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C2’s review of Three Weeks with Lady X by Eloisa James
Historical romance published by Avon 25 Mar 14

Hi! Yup, two reviews close together…but don’t get spoiled or build up your expectations, Faithful Reader. I’m shifty and capricious – like the wind! An aside: see what reading romances does for you? It helps you use words like “capricious” correctly (mostly).

You’re wondering why I’ve called you here today, I’m sure. It’s so I can tell you all the reasons you should hurry along and read Eloisa James’ newest book, Three Weeks with Lady X. First of all, it’s Eloisa James! You know she’s fab! But there are other reasons……O Faithful Reader, you know I loves me some witty banter and this book has the banter IN SPADES. Yay! Also, letters between the hero and heroine? Yes, please!

Mr. Tobias “Thorn” Dautry is the oldest of the Duke of Villier’s infamous bastards (the duke has led an interesting life which you can read more about here). A former mudlark and part of a gang of children who scavenged the Thames for whatever they could sell, Thorn is now an extremely successful man. He owns several factories, has made wise investments and is extremely wealthy (a lovely quality in a hero, yes? YES.). As we meet the grown-up Thorn, he has decided it is time for him to marry and have children. Since he was abandoned by his own mother and plans to be faithful to his wife, Thorn has very specific requirement for his future bride – she has to be attractive, sweet-natured and be nurturing – and he has found someone who meets all those requirements…Miss Laeticia Rainsford (also known as Lala).

While no one thinks Lala is particularly intelligent, she is an acknowledged beauty and is very sweet. Her parents are less than thrilled with Thorn’s social status but are in need of money, so they haven’t completely discouraged his interest in her. However, he understands he must prove to them (especially Lala’s mother) that he can provide well enough for their daughter and maintain a certain level of social status – this is no easy feat since Lala’s mother is a horrible snob.

One expectation is that Thorn own a country house for his (as yet non-existent) family and he finds a property not too far from London that mostly fills the bill. However, it is very rundown and has been empty for a few years. A huge effort will be required to make it habitable and Thorn has neither the time nor the interest. He does, however, have plenty of money. Thankfully, his stepmother knows just the person to help him with this problem.

Lady Xenobia India St.Clair has made a reputation for herself as someone who can “fix” a household. She comes in, assesses strengths and weaknesses and improves things as she see fit – everything from staffing to decorating. India likes to make things comfortable and smooth-running. Still, she has never built up a household from scratch – and that is basically what Thorn requires at Starberry Court – but she views it as a challenge. It will be her final crowning achievement before she retires, finds a husband and establishes her own home.

The relationship that develops between India and Thorn begins with messages sent back and forth between them (she’s working at Starberry Court and he is running his empire in London). The tone of their messages quickly goes from formal to teasing because that is just Thorn’s nature. And India can’t resist pushing back against his banter. (SO FUN!) Even though they both enjoy picking at each other, Thorn and India have very firm plans about the future and the type of spouse that will make them happy…but what if they’re wrong? With some help from some meddling parents, a brawling best friend, a flock of mudlarks, and a fleet of helpful servants and tradesmen, love must prevail! Right?

This book had so many of my favorite elements! It is a spin-off of Ms. James’ popular Desperate Duchesses series and it is an excellent start to what I hope is a new series (Vander’s story, please!!). Does it stand alone? Yes…but I would recommend reading A Duke of Her Own to get Thorn’s backstory. And if you’ve never tried any of Ms. James’ books, this is a good one to start with. I love unusual heroes and independent heroines. Check it out, Faithful Reader!

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Grade: A-


Having made a fortune, Thorn Dautry, the powerful bastard son of a duke, decides that he needs a wife. But to marry a lady, Thorn must acquire a gleaming, civilized façade, the specialty of Lady Xenobia India.

Exquisite, headstrong, and independent, India vows to make Thorn marriageable in just three weeks.

But neither Thorn nor India anticipate the forbidden passion that explodes between them.

Thorn will stop at nothing to make India his. Failure is not an option.

But there is only one thing that will make India his . . . the one thing Thorn can’t afford to lose . . . his fierce and lawless heart.

Read an excerpt!

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