Released: June 1, 2010
Title: The Making of a Duchess
List Price: $6.99
Author: Shana Galen
Pages: 368; 367-380: Acknowledgments, About the Author, Excerpt from The Making of a Gentleman, and ads
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Description (from her site, but the back cover is different):
Twelve years after fleeing their burning chateau, Julien Harcourt, Duc de Valère, searches for his lost twin brothers. His frequent travels between England and France at a time when the exiled Napoleon is reported to be marshalling his troops raises the suspicions of English authorities who set secret operative Sarah Smith on his trail. A risky game of cat and mouse leads the two from the ballrooms of London to the prisons of Paris and into a fragile love that neither dares to hope for.
The first in a trilogy of three brothers struggling to reconnect and restore their noble heritage in the aftermath of the French Revolution, each losing his heart along the way.
First, I’d like to thank Ms. Galen for being such a wonderful person. I would not have been able to read this book (couldn’t find it for some reason) if she wasn’t such a nice person. She mailed me an autographed copy with bookmarks. THANK YOU. I don’t know if I can say that enough. But, I did drop what I was doing and start reading 🙂 Mother thought I went mad.
In Making of a Gentleman the first thing I noticed was Shana Galen’s writing style and again in DUCHESS. In the first chapter, thirteen year old Julien is trapped in a burning chateau with peasants storming the entrances. Despite knowing who survives (I mean, he HAD to, it’s his book) my heart was still pumping at every corner, hallway, and rarely used room. Good job Mrs. Galen. You’re rather talented and it’s making waver in my dream of becoming a published author 😉 or, “dammit, I need to write more like her *scurries off the edit MS*”
Sarah Smith, governess, is thrust into the affairs of the Foreign Office when her current employer, Sir Northrop, finds himself in need of a replacement as his female operative was shot in the line of duty. Sara, for all intents and purposes, fit the bill and despite her objection, she’s forced to take the role (or lose her job and future jobs).
Julien is a French duc living in England after the Reign of Terror. He is dutiful, honorable, and in search of his younger twin brothers Armand and Sebastien, both of whom supposedly perished in the fire that engulfed their home. Julien, however, wants – needs – proof of their deaths or will continue to search for them.
Sarah enters Julien’s home under the guise of Serafina, another displaced French noble and daughter of his mother’s friends. Sarah doesn’t want to be there, but she has a mission. Julien doesn’t really care, but he’s duty bound in the name of heirs.
Sarah is determined to focus on the mission, gather information, and get out. Julien is determined to categorize Sarah as a ledger – a dull, monotonous, I-have-to-do-this-or-we’ll-be-bankrupt ledger. But, Julien honey, Ledgers can be a very beautiful thing (Heath, for example).
Ok, so keep in mind the more I like a book, the less coherent my thoughts are:
I was immediately happy when I picked it up because it felt like a good sized novel. Not too small, not too big.
I was curious about Julien after reading The Making of a Gentleman (the second novel) and I wasn’t disappointed. He’s strong, determined, caring, protective, – I can go on and on.
Sarah isn’t strong in the sense I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR, but neither is she weak. She’s average which I guess is what makes her perfect for the role, but also relatable (is that a word?).
The mother is a strong woman and I don’t know if I would be able to continue after experiencing what she did.
Oddly, I liked Captain Stalwart and I hope we see him again.
I missed Julien’s friends towards the end although they weren’t necessary to the main plot. (I wonder if Marcus is getting a story.)
It’s a good start to the trilogy. Julien isn’t your normal Regency hero portrayed as a rake. He hates having to perform for the ton and the ton tolerates him. It was a refreshing change after reading about sex crazed, oh look an ankle! nobility. Sarah is an interesting character and I would have liked to learn more about her past at the Academy and what it was like to grow up as an orphan.
It’s a Georgian Romance filled with adventure, suspense, intrigue, and love.
I definitely agree with the quote on the cover from Karen Hawkins, “Shana Galen enthralls from the first page to the last.”
Gah >_< Julien makes me want a hug!
Rating: 4 stars
(Not really related to the review, but I love when I read books that also help with my writing. My WIP has a Catholic FP and I loved reading that bit because it gave me direction.)
The Making of a Rogue featuring Bastien Harcourt, twin brother of Armand releases (according to Amazon) April 1, 2011. Who’s excited? I AM! I AM! (Btw, April 1 (OR March 29, there seems to be conflicting information) is also the release of The Darkest Secret by Gena Showalter – the birthday’s going to be fun this year ^_^ )
DUCHESS is sitting pretty, next to GENTLEMAN. Now I just have to wait on my Rogue *drums fingers* Come on April 😀