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The Accidental Duchess [Hardcover]

3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739440829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739440827
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
I married the wrong man. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable 25 May 2005
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I had to write something after reading the only other review for this book. I read lots of this type of book and have added Jessica Benson to my list of 'must read', along with Julia Quinn, Victoria Alexander and Jo Beverley. Have bought and enjoyed her other books Lord Stanhope's Proposal and Much Obliged and looking forward to her next book. Of coure, Georgette Heyer is the queen of historical romance and Accidental Duchess is not in the same league, but...
Accidental Duchess is light and funny and real escapism.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars boring boring boring 5 May 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
The story of a young woman who finds herself married to the wrong twin had great potential for comedy as well as drama. It is a pity that the author has failed to create either. The characters including the leads are unlikeable. The first person narrative does not help since the narrator is one of the most uninteresting characters in the book. The reason for the whole rigmarole, as revealed toward the end, is ridiculous and definitely not worth the agony of going through the entire book. It is clear the author is heavily influenced by "False Colours" by Georgette Heyer but since she lacks Heyer's talent as well as her sense of humour, she does not succeed in even a poor imitation.
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Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great premise, but lacked follow through 9 Mar 2004
By AislinnMcE - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The premise was great - the bride marries the wrong man! The rest of the book is attempts to untangle this mess. I was captivated in the first few chapters, but then became frustrated with the increasingly outlandish reasons/ways the heroine is prevented from finding out the truth behind her marriage to Harry. The actual blooming of Gwen and Harry's relationship gets sort of lost between the twists and turns necessary to keep Gwen in the dark. Gwen does seem very naive about all of it. The chemistry between the hero and heroine is good, but it takes too long for it to um, come to fruition. One can't help but feel that if Harry had taken 5 minutes to have a little chat with Gwen right after wedding, things could have resolved themselves happily much, much sooner. In essence, sort of a silly frustrating read.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 stars--Fun book- quirky characters and snappy dialogue 1 Oct 2004
By ellejir - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first book that I have read by Jessica Benson and I stayed up half the night finishing it. "The Accidental Duchess" is an unusual historical romance (set in England in the early 1800's) in that it is told from the first-person point of view by Lady Gwen, a new bride who discovers that she unintentionally has married her long-time fiance's twin brother. The arch tone of the narration and Gwen's witty, frequently hilarious asides to the reader distinguish this book from others of the genre. The cast of characters is huge and amusingly detailed (and in some cases quite over the top!) The characters of the twin brothers, Bertie Milburn, a charming fribble and Gwen's original intended, and Harry, the paragon Earl of Cambourne, the elder twin by 15 minutes and Gwen's actual groom, are delightfully drawn. There is a hilarious scene in which Gwen's girlfriends list all Cambourne's "good points", "bad points" (none, of course!) and "traits as they relate to Milburn" that reads like a 19th century version of "Bridget Jones' Diary".

The character of Gwen is charming but a little bit more difficult to get a hold on (surprisingly, since the she is narrating the story.) She is described as biddable and obedient at the beginning of the book, but frankly she never seems to be so. She seems a bit ditsy at the start of the story, but by the end she is spouting off facts about the Corn Laws and taking control of her life.

The weak part of the book, in my opinion, was the reasoning behind continuing to keep Gwen in the dark about the real circumstances of her marriage (Hmmm, wasn't she was following her parents' wishes to marry Bertie in the first place..) and the explanation for Cambourne and Milburn masquerading as each other (Huh?!) Obviously, both of these circumstances were necessary for the plot to work and the book is so clever in other ways that the holes in the plot logic are forgiven.

In summary, this is a unique, very well-written romance with numerous laugh-out-loud lines (and scenes) and delightful, frequently quirky characters that remind me of some of Georgette Heyer's more broadly-drawn secondary characters (although with more bawdy mouths!) Highly recommended and a fun read!
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Only during a Blizzard! 29 Mar 2005
By M. Reid - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I honestly tried to give the book a chance but even I cannot be that generous. I was so intrigued by the plot description only to be let down by the actually product. Besides the fact that all the major characters in the book treating the heroine like a complete twit, there was also the problem of the actually writing style. The book simply did not flow well!!
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Accidental Duchess 20 Jan 2004
By Suzanne Coleburn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
THE ACCIDENTAL DUCHESS is a merry tangle of mistaken identity when Lady Gwen marries the wrong man. Since birth she had been betrothed to Bertie Milburn. Something is going on that Gwen is not privy to. Why is Harry pretending to be Bertie while he is around town and then trying to seduce her when in private. Harry can't tell Gwen the truth of the matter. What do her parents have to do with anything? You'd be surprised. Everything comes to a head when Bertie gets back in town.

Jessica Benson is a masterful storyteller who certainly has her characters at fever pitch trying their hands at seduction, changing their ways, and taking charge of their lives for better or worse in the game of marriage. You don't want to miss how this one turns out. I loved I! THE ACCIDENTAL DUCHESS is a novel you will want to savor and read more than once.

Suzanne Coleburn, Reader to Reader Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I really wanted to like this book 2 Jun 2006
By Madd Witch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've read Jessica Benson's other regency romances and was really intrigued by the whole married-the-wrong-twin concept. Given that I enjoyed "Lord Stanhope's Proposal" and "Much Obliged (Zebra Historical Romance)", I was looking forward to reading this story. Unfortunately, I just didn't enjoy it very much.

Gwen is a little too childish, something the author was apparently aiming for judging by some of the dialog, in a frustrating way. I found myself wanting to roll my eyes and tell her to just get over herself in some instances. She's nice enough and gets it together some toward the end.

Cambourne comes off a little cold through most of the story for me to really believe he loves her. I would really have liked to have had some of the story told from his perspective. Just to get a glimpse of what was going on beneath that too cool exterior. Towards the end we see the control really slip and it's only then that I find myself liking him. Although he is very much preferable to his brother.

I found myself interested in Gwen's friends very much and, really, I thought she was setting them up for a series. I'd really like to find out what happened with Cecy's marriage trouble and Myrtia's man troubles. Who else thinks she'd end up with Gwen's brother James?

All in all, it was ok. I guess I just feel that so much more could have been done with this premise that the reality left me a bit flat.
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