I was a bit hesitant to start The Ugly Duchess, because I was disappointed with The Duke Is Mine, or more accurately: the second half of The Duke Is Mine. But I'm happy to say The Ugly Duchess did not suffer from the same problems as The Duke is Mine did!
The plot was pretty unique as far as romance plots go! I've never before read about a man forced into marriage, being made to leave by his wife and then turning pirate! It was SO GOOD! I mean, there's all this tension BEFORE the big event after which she tells him to never come back, because you KNOW something is bound to go wrong because you've read the summary and know this.
Eloisa James really shows what a great storyteller she is with The Ugly Duchess! I was swept up in the story and I could easily see both sides of the fight Theo and James were having! I'm usually angry at one of the parties, but in this one I was just so sad for them both!
I thought Theo was a really strong female character. She knows what she wants and she takes care of business after James leaves England. I love how she managed to turn the estate profitable again and how she's not ready to just fall into James' arms straight away when he comes back.
And James! *le sigh* That man... He is just swoonworthy and a good man underneath it all. He had issues with both his parents and it has made him into the slightly damaged, but beautiful man he is. I loved how he genuinely finds Theo beautiful, even when she's not conventionally so according to the rest of the world. Goes to show how beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Together they had amazing chemistry! Everything that was missing in The Duke Is Mine was there for me in The Ugly Duchess: a likeable hero and heroine, sexy sexytimes, tension, wonderful chemistry and a couple I could root for! Also: PIRATES! They make everything better. The only thing that would have made it better and would have made me give it 5 stars is if I would have cried. But maybe better luck next time?
My rating: 4,5 stars