duchess’ cover? Tell me in the comments below. And for more genre coverage be sure to check out RT's Everything Romance Page!