Duchess by Night
In 1783, Harriet, the young widowed duchess of Berrow, longs to escape the structure of Georgian society. She jumps at the chance for adventure when her friend Isidore decides to create a great scandal to lure her long-absent husband back from his Far East explorations. The two ladies, with their friend the Duke of Villers as escort, decide to visit the scandalous Lord Strange, whose home is regularly filled with actors and actresses.
Unlike Isidore, Harriet does not wish her name to be caught up in a scandal, so she daringly dresses in breeches and poses as Harry Cope, a young relative of the duke’s. Exploits abound as Harry rides without a sidesaddle for the first time, learns to fence with the fearsome Lord Strange, and tends to the amorous advances of a scantily clad actress. Harriet revels in her newfound freedom, but finds her heart captured by Lord Strange, who finds himself unsettlingly drawn to the beautiful young “man.”
With her third installment of the Desperate Duchesses series, James again delights with seduction, surprise and wit. The story has lively dialogue, engaging characters who find themselves in entertaining predicaments, and as always, ends with quite a satisfying conclusion.