My interest in this book was piqued by the title as I felt it seemed quite harsh, however, after a bit of Google research, I discovered that the author has written a series of historical romances, of which this is one, and are based on classic fairytales. This one is based on the Ugly Duckling.
This is an historical romance set in the Regency era and I confess it is not a genre I have read before and so I am basing my review on this book alone as I don't have others with which to compare it.
The Ugly Duchess is the story of two childhood friends Theodora Saxby and James Ryburn, heir to the Duchy of Ashbrook. Theodora or Theo as she prefers to be referred to does not conform to the society's ideal of beauty at the time. After a surprise proposal from James, which Theodora accepts, she is given the title The Ugly Duchess. She discovers soon after the marriage that James only asked her to marry him under his father's orders. Distraught and humiliated, she throws James out of the marital home and immerses herself in the business she became co-owner of after her marriage. James meanwhile leaves the country and takes to the seas and becomes a pirate/privateer until he returns seven years later.
This was a quick and easy to read book and was rather more steamy than I was expecting from an historical romance! It was fast paced and it was interesting to learn about period details but I am unsure whether some of the language used was too modern and it didn't seem to sit right with the story. I was also a little disappointed at how quickly and easily that Theodora seemed to forgive her husband after his years of desertion. I know that the book was meant to be based on a fairytale but this one was a bit too fantastical for me and I would have preferred something a little more realistic.
It was an entertaining read though and I would like to explore the genre further to see how this book compares with others.