The Accidental Duchess
by Jessica Benson
Jessica Benson, already a successful writer of traditional Regencies, has now contributed a sparkling, refreshing story to the popular niche of Regency-set historicals. The setting, the society, and the ambiance are familiar to readers of Regency romances, but The Accidental Duchess has enough unusual aspects to fascinate and intrigue the most jaded reader.
For one thing, a first-person narration, most often identified with gothic novels, is unusual in this genre. But it works quite well in this story. With some stories, the reader wants to get inside the hero's head to find out what he's thinking or feeling. But in this case, it's best for you not to find out things until the heroine does. Trust me. Besides, the narrator's voice is so charmingly humorous that it adds greatly to the fun of reading the book.
In addition, Benson uses an old-fashioned kind of chapter heading that provides even more entertainment. For example, Chapter One has the heading, “In which I accidentally marry and am very nearly seduced by the wrong man.” Chapter Eight begins, “In which we arrive at the Clarendon for the second time and I get foxed.” To me, these openings are reminiscent of the hilarious chapter titles that Elizabeth Peters uses in her Amelia Peabody books: for example, in The Last Camel Died at Noon, “Chapter One: I Told You This Was a Hare-Brained Scheme.”
It would be difficult to give you any useful plot summary for this convoluted tale, other than to say that the heroine expects to marry one man but finds herself married to his twin brother. Why does she suspect her parents of having created this mess? Which one is her legal husband? Which one does she want to sleep with--I mean, to live with? And what in blazes is going on?
My recommendation? Read and enjoy.
|Angela||An Unaccidentally wonderful read!||2004-03-05|
|I just recieved this book in a trade today and finished it a few minutes ago. Let me just say this: I LOVED this book. The lovely Ms Benson had sent me an except booklet a few months back and I was anticipating the novel but when it came out I had no money I sort of still have no money lol(broke and jobless part time college student and all..) so I was excited to get it in a trade. Well anyways, as an obsessive compulsive gothic romance reader, I was pleased to see that it was in first person. Not only did it make it more intimate, but it was so hilarious. The main thing that I loved about this book was the fact that even though it was written in first person; it wasn't limited to "I saw" "I said" etc. It felt as if I was really there in Gwen's shoes and I have to say, not too many authors are adept at that(old gothics included). Harry was adorable and his love for Gwen was so touching. Now her parents, Violette and Cecy's mother irritated the heck out of me and all throughout the book I wanted to tie them up and toss them into the Thames. I also loved the fact that she threw in a character from Eloisa James' A Wild Pursuit...I read that book two days ago and I was smug at the fact that I noticed his name lol. All in all, I'd give this book(and AWP too) solid A+'s|
“Gwen obediently marries the man her parents have selected for her--but on the wedding night, the groom turns out to be his magnetizing twin brother!”
January 2004, 356 pages
Dear Reader, I married the wrong man. I had every intention of doing the thing right. Of saying my vows and walking out on the arm of Bertie Milburn. Nice, safe, easygoing Bertie. And that is precisely what I thought I had done.
But as it turned out, I'd been tricked! Tricked into marrying Bertie's twin brother Harry, the Earl of Cambourne and (as my mother would insist on reminding me at every opportunity) future Duke of Winfell! And the shocking way in which I found out – on my wedding night, no less…well, it doesn't bear repeating here!
And the truth is that Harry, who is my husband, but should not be, makes my hands shake and my heart pound in a way that Bertie never has and never will. Vexing, dangerously charming Harry, who won't tell me why he had to marry me, why he insists on masquerading about town as his brother, or most bothersome still, why he won't stop that annoying (and rather excitingly successful) habit of trying to seduce me!