Eloisa James continues her "Desperate Duchesses" series with this book, "Three Weeks with Lady X," about one of the progeny of the duke who appears in many of the other books in the series, Thorn Dautry.
James' website posts this summary:
Having made a fortune, Thorn Dautry, the powerful bastard son of a duke, decides that he needs a wife. But to marry a lady, Thorn must acquire a gleaming, civilized facade, the specialty of Lady Xenobia India. Exquisite, headstrong, and independent, India vows to make Thorn marriageable in just three weeks. But neither Thorn nor India anticipate the forbidden passion that explodes between them. Thorn will stop at nothing to make India his. Failure is not an option. But there is only one thing that will make India his. The one thing Thorn can't afford to lose--his fierce and lawless heart.
Thorn Dautry is the son of the Duke of Villiers, who appears in many of the series. In fact, in an earlier book the duke rescued his illegitimate son from a horrible life looking for valuables in the Thames.
In this story, Dautry has found the woman he wants to marry -- a docile and quiet lady, Laetitia Rainsford, who comes from impeccable bloodlines. Although Dautry is a bastard, he has made a fortune and is extremely wealthy. He buys a country estate to impress the lady's family, but needs it to be refurbished (it belonged to a dissolute nobleman who used it as a brothel).
Enter the picture Lady Xenobia India St. Clair. She is the daughter of a marquess, but one who has a profession. She is highly sought by the wealthy to furnish their homes, organize their lives and weed through their staff. And Xenobia does it all -- for a very high price -- impeccably.
Dautry is told that he needs to hire Lady Xenobia to refurbish the country estate so Laetitia's mother will approve of the marriage. Of course, he doesn't expect to fall for India -- hook, line and sinker.
In addition to her impeccable writing style, James throws in a few special touches. Laetitia, Dautry's intended, cannot read. Her own mother and many others believe that she is stupid. India does not believe that, and it turns out that (from our vantage point) the reader will recognize that Laetitia has a reading disability. She knows her letters but when she tries to read, the letters swim and seem to squiggle off the page.
Please note: This review is based on the manuscript copy provided by the publisher, Avon, for review purposes.
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