Desperate Duchesses - Eloisa James

What a joy to read! Full of humour, fun, interesting characters (especially Jemma and Villiers), fabulous clothes (especially Villiers' and Jemma's), fabulous parties, amazingly good writing about chess as a metaphor for life, sex, everything. And hilarious, brilliantly written secondary characters - Teddy, Damon's six-year-old son; Marcus, the versifying Marquess of Wharton and Malmesbury and Roberta's excruciatingly embarrassing father; Fowles, the imperturbable butler; Caro and Brigitte - Jemma's French secretary and dresser. Even the Prince of Wales puts in a very funny appearance in the hilarious river cruise scene. 

 

Some reviewers have not appreciated that the primary love story in the book, between a young ingenue named Roberta and Jemma's brother Damon, the Earl of Gryffyn, actually takes second place in the book to the setting up of the story of Jemma and her husband. For me it didn't really matter, because the book as a whole is wonderful and filled with the author's love for her characters, the Georgian period and literature, and Roberta and Damon's love story is just fine as it is.